My dear friends, I have been doing a lot of soul-searching lately and I am worried that there is something about me that maybe I should change. I have been living with it for quite some time now, since October last year, actually. It’s not something I was particularly aware of myself but, since I came out as a cross-dresser and began writing this blog, the expectations of society have taken their toll and I feel under tremendous pressure to change. You see, I spell my name Lilly with two ‘l’s but wider society, it seems, does not. If I am spelling my name out over the phone the other person will quite often say something like “oh, so it’s not like the flower, then?” I don’t think they are meaning to be judgemental but their question is loaded.
People tell me they can’t find my blog and it’s usually because they have used one ‘l’ rather than two. I have found I have had to start explaining myself, pre-emptively, whenever I give my name – “two ‘l’s, not like the flower”. I hadn’t felt that being a two-‘l’ person had been a problem, at all – it was just who I was, I was very happy living with myself – but, as people clearly have an issue with it, I have started to feel great pressure to conform. I didn’t think I was like this. I thought I was different, independent, my own woman.
My friends have been divided on the subject. Some have told me that I should be strong, that I am unique and should keep my quirky spelling. Others can’t see a problem. “You’ve changed so much now you dress as a woman,” they say, “what difference can changing one little letter make?” Dave, my postman, said he always thought it was spelled with two ‘l’s, anyway. I thought that was sweet of him until I realised he was including the ‘L’ at the beginning.
What has almost driven me to the point of surrender, is technology, more specifically Microsoft Word 2010. Every time I type ‘Lilly’ it changes it to ‘Lily’. Every time. Every time I include it in an online search, Google asks me if I had meant to search for ‘Lily’. Technology might be the great force for equality but maybe that is only if you are equal in the first place. I’m not sure that, in the online technological world, I even CAN make the change. I think I’ve worked out how I could change my blog address but what would happen to my millions of followers? They would wake up one morning click on the link to get their daily fix and be told “blog no longer exists”. So, maybe, I’m stuck with my online “me” with two ‘l’s, whether I like it or not.
I hope no one brings it up in an interview in the future – it would be so embarrassing. “I see you used to spell your name with two ‘l’s!” they would say. “Could you tell us why you thought that was appropriate?” I would go bright red, I am sure, and explain that it was a folly of my youth, that I am not really like that. But, do you know, I really am! I might have to go around using just one ‘l’, to be what other people expect me to be but when I am alone, when it’s just me, I am going to lock the doors, retreat to my room, get out my secret marker pen and with that glorious feeling of liberation, make my mark: L-I-L-L-Y.