I'm a writer from New Jersey, now living in Chicago. Journalist/production manager for a news site, aspiring to become an author of fantasy novels. In the meantime, I'm blogging.

I like nature, black metal, the occult, cats, and good wine.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Blake X": What's in a name?

If you know me, you undoubtedly know me as Blake Deppe. It’s right in the address of this website - blakedeppe.com; my name on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is ‘Blake X Deppe.’ What does the X stand for? Well, my full chosen name is ‘Blake Xanthos Deppe.’ And I’ll go into what each of those names means in a bit. In the meantime, you may have noticed that I said “chosen name.” Is it not my real name? Well, it is. But it isn’t the name that I was born with.

Unbeknownst to many, even some very close friends, my birth name and legal name is Mark. I won’t reveal the last name I was born with, because I don’t like it (hence why I adopted a new name in the first place) and I don’t use it anymore. So on all legal documents (my state ID, my birth certificate, my passport), my name is ‘Mark.’ But I haven’t used that name since I was 14 years of age.

It all happened rather spontaneously. I was hanging out in the park with two friends, and I had mentioned in passing that I didn’t like the name that I was given at birth; I didn’t feel that it defined me, or fit me. I felt that it was normal, boring, and, furthermore, the name was chosen for religious reasons (I was, unfortunately, raised Catholic), which only added to my intense dislike of it. But what to change it to? I couldn’t come up with a name that I knew for sure I wanted instead. So I don’t remember exactly how it went, but we started going over ideas for names. At one point, one of my friends suggested that I take the name ‘Drake.’ While I didn’t quite like that name, it made me think of one that sounded similar: Blake. The origin of the name is uncertain - some people thought it was a word that meant ‘black,’ others think it initially meant ‘pale.’ It made for an interesting dichotomy though, and ‘Blake’ certainly brought black to mind - which is a color (or non-color) that I wear daily.

So I had the Blake, and I started going by that name. The rest would come later. So the last name that I eventually settled on was ‘Deppe.’ I chose it for two reasons. The first was because it was almost the same as the last name of Johnny Depp, who at that time was my favorite actor (and who is still one of my favorites). My last name is literally pronounced the same way as his, even though it ends with an ‘e.’ My second reason was that it was derived from ‘Detbern,’ a surname that technically meant “bear-people.” At the point in my life when I chose this name, that had a special meaning to me because I lived in an area where bears were very common. So now I was Blake Deppe.

What about ‘Xanthos’? Well, at first, I chose the middle name ‘Skylar,’ for no other reason than I liked how it sounded. But when I started getting heavily into writing my book (a fantasy novel that is not yet completed), I decided that I wanted something from my work to be represented in my actual name. So I chose ‘Xanthos’ - a Greek word that meant “a golden-yellow precious stone.” I can’t tell you why this definition was so perfect without giving away a major, major plot element from my book, but this description was so on-point and so representative of what I was writing that it was no longer even a question of whether I would take it as my middle-name. (By the way, Xanthos was also the name of an ancient river in Lycia, in what is now Turkey.)

So, that’s Blake Xanthos Deppe. BXD. As of now it’s both a nickname and a pen name, though I do eventually intend to do a legal name from what my ‘given name’ currently is to my ‘chosen name.’ And as for pen names, I actually use a different pen name when I write for the online news publication where I work. For all journalistic writing, I use the pen name Blake Skylar.

As anyone who follows this blog or watches my YouTube videos knows, I’m a big advocate for autonomy, self-love, and control over one’s own life. We dress the way we like and do the things we like, so why should we not take the names for ourselves that we like best? Why should we be given a name that we’re not happy with and then be stuck with it? I believe that everyone should have the freedom to choose his or her own name, if he or she wants to do so.

So now you know. Unless you knew me before I took my new name, don’t call me Mark! It’s Blake. ;)

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