disclaimer: randir = cobie = miller = me
so, why 'miller'?
a little background: as you may or may not know, "miller" is not my given name. "aristotle" is. what you most certainly do not know is that "aristotle" is not pronounced the way most people would think it is. my mom had decided to make it not only closer to the tagalog pronunciation of it but also an embodiment of what she felt i would be - she foresaw greatness, but also my being a bit different from all the rest. hence the way it is. now it really should be pointed out that being born with this name is something i wouldn't wish for any child to grow into. it always set you aside from everybody else, always made you the subject of ridicule, and always, always made it a frustrating event when people would correct you on the pronunciation of your very own name.
the name 'miller', though, comes from this little kid i used to look after in this one job i had back at BU. his name was, well, obviously, miller. aside from the fact that i thought that that was a pretty neat name to have (particularly for a first name), he was the only other person out here i found that was remotely of the ethnic makeup i am. that was pretty cool. and, well, he was just the cutest little thing, too. at the end of the day, you'd just want to take him home with you...
so anyway, around this time, the internet was a new stomping ground for me to play in. i was learning html, discovering new things, and chatting. good god, was i chatting. i did webchats and telnet chats at first but soon i delved into the lower depths and got into irc. my first time on there, i had to choose a nick that i would have to be associated with forever and ever. having already considered the name 'miller' as a cool pen name for my future writing career, that name presented itself first as a viable chat alias. i plugged that name in and, well.. the first time, it spit it right back at me. turns out someone else already had it. so i decided to enclose the name in brackets: "[miller]". (this was also the origin of the nickname "bracketboy", if yer wondering.)
suddenly, an online identity was established.
mind you, this was about the same time i was learning about myself. namely, the whole sexual orientation thing. as "[miller]", i went into gaychats and had conversations with other gay guys and formed a little gay community. it was all so new and exciting and all so scary. when people asked "[miller]" what his real name was, i'd tell them that it was miller. why? the closet game, i suppose. it was my way of imposing a severe dichotomy on my life: by whatever name i was referred to, i would immediately know the context.
it was pretty smart, come to think of it.
but eventually people started finding out my given name. and that kinda made things weird. it was uncomfortable. like they suddenly possessed this strange power over me. but that fear eventually (and with much effort) subsided when i started to be comfortable with myself. i think the first major sign of being okay with the whole gay thing was when i had just landed a new job at BU and people were (naturally) mangling my given name... it was then that i proffered 'miller' as an alternative.
that was the first time i voluntarily let my worlds collide. 'miller' was no longer a way to let me know whether or not someone knew i was a homosexual or not. it wasn't just a convenient option for those who couldn't pronounce my name any more (not that it hadn't been). it marked an acceptance of identity - of self-defined identity. it became progress. a paradigm shift, almost. but not.
and i feel good about it.
but a lot of times, i still wonder who 'miller' is. and who 'aristotle' is. and what my true name (if i have one) can be and who i am (without the strict confines of the convention of naming). it's weird, yah. i'm the only person i know (aside from friends of mine who've undergone sexual reassignment surgery) who's flexible about name and determining and deciding for himself what his identity should be by this kind of redefinition.
one of these days i should tell you who aristotle was...