Even before I started blogging, I always liked using pseudonyms. My usernames have always been a reflection of who I deem myself to be at the time, what I have learned, and what I believe in all in one name. I have gone through many but the one that I have felt has been the most representative of who I am over the past several years has been the one I currently use, “xero ankh”.
The first part of the name, “xero”, comes from the site xeromag.com. I am an extremely big fan of the site for several reasons—it’s very well-written, very informative, and it dramatically changed the way I viewed life. At the time I stumbled across it, I was fifteen, and curious to learn more about BDSM because I had realized that many experiences and actions that I wanted to incorporate in my life were kinky. So, I did what anyone else would do, I typed in BDSM in the Google search bar and scrolled down to find a site that would teach me more about the lifestyle. One of the first sites was xeromag. After reading through the kink section, I decided to see what else this person, Franklin Veaux, had to say because I thoroughly enjoyed his writing. I clicked on the polyamory link and from then on, my values completely changed. First, I learned what polyamory was and realized that this was what my boyfriend at the time had meant when he mentioned that he was okay with loving more than one person at the same time. I realized that my response to him had not been necessarily very logical. I realized that this relationship style seemed actually pretty reasonable, and doable, and that…I wanted to try it. After processing the information, I decided that I wanted to engage in this kind of lifestyle and quickly sent my boyfriend the link and the idea. He was on board with it and we became a poly couple. Though my views on relationships radically changed, what really got me thinking were the jealousy tabs. Out of curiosity (“I’m not jealous, pft, but I’ll just see what he has to say about it”), I clicked on them, and instantly, tears came to my eyes. I realized that I was in fact jealous, and that this was a problem (or rather, a symptom of the problem), and that I could change that. I could fix it. I could work on it and could become a stronger, healthier person. From that moment on, I made myself the long-term goal to become the strongest, healthiest person I could become and that overcoming my insecurities and fears would be the first step. Over the years, I kept in mind this goal and though occasionally I’ve taken steps backwards, I have never forgotten this aim. In addition, “xero” is also a reminder to keep myself weird, to keep myself searching, always questioning, always open to new ideas, always loving, always climbing up the mountain of life instead of sliding back.
The ankh is the symbol of everlasting life in Egyptian mythology. Though I don’t believe in everlasting life, something I do strongly believe in is life. I believe it to be the most beautiful, the most precious, and the most valuable substance in this universe. That we live here, on Earth, on this magnificent and unique planet, makes my heart constrict a bit and leaves me slightly shorter of breath. Our place in space is truly incredible.
But I also understand that there are times when life does not seem like a blessing, but more like a curse. I understand the desire to end one’s own life and to end the pain that comes with it. I understand that the last thing you want to do sometimes is to feel grateful for what was stuffed forcefully under your tongue. And I also know that you can overcome these times. I know that if you have hope, you have the key to it all. You can dig yourself out of the pit. You can not only breathe and survive, but you can truly live. You can do this. You can do this. The ankh is such a reminder—that I can get past misfortune and come out triumphant, and that if there is hope, there is also life, and if there is life, there may also be happiness. It is a reminder of what I hold dearest above all else.
To me, the ankh also symbolizes death, a concept that has always fascinated me. Several years ago, I also stumbled on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series and was instantly entranced. It's a fantastic graphic novel series and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you like international mythology. The one character that struck a deep, essential chord with me was Death. I’m kind of very much in love with her. Neil Gaiman’s Death is a sensible, light-hearted, fun, witty, extremely likeable woman who does her job well and is super cute to boot. The eldest of the Endless, she is the ideal bigger sister who understands when to advise and when to listen. She is a fantastic conversationalist. She is intriguing and a complete enigma. She loves floppy hats and eccentric dresses. She wears an ankh necklace and cross earrings. She is The Lover of Life…and yet she is also Death. What a delicious paradox. Ever since I was young, I have always had a strange love for the morbid. Just as I have complete awe toward life, I also have a sweet spot for death. To me, they are nothing without each other—they are complements, yin and yang. They are not enemies, nor even acquaintances, but friends. Though they fight with all of their will against each other, it is nothing personal, simply business. At the end of the day, they walk off into the sunset, holding hands.
This life/death dichotomy is what, on the whole, I believe in as a philosophy and it is what my spirituality is largely made up of (yes, even as an atheist, I can be spiritual). In addition, it’s also a reminder of what I want to do in life—work with this world in a positive way (with humans as a medic, with endangered species, with the dead, as a teacher, as a writer, etc.).