ten invented, post-hoc reasons for choosing my name, and the truth. (thread)
1. Melissa (Greek μέλισσα) ‘honeybee’ ≅ general Tupian Jandira ‘honeybee’, name of my grandmother who raised me as a baby
2. ‘Mel’ is feminine (not neutral) in my language and it sounds almost like an inversion of the shortened form of my deadname.
3. Alphabetically one letter forward from deadname; symbolically a step forward.
4. But matches it in sonorous liquid consonants.
5. The mél- Proto-Indo-European etymon is interesting af. Not only it gives mel, mead etc. in Europe but it went all the way to Tocharian in China and from there becomes Chinese 蜜 *mit > Japanese mitsu. It helps us pinpoint the Urheimat of PIE, because we can narrow it down to areas with bees; the same kind of linguistic detective work I do in my Jap. research.
6. Robert Graves’ old-fashioned theory on King Melisseus being really a front for Mother Melissa the Queen-Bee, who killed the male.
7. The name codes as unapologetically hyperfeminine in my culture.
8. It always brings to mind my favourite Latin word, mellifflua: she who speaks fluently, as if honey flowed from her lips. As a lifelong linguist, I feel perpetually inadequate in all the languages and dialects I wish I was fluent. Similarly, I may never be fully fluent in the ‘language’ of socially acceptable femininity. Claiming mellifluousness equals asserting my femininity is valid.
Hometown is adapted from Mastodon, a decentralized social network with no ads, no corporate surveillance, and ethical design.