Friday, March 1, 2013

Story # 25: "Call Me Mabry"

Indeed, I am riffing on the title of a wildly popular pop song, but this story has nothing to do with the song. The main character here is entirely fictional, but she could easily have been based on any number of people I have known during my life. Enjoy!  ~  JH


My name is Jenny, but I've never liked my name. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with Jenny, or the name of which it's a derivative (Jennifer) – it's just that I've never thought it fit me or my personality.

It's not my parents' fault – they didn't know how I'd turn out or what I'd be like when I first came into the world. They probably thought I'd be their pretty little princess, and that I'd love wearing frilly dresses with ribbons or barrettes (or both) in my hair, and that pink would be my favorite color.

It's not. Never has been. I like black, in large quantities, in all shades, in and on everything. It's not that I'm morbid – okay, maybe I am a little – I just like the color (or absence of color, to be more precise).

I'm not a Goth, though if I were it wouldn't mean I was a bad person or anything. I have friends who are and they're perfectly normal; their look is just widely misunderstood.

My friends call me Mabry. It isn't any part of my actual birth name, but the name Mabry (which I first saw on the back of a baseball player's jersey when I was a kid, at a time when my well-meaning but thoroughly misguided dad was trying to get me to like sports) just seems to suit me better.

I've even managed to convince a few of my teachers at school to call me by that name. I told them Mabry was my middle name, and even though they had the records to prove me wrong, they didn't argue the point.

People ask me if I'm trying to reinvent myself by giving myself a new name. Actually, I'm not. If anything, I'm discovering myself for the first time, which isn't the same thing at all.

I'm convinced that this person Mabry – who likes black and not pink, and isn't a girly-girl in even the most rudimentary sense of the word – is the real me. She's who I have always been becoming. And I like her. I like me.

If you'd asked me that question two years ago, or even a year ago, I'd have given a different answer. That would have been when all-black-everything meant something darker to me. Yes, I cut myself – but I was always too chicken to go that deep. I didn't want to die. I just didn't want to live. Which isn't the same thing at all, either.

So if you see me in the hallway, or at the mall (not likely), or at the store, or wherever, don't hesitate to stop and say hi. I'm not a devil worshipper. I'm not some creepy vampire lover, either. I'm just a girl who marches to a different beat. Call me Mabry. I'll answer.

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