Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Galiana

... aka: How I Named My Alter Ego, And How Galiana Became Not-So-Alter After All

Do you remember how you felt on September 18, 2001? I do. I was still a little bit in shock at the events of the week before, but I was still choosing to live life to the fullest at every turn. I had gotten on a plane on September 16th to travel for vacation, just as I had previously planned to do, and the act of walking through the well-armed airports made me feel strong, proud, defiant, and unutterably sad.

I was also a little in shock because I was starting to admit that my marriage was no longer working (I eventually divorced him). I had joined an online writer's group, which happened to be focused on erotica (, and been going by the name "Grrrly Chic" and signing my emails as "GC". One day in August 2001 when I was feeling particularly goofy, I asked if this was too much of a sigline:
(c) 2001 Grrrly Chic ( All rights reserved by the author. The one with the annoying name. Who apparently can't decide how many flippin r's to spell it with. (And do you really need the apostrophe when you're talking about multiples of the letter r? That can't be right - they're not possessing anything.) So call her whatever you want. GC. Or Chic. Or grrl. Or "you." Or Smart-Assed, High-Toned Bitch Child. It'll make your brain hurt less than figuring out the r's. Do not reproduce without her permission. I mean the story. You may, of course, reproduce at will (contribute sperm, contribute eggs, bear children, adopt) completely without her involvement in any way.
That's a pretty good snapshot of the persona I had created on the site: silly, flirty, and flighty.

I had erotica accepted by CleanSheets (the story is still on the site here) and decided that I needed a more "real" name. I had been trolling for opinions, but had dropped the conversation after 9/11 - it seemed too frivolous.

And then I woke up the morning of September 18, 2001, my 31st birthday, and decided to give my alter ego a name that day, let her share my birthday. It felt life-affirming. Here's what I wrote about the choice that day:
Galiana Chance (formerly known as Grrrly Chic) 
Happy birthday, Galiana! Welcome to the world. It's not such a bad place to be most days. Some days are much, much harder than others, of course - you're glad you missed last week. It was horrible. But overall, you'll like it here, I'm sure.
Here's how I chose the names, if you care about such utterly trivial matters...
Galiana (Etruscan) She saved her city from a Roman invasion by appearing naked on the battlefield. Her appearance so affected the Romans that they fell back in confusion.
I just loved that!! First, it made me laugh out loud, which is always good. Second, it's a woman using the power of her body to protect those she loves, and maybe cause a little chaos along the way. Awesome.
Chance as a name technically connotates chancellor or secretary - the chancellor was originally a chief scribe or secretary under the Roman emperors, so in keeping with the time period of Galiana, the chancellor would have the poor guy who had to write down the story of her getting nekkid and confusing the army. 
But much more importantly, the concept of "chance" has cool meanings that feel representative of the way I am, and/or the way I feel like I write...
* A possibility or opportunity due to a favorable combination of circumstances (We had the chance to see Ireland) * A supposed material or psychical agent or mode of activity other than a force, law, or purpose; fortune; fate; -- in this sense often personified (Chance will determine the outcome) * To happen, come, or arrive, without design or expectation (I chanced upon the treasure)
So - taken together, with all that meaning, what does it say to me enough to feel like the right name for my alter ego? Here's my summary: 
Galiana Chance: she who records events/stories so imaginative, unexpected and powerful that the force of them might accidentally change the course of history.
LOL at myself - how egomaniacal! But you know, name yourself what you want to be, not what you think you already are. It feels like a name full of fun and imagination and energy and invitation to explore possibilities that I haven't thought of yet. All of which, I like.
So thanks again to those who contributed. You helped. I now return you to your regularly scheduled life.
"Truth is so hard to tell, it sometimes needs fiction to make it plausible." -- Dagobert D. Runes
So today is my 40th birthday, and Galiana's 9th. Since 2001, I have gotten divorced, had a crazy fun sexual rampage where I explored all kinds of fun options, and (even though I said I never would) remarried, to a man who celebrates me continuing to explore all kinds of fun, sexual and otherwise.

Since 2001, Galiana has calmed down, and she has moved in. Instead of being a way to express a small, neglected part of my personality, she expresses as much of me as I can safely expose, which is quite a lot of me. Galiana no longer feels like an alter ego, she feels like another name for me. The summary, therefore, has changed slightly:
Galiana Chance: she who lives a life so imaginative, unexpected and powerful that the force of it  might accidentally change the course of history.
Happy birthday, Galiana. Happy birthday to me.


  1. That's a spectacular birth story for a spectacular woman!

  2. Thanks, Champ! Someday I'll write short blog posts...