They say that in a person’s lifetime they go through many different stages/wear many different masks and with this a person may go by different names. I happen to be one of those people. It has become apparent that my identity may need some explaining, since I go by so many different names for my multitude of talents and stages I’ve gone through (and my confused fans).
I was born Joy.
In the third grade we moved from my hometown of Rutland, VT to Brandon, FL. Having spent my 8 years of life being called “Joy the Boy“, I took this time to create a new name for myself to go by, a new beginning for lil’ Joy. I was a fan of the show The Facts of Life and Nancy McKeon‘s character of Jo was my favorite. I wanted to be tough like her. I wanted the bullying to stop. So I chopped the “y” off of Joy and thus became “Jo“.
It didn’t help. “Jo” turned into “Hey Jo-Blow, Whadda ya know?“. I hated it because it gave the impression that, from 3rd to 8th grade, I was “easy”, but I stuck with the name because it fit my personality. I was mad at the world.
When I hit high school the moniker of “Jo” got cutesy nicknames from loving friends that I hated too, like; Jo-jo, Josephine, Joey, Josie, and Joi (by a friend that knew French). They were better than the bullies’ nicknames, so I let it slide.
In my early 20s I, somehow, was given the nickname Goddess Jo and a legend was born in my hometown. Goddess Jo became a loving and accepting person of people who didn’t quite know who they were, but were willing to share their experiences, their stories, and (some of their pot) their friendship. Because of these friends and the Rutland drug underground, my name was passed on in stories and it became a legend on it’s own. My name was whispered in dark rooms, over skunky smoke and wads of cash. “Have you met Goddess Jo? She lives in the middle of a small mountain on West. Street. She has red hair like a million sunsets and green glowing eyes that heal you with a single glance. Her smile fills your soul and she has the most calming aura you’ve ever encountered.” ….yeah. Weird time in my life. Like most people with power over others, I became very arrogant, manipulative and judgmental of people while acting very superior to them, blatently. (Sorry, guys. We all make mistakes.)
During this time I also got my drag name. Yes, I did drag. I won a drag contest the first time I did drag ($50 cash prize spent @ Denny’s on me and my lovely queen partner for the evening, Alexandra Chase of Vermont, and gave my lil’ pink tiara to her for convincing me to do it). People in Rutland still remember it. I can’t even find pictures of it. I got the name “Jason Wolffe” from Alexandra Chase. He explained to me that a “wolf” in the gay community was a description for a type of gay man; lean, sleek, strong, Swimmer’s build-type, etc. Basically, the type of body type I’m attracted to in a man. “Jason” could be used as a slang for “Chasing“. Chasing-Jason….ok. I didn’t know much about drag at the time, so I took it for what it was. I was “chasin’ wolf“. Once I hit that stage in my pin-strip 3-piece suit, fedora and my Alexandra on my arm, I became Jason Wolffe and a drag king was born. I now write for you lovely people using my drag name. “Jason” has become a part of my personality now. He’s alive and throbbing….I MEAN THRIVING! *blush* You can even find him HERE.
The name of Goddess Jo stuck with me for a long time. It took hitting bottom in my life to just feel comfortable enough to be known as simply “Jo” again. I had to become comfortable with who I am as a person, by myself, with no worshipers, or adoring fans, or friends. I’d lost my best friends because of my arrogance. Thankfully 3 of the 4 I lost came back into my life. We all learned a powerful lesson in friendship and survived it, thankfully.
I got into my art and became known by what I signed my art pieces, JWCC, my initials. I do 2-D art pieces; paintings, illustrations, logos, tattoo designs, etc. My favorite being cartoons and collage making on random items (a dresser, a tv, a desk, and giant clipboards). Rutland has a growing art community, so the more my art was seen, the more I became known just by my initials. I didn’t mind that because I was getting my name out there somewhere. I had gained a reputation as an artist, model and art activist. I had to create an online presence for myself, especially if I was going to be doing web-comics. Online I became known simply as J.W.
Now as a writer for a lesbian news site, I’m brought back to my drag roots. Joy/Jo/Jason is happy in her relationships, her life, and who she is as a very happy lil’ heathen. These days my favorite nickname is the one I got on September 27th, 2011. I became “Mom“.
So that is who I am. Who are you?