Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Pengwenn: The Origins Story

I've been thinking a lot about where "Pengwenn" all began.  It was in August of 2004 actually.

I love to write.  But writing can be a lonely endeavor.  I had a subscription to Writer's Digest and each year they put out a list of "101 Websites for Writers".  This particular year I wanted to find like-minded souls that I could commiserate with when things were bad, and celebrate with when things were good.  I checked out several of the sites listed and settled on www.wordtrip.com as the one I wanted to join.  The only problem was I didn't have a screen name and I refused to use my own name to sign up.  The internet was for anonymity and privacy. 

My brother and I sent the day throwing names back and forth trying to find just the right screen name for me.  We just couldn't come up with something that fit my personality and that I liked.  We took a break for a while and we got back together my brother had the perfect name ready for me: Pen-gwenn.  That's how it wanted it shown so people would know my name right away but still see how to say it.  I took out the hyphen.

I signed up on the website and the rest is history.  Sort of.

When it came time to sign up to Xbox Live and create a gamertag I seriously thought about creating a separate name for gaming then the Pengwenn I had for writing.  After all, gaming and writing are two different things.  But the more I thought about it.  Pengwenn was who I really was.  Or who I really wanted to be.  It was me.  I've been Pengwenn ever since every where I can be online. 

When I created a Twitter account I couldn't use just Pengwenn so I used I_Pengwenn (or something like that).  I didn't really use that account and years later when I decided that I wanted to be more active on Twitter I had forgotten about that account.  I still couldn't use Pengwenn so I created a new one and settled on @PengwennGamer since I would use it mostly for gaming.

I grew up in a VERY conservative house and community.  Where "gosh darn it" was a vile swear word and we weren't allowed to say that.  We weren't allowed to get angry and yell at people either.  That wasn't very nice.  But being Pengwenn online I finally find a place where I can be me and break free of those conservative constraints.  I challenge anyone to play a game of Call of Duty online and NOT get angry or want to swear at someone. 

Pengwenn isn't an alternate persona for me.  It's not an act.  I'm very much Pengwenn in real life.  Except that Pengwenn doesn't have bills to pay, bathrooms to clean, laundry to do, etc.  You know, all those things you have to do in real life just to exist.  Gwenn has to dress a certain way to go to work.  Pengwenn can wear nothing at all if she feels like it (and when it gets up to 110 degrees or more who would want to).  Gwenn has to guard her tongue when she gets mad at work.  Pengwenn lets it fly . . . even if she's just made at herself.  I'm much more comfortable as Pengwenn.  No constraints.  No restrictions.  No limits.  And I actually prefer to be called Peng or Pengy instead of Gwenn or Gwenny.  Even in real life.  It just sounds more like me.

Don't get me wrong.  I love my name in real life.  It's unique enough without being totally weird and out there.  That's also what Pengwenn is too.  My brother explained that a penguin is a very unique bird.  It has feathers, but doesn't fly.  It's more agile and graceful in an area that you would least expect (water).  I'm not what anyone expects.  I dance and do other girlie things, yet I'm not a girlie girl.  I like sports.  Not just watching them, but playing them.  Yet I'm not a tomboy either.  I'm just me.  The unexpected, flightless, swimming bird.  We tried not to make comparisons to me waddling around when I walk but I think that part is coming true the older I get.

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