My name is not really Chloe

by Chloe Jeffreys · 66 comments

in Blogging

After years of being lauded for my transparency and honesty I think it is ironic that my name isn’t even really Chloe.  If it makes anyone feel any better, the non-Chloe name I’ve been using isn’t my real name either.

The first time I changed my first name was the year I turned 14 and we moved to San Diego.  Moving definitely makes changing your name a lot easier. New town. New name. No problem.

After that move, I wanted nothing more than to leave behind everything that had to do with that poor Pre-pre-Chloe.  For one thing, that girl lacked a tan, and the lack of a good tan in the 1970’s in San Diego was a major social set-back. Remember ladies, Scarlett Johannsen hadn’t been  invented yet. Our role-models in the 70s all had perfect tans.

My goal was to become popular and pretty and skinny and suntanned, maybe like one of the lovely ladies pictured above. I wanted to be the girl that all the other girls liked and all the boys wanted. I was naïve and didn’t realize that those two things were probably mutually exclusive.

The new name was a good one. It was the name my mother had wanted to give me anyway, so it didn’t bother my parents. I thought it was unique, and it came with an obscure mythical subtext alluding to death; it was like an inside joke I had with myself. I loved that name; I still do.

Unfortunately, my name change didn’t put me on the path to high school stardom. I think the fact that I went to school with Tawny Kitaen might have played a role. (Tawny’s real name is “Julie” by the way, but she was already “Tawny” and gorgeous by the time I knew her in the 9th grade.)

I gotta admit that when I saw Tawny in Celebrity Rehab I did think with some satisfaction that I’ve aged a little bit better than she has. Even so, I remember standing near her in the gym showers when we were 14 and wondering, “What the hell!?!?” Life is so unfair. I’m certain she never noticed me, but you couldn’t miss her.  The girl was freaking gorgeous. Let’s just take a minute to admire her, shall we?

Yep, I was an ugly, pale troll with thick thighs and bad skin not worthy of standing in any shower anywhere next to her. It would have taken much, much more than an obscure literary name with an obscure reference to death to compete with that.

As far as my last name? Who cares? Every girl, unless she’s Tawny Kitaen, knows from an early age that the last name she’s given at birth is really just a loaner. Mine changed hands a few times before it landed safely in my husband’s family tree. In the end, both names suited me for a long time. Then I learned about the Internet.

In those days, everybody was convinced that the Internet was crawling with murderous stalkers.  I started off using my pre-Chloe name, but thanks to Google I soon discovered a little fact: I am the only person in the United States with this non-Chloe name.

To protect me and my family from all the ax-murderers out there I took the name “Chloe” and added of the Mountain for dramatic and descriptive effect.  No harm, no foul. People took online aliases all the time, right? Nobody really thought my last name was of the Mountain anyway.

Then came Facebook.

I did not want to join Facebook. I saw right away that there was going to be a problem with my name, but  I joined anyway to keep track of my kids.

Suddenly my forum days came to a screeching halt and seemingly overnight all of my online friends, who’d previously been declaring Facebook as being of the Devil, were joining in droves.  I had friends from the old place who wanted me to join Facebook so we could continue to have a place to meet-up online.  I wanted to hang out with my online friends, but I feared that if I friended people using my non-Chloe name it would open an unwanted portal into the lives of my kids.

Yes, I do write about my children, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about their privacy.  It hurts enough when people say bad things online about me, but I didn’t want to deal with gossip or judgment directed at my kids.  Since I’d written a lot about them, I feared there might be a higher-than-average curiosity about them. I wanted to protect them. I also still had the same old problem: I’m the only person you can Google who has my name.

First I tried joining Facebook as Chloe of the Mountain, but Facebook wouldn’t allow me to join as Chloe of the Mountain because Facebook insists that you take a first name and a last name (they also want you to use your real name, but we’ll get to that soon enough). I looked into solving the dilemma by having a Chloe of the Mountain Fan Page, but a Fan Page cannot interact with people like a personal page can and there is no point for me to be on Facebook without interaction.

So I tried straddling the fence. There were more Chloes in the world, so I changed my Facebook profile to “Chloe” with my married name. It took less than 24 hours before some idiot from my non-online life started publically harassing me about it as though I were trying to get away with something. The irony here for anyone with eyes to see is that it isn’t the kooks on the internet you need to worry about: it’s the kooks you know in real life that will get you every time.

All I was trying to get away with was keeping my online life separate for the sake of my kids. I explained the situation to this idiot, but that didn’t go over because he’s, well, he’s an IDIOT, so I ended this disaster of an experiment by deactivating my Facebook account altogether.

I was back to square one.

My online friends were on Facebook, but I couldn’t join them until I dealt with this stupid name problem. I struggled with this for weeks. In the end, I just decided to go with Chloe since most of the people I wanted to interact with at Facebook knew me by that name anyway. I took “Mountain” as my surname, and that’s how I became Chloe Mountain. I set-up a non-Chloe account just for my kids and close family and I began my sorry attempt at managing a double online life.

But Facebook can’t have that. Always helpful, Facebook is constantly trying to hook you up on the Internet.  After Facebook suggested me to myself I knew something had to be done because it could only be a matter of time, but I didn’t know what to do.

Then my worlds collided.

In May, I started seriously blogging every day. And I started posting what I was writing to my Chloe Mountain Facebook page. That was fine until one day I accidentally posted my blog to my private Facebook page and didn’t realize it right away. Since then it’s just been a confusing mess for me. I’ve tried embracing it, ignoring it, and I’ve even tried reversing it.

So why am I telling you this now?

Chloe of the Mountain never started off as anything other than a homeschool mom who played on forums with other ladies (and a few gents), and now that’s changing and I feel that I need to be upfront with who and what I am.

Chloe is a writer who wants to be an author. The writing mentors who have come into my life have made it plain to me that I cannot become an author without a first name and a last one. Apparently people don’t write checks to Chloe of the Mountain or Brazenwoman. Damn them.

Then, just in the past few days, there was a little brouhaha among some of my online friends about someone having a personal account for their family and another account they use professionally. Some people felt the person was being deceptive and others wondered about the ethics of having two Facebook accounts. One person referenced Facebook’s policy that users are allowed only one Facebook profile, period, and that this profile must be listed under your real name. Since this issue has been heavy on my mind ever since I got a Facebook profile, I took that controversy very seriously and have been trying to work out the implications for myself and my Facebook friends and Private Groups.

Everywhere I turn I seem to face this stupid name mess I’ve created. Yeah, I could just use my pre-Chloe name, but I am uncomfortable with the thought that absolutely anyone on the internet can get an instantaneous aerial view of my house and a peek into my Amazon Wish List.

And, as a writer, I have invested so much in Chloe that I just can’t kill her off. In fact, I’ve got more invested in Chloe than in my other name. Chloe is the one living the life of the writer that I want to live, not the non-Chloe lady, bless her heart.

And there’s the deeper Spiritual reason I want to change my name to Chloe. Remember earlier when I said that my non-Chloe name carries a hint of death?  “Chloe” literally means young, green shoot, verdant and blooming. As I walk into the second half of my life, I want my inside joke with myself to be one that is full of joy and life, not a veiled reference to death. I guess the truth is that I’m not that 14 year old girl standing in a gym shower next to Tawny Kitaen wishing she could die. I want to live a life well-said, and I want to live that life as Chloe.

Maybe some of you really can’t see what the big deal is, but I do not want anyone to feel deceived. Nor do I ever want to be in a position where someone “outs” me on Facebook and implies that I’m being dishonest. Writing under a pseudonym is not dishonest; people do it all the time, but I suppose I need people to understand that that is what I’m doing and be okay with it, or not be okay with it, but at least know about it.

So, after a lot of agonizing over what I should do in order to maintain my safety, guard the privacy of my family, and yet pursue a credible career as a writer, I am officially changing my first name to Chloe and I’m taking my husband’s first name as my last making me Chloe Jeffreys.

You can find me, Chloe Jeffreys, on Facebook here and at Twitter @ChloeJeffreys.

 

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Alexa December 26, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Hello Chloe,
I understand so well. After I got married I realized that my married name happened to belong to about 10 other women in the world and one in the United States. That’s me. Unfortunately, most of the writing I do has to do with touchy psychology topics such as infidelity. So, I just write with my first name and have my clients pay me via PayPal under my company name. I am writing a book now on infidelity recovery and I am having the darndest time coming up with a pen name. So, I get it. The book I am writing is so touchy that I don’t want it to interfere with my day job in the corporate world. It’s great to write things from the heart but there are always trolls or others around who think it might be fun to send your writing to people who disagree along with a physical address. Like you, I want my husband, my kids, and my innocent house left out of it. Angry mobs with pitch forks always seem to ruin my day.

Love your blog! It is fantastic!

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By Word of Mouth Musings November 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

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Darnell August 27, 2012 at 11:21 pm

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rsemeline October 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I’m new to your blog, having just stumbled across it today thanks to Twitter, so I’m a few months behind on this update.

I see nothing wrong, or dishonest with having two different names. As a writer people have been doing it for years. So have actors. I myself am a proud carrier of dual identities.

I have another, boring, ‘real life’ name. The one on my birth certificate, wedding license, and bills. Then I have this one. The online name. The author name. It’s still me, just a part of me that was created to keep myself and my family safe.

There is nothing wrong with two names. It’s just two sides to the same person.

Congrats on making the decision to stick with Chloe.

R.S.

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Chloe Jeffreys October 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Hey, R.S. thanks for commenting and being supportive. It did hurt some people when I came out because they felt misled and that made me sad. This was never to mislead anyone. I think writers do get it more easily than others. Thanks for getting it.

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Anne-Marie September 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

I like Chloe. It was well chosen. It’s a young and vibrant as you are. Own it baby!

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Chloe September 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

Thanks! I do so love that name. And I have for a long, long time. It won’t really be much of a change on my end since I’ve been using it for years anyway.

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Sandy Casella August 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I knew long ago on the forums that your real name wasn’t Chloe, but I never wanted to know your “real” name. Because, to me, Chloe is who you are and always will be.
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Chloe August 31, 2011 at 5:32 am

Chloe is me.. I think just embracing that has already made my life much easier. Thanks for being my friend through thick and some mighty thin, thin, Sandy.

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Audrey van Petegem August 30, 2011 at 8:48 am

Chloe it looks like Google+ may be the answer for you now that you have decided on a name. Create your private, professional and friends and family circles so you can share content with whom you want to share it with. Now that I know your name I will be looking for you (in a non stalking way of course!).

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Chloe August 31, 2011 at 5:33 am

I really saw the usefulness of G+ at the little inservice at BlogHer. I noticed a couple of days ago that FB is making some changes in privacy that mimics G+. I need to get over the G+ more.

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Summersnow August 30, 2011 at 8:30 am

So glad that you are still Chloe. I appreciate your writing and your transparency.

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Chloe August 31, 2011 at 5:33 am

Thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and let me know.

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Kel August 30, 2011 at 7:21 am

Hi Chloe,
You go girl!!! Change your name. I struggled with that whole “name” thing too. I wasn’t as creative as you in coming up with a whole new name though. I’m Kelly and I go by Kel on my blog. It gave me a little separation. Also, all the artists I love have 3 letter names. 🙂 So that’s what I did.

AND I knew there was something about you that Tracy and I were drawn to at BlogHer (besides your witt!) We homeschool too! 🙂
Great minds think alike.
Have a super great day!
Kel aka Kelly

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Chloe August 31, 2011 at 5:37 am

Hey, Kel!
Once I realized that blogging is my art form, the name change seemed very logical to me. You also have a great day!

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Jenny August 29, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I love you no matter what you call yourself – a rose is a rose and all that 🙂
I, on the other hand, don’t have the good sense to even try to to to be private or protective of myself and family. Every dumb thing that comes out of my head and onto the internet is connected to the real me!
~Jenny

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Micki August 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Chloe,

I’ve been reading your blog and your comments on forums for years. For some reason all your posts really seemed to hit home for me and they always really helped me.

For the record, my real name isn’t Micki either. However, I’ve been Micki longer than I used my first name of April. I switched to a nickname of my middle name four months after my father died in April. Somehow, being constantly reminded of his death kind of put a damper on my enthusiasm for life. I’ve never regretted changing my name and I doubt I ever will. I loved my dad, he gave me my first name but it’s much easier to not be reminded that he’s gone every day.

Enjoy your mountain!

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Hey Micki, thanks for commenting. And I’m sorry about your dad.

I think about some Native American peoples and the way they approached names. And didn’t Romeo say that by any other name a rose would smell as sweet?

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Annie Mesa August 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I just love you for who you are and the interesting conversations and shared laughter, not to mention enjoying your writing…no matter what your name is! (Though our situations and reasons are entirely different, I have 2 FB accounts under 2 very different names from 2 very different parts of my life and feel absolutely fine about it).

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Hey! Annie! Always a delight to see you here, there, and everywhere. Thanks for the love. I hope you can make on Friday.

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Heidi August 29, 2011 at 10:14 am

This seems like a doable solution. Pseudonyms and authorship have been bedfellows for…..a *really* *long* *time*.
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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

It is true. Pseudonyms have a long and illustrious history in literature.

I doubt this would have even been an issue really for me if it hadn’t started to become something people were discussing on Facebook.

As far as Facebook’s rules, I believe that they are unreasonable. If you are using a username online for no nefarious purpose then really who cares? Why is it Facebook’s business anyway? Yes, there are some bad weirdos out there, but a “rule” like this doesn’t deter those people in the least. I think that people ought to be able to call themselves anything they’d like.

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Rachel August 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

Hey momma!!! I’m proud of you.
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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I’m so proud of you. And I don’t know if this makes it better for you or not, but I hope so.

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SewWhat? August 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

I”m still confused, but that won’t stop me from reading your posts…

And SewWhat? Use whatever name ya want LOL

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm

roflol. Thanks. I’m always happy to add to the sea of chaos around me.

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Becca August 29, 2011 at 8:45 am

Great post. I understand what you’re saying but never once equated Chloe Mountain and her need for privacy with the other brou-ha-ha that was brewing. You have been very giving and transparent with your life and struggles (as well as victories), and it was obvious that Mountain was a pseudonym and not deceptive at all. JMHO.
I don’t always agree with you, but I always appreciate you. Mountain or not. 🙂

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I figured most people were aware on some level, but as this issue reared its head for others I wanted to make sure that nobody felt I was deceiving them. After so much thought, it seems that the simplest thing seems to be for me just to change my name.

The last sentence you wrote made me smile. Sometimes the people I disagree with bring me the most growth. They can cause me to really evaluate why I believe what I what I believe and then I can either feel even more certain or I can change my mind. I think it’s a great opportunity we have on the internet to have access to so many different people and I’m so glad I’ve availed myself of it. Anyway, you made me smile today and I can always agree with that. And I appreciate you too. Thanks for commenting, Becca.

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JaJireh August 29, 2011 at 8:20 am

Well, now, here’s a twist: I’ve been struggling with the exact opposite. I’ve always taken the transparent, vulnerable, forthright, honest approach, but began bumping into a myriad of reasons why my name shouldn’t be associated with some of the content of my writing . . . it evolved into a serious case of writer’s block, followed by a Wilderness of Silence.

I’ve only recently began entertaining the idea of a pseudonym; a ghost-writer, if you will, just so I can get some content out there, the likes of which have been stifled by my family’s need for privacy.

Hm. Go figure. You’re trying to come clean; I’m trying to be myself, reinvent my name, while maintaining status quo.

:sigh:

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Hey JaJireh! Nice to see you.

You have a similar problem to mine. You are a writer and you want to pursue your own art, and you also have people in your life you need to protect. It is a conundrum. And as your person in your life becomes more well-known the more disconnection you may find you need for your own writing. I have no advice, but you can just see from my own struggles what a pain it is. Good luck. And let me know if you change your name, okay?

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robin August 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

It’s all good. 🙂 I like knowing that I can stop worrying about calling you the wrong name at the wrong time.
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Tabitha August 29, 2011 at 7:15 am

Hi Chloe Jeffreys

I always wish my parents had gone with Chloe but it only made the short list.

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even on the radar of many parents in the 60s.

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Tabitha August 30, 2011 at 2:56 am

My parents were teachers and the choice of names which they both liked and were not attached to previously taught, obnoxious children was quite limited. I was Baby Surname for a week.

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Chloe August 31, 2011 at 5:38 am

My husband’s family are teachers and trying to find names for our kids that they could live with was a pain. They seemed to have negative feelings about lots of names. Maybe there are just a lot of obnoxious kids out there.

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Kristen Lamb August 29, 2011 at 6:34 am

It is tough being transparent, but we live in a Brave New World and the havens we used to have are all gone. Pen names are only a very thin veneer or privacy that gets thinner by the day. With social sites using facial recognition programs, and so many people contributing content, it is impossible to remain invisible even if you don’t participate on social sites.

As writers, we finally have more control over being successful, but it comes at a price. We cannot live private lives and be super successful authors too. Too much word of mouth and fandom is driven by the Internet. To retreat from the Internet will kill the career. But to embrace the Internet for writing success means the sacrifice of a totally private life. I will say though that I think as more people get on-line, that privacy will return in a weird sense. If everyone is an Internet celebrity then no one is ;). We will effectively hide in plain sight.

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm

So true. Privacy is a charade these days.

I have taken everything you’ve written to heart. I really believe what you are saying is true. Having done social media on forums for years I can see what you say is the truth.

Anyone interested in what Kristin Lamb has to say about social media and blogging check out her e-book:

Are You There Blog, It’s Me, Writer

She also has an excellent blog full of great tips for writers at Kristin Lamb’s Blog

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birthblessed August 29, 2011 at 5:51 am

Is there a “literal” version of that song on YouTube? Because that video needs it. Bad.

Well, there is this one. Enjoy!
http://youtu.be/Olsqjmn-MYY

I am not sure which is worse, being the only person in the U.S. with that name or just one of thousands…. 😉
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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Yeah, both are tough.

lol about the Literal Version of that song. Imagine having to take a shower in gym with her Every. Stinking. Day. It’s a wonder I have any self-esteem at all.

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Susan in the Boonies August 29, 2011 at 5:48 am

OK. 🙂

You coulda saved me a few moments of angst when I first met you if you’d done this several years ago, ya know…

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm

But where would have been the fun in that?

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Melissa Lake August 29, 2011 at 5:42 am

You mean your husband’s name isn’t The Tick?

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Oh. My. roflol. That’s a whole ‘nuther can o’worms. I need to have a contest to rename my husband. While I love The Tick, nobody should have to write about being married to a tick. I wish he were a farmer.

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Melissa Lake August 30, 2011 at 6:46 am

Haha! Try being married to a pastor!

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Chloe August 31, 2011 at 5:37 am

Oh my. That would try both my patience and my privacy.

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Missus Wookie August 29, 2011 at 5:34 am

Nice to meet you – from another ‘you are the only person with that name’ person 🙂

Don’t have a problem with people doing the two persona things as long as it for good reasons i.e. not to cause harm.

On my side, I was delighted with South African Rugby came online… but that is definitely a different story.
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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm

It’s a good thing and not so good thing to have a very unique name, isn’t it? When I chose it initially I didn’t realize how unique it was.

I think those of us who have been on forums a very long time understand the dynamics of usernames, etc. These things usually aren’t really thought out; they just happen. This just happened. And now I’m just embracing the change that has been happening anyway. I am Chloe now and I’m happy. I hope others can adjust and forgive me if they feel I’ve misled them in any way.

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Kathy August 29, 2011 at 5:19 am

“Kathy” is not my real, official name either. But everyone knows me by that name – even my parents call me Kathy!

Nice to meet you, Chloe Jeffreys!

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm

People have called me Chloe for some time now. I’ve thought of it as my name for quite awhile myself, so it really isn’t that big a change for me, but I want people to feel like they understand why this happened.

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Ed "The Edifier" August 29, 2011 at 5:09 am

Regardless of what you call yourself, you’re still a strong woman of God who we’ve come to know and love. As one of those homeschooling gents, I’ve come to really admire your inner beauty and courage. Thanks for being open and honest about your life with us!

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Chloe August 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Thank Ed. That is such a nice thing to read at 5:09am in the morning. I’ve appreciated you too.

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