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Name as Identity - Rebranding Yourself (By Ms. Panama Dusa)

Updated: May 8

(Disclaimer: The guest posts do not necessarily align with Philosocom's manager, Mr. Tomasio Rubinshtein's beliefs, thoughts, or feelings. The point of guest posts is to allow a wide range of narratives from a wide range of people. To apply for a guest post of your own, please send your request to


“You can't change your name to someone else's and then call it your own,” my teenage son said to me in the car on our way to get my new license with a change of name.

“But that's what most women do,” I said. I had to convince him that it's normal and customary for women to change their name. “We change our name after marriage so what's the difference if I choose my own new name after divorce?”

He was shocked. “I'd never change my name,” he scoffed. He also says that he'll never get divorced after he gets married.

“What makes you so sure that you'd never want to change your name?” I asked.

“Because I'm not a coward,” he answered flatly. “No offense,” he added with genuine pity.

Truth hurts but only when you refuse to accept it. But, truth can sometimes do more harm than good and that's when it's alright to lie a little.

The lies that we tell ourselves are secrets that we keep hidden from everybody except for those who we wish to be close enough with so that we can be honest about ourselves.

Nobody's perfect, especially not the autistic outsiders and social outcasts. Being social requires us to lie a little because you have to consider others and how they feel about us, how we make them feel, etc.,

There are some feelings that are innate and no matter how hard you try to be pleasant and nice, people see through it and they often mistake it as malicious intent. When you're “different” in an autistic way, people wonder about you.

Genetic discrimination is so instinctive that it feels like truth and there's no overriding instinctive fears without conscious effort.

“Others” that are “different” are sensed as invaders. Truisms about territory rights and outside invasion conjure up fear and disgust, rallies mob mentality, and is the root of discrimination and victim selection. I felt like I was on a wanted poster with a bounty over my head.

If you feel something so strongly about something or someone, then it must be true; or it could just be an instinctive delusion that's hard to break. Perhaps my fears about being seen as an inferior subhuman were unwarranted

At the core of my existence, for the most part of my life, lay a relentless sense of invalidation, an unsettling feeling that permeated every aspect of my life, including my very identity.

Up until I became a mother, I never felt completely at home anywhere unless I was by myself. The change from being a lone wanderer to a real person who was needed to be in one place and to be valid as well as respected (not just put on an appearance of what I was supposed to look like in order to get by) was a transformational stage in the development of my new identity.

Growing up in Chicago as an Irish Catholic and having the surname "Contreras" was an anomaly. Back then, cultural diversity hadn't yet become widely accepted, leaving me feeling out of place in a world where my name didn't fit the mold of my surroundings. When you're a quarter Mexican and a quarter of this and that, fractions of too many cultures leave you with generic debris.

My parents, identifying as white, inadvertently urged me to embrace a different identity when it suited me, advising me to label myself as "Hispanic" only for bureaucratic purposes such as obtaining school loans. This dichotomy between what I was told and what I felt sowed seeds of confusion and inadequacy within me.

My name never felt like I owned it, but rather it was something I borrowed or was given out of obligation.

Once I became married my name would change and this is something that females understand as children -- we don't own ourselves. Some make a choice to keep their name, but I didn't want to be one of those “difficult” feminists.

Again, the reflex to want to be normal and accepted would override my desire for independence and individuality.

I believed back then that it was better to be who others wanted me to be than to try to go against the grain and be different. I was always “different” but could mask well enough for the most part. This acting ability was both a blessing and a curse.

In pursuit of conformity, I attempted to alter my appearance -- dyeing my hair and applying products that promised a transformation akin to the idols I admired. Ironically, the clown-like antics garnered me unexpected social validation, reinforcing the notion that conformity equated to approval.

The pivotal moment arrived when I took control, shedding the names imposed upon me and crafting my own identity. "Michelle" remained, but "Panama Dusa" emerged—a deliberate choice to assert strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

Choosing a name infused with symbolism, "Panama Dusa," a nod to Medusa and the resilience she embodies, served as a declaration of independence from manipulative forces that once held sway over my life.

Pan, the deity of the forest, became a guiding influence—an embodiment of liberation and the dissolution of ego, contrasting the traditional teachings of salvation. This newfound understanding liberated me from the constraints of seeking external salvation and emphasized the importance of self-reliance and fortitude.

In adopting this new name, I embarked on a journey to embrace strength, echoing the transformation of Medusa into a revered deity, an allegory of triumph over adversity and societal constraints.

While "Michelle" is still my first name, "Panama" is my new middle name. Michelle is of “St. Michael” and “Panama Dusa” embodies the warrior within—an emblem of my resilience and newfound purpose.

For me, "Dusa" not only signifies joy but also serves as a reminder that, like a card game, life presents itself as both the beginning and the end, an evidence to the unpredictable nature of fate and the power of choice.

Names offer identity through ownership. In other words, our name is our territory, our home if you will.

I haven't felt at home anywhere in a long time and I think it's because I didn't feel as if I owned myself, but rather I was always someone else's property. Always the outsider, the lack of territory that I could call my own caused Identity Anxiety.

Robert Ardrey, author of “The Territorial Imperative” believed that deterritorialism is the root of behavioral issues such as depression and anxiety. I call it the “Outsider Syndrome” that makes us feel vulnerable and more easily taken advantage of.

Outsider Syndrome is characterized by a sense of social isolation, being misunderstood and unable to relate to others, uncomfortable in one's own skin, and anxiety about being judged for fear of being shunned and rejected.

Medusa and Pan are outsiders who I deeply admire and feel a sense of connection to, like they're part of my ancestral soul family. St. Michael is a demon slayer. I may not have a lot of support out there, but in my name I have the support of the most powerful divine friends and family.

If identity is an imaginary construct, and names are arbitrary words, then your name can be Hitler or Snoopy and it wouldn't matter. But names do matter. They should matter.

Names are important because we are important. When people tell you that you don't matter then it feels like your name shouldn't matter either.

Creating a new name for yourself is like being born again but this time you weren't conceived by accident or without purpose, you are born a new by choice.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

We are going to talk about the concept of “perfect”. Isn’t perfect nothing more than a way to express enjoyment for the states which things currently are in? Everyone has different definitions as to what perfect is. I define perfect as a state of balanced equilibrium.
Perfect. to me is a sense of non-duality which means I feel interconnectedness with everything. To me, the opposite of perfect is not feeling connected to something. When I can’t feel that it is when things aren’t perfect form. Perfect, as with beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder. Perfect, therefore, can be neither true nor false. It is nothing but a descriptive word used to describe someone's feelings towards the particular state something is in. 
When you break down the semantics you realize that perfect is nothing more than an emotion. Emotions are tools we should use but which we would never let ourselves use. Think about it though. Does perfect not describe how you feel about something? I'm puzzled why people try to use it as an absolute objective concept. There is the fallacy of people thinking things are of a certain quality if they are referred to as perfect. 
As far as I am concerned there really isn’t much in a name. I only see people as individuals and not names. The only use a name is of to me is to signify who it is I am trying to talk to.
Names signify ownership in things. Ownership has a non-duality-like effect. Look at it from the other side: Name can be used to determine status, as in adding "doctor" to your name. It can cause financial activity in your name. It can sign contracts. A name has more power then one might think.

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In the picture, her feet seem to be covered in magic dust! Philosophy is not magic but the result of logical thinking and associated analysis where the licence to introduce duality is sometimes useful and necessary. In certain texts I identify myself as Macrocompassion, which is a kind of oxymoron, since the two halves of this expression actually can conflict.

Here is a short poem that contains some of my views. I wish to add it here as a sort of companion to the above topic of name changing:

Philosophy of Change

Change brings pain—again and again.

Pain brings suffering—uttering, muttering

Suffering brings tolerance—with much endurance.

Tolerance brings thinking—and good ideas linking.

Thinking brings knowledge—saves going to college.

Knowledge brings…

Replying to

Perhaps in time I will analyze your short poem, if you desire, and publish my analysis on the site. A great poem indeed.


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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