Why “Beckylunatic”? Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have chosen it for a handle on my own, yet it’s been mine for over twenty years. It predates my internet history and comes out of the world of punk zines. I became a character in a zine some kids in my local scene were publishing, because of what can most kindly be described as a very aggressive crush on one of their friends. We were all teenagers, not necessarily setting out to hurt each other, but managing it ably nonetheless. To be told by one of my friends, “Hey… I think you’re in this” was initially an unpleasant shock, but I don’t think any of us expected what would happen next. Beckylunatic stuck. More people started calling me that, but without malice. They didn’t even need to know where it originated. It was just a cool punk rock nickname like Johnny Rotten or Joey Shithead. And I decided to embrace it.
Skip ahead a few years, and I ended up in a university class with one of these former zine makers. One of our course requirements was to communicate online (still quite novel at the time), and there I was using Beckylunatic as an email address. She expressed surprise that I’d chosen to do so, though we didn’t talk about our shared past much beyond that. I’d like to think she understood.
It still feels like the truest identity, knowing everything I’ve learned since about depression and anxiety and ADHD. There’s a layer of irony to it now due to long cultivation of a public persona of calmness, but there’s no shame in being a lunatic. Teenaged me was at least occasionally right.