A Voice For Animals

The Alliance of Independent Authors - Author Member


27 APRIL 2020 BLOG 6

Will you keep your name? I was asked this question three times in my life. The first time was when I got married. The second was when I started acting. The third was when I published my first book How I Became a Dragon.

            Will I keep my own name? “Of course!” I said. It never even crossed my mind to change my maiden name when I married. It never felt ‘right’ to me to change my name. I’ve had various nicknames throughout my life, and I have enjoyed each one. Sylvester, from the cat in the Looney Tunes, Melvin, Petunia, and Newt.

            When I studied acting, I thought about changing my name. I asked one of the teachers why actors changed their names. I didn’t really get an answer. The teacher was more interested in why I was asking the question. “Should I keep my name, Suzanne Mondoux?” I asked. “You have a beautiful name.” said the teacher. “Don’t change your name.”

            This wasn’t the first time I hesitated, questioned my intuition or wondered if I needed to become someone else to become who I wanted to be. Thank goodness I didn’t change my name. I was sure glad of this decision when I got divorced.

            When I published How I Became a Dragon, I was asked ‘are you using your real name or a pen name?” I replied without hesitation, “My name, Suzanne Mondoux.” My instinct told me to stick to my real name, and I did. I’ve never looked back.

I do however look back at the times when I didn’t listen to my instinct. This particular time was when I took my first acting class. I loved it. I skipped all the way home. This was a few weeks after completing my Master’s of Science in Environment and Management. I wanted to walk away from this and pursue a career in acting. I continued working in the environmental field while continuing to study acting at various schools in Vancouver. I even got an agent and went on a few auditions. Then I chickened out! I pursued my career in conservation and environmental management, believing that my career would support my acting, and then I chickened out again. I drifted away from my passion of being an actress. I moved to the Republic of Guinea for a job. I couldn’t get away from my passion of writing as well while I was in Guinea. So, I wrote Tragedy of the Moth.

When my three-year contract ended in Guinea, I moved back to Canada. I moved to Yellowknife for another job. I still couldn’t get away from my passions. I joined a writing group and an acting group. I auditioned for a local play. I got a part. We rehearsed for months. I was in heaven. I loved it. I felt very sad the night of the last show. It was all over. Acting was the oxygen to my lung. It was the blood that made my heart pump.

My job in Yellowknife was made redundant. I returned to Cornwall, Ontario, where I hadn’t lived since the 1980s. I thought this was my opportunity to make a go of it as an actress. I got another agent in Toronto. He asked me: “Do you prefer acting for the theatre or film?” I lied. I said film because I thought this was how I would get a role and make money as an actress. My heart was screaming “theatre!”.

            For 18 months I went on auditions, applied for jobs in the environmental field and wrote the series  The Adventures of Anuk: The First Leap, and Anuk: Book of Words, and the children colouring and activity series I Believe. Then I got a job. I accepted the job. Then half a year later, I left that job for another job in Africa. I’m still at this job as I write this book.

            I was also asked many times – “Who are you? What do you want to be? Aren’t you taking on too many things?”

            It will take some time to answer these questions. I’m sure you’ve been asked the same questions. There is no one answer to any of this. There is no complex answer to any this. Not for me anyway. This is my life. I can live it the way I choose to live it. I will not put myself into a box to fit into what society believes I should be squeezing myself into. This was a big lesson for me to learn. My life changed when I started to believe this. It changed because my actions were different. My writing was different. My work was different.

            I’m not a perfect human being by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m working on being the ,most perfect human being I can be for myself, towards my highest self. Every moment of my life I am aware of my choices, my actions that take me away or lead me to my sphere where my energy is balanced, my thoughts are clear and my very own, and where my heart is calm.

            Let Go and Let God…and there you have it…What will be will be…not for me! I trust in God. To me, trusting in God means that I trust in me! I let go and let God…to me, this means that I know God, the Universe, I…that whatever you believe in has your back. ‘I’ have my own back! For me – my INSTINCT = GOD. What does INSTINCT = for you?

            If Mrs. Melody were to give me a yellow journal and instructed me to write my name on it, I would write ROSE. It’s the same as “Suzanne”. I’ve always loved roses; they are my favourite flowers. Suzanne, is a form of the Hebrew name shoshan meaning “lily”, and in modern Hebrew, this also means “rose”. Feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken. But nonetheless, my name is also Rose.

You, the reader of this Book of Songs, and some of you singers out there may experience a great sense of frustration and pain and anger or fun, excitement, peace and self-love in asking yourself the questions listed at the end of this book. They may help rip open your chest and expose your heart for every fingertip to touch. If that is what you want.

It’s the only time in this Book of Songs where such questions are presented and open into a self-dialogue on the quality of your BEING.  “The unexamined life is not worth living” is a famous dictum apparently uttered by Socratesat his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death.