When We Are Our Own ~ Anna Zabo: Outside the Margins

Join us as Anna Zabo goes Outside the Margins.

Anna_Zabo_OTMWhen We Are Our Own

I have four names, three of which I have chosen for myself.

The oldest is Amergina, which I took for myself sometime in 1993 or 1994. It’s a derivative of Amergin, the ancient Irish poet-bard, whom I felt a great affinity for at that time in my life.

The youngest is Anna Zabo, my pen name. Anna is not so far removed from Ann, my legal first name. In fact, I was named after my great grandmother, Anna, so my pen name reclaims that. Zabo is a corruption of another family name.

I call my legal name that for a reason: All my names are real (including the legal one). I am Anna Zabo. I am Amergina. I am Ann. Bone and blood. Flesh and breath. Me.

I’m also an m/m author, which means I get labels automatically slapped onto me, because everyone knows the gender and sexuality of most m/m authors, right?


I am not who you think I am. Hell, turns out that I’m not always who I think I am, either because life is a process of discovery. Truth is that I’m 43 and I am still figuring myself out.

There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. Some of this stuff is complicated.

I will say that I’m not straight. I haven’t particularly pinned a giant sign on me that says bisexual, but there you go. If you’d asked me if I was bi at 15, I would have said no, despite having a tremendous crush on an older girl in high school.

I had no idea that such an identity existed when I was 15. It was 1986 and I was just trying to survive high school. Tumblr hadn’t been invented yet.

If you’d asked me in college if I was straight, I’d have said yes, because I knew wasn’t gay (I like guys) and hadn’t yet realized that queer means a whole lot more than gay or straight. Yes, I had heard the term bisexual, but it was always couched in “just a phase” and “something that girls do to get guys.” So I figured my interest in women was…just a phase. Except I failed at that whole getting out of it part. Well, shit.

Later, I discovered the part of me that had always been there and finally was able to embrace it and name it and say “Hey! Me.”

I’m comfortable in my body for the most part (eh, weight), but no one has seen my tears when emailing with a friend and confessing that I want to buy a suit—an actual guy’s suit, not a woman’s suit—but I am too chicken shit to go to a men’s store because I’m afraid I’ll start crying when I actually get to put the damn thing on because the mere thought brings up a host of emotions I don’t understand.

I don’t know what that desire, that fear, those tears mean yet. What part of me is trying to express itself? Is it an identity thing? A gender thing? That I really like menswear? What?

Fuck if I know. Still working that out because, as I said, this shit? It’s complicated. I have to negotiate it in my own time and on my own terms and I still am unpacking and picking through all these thoughts and feelings and needs.

And in the end, it’s my personal business when I figure it out and with whom I share that revelation. I may never say anything again. Who knows?

I’m sharing all of this now because I am in a space where I can be fairly open about myself.

Other people aren’t.

If someone had labeled me straight even five years ago, I’d not have corrected them because I was not in a place where I could have corrected them, for various reasons.

I suppose the point of this is two-fold: Assumed names can be, and are often, very very real. Identity is a process of unfolding.

Make no assumptions. Even about yourself.

~ Anna Zabo

About Anna Zabo

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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13 thoughts on “When We Are Our Own ~ Anna Zabo: Outside the Margins

  1. Thank you for sharing this! It makes us 30 something year olds who are also having identity issues feel a bit better about the fact that we are just now figuring shit out. 🙂

  2. Beautiful post, Anna. Thank you for sharing these thoughts even if you never share anything on this again. I don’t know if we’re supposed to have everything figured out, but it sure feels like that some days. So, hey, if anything, this kind of post, whether we identify with the particular struggles, says, “I’m not perfect. I don’t know everything even about myself who I’ve spent my whole life with, and I’m good with that.” I think that helps others. Here’s to all of us being perfectly imperfect humans who are wise and strong enough to not have everything figured out and to say that’s just fine.

    P.S. I hope you get that suit, even if it just means you really like menswear. 🙂

  3. Oh man. I really feel what you are saying about coming to terms with bisexuality. I still sometimes stumble over that, even with, yeah, crushes on girls, full on relationships with girls in high school that I… I felt like I didn’t have a name for because yeah, it was like… bisexual didn’t seem like a valid sexuality. You and I are of an age, so maybe it was just part of the time. I thought maybe it was the redneck city I grew up in.

    Thanks for sharing. It was incredibly validating.

  4. Excellent post and so very true. I am a huge opponent of labels for people, to be honest. Labeling yourself (even it is is with one of the LGBTQ+ catch phrases) is stifling. Once you label yourself does that mean you have to stick to that “role”? What if you find that “role” doesn’t suit in 5 months or 5 years?

    I say take whatever time you need. Be who you are and what makes you comfortable. Having spent time with you in person on multiple occasions, I like the you I know. If that you has to adjust to feel like themselves? I will like that version as well.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. I’m not a fan of labels either. What one person says isn’t the same definition as anothers. I say screw ’em and be happy with yourself. No label can make you happy, but self acceptance will.

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