A Note About Names

One of the challenges I face in telling my story is that I am not the only person who plays a role in it. Many people have played an important part of my life and are therefore as pivotal to this story as I am. This creates a challenge in that I must find a way to tell a story that involves them while still respecting their right to keep their own lives private. After all, I can ethically reveal anything about myself I wish, but it would be reprehensible for me to make that choice for another person. As such, I've struggled (and continue to do so) with trying to respect others' right to privacy without gutting the experiences I have to share to the point where telling them no longer holds any real merit.

In some cases, I have simply chosen to leave some small parts of my story out. While I think there would be value in sharing those parts as well, it is of far greater benefit to me to leave them out, thereby maintaining my integrity. Other parts of my story, however, will remain. Their value is too great to leave out, in my opinion. So I have looked for other ways to respect the dignity and privacy of people who might play a roles in those parts of my story.

To this end, I have chosen the common practice of using fake names for many of the real people I talk about. It is my hope that in doing so, these individuals' identities will remain unknown. Indeed, the only people who would be able to identify them are those who were intimately familiar with my life and the friends I have had throughout that life. In most cases, if someone was familiar enough with myself and another person in this book to identify the real identity of said person, there's a good chance that such a perceptive reader already knows anything I'd reveal here. In the rare exceptions to that rule (and I can only think of one), I simply hope that no one who might be able to piece together the withheld information will read this book. (And I think that's a rather reasonable hope, anyway.)

In extremely rare cases, I will use a person's real name. In such cases, I am still in contact with the person and have obtained their permission to use their name. However, even under such circumstances, I will only use their first name. However, I will not identify whether a given name is a fake name or the genuine name of the individual I am discussing for various reasons. I only point out that there will be rare cases where I toss out a real name in case someone is in a position to notice that I have done so. For the most part, the average reader would be best off just assuming every name in this book other than my own is fake.