I think I’ve only wished to be someone aside from myself one time in my life and that was Ariel. Okay, twice. I wanted to be Pocahontas too. Wait then came Mireda and Elsa… Listen the point is, I’ve never had a serious moment in my adulthood that I floundered on my identity…until today. The birth of Nikki Winter was a beautiful mix of angst and joy for me. It was a freedom that I had very rarely experienced because for once, just once, I was the cool kid. Well, sort of cool. I’d like to think that’s the way my friends see me. That is how you see me isn’t it? No, no, don’t mention my obsession with Doc McStuffins or my rambling anxiety attacks. (clears throat) Those who are close to me may have heard this a time or two but with my long standing issue of social disquiet and my inability to peel my petals from the wall, I’ve never been one people particularly gravitated to unless it was the ask if I were using the seat next to me or they were eyeing my silence suspiciously, wondering if I were plotting a fire. However, the day I donned my writing pseudonym and immersed myself into this world of romantic prose and tearful laughs, I didn’t fidget under the scrutiny or flinch away from attention. I basked in conversations and silly emails. I snickered at inappropriate jokes and enjoyed having my hand held through story compositions and editing. I felt alive. I felt like I belonged, like I was wanted. And I wanted that feeling to continue. It did. For almost four years now, I’ve taken in the changing of my industry, the highs and lows of publishing companies and surrounding authors. I’ve had maudlin moments over bad reviews and grinned through good ones. All the while being Nikki Winter. But something has changed. That name, for all its greatness and wonderful memories, along with it has come quite a few disappointments, tears and a weight that I no longer feel strong enough to carry. I half cringe, half laugh when its mentioned. And that’s the issue now. I look at my pseudonym as a separate entity rather than a part of me. I feel the detachment and envision it to be nothing more than an old comforting sweatshirt that I bring out every fall. Yet, there are holes in it. It’s tearing and falling apart and I…I think its time after trying to patch it up, wash it, cut loose strings, to finally let that sweatshirt go. Over the next few months I will keep the name that has brought me so many great moments and amazing readers but there will come a day when I’ll open my last WIP marked “By Nikki Winter” and I’ll know that its time to finally throw the sweatshirt out. I’ve no idea what the style of the new one will be but I hope it brings me as much kindness, elation and solace as this one did. I hope it lasts longer. I hope there will be no more loose strings or holes. I hope I never out grow it because I honestly don’t think I could handle having to find another. Thank you to everyone who heard my name and smiled at it. Than you to the people who searched it to see if I had a new story up. Thank you to those who see it and think “friend.” My desire is that none of those things will ever change, even if I have. No longer valid. None of it. I love my name too much and I just can’t do it.