My Two Personae

I recently had a revelation that I have (at least) two dominating personae: Phil and Филипп*.

In the same way that language equals thought and is the window through which we perceive the world, so do my English and Russian names represent the different ways in which I subconsciously see — and present — myself.

Phil is American, somewhat crude and childish, maybe even a little mischievous. He’s a bit of a loner in the world, perhaps without a family. He hides his more refined qualities, attempting instead to blend in and appear as unpretentious as possible.

Филипп, on the other hand, is not exactly American. He’s an honored member of a loving family. He’s thoughtful, artistic, mature. Like Phil, he also has a sense of humor, but it comes out in subtler, more nuanced ways. His voice even sounds a bit different from Phil’s, and he can sometimes be shy or hesitant when speaking since he realizes his grammar is lacking.

These are just a few ways in which Phil and Филипп are different.

There’s also an offshoot persona of Филипп named Филиппок (and its derivations, Филиппочек, Филичка, and Филин, among others). This one is a good, nice, happy, little boy. His voice is perhaps an octave higher.

Historically — at least outside my family life — I have been Phil. But more and more, as I grow in age, I wish to be — and relate more closely to — Филипп.

*Pronounced ‘Philippe’.