What’s In A Name?

I’ve had this website in one form or another, and at one URL or another, since 1999. Of course, its content has changed drastically over the years. Much of what I’ve posted here since then has been retired, archived, lost, or even deliberately deleted. The Wayback Machine could probably provide a pretty amusing trip down memory lane if I dredged up the old web addresses I used to occupy.

I can still remember the moment I decided to name this site Incyanity. It’s pretty close to twenty years back: I was posting in a thread on a phpBB forum moderated by some people I knew, casting about looking for a new name for my site for whatever reason. People in the thread knew me pretty well, including my tastes, interests, and my favorite color, and then there it was: a friend suggested Incyanity, and I knew that was what I wanted to change to. So I did.

It’s a pun, of course, on the word insanity. Cyan (teal, aqua) is my favorite color. Back then, I was involved in a few more creative projects and fandoms than I am today. I was also struggling with depression, anxiety, and trying to figure out where my young adult self fit in the world. I had some pretty bad relationships, some pretty epic family fights, and I fell out with some people I knew. There was a lot of drama. Back then I didn’t know how to ask for help or even how to really recognize what was going on in my head. I felt crazy and alone a lot of the time, so picking that pun didn’t seem out of place.

What color is your straitjacket? It was a tongue-in-cheek way of playing off another question people in my circles sometimes joked about with each other: What color is the sky in your world? As unique individuals we all had our own way of looking at things. We also all had our own struggles and things holding us back. We were all crazy with our creative work too. Some of us pumped out incredible amounts of material in what seems (today) like very little time. When did we sleep? Eat? Work? Everything we created back then was beautiful in its own way. But where did the ideas come from? Who knew. Scientists have studied the creative process and have likened it to a kind of insane mental state.

As I grew older, offline life got in the way of my creativity. I faced a lot of other struggles, most notably the nine years I lived with mold and constant roof leaks in my home. My website sat dormant for most of that period, though I poked at it now and then. I stopped writing. I stopped drawing. I didn’t think much about cross-stitch or beading. I tried knitting but it didn’t stick. I stopped just about everything except playing video games. The creative side of me lamented that I wasn’t fulfilling my need to make stuff but I honestly didn’t have the mental bandwidth available. Life felt too overwhelming—too insane. I didn’t let go of the name.

Fast forward to May of 2018, when I decided to start dyeing yarn. I needed a name for the business. Have you seen some of the colorways that dyers can make? They’re pretty insane and maybe one day I would make colorways as beautiful and impressive as those. Dyeing is another type of creativity. At the same time, I had started on a journey to better understand my depression and anxiety because I was careening toward a crisis point (that would erupt the following year). My mental health became very, very important to me because I was literally losing it and dangling at the end of my rope. So I thought, why not use my existing website? I’d had it for so long, and given everything, it seemed like a natural fit.

So that’s what I did.

Until recently, nobody ever said anything to me about the name Incyanity that I can recall. I was never asked for background details beyond the superficial “It’s a pun, right?” Not that I was likely to have said as much as I have just said here. Back when I first chose it, people didn’t like to talk about mental health and related subjects, lest they be seen as emo. I know I succumbed to that stigma. I also did my fair share of perpetuating it. Everybody did. That’s just how it was. (Which didn’t make it right.) People suffered in silence and also often used words like emo to label others when their suffering was visible for all to see. And to be totally honest, during those years I really didn’t give the name of my website much more thought.

Today things are different. The stigmas are falling away (as they should) and society is encouraged to explore mental health issues more openly. I certainly understand a lot more now about what goes on in my brain and why I need medication. Speaking up is becoming more of a norm. These are good things.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Recently, I started to receive feedback that Incyanity was a bad choice for a brand. I’ve been told (quite kindly, I’d like to stress) that the pun and the tagline are insensitive to mental health issues and that persons who have had to deal with clinical insanity or other issues could derive harm from them.

It’s not easy for me to get criticism, even if it’s constructive. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dismayed and hurt to receive those messages regardless of how kindly they were expressed. Having been associated with the name for such a long time, it was hard not to take the feedback personally. It also never occurred to me that anyone could possibly be harmed. It’s certainly never been my intent to be insensitive. Harming anyone with my brand is so, so far from what I want. Rather, I think that being able to see our struggles with a bit of humor can be helpful.

It’s okay that others don’t agree with that point of view. But one person told me that it’s kinda like stepping on someone’s foot: it doesn’t matter that you didn’t intend to do it… You still did it. I thought about that for a good while and in the end decided it was applicable here. I don’t intend for my brand to be insensitive or harmful, but for some people, it is or could be. That’s not what I want it to be about.

I am sorry and want to apologize to anyone who has felt harmed by me or my brand.

I am going to change the website. It’s already started: the rebrand can be seen by visiting the shop and I’ve changed my Discord community too. In the coming days, the rest of the website will move to akairondragon.ca. If you try to visit when this is happening, the website will likely be broken or unavailable for a short while. During the transition, there will still be references to Incyanity left over on the site and elsewhere for a little while. I thank everyone for their patience and understanding that rebranding is a big job and not easy for one person to do all at once. Please keep an eye on my Instagram and Twitter accounts for announcements about the transition.

I’m sad to see Incyanity go but I understand why it needs to be done. At the same time, I’m excited to move forward with aka Iron Dragon. Having a .ca web address is great, too, seeing as I’m Canadian.

Where does Iron Dragon come from? My husband, Mat. He is a Twitch streamer and has gone by the moniker Iron Wolf for many years. He and I are a creative team. When we got engaged, I started using Iron Dragon as my online moniker to play off his. I’m a moderator on his channel as well as his Discord community and I wanted my presence to fit in with his brand. Dragons and gargoyles (the Disney ones) have been my thing for many years, so using a dragon head on our engagement announcement opposite his wolf’s head was a natural choice that in the last year has grown into a new identity for me.

From mysite.du.edu/~jcalvert:

The metal of Mars gives us magnetism and life. … Iron is best known as the metal that gave us weapons and tools, and whose ability by means of alloys and heat treatment to suit itself to every application makes it the primary metal of technology. … Iron is an excellent and versatile material of construction—strong, tough, easily formed and worked… Also, iron is important as a carrier of oxygen in blood… Iron is a shiny, bright white metal that is soft, malleable, ductile and strong. … Iron is the fourth most plentiful element in the earth’s crust (4.6%)… Ferrous oxide, as a mineral, is called hematite (“blood-stone”) and is usually almost black. … The red of Mars is ferric oxide, showing that the atmosphere once contained oxygen, the oxygen that is only liberated by life.

Dragons, meanwhile, are mythical creatures of great power and varying qualities. They can be wise and protective, or relentless and wicked. Large, small, and associated with just about any element. They’re often eternal or exceptionally long-lived, and usually touched by magic. They can have a huge variety of appearances. Their possibilities are virtually endless.

An iron dragon would therefore be the epitome of versatility, able to take on numerous forms and roles, and only be limited by imagination and creativity.

This website continues to be my creative corner of the internet. Dyeing yarn is just one part of what I want it to offer. I’m making an effort to get back to the creative endeavors I enjoyed in the past, such as working on my book and trying to pick up drawing again. I’m still trying to think of a good way to showcase my photography. I want my brand to reflect all of these aspects and be an appropriate platform for me.

Hi. I’m Cheyenne, also known as Iron Dragon, and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy what my creativity has to offer.

Recent Comments

  • Kohaku
    29 June 2020 - 6:13 AM · Reply

    It is indeed the end of an era that carried a lot of meaning for you. Yet, I can only think of this closing as a bright start! Rebranding and identifying as the Iron Dragon is but one manifestation of something new, strong, and far-reaching growing in you.
    I look forward to seeing the heights your unbound wings will take you to!

  • Megan Olhasque
    29 June 2020 - 6:09 AM · Reply

    This will be a major undertaking, and I can’t wait to see the end result!

    Oh, and my delicious yarn arrived a few days ago, and I couldn’t be more pleased. xxx

  • Tea
    28 June 2020 - 4:34 PM · Reply

    Iron Dragon is wonderful name, and I appreciate learning the backstory :) Looking forward to your evolution!

  • Iron Wolf
    28 June 2020 - 2:55 PM · Reply

    Good luck with the rebranding! It is indeed a huge amount of work and I am so proud of you for taking it on despite that.

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