There was no way to feminize either of my given names into a useful name so I had to come up with a fresh one. In my teenages I read a Swedish youth novel named Peter’s baby about a 15 year old boy becoming a father while still in school and deciding to fix his troublesome life and raise his daughter Lena alone in spite of parents and social workers wanting him to leave her off for adoption. The mother of the girl was named Marianne. Soon after giving birth she gave up the child and moved away to start anew. I often thought about her reasons and actions doing so and the name stuck in my memory. For many years I had no need for a name for my inside girl or female twin as I sometimes thought of her, but once I let her out and try her own wings I understood she would sooner or later be questioned for her name. Thinking about alternatives, I came to think about Marianne and suddenly realized that apart from the initial consonant, it sounded quite close to my given name, without being in any way related. Coming to Sweden from France in the 18th century it has gained a steady popularity and can easily be found in any age group. Common enough not to trigger questions yet rare enough to suit a very special woman.
For a second name to go with it I didn’t had to go far to find another very special woman in my life – my maternal grandmother Ellen. Of all persons, I believe she may have understood me most. I will never know for sure though, as she died years before I set Marianne free.
Ellen Marianne Tornander