People always ask me, “Are you a redhead?” No, I’m not. In fact, I’m Cuban with very dark hair and dark eyes. “So why Ghingir?” they ask. Well, here’s the story in all its geeky wonder.
As you probably know by now, I have an abnormally, freakish love for EverQuest II. I started playing the first EverQuest in my early 20s, and moved to EverQuest II when it opened to Beta. The first character I created was a strawberry-blonde Templar that I would duo with my second husband’s Berzerker.
I couldn’t think of a name and the husband suggested Ginger. I thought that sounded nice, but the name was already taken, so I spelled it with an H and entered Norrath as Ghinger.
I had absolutely no idea that “ginger’s” were a thing. I didn’t have any redhead friends, nor had I ever heard the term before as referring to anything other than a spice. Yet, my husband had suggested the name because my character (or toon, as we lovingly call them) had red hair; he didn’t share the reason behind the name.
After playing this toon for about a month, I was asked at least 10 times if I was a redhead and I couldn’t understand why. I’ve always heard that people with red hair have a terrible temper and fierceness about them, and being Cuban, well, that was something I knew all about. I had always assumed that was why people were asking me if I was a redhead!
Then it dawned on me that at least half of these people had never known me to lose my temper, and I exclaimed to my husband, “Why in the hell does everyone keep asking me if I’m a redhead??” He laughed and said, “Well, because your name is Ghinger.” I still didn’t understand, so he finally explained it to me, and I was literally shocked.
I thought about starting a new character, but my husband wasn’t having it; it would have meant starting over from level 1 since we didn’t have renaming potions back in the day. Wow, I suddenly feel like my grandmother saying, “We didn’t have these fancy air-conditioned vehicles when I was your age. I rode around in a horse and buggy!”
I loved EQ2 as much as the original (once I learned to avoid those nasty heroic mobs scattered throughout my playing field), but I couldn’t play Ghinger when my husband was at work. He always became very angry if I leveled before him (we couldn’t mentor back then either)! So, I created Ghingir to play solo–a female, human paladin. I had always played healers before, mostly druids, while my husband played the tanks, but I wanted to try something new.
I fell in love with the character and she became my main toon to play. I still play her to this day (although I renamed her after my divorce to avoid running into the husband and his friends, even changing her race to a wood elf).
Now the secret is out! Ghingir has become Penthesileya while Ghinger is now Penthesileia. My guild is called Penthesileia as well. I found the name on the internet in a story about an Amazon female warrior who was so fierce that men were afraid to take her on. That is how she earned her name Penthesileia–it translates to “compelling men to mourn.” I thought that was a brilliant name and chose it as my new alter-ego. It seemed appropriate after the divorce . . . and original since I had never heard it before, or seen anyone else named anything like it in the many games I had played.
Just a few months ago, someone asked me if I was a guide. Surprised, I responded no, and questioned why they would ask. The player told me there was a guide with my name. I was shocked, and frankly, quite bothered as well; someone stole my name! That’s how I felt, but in reality, I have no idea if she had the name first.
A few weeks ago I started following one of EQ2’s main programmers on Twitter, and I keep getting suggestions via email of others to follow based on that decision. Lo and behold, yesterday it was recommended that I follow Pentheselea (I think that was the spelling). I looked her up and sure enough she is a guide. Guide’s don’t actually work for Daybreak, but they assist other players and periodically give out quests in exchange for a free monthly account.
So, shit. Now I have to change my name again (well, don’t have to but I want to). Maybe I’ll go back to Ghingir.
It’s taken me almost a decade to get over the scars my second husband left me with, but finally I don’t feel the need to hide anymore. I hid in the game, and in life, afraid that running into him or someone he was friends with would be too painful.
It was such a hard, long road but I am finally becoming that woman I was before I met him which makes me extremely happy, and a tiny-bit proud. I no longer care if I run into him or anyone else in the game. Scars may not be pretty, but at least they offer thicker skin.