Why You Should Love Your New SCA Persona
In the SCA – if you’re lucky – you take a favorite persona the first time you try. But like ill fitting shoes sometimes a chosen persona just isn’t comfortable. It doesn’t fit your expectations. But there’s no reason you can’t take a different one or have more than one.
I first took Siobhan le Blake as my persona. A 14th century woman from Galway, Ireland. After becoming an SCA scribe I realized there weren’t any women illuminators there and then. So I became my own 15th century great granddaughter Jehanne Bening apprenticed to Sanders Bening living in Bruge.
If you are considering a new or additional persona as I did realize it can prompt a mix of emotions. It’s exciting, therapeutic, social, and entertaining. A meaningful part of your SCA life.
While others may have different thoughts, here are my reasons to know and love becoming the new you.
- You feel at home. You’re more content with your persona’s clothes, food, and demeanor than your mundane well-worn jeans. There is comfort in that familiarity.
- Taking a new persona makes a boring life interesting. Your curiosity is revived sparking new ideas leading you forward. You’re challenging yourself, again. Asking questions, reading, and seeking new ways of doing things.
- It’s your best creative outlet. I can’t think of an easier way for a SCAdian to express themselves than through their persona. Even creating your garb can be its own art form. But like M. Eleanor Deyeson – a Laurel for creating accessories – there are oodles of persona adornments you can make.
- Your persona connects you with others. I’ve made many friendships through mine. It’s an immediate connection with people of a similar or even a different country, century, garb, or frippery. All topics you can share and learn about on social media. You never know what will happen through an off-hand conversation.
- Your life’s perspective is challenged when you see things through the eyes of another. You appreciate what they did – and maybe still do – to accomplish common daily activities. But that’s the fun and the reward of recreating history.
- Taking a new persona has a domino effect. When one person makes a change – especially to a unique persona – then another may do so, too. When I joined the SCA in the 90s everyone seemed to have a t-tunic persona. So I became Siobhan. Today many people have late period European and Asian personae. The success each displayed with that inspired others to take one too.
A new persona comes with its own set of problems. The longer you’ve held on to your first one the more difficult it is to change.
- It takes time for your SCA friends to remember your new name. When I changed mine I went for a year signing all communications with my new name followed by “formerly known as Siobhan le Blake.” That phrase was so well known when M. Dolan Madoc bragged my laureling procession into court he loudly exclaimed that phrase to the vast populace. But after more than 10 years some people still call me “Siobhan.”
- Having enough garb may be an issue, depending on how dramatically different your new persona’s clothing is from your former. If you wear the garb of your former persona – assuming you’re making a total change – it will take longer to be recognized as the new you.
- There are some officers you should inform depending on the awards you have. When I was welcomed to the Order of the Laurel I was contacted by the web-minister team because they couldn’t find the grant award I had. I’d received it under my former name and hadn’t formally registered “Jehanne Bening”. There was no technical connection between my two personae. That can also be a problem if you move to another kingdom.
Solving those situations is part of the game. In short order, you’ll explain your status like you hear fighters describing blows and bruises. You made a decision and then stuff happened. But it’s all fun and good.
As with most decisions there are pros and cons. Enjoy experimenting with the new you. Be surprised at what works, and learn from what doesn’t. Developing your persona is a way to have fun at any age. Plus you’ll encourage others to feel fabulous in their persona, just like you.