Today is June 23, 2015. I woke up abnormally early and on the couch. With one eye open, I reached for my phone. I opened the TEAS profile for my trademark application I already had loaded and refreshed it. I was expecting it, but I found it utterly surreal to find today's date under the registration date. I burst into tears. For those of you that know me, you know the story. For those of you that don't, it has been an incredibly long road. I can finally discuss the entire thing.
It started January of 2013. While helping me find a manager, my friend, Buddy, texted me "I didn't know you had a Kickstarter campaign!"
"What? I don't," I replied. (At that point.)
He sent me the link. There, in front of me, was another girl... making similar music, with a similar voice, using my name. My name that I had painstakingly chosen, was known by, identified with, WAS. I felt like my throat had been ripped out. I didn't know what to do. I hadn't ever experienced this.
It was almost childish the way she and I behaved on social media. It wasn't a competition to me because Nyxx is who I am, however, it seemed like I had been thrown into one. The chaos continued for all of 2013. I was told by friends, colleagues, peers, and professionals to ignore it and persevere. To produce more and more work, to rise above the petty tiff. And so, I worked my fucking ass off.
One day in late September, I was having lunch with my good friend, Gianluca. I poured out how much stress the situation was causing me, how she was using social media against me, and even using my own sites to direct traffic from me to her. He advised me, "You need to get a trademark. Immediately."
I had been working an exorbitant amount of hours and spent every free moment researching what I needed for a trademark, how much it cost, etc. My research warned against filing without a lawyer. Some even said that only 10% of trademarks filed without a lawyer were successful. I knew I certainly couldn't afford a lawyer to do it. I had to skip a couple bills that month just to afford the application fee! So, taking several deep breaths, feeling a burning urge to submit, I pressed send. I prayed that she hadn't already submitted an application.
I felt hopeless and desperate. I didn't see another alternative than giving up if the trademark wasn't successful. I had left everything 3000 miles behind: my family, my friends, and a photography career to pursue my music. Growing up, my peers tried to destroy every ounce of musical confidence I had and now this. I would have to give up and move home. And do what? Become a wedding photographer? I couldn't be a starving fine art photographer. I realize now that it was completely ridiculous, but oh well, I have dark tendencies...
A few weeks later, I did another trademark search and found that she had submitted an application... 2 days after me. I had won! I beat her to the punch! Relief washed over me, but only for a brief second. Had she hired a lawyer to do it? Did I fuck up my application? I submitted as a service mark. What happens next?! And fuck her for trying to take my name away from me! It was beyond me that someone could be so consciously malicious.
Skip ahead a few months, after my successful Kickstarter campaign. I was floating. I had the means to make an album! I had all these people that wanted me to sing and would pay upwards of $500 each to see me do it. I had a new lease on life. No one could ever take this away from me. How could I have ever felt like I needed to give up? I was born to do this. This is who I am and no one can take that away from you.
Then... she struck again. I kept up to date with what she was doing. I saw and even had several friends call me to tell me she was using my specific url "NyxxNyxxNyxx" as a hashtag. This just took a personal turn. Up until then, I had given her somewhat of a benefit of the doubt. She could very well not know that I was already here, making music, living, and flourishing under the name Nyxx. She could've been living in a bubble. Now I was certain she knew exactly who I was. The use of this hashtag was a giant 'fuck you.' She knew that was my url to all of my sites. This was deliberate and a call to action. I reached out to a lawyer. He advised me to write her a personal letter. "This isn't benefitting either of you. You're both people. Reach out like a person."
So I did. I wrote her a thoughtful, polite, strong letter. I felt good about it. I sent it via certified mail. I was proud.
I was home in Rhode Island with my family when I saw she took everything related to "Nyxx" down. I cried. It wasn't a triumphant feeling. It was more gratitude. I know it must have been hard. I know it must have sucked. I know she was pissed. She blocked me, but she emailed me a nice letter stating she was disassociating with the name. I was shocked at the tone of her email. It wasn't sweet, but it wasn't as aggressive as her behavior on social media had been. I wrote her back a thank you.
I wasn't in the clear yet. I waited to see if my trademark would be approved. I waited for months.
I am free.
And it feels so fucking good.