love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
Next week, I travel back to Texas to finalize my last name change. I’m dropping my birth last name and taking A’s last name. For the longest we were going to combine last names, but truth be told, I’m not attached to my last name at all, and I’m honored to have A’s last name.
The problem is that I have SUCH a hard time with accepting people’s name changes. For example, before my mom was in a relationship with my stepdad (he’s the one that raised me from ages 5-24), she was best friends with his sister, who lived with us. So to me, my step-dad was Uncle So-and-So for years. Then when they entered a relationship, I still called him Uncle So-and-So because I couldn’t change that in my mind, though it was embarrassing to have people question why I called my stepdad, Uncle. In highschool, a really close friend of mine changed her first name as she deepened her spiritual journey; her first name invoked a Greek goddess, which conflicted with her Muslim beliefs. To this day, she is still Oldname in my head. I still refer to her by her old name, though I dare not disrespect her by actually calling her that, but I’ve never actually uttered her new name either. Mind you, it’s been a good 15 years since her name change. For me, one’s name is part of their identity, so to disrupt that is really difficult to me.
So far, I’ve taken baby steps to using my soon-t0-be new name. On all things dealing with LA (doctors forms, babysitting registry, etc) I use my new name. I even changed it on facebook and that little thng was a difficult for me. For school, work, and everything else, I still use my maiden name. Next week, I’m changing positions at the school I work with and am struggling with what to have the students call me. The oldest class had me as a teacher when I was Ms. Oldname, and now all the students in the building call me that (their siblings had me, I’m still part of the school history and practices even when I moved away). I never corrected them because I didn’t have a definitive date of when my name change would take place. Now, both the name change and the new position are next week and I feel so torn– do I continue allowing them to call me Ms. Oldname or do I transition them to Mrs. Newname. And if I transition to Mrs. Newname, are they going to ask me a thousand questions (I was out to my former students, though not the class that are the eldest now but I know they know- the administration is more than supportive). I HATE having that much attention on me when it involves personal matters; I had a mini panic-attack right before our reception because I realized all eyes would be on on me (we had a closed, private ceremony at the court house).
I think I’ve made up in my mind that I will go by Mrs. Newname but the transition gives me anxiety. I can’t wait to be used to it already. In the meantime, I need to go about changing my name for my grad program so that my new name will be my professional one too. I haven’t settled on a signature yet, but I’m practicing.
As always, I’d love your feedback.