I spend a great deal of time thinking. Which does not mean I am necessarily any smarter, wiser, or better equipped than the person who does not spend a great deal of time thinking. It simply means…I think a lot.
Something I consider, when I contemplate my existence, is who am I? Not necessarily in some deep, philosophical way. But in order to move forward, I feel like I need to evaluate who and what I am. Who do I want to be? Who do I associate myself with? How am I connected to these concepts?
When the married part of my life ended three years ago, I had the opportunity to change my last name. I decided against it, somewhat due to advice others gave me. Some felt it would be best to keep the last name of my children. I agreed to an extent. Plus I didn’t really want to deal with the hassle of changing the name on all my accounts. Kentucky Utilities. My bank. Credit card. Mortgage. All that jazz. Plus, I had recently called all of these entities to remove my husband’s name from the accounts. Therefore, I didn’t really want to deal with it all again. Not so soon.
I️ ️ did change my name on social media accounts. And some people close to me began to refer to me by my old name. As in my maiden name. The name my father gave me, as opposed to anyone else.
I’ve gotten to the point where I nearly cringe when I say my legal, as in married, last name. You know the scenarios, right? When you have to introduce yourself in a business setting. Or go around the room and say your name…Often I just say my first name. But at times, the last name is necessary. I cringe, not out of shame necessarily, but because I feel like that’s not who I am. I am no longer attached to the person who gave me that name. Therefore, what’s the point? Why not acknowledge that fact and become, once again, who I originally was?
My son sent me a birthday card. And he utilized my maiden name. My sister sent me a card, upon the passing of my dog, addressed to me as the person my mother and father named me. As in my original, maiden, name. And when I study those envelopes, looking at the handwritten name, I realize that is who I am. The person, with an Irish surname. The person who shares, with her father and his father and his father, a name passed down. There’s a history. And although I don’t know all the details, it’s a part of me. A part of me worth knowing. Worth sharing. Worth being proud of.
I printed out the form a few years back. Yet I have procrastinated. It’s officially titled the AOC-295. Otherwise known as the PETITION FOR NAME CHANGE. I have committed to myself to fill it out this week. To get it turned in by Friday. And although once it’s processed, it means contacting my bank, mortgage company, the Social Security office and a myriad of businesses I pay each month, I need to do it. For my own sake. In order for me to be who I truly am.
I need to be insistent. Change my work email address to reflect who I want to be. Get the info out there…I am no longer who you might have thought I was. I am the original me. And I am happy to be her.
No one in the world necessarily cares what my last name is. Both my maiden and my married have five letters. Truthfully, I can choose to be whoever and whatever I want, at least to an extent. I find it interesting…the steps necessary for healing. Or maybe I should rephrase and say the steps necessary for progressing. I find I can feel healed yet perpetually stuck. The process of moving forward. What I have to do to get there. Might not be the same for others. But for me…
At this point it means filling out a rather simple form and taking it to a court house or downtown office. Following a procedure. Someone gets paid to process these forms. If only all of life’s changes could be such…