Friday, November 4, 2016

Day 4: A name changes everything...

Yesterday, I did something that was very empowering to me. I chose to take a legal name that honored the matrilineal lines of my family.  It is a name that is comprised of a variation on my birth name, my paternal grandmother's name and my mother's maiden name. It is also the name I have been using in nearly every aspect of my life for the past decade, so changing it legally also cleared up a lot of confusion.

Not everyone in my life is accepting of this change and some hurtful things have been said.  It is made worse by the fact that the source of this is a person who's approval I have sought for so much of my life. Approval I never, even as an adult, felt I received.  This is something I have struggled with.

There were so many conscious and deliberate reasons I chose to take my new name.  Yet, as I sit here with knot in my stomach and my heart feeling clenched (after reading their angry words over and over and over - because I am obsessive like that - let's stab that knife in just ooooooone more time...) I wonder if part of me chose to do this because, despite how much this hurts right now, somewhere deep inside I have finally reached a place where their approval is something I no longer need in order to be happy.

I chose this name in great part because I wanted to defy the patriarchal traditions that have defined and confined women for so many years.  I wanted to stand up and claim the heritage of my mother, my grandmothers and all the mothers before them.  But perhaps there was another small act of defiance in there too; one deeper and even more personal.  An act that allowed me to feel ownership of myself fully.

On Day 3 I wrote about my sense of emptiness and the bowl I imagined inside of me that I could fill with whatever I chose.  Yesterday, into that bowl, I put my name.


  1. I think if it works for you, don't care about what people say! I think it's a great way to beat patriarchal structures and it's quite a unique thing that you did! All the best! :)

  2. Thank you so much. This was such a powerful act for me and it has been difficult dealing with this backlash but I have received so much support and love. For that I am grateful.

  3. So proud of you. I am some one who makes people's opinion matter so I know how hurt you would have been. But what's important is that you should be happy with your decision. Period.

    Let us know about the story of how you zeroed on the name. Would love to read more.:) Hugs!

  4. Good on you! And congratulations.