A new name – A new identity

27 06 2012

I’ve changed my name.  After nearly twelve years together, I decided to adopt my partner’s family name and it feels really, really good.  In Western Australia, we are not able to marry or celebrate a ‘civil partnership’ or ‘registered relationship’ so changing my name is a visible sign of our commitment as well as the love and rings we share.

I’m quite surprised actually because I’ve never had any inclination to change my name but I’ve never really liked it either.  I have always been called “Louise” even though it is my middle name.  It has been awkward and annoying to continually explain that it’s not that I don’t like my first name, I’ve just never been called by it.  People insist I tell them what my “real” name is.  So, my “real” first name is now Louise and I’ve taken my partner’s family name.

Despite not really liking my original full name, I have been quite possessive and fought to protect it.   Some time ago I worked for a company which changed its corporate logo and lettering format so everything appeared in lower case.  everything.   It became the standard format for all stationery including business cards and name badges.  Apart from the fact that I think proper nouns should have a capital letter, it irritated me to think that they could ‘brand’ my name to match theirs.  (I now work at a company that uses all capitals – hahaha!!)

2012 has been a tumultuous year.  We’ve muddled through a year of grief with the family after the sudden loss of Beth last year.  It affects all we do.  Six months later, we still have ‘crying’ days which is only natural as we miss her presence every day and it is only really starting to sink in.  During the time we’ve spent with the family, they have drawn me in and brought me close which has been beautiful.  Beth was always the one to ease me into the circle, to create opportunities for me to be included.  When she died, I wondered where I’d be without her and where I’d stand when the very close family drew in even closer.  As it turns out, I was right in the middle there with them.

A name for the rest of the journey

So it seemed only fitting that I change my name to reflect who I am and how I feel.  Names really do hold so much of our identity.   I feel like I can let go of a lot of things now, a lot of stuff from the past that belongs with that me.  I won’t forget or banish them, but they’re just not me anymore.  This is a new threshold, a new name for the rest of my journey, and I like it.

Even in Beth’s passing she has helped me to feel included in the family and proud to stand with them so I’m glad to make that official.  I know Beth would be proud that another has joined her clan and I’m glad I’ve finally taken the plunge (even though the paperwork is a nightmare!!).  We saw Dad on the weekend and he’d prepared a sign for ‘The Newest Member’ which was stuck on a six pack of beer.  I was so glad to see him although he did say:   “Now you’re one of us, you’ll have to drink beer you know“.

Oh dear, if only I’d known…  🙂

 

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16 responses

27 06 2012
Narelle

So proud of what you have done and how you have helped to complete our family. Mum would have been so thrilled and proud … As we all are. Thank you for the honour you have given us in joining our ‘mad mob’. Love you.

29 06 2012
Louise

Love you too.

28 06 2012
Chris Alice Donner

Congratulations! You two have been on a remarkable journey this past year, so it’s nice to celebrate family and love in a new and happy way. I’m sure Beth is proud as can be.

29 06 2012
Louise

Thanks Chris, yes it has been an amazing journey and it does feel right. Thanks for your support and walking with us.

28 06 2012
dadirri7

a story from the depths of your heart Louise, such a positive move to choose your new name and bring it into being, recreating yourself in the bonds of love and community 🙂

29 06 2012
Louise

Thanks Christine – Yes, you’re right, it IS a re-creation

28 06 2012
Heart To Harp

Congratulations on adopting a new name and family. Your photo is so wonderful with this post. You really are stepping through a doorway and over the threshold into a new you, a new life. This is a lovely story of your journey. And beer isn’t so bad if you stick to the micro-brews!

29 06 2012
Louise

I like that you can’t see too far through the doorway, I’m not sure what is ahead.

29 06 2012
anngrafics

Congratulations and best wishes on your forward journey!

29 06 2012
Louise

Thank you!

29 06 2012
Rev Dani Lynn

Lynn is my legal first name. I decided to drop my last name which was from an ex-husband because I felt like that wasn’t who I was anymore. It was losing my father (Dan) that led me towards the spiritual path I’m on so I use his name now. I like your story. I think sometimes, as things change in our lives and as we change, name changes are appropriate, and sometimes feel necessary.

29 06 2012
Louise

Names are powerful aren’t they. I’m glad you hold him close through your name. Yes, my change of name came when the time was right. It wasn’t right earlier but now it is and I feel very settled about it.

30 06 2012
Gilly Gee

Good for you! It’s a powerful and wonderful choice to keep reinventing ourselves 🙂

5 07 2012
Louise

Thanks Gilly!

20 02 2013
Patricia Hayes

I have only met you a couple of times Louise so didn’t know you that well. I have been reading all your stories & poetry & they have really affected me. I feel I have got to know a beautiful soul whose feelings of love, grief, sharing & zest for life run true & deep. Beth loved you as her own & I can just hear her little giggle of delight as you changed your name! I loved your piece called Fragmented. Ray has been gone five years now & I live that piece. I head of to the sea too & always return refreshed. Keep up your special gift of writing Louise, it is a joy to read. Love to you & Narelle. Pat xx

20 02 2013
Louise

Wow. That’s lovely Pat – thank you so much for the kind words. I will keep writing, it’s the only way I can make sense of the world. I’m glad you found something to connect with, but I know it must speak to a painful part within. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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