I have a new name. It’s sinking in. And what I’m discovering is that there’s more to getting a new name than learning how to sign it on checks or remembering to say it correctly when making a phone call. There’s even more to it than making it legal at the Social Security Office and DMV. It’s much weirder than that.
The big deal is the freaky identity crises that follows.
Maybe “identity crises” is a bit dramatic. But there is a very real mental reconciliation I have to work out when I see my old name written down, and when hear my new name called out: They are both me.
True, my old name reminds me of some sad things, but there were also some very good things. I liked me then. I made me laugh. I was a good mom. I liked Alice Hudson.
The new me? Well, I like me now, too. But there is something new happening – I’m in a new relationship that absolutely will change me in some ways. Am I going to like Alice Wall in fifteen years? Will I still be a good mom?
(And yes, my children still have half my DNA, thank you very much.)
To be honest, this was one of the aspects of remarriage that I really didn’t think about. “Of course I’ll take my husband’s name. What’s the big deal?”
As I said, the big deal of a new name isn’t the hassles of teaching an old Alice new tricks. It’s the very real line in your life of “before and after”. Yes, I was me then, and I’m me now. But life moves forward and very soon I’ll be writing my new name without even thinking about it, just as fluently as I did before. I just need to get better at making W’s.