December 23 – new name
Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
I do have another name now – and it’s been weird introducing myself with it, as well as having people use it on the phone, and seeing it written on letters and envelopes. I have these moments where I see my new name – especially when I log into Facebook – and I think, who is she? Your name is such a intrinsic part of your identity, and to lose that after 28 years and adopt a completely different moniker is rather strange.
The feminist in me wasn’t happy about having to relinquish my surname, but I do like the fact that S and I now share one; it makes us into a little family. I’m keeping my maiden name for work, though, so it’s not completely gone, and it’s good to have a separation between my work and personal life. And at least S’ surname is a decent one; if he’d been something like Higginbottom we would have had to have words. His surname has a literary connection as well, just like my maiden name, which appeals to my inner English student: I’ve gone from being named after a Dickens’ character to a famous 17th century playwright.
Kudos to my parents, as I really like my first name and I’ve never hankered after another one. I like the fact that it was partly inspired by Helen Burns from Jane Eyre (my mother’s favourite novel), as being named after a rebellious consumptive in a Victorian novel also really appeals to the literature geek in me.