I still have D’s last name. At the time, it was easier to keep it. I already had changed my social security card, IDs, and there wasn’t really a maiden name to go back to. The one I had from my father didn’t have any meaning, it was only used legally, and the one from my dad was tainted and I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. So why not just keep the one I had. It was easier, I told myself. I also think in a way, I did it to make him happy. I hated getting letters from him that were full of disappointment and hurt, and this tiny thing made him happy, so I would be lying if I said that didn’t play a part in it.
In purging myself of all things D the past couple months, I’ve lost my identity a bit, one I didn’t realize I was still carrying around with me. 2 months ago, I didn’t really care that I still had his last name. “It’s just a name.” I told myself. But as I’ve worked through a lot of the emotional tangled mess of our relationship, I’ve started to feel it’s a black cloud hanging over me. Especially now that I have an amazing man I will marry at some point in the hopefully near future. On top of that, I want to get back into photography, start a picture a day blog or something, just to get some practice in before I move to New Zealand, but I don’t want to start anything with my last name, because eventually it won’t be anymore. I want to shed this name from me, be done with it once and for all.
I talked about this last Friday with my therapist, and he told me to write something on my name and what it means. I’m going to get very real here, and probably go into some stuff that I haven’t shared before, out of fear, out of shame. It’s a bit terrifying talking about the details, however minuscule, surrounding the reasons I left D. I’ll probably go into them in more detail at some point in the future, but that’s more than I’m equipped to handle today.
This is what my name means to me:
- I am a person who married a felon on parole.
- I am a person who was not good enough for a felon to keep a clean parole and not go back to jail.
- I am not an individual, I am D’s ex-wife.
- I don’t fit in with family. I don’t share a name with my siblings or my mom, and my father is dead. The only people I do share a name with are nearly 500 miles away, and to them I’m known as her.
- A daily fear that people won’t believe I’m truly over him, since I still have his name.
- Constant worry that people will find out that I was married to a felon, what his crime was, and that I chose to live a life where I was terrified that every knock on the door was the police or his parole officer coming to take him away from me.
- That I won’t change my name until I’m married again, and it’s a reminder every day of a bad choice I made a decade ago. My fiance says it doesn’t bother him, but any time anyone says my last name, I feel like my ex is getting thrown into my current relationship.
- Knowing he’s sitting 500 miles away, smug about the fact that I still have HIS name and he still has a part of me.
- Feeling like my life is on hold, that I can’t truly progress with anything until I rid myself of this blackness that literally leaves a trail everywhere I go.
“It’s just a name” I tell myself. But that’s not enough anymore.