What's In A Name
“I want to change my name”.
That is what was ringing in my head as I awoke this morning. During the night I had a dream and in it I was involved in a session of numerology regarding the need to change my name. Somehow I don’t fit my old name anymore. I never really wanted this last name when I had to change into it in the first place. I liked the name of my birth. I actually loved it. Back then when a woman married she automatically took on the sir-name of her husband. I loved my old sir-name and I didn’t want to change it but I had to and I was very unhappy to say the least.
Funny how the energy of a name, the sound it carries and the timber that it resonates impacts you. The sound of my new name impacted me with a heaviness that was difficult to carry and certainly hard to embrace. But it was mine now and I had to adjust and I did. So here I am years later with probably not many years left on the planet and I wake up this morning knowing full well that my last name doesn’t fit me anymore
Years ago I was in California at a workshop with Brugh Joy. He was a real stickler for names and when he heard my middle name he got so excited. “Do you know what that name means?” he asked with enthusiasm. “No”, I replied, “I don’t like it.”
I didn’t like it. It was too “old country” and connected to my father’s Ukrainian background and it didn’t fit in the WASPy neighborhood I grew up in. Brugh looked at me with astonishment. It was as if I was a child throwing away a precious gemstone. He then went on to explain what the name meant. “It is a very sacred name”, he said. “It holds representation of the highest feminine spirituality, it is the name given to the Mother of God. It also carries all the elements of sensuality and sexuality.” He then referenced Mae West with her ability to use those elements with a sense of humor and to laugh at life. He went on to share how the name contained all of it, deep spirituality along with human sensual earthiness, but most of all it was a name that allowed for the complete embodiment of wholeness. I still wasn’t impressed but he refused to call me anything but that name from then on. He even signed my book with it. He told me to grow into it and I laughed at him. I think of him now and wish I could tell him I believe I have, finally.
For the past couple of weeks I have been remembering how much I loved my maiden-name. It was a strong name that also had lightness to it. It was short and had light energy. I shared my thoughts with my mentor the other day. I told her how even as a child I had loved my name, all except my middle name of course, but how I loved my first and last names. My first name was rare. No one else had it. It was mine and only mine. I never met another person with it until I was in my twenties so of course I believed it was only mine and I loved that. It wasn’t common, it was rare. I remember when I did meet someone with my name I looked at her as if she was an alien. It didn’t fit her. It was my name. I was young at the time and very sure she was an impostor.
My first name continues to be rare, my middle name continues to be a gift, according to Brugh Joy, but my last name now seems to be a burden. It feels like a weight that has held me back from experiencing real joy. For me it carries a heaviness that is not mine. Now my daughter doesn’t have that same experience. Her body embraces this last name. Maybe it is genetics. Maybe I am not genetically attuned to it and she is. It connects her to the father she lost as an infant. It fits for her. It doesn’t fit for me.
I felt the disconnect from the day I got married. I felt it the first time I had to sign it as my name. It didn’t feel right. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to marry my husband. I loved him. I just didn’t want his name. It wasn’t me.
So the question becomes, will I change my name. Will I go back to my maiden name? Probably not, but I will write with it. I will publish my book of musings under my middle and maiden name. Think of the word “maiden-name”. It isn’t used much any more as women no longer have to change their names when they get married. The word carries lightness with it, a youthfulness, a sweetness, an innocence and a sense of promise. Maybe this is what I am looking for, a sense of promise in my later years. Maybe the casting away of my married name, the name under which I endured the tragic loss of my husband, the struggle to forge a successful career as a single parent, a lone female in a male dominated society, my battle to survive cancer, maybe this is why I want to let go of it. Maybe this is what I really want to be free of and the name provides a symbol for it.
Maybe all I want is to be free of it all and embrace the light energy of my maiden-name. Even as I think it, even as I say it and as I own it again, I am filled with a new sense of promise.