I hated my name from an early age. Not just my last name but my first name as well, Nancy Joyce Wetmore. Ugh. Nancy seemed so non-descript and I'll give you a few minutes to yourself to think about all the ways Wetmore could be used against me.
By six I decided my name should be Penny. I don't know why. It just seemed far better than Nancy. Thankfully that passed quickly. When I was in my tweens I decided I would marry the first man I could who had a cool last name. I just wanted the name, I figured I'd divorce him soon after if I didn't really like him for himself. I was not a big believer in marriage as a kid.
As a teenager I planned on being a rockstar so that definitely demanded a better name. I came up with Donna Joyce. I thought Donna sounded cool and sophisticated and Joyce was the only part of my actual name that I liked.
By my late teens I'd given up on the rockstar dreams and felt the need to distance myself from the name Donna. I had my sights on being a writer so I came up with a more literary name, Stephanie Crane. Stephanie after an aunt (ok, ok and Stevie Nicks I was 17 what do you want from me) and Crane which was my mother's maiden name.
(sorry all the Stephanie photos are packed up already I.O.U. ok?)
Life intervenes and my writing career never took off. Booksellers don't need pen names so I just got used to being Nancy Wetmore. It was mine, so I owned it. Then I decided to get married. Mathews is a lovely, simple, not inviting ridicule, name. I was going to become Nancy Mathews and jettison Wetmore forever.
My husband to be talked me out of it.
He liked the sound of Wetmore-Mathews, he said. It had a classy ring to it, he said. My Dad nearly blew a gasket. He wanted the name to die with him. He made me swear not to hypenate the names of any children we had. I swore they would be Mathews. In the end hyphenating was much easier, no closing bank accounts and whatnot but day to day more and more I just used Nancy Mathews. I treated Wetmore as a middle name that I didn't need to share unless there was legalities involved. My business cards say Nancy Mathews. When I started blogging and writing for Pink Raygun it was always as Nancy Mathews.
Flash Forward to now and I find myself in a dilemma. I am getting a divorce (no sympathy or anything this has been in process for a year, we're past that point but thanks) so what the fuck do I do about my name now!?!
I feel like keeping a hyphenated name after divorce is just weird. Hyphenating by nature screams, "married name!". If I just had Mathews I'd keep it. What's the big deal? It's the name my kids have. My mother kept my father's name, although my aunt took back her maiden name. If I ever married again, then I'd change it. The hyphenation, in my opinion, makes this impossible.
This has led to many discussions, between myself and my soon to be ex, and my eldest as they both have opinions. My estranged husband says (jokingly) that me going back to Wetmore will be his last little revenge for the end of our marriage. My eldest says he likes Wetmore (he never had to carry it like the burden it is).
For now while I suss this all out, I've decided to take the name Nancy Joyce for all my writing and online stuff. That way it can stay the same no matter what I decide. Of course both soon to be ex and eldest son have fallen in love with this name and think I should just say screw it and take that as my legal name.
As if I needed yet another option.
In the end my name has fluctuated with my life goals and circumstances more so than most people I imagine. If this phase of my life is about stripping it down to the core of who I am, which is what I feel like I've been doing since I passed 40, then I suppose taking back my maiden name speaks to that. It has been my name since birth, you can't really get much more core than that.
Does anyone else have issues with their name?