What’s in a name?

Oh, what’s in a name, sings Timon to Pumbaa. 

Very convincingly too. 

And for the most part, he is right; not much, really. 

But some other times, there is hell in it. Or redemption.

I have known both.

Right now, my name contains my Safe Place. It means freedom. It means healing. It means a chance at being happy. 

I’ve been divorced for more than ten years, yet I still use my married name. Every now and then, someone would ask why. I always say that I hate red tape and it really isn’t worth the hassle of the paperwork and the money and time spent doing it. 

At this point, most people agree and the conversation moves on.

But even more rarely, someone – trying to be useful, I’m sure – will say “oh, it is not as complicated as you think. You just fill out a form and that’s it”.

At this point, I stare blankly at them, at loss for words. 

How do you explain that you simply cannot bring yourself to bear your father’s name again?

How do you say anything when even trying to hint at the fact that the real reason has to do with my father sends me into the amusement-park-house-of-horrors-mushrooms-induced-bad-trip-like experience* that thinking about my father unleashes?

I just can’t. 

All that I have achieved in terms of healing, in accepting myself, in internalizing that my father’s sins are not mine to carry, that I am not a bad seed, that I don’t have to serve time for my father’s transgressions… all of that will be lost if I go back to my maiden name. 

I can’t allow that to happen.

So, what’s in a name?

For some of us, the key to a healthy life.


* I’ve heard and read in the textbooks. I have never been inclined to drown my sorrows in alcohol or drugs despite the difficult, painful circumstances of my childhood and adolescence​.

5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. Ruby Tuesday says:

    My aunt has been divorced for as long as I can remember, and she kept her married name. Bottom line is it’s nobody’s damned business but yours. I’m glad that you have a refuge, a safe place. Don’t waste another second on people who want an explanation. And while you are right that they are probably just trying to be helpful, to me, I guess I’m just kind of blown away that anyone would ask you, outside of like dating or super-duper, incredibly close friends. But then I generally think more things should be more private than most people. (That’s a whopper of a sentence to end on.)

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      Hehe it’s an impressive sentence! 😊 I guess it doesn’t bother me to be asked (it would be a non-issue if it weren’t for the triggering) because that is the kind of thing I’d wonder out loud without realizing how personal it is. I figure no one really expects the reason to be a traumatic past, right? I don’t know. It’s awkward, that’s for sure

      • Ruby Tuesday says:

        Yeah, I guess you’re right. Unless you are an unusual degree of mean, you really aren’t looking for someone’s trauma. And also, you’re right about wondering things out loud. I know I do really veer way in the direction of under-asking with people, even close friends. I certainly don’t have any ideas on un-awkwaring that one, just supporting you in your choices. :)

        P.S. I still have no idea why my aunt kept her married name. I guess I just never thought a lot about it. It’s pretty, and her ex is a good guy, so maybe it’s just something she felt she wanted to keep when they divorced.

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