Sunday, March 23, 2014

For those of you wondering, I will be changing my name

 “A name is a powerful thing. It sets one apart and gives significance.”
“Must a name mean something?" Alice asked doubtfully.- Lewis Carroll
I have given a great deal of thought to whether I will change my name once I get married, I even wrote a freelance article for a wedding blog about it (which was very exciting in itself because it was my first official paid freelance writing job)

Generally most of us don't really have to make many choices about our name, we take the one given to us, but getting married is one occasion where you need to make a choice about your name, and since I will be married for the second time, I have another choice to make. 

I have chosen to list my name on the blog as Laurie W-J-N which is my way to respect all three of the names I have had or will have in my lifetime.  As I think about my name choice, it is hard to consider changing a name I have had for almost 30 years, virtually my whole adult life, all of my professional colleagues know me by my current last name - Jake, but to be honest in my heart I have always associated more with my original family name - Ward.  It suits me, so much so, that I have my maiden (family) name on my Facebook account.  I did that very intentionally, I started Facebook with my married name, but decided that, as a teacher, I didn't want my very creative middle-schoolers to be able to find me,  and since I had already established many professional contacts, they were already my friends on Facebook so they would know it was me.  Having my maiden name on my Facebook allowed me the opportunity to more easily reconnect with old high school friends. I love my crazy mixed-up family and my maiden name is a true representation of belonging to them. 

I never felt like I truly belonged to my husband's family.  His death only intensified the divide I felt, thus it was easier to go by my maiden name.  I am pretty sure that both of my daughters and I will leave the name Jake in our past - It is weird to think that none of the three of us will likely remain with our current name.  It will still be part of us, but it is not part of our current or future reality.

Taking Peter's name is actually an easy choice for me.  My girls are grown and won't care at all, in fact it won't be too long before they change their own names.  I know Peter says it doesn't matter to him, but I really believe that it does just a little. He doesn't have any children that will carry on his name.  I am excited to start OUR new life together, and taking his name seems like a good symbolic way to represent what I feel.   

Another positive about changing my name when I get married this summer is that I will have a consistent last name for publication.  So far I have only one book already published, and that one was done ten years ago for a very specific audience, I think changing my name now, before I release any books, is perfect timing.  Of course I could choose a pen name for writing - but to be honest, a big part of the allure of writing for me is that moment when you see your name in print - so seeing a nom de plume would not be the same.  My thoughts, forever in print (or on ebook as the case may be) with my name on them, what a cool experience.  

I will always consider myself Laurie W-J-N, as all three names are part of my story, they all have been, or will be, a huge part of my identity and I am proud of all three of my last names. Maybe that will be a fitting nom de plume, honoring all 3 of my names.

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