Eight days from today I will have been divorced for one full year. And at the time it was finalized, I made the conscience decision to resume the use of my maiden name. With this decision, came a number of challenges:
- My children’s last names are now different than my own
With two young children in school, my last name will without a doubt be presumed to be theirs. So notes and emails from teachers will likely show up with my former identity. Then birthday invitations will occasionally be sent in the mail to the parent with the same last name, rather than to the child living at my house- simply because of how one normally looks up an address. This can all be managed, but requires a bit more attention on my part. No problem in this regard – I’m pretty good at paying attention.
- Managing a few uncomfortable moments with clients and acquaintances
The majority of my professional career has been associated with my married name so introducing myself at meetings, events etc. has undoubtedly confused people I already know but whom may not be aware of the changes I’ve been going through. The amount of time that has passed is irrelevant to those who are not living my life each day, so for those that have known of the divorce, may actually think I’ve got remarried to someone with the last name of Glover.
- Drivers’ license, credit cards, bank accounts, frequent shopper cards, checks, business cards, mailing labels…
To manage it all, I had to actually make a list and just take one thing at a time otherwise I was going to go stir crazy. And it took a while to get through them all, but when I take my drivers’ license out of my wallet (for that lovely individual that actually has the smarts to ask for my ID – bless you!) the satisfaction of seeing that picture of myself looking truly happy, knowing that I made the right decision, makes all the inconvenience worth it! (PSST – Don’t forget your social security card! Important when filing your tax return but often overlooked since it isn’t a card you carry on your person.)
- Forgetting my own name
It probably sounds odd, but I actually had to write out how to answer the phone on the white board that is in front of my desk, so that when the phone rang, I wouldn’t stumble on my own name. After 13 years, the rhythm and cadence in simply saying my name out-loud had become very routine and it hasn’t been easy to change back. Although, if it were easy, I would question how committed I was to the marriage in the first place. In my case, my maiden name remains written on the white board, but as my 1-year anniversary of being me again draws near, “Gina Glover” seems to roll off my tongue a little easier.
On the whole, I’m glad I went back to my maiden name. It’s much easier for others to spell and pronounce, the first three letters don’t spell an unfortunate acronym, and it has a lot of appealing nickname potentials as I get older. More importantly however, I’m proud of who I am and who I was. And getting back to who you really are is worth a few inconveniences, don’t you think?