Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's all in the name

I've always hated the name "Elissa." Actually, after having had this name for almost 46 years, I don't hate it anymore—I've come to accept it with tinges of regret. I'd always wished my parents had named me Susan. That, to me, was the perfect name. Easy to remember, impossible to misspell, plenty of nickname possibilities. Jennifer would have been great. Or Samantha. I would have loved to have been called Sam. I guess it's not too late for that, but it would be a bit silly to try and switch it up at this point.

When I got married, almost 22 years ago, I changed my name. Back then, it was what most women did. I was barely 23 and didn't know enough to make a stand about being expected to give up the name I'd had my entire life. What caused me to change it back to Elissa Stein after a month was my husband's name was just too damn long. It was hard to figure out a signature. It made me sound like a temple lady organizing snacks after services. And it wasn't who I was. While I might not have adored my name, it was my name and I didn't want to change it because convention said I should.

I'm finding, after a week of being out in the public more than it's ever been, my name has become its own identity. Stay with me here folks, I know that sounded a bit existential or at least Star Trek subplot worthy, but I have a point.

My name is more than me.

Or, at the very least, my name is carving out an online identity for itself.

NOTICE: This blog post has been interrupted as I have been designated the super cool mom who can of course create 3 native american headbands from felt, feathers, and embroidery thread. Each personalized with animal silhouettes. By tomorrow. I don't know that I'll be able to finish this post today.


Jeremy said...

I've always disliked my name. People get it wrong so easily, in so many different ways.

But one day I shall see it listed on

Hope your name is having fun out in public.

Megan said...

I always disliked my name too... I wanted my middle name to be my first name, but it's grown on me over the years.

I know exactly what you mean about it taking on a life of it's own though... does it feel a little freaky? Or cool?