Piggybacking off Lindy West’s article on Jezebel, I find myself
musing on my name. While I am unlikely to ever get married (fundamental distrust/disagreement with the institution; but never say never – it could happen, if it needed to, for financial reasons), I have given my name within that situation a great deal of thought over the years.
It took me a long time to get comfortable with my name. I didn’t
really start to settle into it until I added a couple letters to the end when I was 14, transforming me from the mundane Carolyn into the much more elegant and unique Carolynne I am today. Still haven’t gotten around to changing it legally, but I totally should. I don’t even know who Carolyn is, and she always looks
like an impostor that’s stolen my identity when I see her name (on my driver’s license, passport and bank statements). Carolyn is okay, but she’s basic; Carolynne has that little extra somethin’-somethin’. They both sound the same coming out of people’s mouths, so I am still honoring what my parents gave me, but I’ve also individualized it to suit my own needs and personality a little more.
Now we come to the last name, which is potentially more fraught and has the potential to offend more people (generations of them, even!). If Ian and I decided to get married, I actually prefer his last name to mine, and I feel like it actually goes better, sounds more artist-y. But SHEESH. I’ve spent 44 damn years being Wilcox. I have mostly kinda hated my last name. Too much potential for nasty little kids to make fun of when I was little, and they did. Since leaving the bully-land of grade school, I have tolerated it, and after a lifetime, I am used to it, have grown into it and own it.
But if I had the chance to change it? I dunno. Torrey does sound better with Carolynne, at least in my opinion. But…I have no real connection to that lineage, other than it’s Ian’s…but I’m not sure he especially has a stake in it, and I know he would totally leave it up to me. He might actually even be one of those rare dudes that would consider taking *my* name. So we come to the real meat of it: why would I want him to be saddled with “Wilcox”?
The most compelling reason for me to keep it is purely and simply, my father. He is and has been a good one, and he unreservedly deserves that honor. But if I consider further back than that, and really ruminate on how connected I feel to that side of the family? Erm…not so much. While I have always felt loved and provided for by them, I have also felt mildly judged and never quite understood. Maybe even a bit of an embarrassment for my OH SO RADICAL life choices.
And if I am considering that side of the family, it bears weight to consider taking my mother’s maiden name, Sabetay, as well. Just as a name, I prefer it to Wilcox, it also sounds better with Carolynne, and easily explains my jewfro. Also more exotic and less anglo than either Wilcox or Torrey, which is a plus in my book. Also, there are a hell of a lot more Wilcoxes running around on the planet than Sabetays, so losing one won’t hurt the clan. Then there is the matter of just feeling more like them…and this is despite the fact that I was raised in a different culture and speaking a different language than that side of the family. When visiting my Uruguay relations, I've always felt included rather than judged, that they were proud to have another artist in the family tree rather than treating it as something weird, unmarketable or frivolous. Also, I would probably be the ONLY CAROLYNNE SABETAY IN THE WORLD, NE or no NE.
But, I am lazy. And as previously stated, I have grown into Carolynne Wilcox and OWN it now. It would be REALLY WEIRD to be called something else, or see a different name – even weirder than when I see Carolyn Wilcox. It’s mine, at this point, and it’s who I am…I really should get off my ass and legally add the extra NE though.
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.