After having changed my marriage name back to my maiden name a couple of years ago, this got me thinking about how I have felt about names. Looking back over the past few years and even longer, and analysing how I used my maiden name for business and my married name in my personal life. This at times was confusing as when asked my name, I always had to think for a split second.
I sense maybe I was living a life with two separate identities? Then when my marriage fell apart, nothing felt right as I wasn’t legally my maiden name and it didn’t feel right using my married name. I just felt lost.
As such I wanted to find my ‘true identity’ again as I felt worn out and emotionally shattered from a heartbreaking and turmoil chapter, just longing to be ME again.
I wanted to officially get my maiden name back and be ‘Sarah Jones’ and be able to shout it from the roof tops and be confident in my identity, I actually feel ‘me’ when I say SARAH JONES.
My name identity brings up feelings and emotions, I look at 3 different ‘identities’ which I have experienced the past few years.
Sarah Jones – confident, happy, content, alive, free spirit, ambitious
Sarah Burgess – unsure, timid, sheltered
Sarah Jones and Sarah Burgess – confused, disharmony, unsettled
I believe your name is your ‘stage name’ and a personal ‘brand’ name to YOU. You are the ‘brand’ of you as a being. You never want it to be confused with other artists so to speak.
Sometimes we try to live up to our names. Sometimes we try to run away from them. But either way — or for all the options in between — your name is a crucial factor in developing your sense of self, and thus helps propel you forward on various paths of life and career.
Though stereotyping can’t definitively dictate future behavior, it does provide a springboard for making assumptions about a person. When a new person introduces himself to you (let’s call him “Stewart”), your first instinct is to assemble a rough mental sketch of everyone you have ever known named Stewart. Maybe someone named Stewart bullied you in second grade. Maybe Stewart was the name of your first kiss. Perhaps Stewart is the name of your father. You subconsciously judge this new Stewart, at least a little, based on all the other Stewart’s you have ever known.
People draw subconscious cues all the time about people. You meet a person for the first time and without thinking about it on an explicit level you’re looking at the way they’re walking, what their accent sounds like, how they’re dressed, and you’re developing these immediate reactions. I think there’s probably an evolutionary reason behind that. We’re hardwired to try to figure out in a heartbeat whether or not we want to trust somebody, whether we want to run from somebody.
The degree to which a person’s name is a significant part of his or her identity varies from person to person. I see it, in some ways, as a matter of attachment. If your name is integral to your conception of who you are then you are probably quite attached to it; if not, then you probably aren’t.
I never figured out how to juggle being a mother, a wife and a director. If I was working I felt guilty not being a mother and if I was being a mother I was worrying about not spending time on my business, not forgetting being a wife too. I just couldn’t find the balance and the harmony inside of me. I started losing which person I was meant to be.
When I lost everything this was one of the first things I dealt with, as I didn’t have a husband anymore to help with the daily routine of life. Now I feel I have a good balance of being a mother and running my company. This took time but the more I started to feel a little part of me healing inside the harmony in my life gradually changed and life felt more balanced. I guess when I started to feel happier life got happier.
I became interested in the role that names play in personal identity when I got married. I obviously did not want to change my name for business; you see, I had grown quite attached to it. My name was comfortable and familiar. When two people used my name in a conversation, they mutually understood that they were talking about me. My name connected me to my family, to my parents and to my brother. My name was what I used to represent myself to others. It helped me to communicate who I was. Most importantly, my name was a gift, to me from my parents. My name was something special they had given to me and no one else.
When I changed my name upon marriage, my husband then, made a good point, namely that sharing the same last name was a symbol of our new family, the one we created when we got married.
When Starbucks removed the words “Starbucks Coffee” from its logo, Like the Starbucks logo, my name change was merely an “update,” a reflection of the changing times (i.e., me getting married).
Of course, a name doesn’t change YOU, but knowing your identity is so important and liking it is even more imperative. My identity ‘Sarah Jones’ is and will always be the very inner core of who I am, all my values, principles, beliefs and my most inner soul lies in me and I feel the name too.
I didn’t enjoy using both names and can see why that would dilute a part of me inside. In using my married name, I didn’t like the person I became; it defiantly lost the sparkle of the girl I once knew – Sarah Jones.
Still, the connection between name and identity is not resolved for me. I’ll stop — for now — but I am almost certain to revisit the issue. Another facet of the name-identity issue that interests me is the process of naming a child.
But for now my ‘UPDATE’ to you is my name is Sarah Jones and I’m back and it feels truly amazing!!!!