Jill Joslyn

23 Dec
Girl searches for names on Memorial Wall in Sa...
Image by ClavonClavito via Flickr

Reverb10: New Name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?  (Author: Becca Wilcott)

My name?  My name has been a point of contention for me most of my life.  My last name is a full twelve letters, most of them consonants.  Under different circumstances, I might appreciate it, but not only am I not close to my father, he has no contact whatsoever with his own father.  One of my uncles actually did change his last name to my (step) grandfather’s last name when he married.  My surname is difficult and does not hold a great deal of sentimental value.

My senior year of high school I proposed changing my last name to what I think of as the family name, but the very idea hurt my father (Which I’m not sure I understand.  He does not speak to his biological father, and treated his stepfather as my grandfather.) so I let it go, but never stopped wanting a change.  And, while the family name is something I would share with people I love, it’s also very common, meaning that I would share my full name with a surfeit of others — as is my name seems to be unique to me.

I do think it’s time for a change though.  My life is wholly mine now, no longer something I’m living under the supervision of my family, and my name does not fit.  It took some time to find an appropriate replacement, but I think Joslyn is right.  Sister Carolyn helped inspire me — not only was she the one who introduced me to the work of Matilda Joslyn Gage, she also chose to name herself.  (Actually, attending Sister Carolyn’s Lesbian Tent Revival and a later read-through of a play she was writing, was a life-changing event altogether.)  My name would still be unique, I would have a daily reminder of the importance of feminism, the sound of Jill Joslyn appeals to me, and a so many other little details make it seem right.

I haven’t researched the process, but if it’s reasonably straightforward, 2011 may be the year I rename myself.

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