A New Name
Wednesday October 30, 2019
I remember staring at myself in a dressing room mirror a few months after Haley was born, trying to figure out who the girl in the reflection was. She looked like me, but felt strangely distant from the person I thought I was. I stood there, very still, for a good several minutes, willing myself to see past those tired eyes and postpartum baby hairs growing wildly along my part. You’re a mom now,” I told myself, “but not just a mom.” I tried grasping at any sort of concrete identity, but it all felt so elusive, so undefinable.
I’ve spent countless hours processing (thinking, reading, praying, and pondering about) this idea of identity over the past year and a half, wanting desperately to know how my sense of self might be secure and immutable despite our lives being one big succession of change. Thankfully, the journey has been rife with joyful revelation: namely, the inexpressible freedom of knowing that my identity is indeed secure - unshakeable in the hands of the One who’s given it to me. Also a sweet part of the seeking: learning the joy of simply being me.
About a year ago, in the thick of all the fog, came a tiny, unexpected glimmer of clarity in the form of a new name. I’d gone by my nickname, Dot, with family and a handful of close friends for years, an endearing name Pat gave me when I was thirteen or so (inspired by this character, haha!), and the name I’ve most identified with since. Just before my twenty-ninth birthday, I decided to adopt it full-on both personally and professionally - a new email address, a new signature, a new name on my Starbucks cup, the whole enchilada.
I loved it.
I’d heard of friends of friends changing their names in adulthood and would literally cringe inside at the clunkiness of the transition. But there I was, introducing myself as Dot at social events, signing off the same way on emails. In the midst of settling into my truest self, a new name felt like a tangible manifestation of it washing over me, a new birth of sorts. Names are so powerful; they give us dignity, speak hope over our lives, tell of our origins, and celebrate new beginnings. I love that my name tells my story, a tiny part of the bigger Story.