Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Identity theft.

My last name. I’ve gone through three and half of them so far. I’m pretty sure I’ve settled permanently on this last one.
I was born into my first last name. I had it for such a brief period of time that I cannot honestly remember classifying myself as such.
My mother and biological father divorced when I was very young, around two years old. My mother married into my second last name, but I stole it. Legally, I never had a name change; I was never adopted by my step-father. Instead, I fiercely chose that moniker as means of belonging to my new family structure. My first last name became a thing of revulsion to me. At four years of age I consciously denied my ancestry. It was not so hard. My birth father chose to have little or no contact with me, and I chose to have little or no thought about him. I was so believable in this new identity that I even managed to procure legal documentation stating that it really was my last name - my driver’s license bore record of this untruth. Such are the subtle manipulations of law that exist in small town living. Unfortunately, I grew to detest my second last name as well, for somewhat similar reasons as the first.
My second and a half last name came by means of the Provincial and Federal Government. Whilst applying for student loans I was faced with the dilemma of how to fill in the line that asked for my legal last name. Legally, it was the first, but I had legal documentation of the second. I aimed for sanctuary by adding both, but with a parenthesized explanation of why. When my loan was approved, I was surprised to find that I had been renamed thusly: first last name hyphen second last name. And with that small dash, I had yet another incarnation of myself to add to my repertoire.
So many versions of myself, yet none of them belonged to me. I longed for a name to call my own.
I am now on my third last name, otherwise known as my last last name. I chose it for two reasons. It identifies me with my husband, as it is his. It also separates me from my past plethora of convoluted surnames. It represents my good choices, my bright future. I am loved, I belong, I am finally me.
I am Jessy B.