Today I changed my name. This process was both exciting and stressful. I mean I did have to visit the social security office and if you’ve been there you likely know that’s almost better than Wal-Mart style people watching. 🤷🏼♀️ For real. It was stressful because it took 3 attempts at vising said office – 2 of which were today, all before 9:30AM, and not to mention the extra money and time for legal filings and court on top of the original process (because I made this decision post divorce).
When I was going through the divorce process it was a question I was asked a lot – “are you going back to your maiden name?” or “are you changing your name?” At the time this was a huge struggle for me. I had become a Berry. For almost 10 years I identified as this. My email, all accounts, work, school, ALL. of. the. things. were associated with me as Heather Berry, how could I just get rid of that?!
My biggest struggle was them. How can I still be their mom and have a different last name? I know many moms do this every day. But not me. That wasn’t how I planned it to be, that was not for me. So, I didn’t even request the name change in my divorce. I would stay a Berry (even though I didn’t want a name that didn’t want me) but because I wanted the same name as my girls because I thought that is what it was supposed to be.
See that is where I messed up. I had this vision or idea of what my life should look like. What I thought it would look like, forever. Then that all changed. I didn’t accept it very well. Heck – some days I still struggle with accepting it. With understanding. With asking why. Why me? Why my family? Where did I go wrong? It’s to be expected, so I don’t get down on myself for it – I allow myself the moment and come back to reality – the reality is – life isn’t what we think it will always be, BUT that doesn’t mean it wasn’t supposed to be this way.
We are at [almost] 4 months post divorce – and a few months ago I decided I was doing this. One day I just wanted my name back. I didn’t want to be associated with a name that didn’t want me, I didn’t want to be stuck with the name should my girls get married and I never do again. I wanted to be me and I did become Heather Berry, and I own that part of my life and I lived that part of my life to my best – but that person; his wife, the Berry family caretaker and doer of all things – that person well she’s looonnnggg gone now. Something about reclaiming my maiden name, taking back what was mine, something about it spoke to me.
I did ask my oldest how she felt about this possibility – after all, the only reason (okay, probably not the only reason as I think truly deep down I didn’t want to change it because it made it even more real. It meant I was left. It meant even more so all the things I had worked for, put effort into, and become were being taken away. It made it REAL), so anyway – I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t completely opposed to it. Her response “well, I won’t call you Heather Musick, I call you mom so I don’t really care.” 🙏🏼 And that, that is just what I needed to hear. I checked in several times over the last few months with her just making sure she was okay with it still and her response never changed. Today, when I told her I had officially changed it she said she still didn’t care but it was a little weird that she wouldn’t have the same last name as her mom. 🤦🏼♀️ That stung a bit. No lie. Did I make the right move? Well shit, I hope so, I already done made the move. But I did. I did make the right move. I know that in the moments of changing my email, notifying my work, and making it “Facebook official” – doing all of those things were somewhat liberating (as silly as it may sound) it was. And she, well she likely will not always be a Berry either – and if she is, well she is ALWAYS going to be my girl no matter our names and that will never change and she knows that.
So, today, today I changed my name. I become who I once was . . . a girl that lived for herself, laughed, had fun, and did not care what anyone thought. A girl that had friends, made plans, lived her life, and did everything to her best ability, everything. I took back a piece of myself that no one can take away from me. It’s ownership, its pride, it may seem petty or insignificant, but just as excited as one is to take their spouses name when they think they’re their forever – well that same excitement happens when you realize they aren’t your forever and that is okay because you find yourself again, even while losing them.