A is for Amy. Yes, yes it is.

Note: I was contemplating participating in a blogging challenge which had me committed to writing 6 days a week, the theme for each day being a new letter of the alphabet, and then reading through 5 blogs on the 7th day. I couldn’t quite handle the commitment this challenge entailed (aside from my partnership with my husband, I am quite the commitment-phobe) but I was intrigued by the premise. So I have decided, in my own style and time to use the ABC format and continue to remain a blogging hermit. Here’s the first entry.

Letters of Latvian (Latin based) alphabet in h...

Letters of Latvian (Latin based) alphabet in handwriting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of you who know me in person, or if you have read the About part of this blog, know that my last name is the same as my middle name. My name is Judy Amy Amy. It wasn’t always this way. I used to be Judy Amy Something, and then a few years ago after much deliberation, I legally changed my name to Judy Amy Amy-Something. Here are a few reasons behind my decision:

  • Amy is my mother’s maiden name, and there are not many of us left. My cousin is the last of the direct line. So there’s that. And why shouldn’t my mother’s name be considered just as important as my father’s?
  • My father’s last name (the Something) is easily identified as a religious/cultural indicator of sorts in Canada. And my father experienced none of that–when his parents emigrated from the Old Country, they abandoned their religion, their culture, their language–even their extended family.  To be fair, I think their cousins denounced my father’s family as a consequence of having rejecting the aforementioned, particularly the church. When my father’s parents immigrated to Canada and decided to raise a family, they became (in their words) Canadian. No more, no less. A loss of culture, religion, and language for sure, but this was their choice of how they would adapt and embrace their new country. So it has always been super frustrating for me to have people assume untrue things about me and my family based solely on a name that has absolutely no deeper meaning to me, except for the fact that it belonged to my father. All this does is cause me to groan in irritation as I try to explain once again that I am not a part of this group, and have no knowledge of the language, traditions, or culture.  I just carry the name. This also relates back to my mother and her part in this relationship–by just looking at my surname these people ignore my mother’s culture and heritage and how is this in any way fair or equitable?
  • I went and visited the Island of Jersey a few years back, which is where my mom’s ancestors come from and this kind of cemented things for me. I felt at home there. I wanted to publicly acknowledge that Amy was an important part of me, and that I was a sum of my parts. I was not just my father’s daughter. I was just as much my mother’s daughter. My father died a number of years ago and I felt that keeping his name within mine was a nice tribute but I also wanted to embrace and acknowledge my mother.
  • When I broached the subject with people about the name change, most people thought I should just ditch my middle name. I wasn’t too keen on this idea, since it was the name my parents had chosen for me and where would I be without a middle name?  One day a dear friend said to me “Just own it. Be Judy Amy Amy.” When I heard that, it became clear that this was what I had been wanting to do all along and now I felt as though I had the encouragement and support to make this choice.

So here I am. A is for Amy. I am proud to be Judy Amy Amy. (and legally hyphen Something) I’m owning it. For the most part, I’m happy with my decision. Except when I’m at the doctor’s office, or god forbid, crossing borders:
“Your middle name is the same as your last name?”
“Yes, yes it is.”

Have you ever changed your name? Encountered difficulties or misconceptions about your name? Names are a funny thing–they are one of the first identifiers of who we are, but how representative are they?

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