Note: This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago about my name, but I’ve revisited and reworked it. Today’s Daily Prompt from WordPress, which I like to use when I am short on time and inspiration, is about names. This is one story about my (somewhat confusing) name.
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. Technically, it’s Judy Amy Amy-Something, but usually I just go by Judy (Amy) Amy to avoid confusion. Here’s a bit of background regarding my name.
Amy is my mother’s maiden name, and there are not many of us left. My cousin is the last of the direct line. Like every girl in my mom’s family, I too was given the name Amy as a middle name. The difference is that I also have it as part of my last name. My mom’s family hails from the Island of Jersey a small British ruled island off the coast of France, although the Amys have lived in Canada for several generations.
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, and their language. When my grandparents immigrated to Canada in the 1920s 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.
It has always been really 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. In this way, I’m happy for the Amy (even if it’s confusing) because it helps denote that I am not merely my father’s daughter, but also my mother’s. I am a sum of the parts. (Which is also why I would like to legally change my children’s last names to include my name, as well as my partner’s, but that would mean cursing my daughter with the First Name Amy Amy-Something, since like all Amy girls, she also has Amy as her middle name. Am I willing to do that? I’m not quite sure.)
If it weren’t for the fact that my father died, and that I feel keeping his name is respectful, I’d probably take a big black marker and cross the Something off my name. Why? I’ve touched on this above with the assumptions, but also because when people see a girl’s name in front of a hyphen, they automatically register it as my first name, with Something being my last name. I guess hyphenated names still aren’t as common as I think they should be. I often hear “Amy Something” called out at Doctor’s offices, as though my first name, Judy, has disappeared. Sometimes it’s the Judy that remains and the Amy that disappears, so that I am Judy Something on letters. Rarely am I Judy Amy-Something. Which is why I introduce myself as just Judy Amy, and leave the Something for the legal stuff. It avoids a lot of the confusion.
So here I am. A is for Amy. I am proud to be Judy Amy Amy. (and legally hyphen Something) I own it. It’s mine. And, for the most part, it’s really not that big a deal. 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 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?
If you would like to contact me about this post or about anything else you’ve read please email me: judyamy74(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet me @JudyAmy74.