Whenever I hear that song in a bar I’m transported back in a weird way. And a little bit annoyed. Anyway.
So I am in the process of changing my name. For freelance writing that I do, I’ll keep the old girl. It’s just easier. Further separate my personal and professional life. That’s okay by me. Also my new name makes it really really easy to explain six-eight time to other people.
But at work, my co-workers are refusing to call me by my new name. I know there’s a learning curve and an amount of time until people learn it. And shoot, I haven’t even officially changed anything as far as legal documents. I have done nothing to get the name-changing off the ground.
And then I get confused and I don’t know how to more correctly introduce myself to others, or to identify myself on the phone. I dislike it intensely.
But still, I tell people my new, bizarrely spelled, Eastern European, weird consonant, three syllable last name, compared to my super duper common single syllabic maiden name. And then people hear the new name, and they say, “I’m not calling you that. You’ll always be Miss Name here.” (Instead of Name, there goes my old name.)
I want to say to these people, “Well, I’m going to call you Captain Fartface, and that’s not your name either. Would you mind terribly calling me by my name?”
It’s a weird identity thing, and I want to do it and not be a dick about it. It’s not my intent to make others feel uncomfortable. One of my very good friends has a very good friend who is experiencing a transition into being a transgender/gender queer, and I keep accidentally calling said friend by the previously used female name. At a recent event, I tried to say goodbye to said friend, and called the female name instead of the androgynous name, and said friend didn’t turn around. Later, it was explained, “I didn’t know you were talking to me.” What wasn’t said was, “That’s not my name anymore.” I was like WTF.
I wasn’t doing it on purpose. I wasn’t trying to be obnoxious about it, i.e., I don’t accept you for who you are, or who you’ve found yourself to be. In this case, I just slipped. I hadn’t gotten the very important speech about what to call this person now.
But maybe (s)he’s on the right idea. Truly, it’s not her name anymore. It’s not her identity any longer. (Pronouns get confusing here…I’ll figure that part out later.)
My change is obviously less dramatic. It’s a rite of passage in a heteronormative society. But it is a change in the most fundamental part of my identity – my name. One of the most imperative things you can do with kids is get their names correct, and make sure you learn all of them, because that’s important. That’s who they are.
And while I was a little put off by the “I didn’t know you were talking to me,” who am I to tell someone else who they are?
I just get annoyed that the people who I work with, and who I have worked with don’t seem to want to make an effort. It’s two more syllables. I also work with a group of self-contained students, whose (more so) mental & (somewhat) emotional disabilities are too severe to put them into normal classrooms. Many of them cannot even really read. But damned if every single one of them doesn’t call me by my correct married name – without having to be prompted.
No excuses, fully grown and in no way mentally impaired co-workers.