When I was very small, I was known to the world around me as Susie. (It’s worth noting that I haven’t admitted this in public for about 50 years.)
Along about third grade or so, I decided that I would much rather be Sue and simply quit responding to anything else. This was a strategy that was, apparently, annoying to many of the tall people around me.
Little did I know that it was simple back then!
I have spent my adult life, since the year I was 19, hassling with people about my name.
Birth name. Married name. Birth name reclaimed.
I swore I’d never change it again. Until I did.
Modern name, that time. Hyphenated when Bill and I got married. I was up to my eyebrows in exams and in love.
Then, the real problems began. Southern traditions. Miss Manners. Computer fields too short for my whole name and mythical algorithms randomly choosing whatever batch of letters fit in their boxes, leaving me with a whole bunch of stuff that didn’t match and irritated the fool out of me.
Eventually, I became the editor of Monday Morning magazine and the masthead had room for only half of my name. I was delighted and picked the half I was born with.
This did not, of course, solve my challenges in the rest of the world.
Lots of life and knee surgery followed.
Finally, about four years or so ago, I went to court and changed my name legally back to the name of my birth.
If you want the official version, I am, in these days, The Rev. Dr. Susan L. Boardman, RN, MDiv, DMin, Intentional Creativity Teacher. Almost always, other than when I’m lobbying politicians, just plain Sue is fine.
Except in Cyber-Hell.
Having had two or three email addresses, a similar number of domain names and blog titles, not to mention WordPress accounts, Amazon author accounts, and Facebook pages, all of them with passwords according to the bizarre rules of this site or that, I find myself awash in a morass of reminders that my name should be what I say it is.
As should yours.
You are, perhaps, wondering why this matters in this moment.
Well, my dear writer friend, Dr. Cynthia Levy, sent me a copy of the eulogy that the amazing writer and teacher of writers, Deena Metzger, offered at the memorial service for a very young woman killed at the Thousand Oaks massacre.
Cindy sent it because it’s all about hope in the midst of the situational angst of this world and she knew that, because you hang out in this place, you would want to hear it, too. I’m grateful.
And frustrated. WordPress, it seems does not believe in name changes, and I don’t have the technical skill to convince them otherwise. I wanted to give this space, today, to Deena, and the wisdom of young women like Noel, of whom we need whole lots more, rather than less.
I couldn’t make it happen, but that’s a problem for a different day. (And some talented friends!)
Today, dots. And a link which I hope with all my heart that you’ll press. We all need these words. And this hope. And the power of the names we choose.
As this season of light begins, bless you and yours. And bless Deena Metzger for speaking the truth.