Monday, 30 December 2013

Once a Rogerson, always a Rogerson

Something that has become more of a conscious consideration since my family have been here is whether or not I will - once I can initiate divorce proceedings, which in North Carolina cannot be done until a year after official separation - change my last name back to 'Rogerson'. I've been reflecting on it for a while without the presence of my closest blood relatives, but having them here has thrown the question into sharper relief.

I've pushed aside the very basic practical considerations: given that applying for removal of my Green Card conditions, proving the bona fide nature of what was my marriage, and then looking towards (all being well) going for US citizenship, the paperwork aspect of the task doesn't intimidate me at all. There's plenty of company for one extra form or clause in the divorce decree, and I'm very well versed in contacting the DMV, Social Security Office, and all the utility companies to change details like this. According to Jackie Pilossoph, author of blog 'Divorced Girl Smiling', it's not actually all that much of a hassle anyway, either.

The reasons why I might do it are mostly pretty obvious:
  1. I love my family very much, and I always loved being a Rogerson. Being an 'official' part of that group again would give me great joy and satisfaction.
    We're quite good.
  2. Taking my old name back is a form of independence that may make me feel freer to continue my life as a single, self-sufficient woman under her own name. 
  3. The name is also shared by several other (albeit more distant) fantastic family members, who I again identify and celebrate being connected with. 
  4. The name itself suits my shorter first name and total lack of middle name, if we're just going for basic aesthetics. 
  5. The last name 'Lloyd' is shared only by my ex-husband, and not any extended family with whom I have a connection, so there's no link to a group of people, emotional or otherwise. 

The reasons why I might not, though? Pretty much the exact opposite, in a way:
  1. I love my family very much. I'm still, quite clearly, a Rogerson - even if not by legal name. There's no way I have ever felt less a part of my wonderful Fantastic Four just because I changed my last name. So does it matter?
  2. Taking my old name back might be seen as a fresh start, but only if I want to create and can truly identify with a new girl under that name. There's a possible element of shame, responsibility, or explanation involved too, to some degree: having to have the people in your life (personal and professional) adapt or revert to using your maiden name again, because the marriage you wanted so badly failed. It's a very obvious marker, at least at the beginning of the process. More than that, though, while I love my family name, moving to the States and learning to be, rather than to seem to be is all tied into the name I now bear. I do not regret coming here and the reasons why I did so, and nor do I regret who I have become. I actually quite like the woman - and she's pretty self-sufficient and strong just as she is. 
  3. This I will explain in the same way as point #1. I'm not in any way less connected to other Rogersons simply because I quit the name for what was, at the time, a very positive and loving reason. 
  4. The amount I care about both my names being short is negligible. Also, the joke nickname 'Eviloid' has been born of the new surname I adopted, which is pretty awesome as well. 
  5. Sharing a name with just Ben isn't something I especially want going forward, but at the same time, I also don't mind too much in some ways. It's also my name. It's something I chose. He didn't give it to me, I took it. The choice to keep it or rescind it is also mine, either way.

This isn't something I have to decide until later in 2014, and I intend on giving it a lot more thought. Another option, of course, is to pick a new name all my own (although I think that NC law actually prohibits that, unfortunately, at least as part of the divorce paperwork), so I could probably have some fun with that! One thing is for sure, though: Eve Rogerson has been here all along.

4 comments:

  1. I can see why it might be a dilemma.

    I can see the benefit of retaining your married name if you had children, it would make sense to have the same name. I can also understand if you wanted to keep Lloyd as a tangible piece of evidence that your life together was genuine and precious to you. Also the life you have created in the US is your life as Eve Lloyd, you're not the same person you were when you were last Eve Rogerson. The current Eve now calls NC home and you're that person regardless of Ben, since you've opted to stay and continue your life here without him. If you had a well established career as Lloyd, that would be another reason to keep it.

    Ultimately, the only reasons I see to return to Rogerson is if you're not particularly fond of Ben right now. I don't know what your relationship is like with him or if you remain friends. But if you're feeling very hurt or betrayed, you might not want to keep his last name and have it be a reminder of the breakdown of your relationship. That being said, name or not, you'll never forget and you'll always have been married.
    The prime reason I see to change your name is...nostalgia or comradery or just that feeling of being a part of something...I know that when your family is so far away it can be difficult to feel connected. Skyping with my family this Christmas didn't make me feel more connected to them but less. Not being there to actually be a part of the festivities. It only emphasized the distance. That distance is hard to overcome and sometimes I do feel like that as a Robinson, I'm part of a different clan now. It's not something that makes sense but just something I feel. Going back to your maiden name might not physically bring you closer to your family but it might make you feel closer. Which might be something that you need as you face this new adventure.

    I think the best outcome would be if NC allowed you to pick a name of your choosing but since they can't, just think about the person that you are now. Going forward. You might not be the same Eve Rogerson but neither are you the same Eve Lloyd. And you certainly wouldn't be the person you are without having first been both a Rogerson & a Lloyd.

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    1. What a wonderful, thoughtful comment. Thank you for putting it so beautifully - and you are certainly right about needing to be close to family, even if only in name. I obviously don't talk much online about how things are between Ben and I, but regardless of my feelings now it is definitely true that the relationship was precious, significant, and (I thought) real love. So it would be about who I am now - you're spot on. I will spend some time reflecting on which name is the one I feel is 'me' over this next 10 months.

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  2. Revert now. You will end up doing sooner or later anyway. (That's my two penneth/two cents worth of off the cuff advice!) ;)

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    1. Thanks for the advice, Paul! :)

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Thanks for taking the time to write! I try to reply to everyone, and I love to read your comments.