They’re selling this house that I’ve called home for three years. The master bedroom is empty, save my dresser and a few things in the closet and medicine cabinet. A lot of it is empty now.
I moved into the spare bedroom some time ago, and my girls still share their “bird’s nest” top floor bedroom.
There is a For Sale sign in my window. Soon strangers will be tromping through for showings and open houses. I need to keep the place looking nice.
This hasn’t been home for awhile, but is undeniably less so now.
This home is not my home.
My name is not my name.
An odd sensation, really, because despite the whole “a rose by any other name” thing, a proper name is central to identity.
I’ve only occasionally wondered what it’s like for a guy to “give his name” to a girl. I’ve been too busy living on the traditionally girlish side of knowing my last name would change for a husband. Romantic notion; kinda creepy.
I had conflicting feelings about this as a girl. I wanted to accomplish great things under my Dad’s family name. But it was awkward and German and always misspelled and mispronounced. My Mom held onto it post-divorce for my sake, but never felt connected to it. I only felt a little loss of loyalty and was happy to take a new one. It left her free to go back to her beloved family name, my Dad expected it anyhow, and I moved forward with proof of love and adult identity (at age 20, mind you): a new last name.
Two short years later, the new last name had become the equivalent of betrayal, and the new identity a burden. I regained acceptance as, like my Mom, I knew my daughters shared the last name. It made sense to keep it. It became the name colleagues and professionals knew me by. It “suited” me, they were pleased to say. My musical-sounding, redefine-and-claim it, smile-and-curtsy with it, performance name.
I gave it up for another awkward, always mispronounced and often misspelled German last name. I was pleased to honor that classy, accepting family by taking it, but didn’t quite fit. I tried to fit myself to it, tried to create my own version of it, but couldn’t reconcile myself.
Now I’m in limbo. I certainly cannot go back to some other version of me, actually or symbolically. Who do I become without a name?
A girl without a home, without a name. Mostly self-assured but lost all at the same time.
Maybe I’ll pretend to be a rose. Maybe I’ll call myself “Grace.” Maybe I’ll take Mom’s family name?
I have time… I’m going to be in limbo for the foreseeable future. I might as well be choosy and find a name that can be home.