Friday, October 16, 2009

what's in a (roller derby) name

Lately my sister and I have been having some fun with brainstorming roller derby names. It's made a stressful week--of paradoxical 1) having nothing to do, re dissertation other than avoid overthinking the defense on Monday and 2) having too much to do, as every night this week someone is off doing something, plus a packed weekend--much easier to handle. Sort of like doodling alternative anagrams for "WWJD" in first year Greek (also a fun distraction, still, if you're stuck somewhere in desperate need of mental diversion).

I'm not sure what Em's going to finally decide on, and besides, that is for her to reveal.

But of course it makes for an excellent collaborative blog invite. Post your roller derby name or suggestions and let the wild rumpus start!

I've also been thinking about the many people I know who, for one reason or another, have changed their names as adults, and wondering why I've never made that move myself, despite years of wishing I were not just another of the ubiquitous 1970's Jennifers. I had so many opportunities to do this as a young adult: moving to a new high school, starting college, getting married. Of course, it's a bit difficult to change the name people actually call you all the time. But I know people who have done it. And my middle name, which, though orthographically deviant, I share with my grandmother, is similar enough to "Jennifer" that people could still call me Jen and there wouldn't be too much difficulty with that. So I am seriously pondering it--once again. Brent thinks this is a bit silly. But I am beginning to realize that this is a lot more common than you'd think, and a lot more serious than frivolous. Name-changing when you get married we take for granted in our culture (most of us) and maybe forget that, in the end, it signals something akin to the "ontological change" we talk about in the context of ordination. In marriage, you're not just signing on to live with someone and share the household bills--you're making a decision about who you are, and who you intend to be in the future: an ontological decision about personal identity. It seems appropriate to signal that with a name change. It does not seem appropriate that only women signal that in this way, but that's another discussion. When I got married, I realized that I wanted to signal this ontological change with a symbolic name change--but also, to my surprise, found that I wanted to hold on to who I already was and didn't want to lose my name. At this point in my life I think I just want to recognize the de facto reality that I've never felt quite comfortable as a Jennifer and have always treasured being a Jeanine.


Justin Burton said...

Well, Jeanine, first off my roller derby name is Jalopy Burnt. I have names for other occasions, too, so perhaps this should be a Friday regular post.

Also, Jeanine, I've been growing increasingly embarrassed that neither my nor my child's name includes K's maiden name at all. I've broached name change topics several times, and I get shot down like a burnt jalopy, so we are what we are, for now.

Thanks for the great post, Jeanine!

JJT said...

yeah, that'll take some getting used to. but I think I like it, anyhow.

Brent's the one in our fam who insisted we include "Thweatt" in Clare's name. I like that he cares, but I figured going with the patrinomial standard was liveable, just for the sake of simplicity.

Casey. said...

I've contemplated name changes several times in my life, as I never liked being saddled with a boy-name. They are, as follows:

(1) Rockstar name: Delia Shu
(2) Rollerderby name: Isabella Killafella
(3) Pseudonym: Lora Casey Holden, so people wouldn't to call me something different.
(4) Spell-it-like-a-girl's name: Kacie Birk

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