When Doug and I married it meant a lot to him that I take his last name, and so I did it to please him even though I had finally found peace in being myself, Annie Barron.  I’d been married and divorced before, and also had changed my name to make my childhood nickname, “Annie”, become my legal first name (Public Service Announcement: please, for the sanity of kids everywhere, if you are going to call your children by nicknames, put those nicknames on their birth certificates...I thank you). Five name changes later, I now anticipate name change number six, which I am determined will be my last.

What’s in a name?  Identity, belonging, acceptance, community…confusion, isolation, disorientation, longing…a name is a declaration of personal qualities and a pronunciation of membership to an exclusive group called “family.”