26 October 2011

On changing my name

I am again Angela Elain Gambrel. What I haven't figured out is who that person is...

I go to write my name, and I become confused about which name to write since the changeover is incomplete.

A feeling of misunderstanding? confusion? unreality? comes over me when I sign the name. What am I supposed to write? And what does it all mean in the end besides some letters strung together meant to indicate who I am? Or is it all a legal falsehood, a lie perpetuated by society? Are we defined by our name?
And I wonder why it ever meant so much to me...

It was supposed to empower me. Return to my birth name; the name I held for thirty years. Wipe the slate clean. The final break between my husband and I without actually divorcing - discarding his name, and taking my former name back.

Instead, I cried the day my Social Security Card arrived with Angela Elain Gambrel clearly printed on it. It was the final break of our 15-year marriage. We no longer share the same name, and instead of feeling empowered by that, I only felt a heavy ache in my heart and I wanted to take it back, take it all back, because I knew that it meant the true beginning of the end, that I will some day no longer be his wife. The dream is truly over and I must move on.

I have spent days drinking wine and pouring over photos of us, happy and smiling and Mr. and Mrs. Lackey. I have prayed at times, God, please return me back to those happier times, before I got sick, before I developed anorexia, before everything imploded and happily ever after became lost. There are wedding photos and vacation photos and photos from this summer when we attempted to reconcile...

And I thought I could erase him, erase all the pain, by a mere name change?
I am grieving right now; the death of my marriage as autumn starts to fade and life itself dies and soon the cold will be here...And I will be so cold without David here.

But in my heart, I know that this is the right thing. We simply aren't able to give each other what we need. David needs his freedom to create his art. I need someone to love and cherish me, to stay by my side no matter what and to share both the joys and troubles of life with me. Simply put, there was nothing left for us to give each other as husband and wife.

I still love David, but more and more I realize it is not David I miss - because I was very anxious around him this summmer, and often felt within me that reconciliation was not going to happen - but companionship; the fun of having someone to do things with and be with.

I'm not sure how any of this happened, for once I believed that we would be together forever. I never expected to change my name again; not for the reasons I did. But there are a few days, I look at my new name and think, I can become who I once was - courageous, curious, strong, independent, often fearless, and someone who loved people and being part of their lives. That a whole new life awaits me, if only I have the courage to live the life that I have instead of mourn forever the life I once lived...

I'm not sure what I am trying to say. I simply know that it is over, and even though my heart is broken, it will mend one day. And I will look back at the pain of the last month and it won't hurt as much.

And then I will be healed, and able to move forward...


Ashley Noelle said...

Thank you for leaving a kind message to my post yesterday. It did mean a lot to me to have your support when I was going through something difficult.

This is new stage that you are entering. You have gone through so many changes ever since I started reading your blog posts.

I see a woman who is reclaiming herself from a lot of hurt and struggles. Anorexia may have had driven some wedge into your marriage, however, do keep it in your mind that David did play as big role in this as well. I am not encouraging you or anybody else to blame anybody here in this case, but rather understand all the sides.

I also see some self-blame and a lot of sadness in your post today. It is something I understand and can relate especially after yesterday. What I have learned is to allow feelings come through no matter how hard it is, and in the end, guess what...it is okay and you will be okay.


Sensory Overload said...


Dear soul. Grieving takes time. And it that grief one must allow the ebbs and flows. It is absolutely okay to not know what direction something may take. The memories and nostalgia will come in and out each day. Dreams will be had where you may rise and suddenly discover that change all over again.

Give yourself that time and go through the motions to hear your true self. In this; I believe that one can find that aspect of singularity that we all. That space where we intuitively know what direction to go, precisely what brings balance to ourselves.

There is a line from Rebekka Karijord's "Dead On My Feet" where she begs, "How do you grieve for someone still alive?" This has always hit me so specifically.

It isn't so much about erasing as it is embracing. At least this is what I've learned.

I hope that you are able to find your forward even in motions that feel so slow and maybe even stagnant. Most likely, you are moving, just not as fast as your thoughts.

With you in mind.

Be well.

Anonymous said...

You are a beautiful , kind and loving soul who deserves to be loved and cherished ,by someone willing and ready to do this with you and for you.
I have no doubt you will be one day , first you need to keep on nurturing your beautiful soul and showing yourself what an amazing survivor you truly are x

Angela E. Gambrel said...

Thank you for your kind comments. Your support and love sustain me through this difficult time, and I find each day I know I am loved and am able to move forward.

I hope each one of you are doing well, and know you have really made a difference to me with your words!

I love my readers!!!

Anonymous said...


I feel so sorry for you going through this and, yet, I know that you will only become stronger.

I know that when I was left heartbroken by an ex, I found myself going through pictures and memories just as you. I found myself missing him and, then, I realized that it wasn't him I missed. I don't know if you will find this true as well, but I missed the person I'd made him out to be in my mind. After he hurt me, I began to see that I'd placed him on a pedestal and that he hadn't ever really been the guy I'd made him out to be. It's good to keep and cherish memories of the good times, but in doing so we often forget the bad times. While that is alright, I think it can lead us to believe people are someone else; someone without flaws, someone with whom we had such perfect times. In reality, things were harder than I remembered when looking at the pictures and feeling sad. Maybe the same is true for you? Maybe, if it is true, you can reinforce the belief that you will be better off now that you can move forward on your own.

If none of this applies to you, just know that there is one more person out there keeping you in her prayers.