Shakespeare had it right in Romeo and Juliet when he asked, “What’s in a name?”
“A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”
And while I’m not in the business of a budding romance with a member of a rival family, I can’t help but think of that passage almost every day.
For those who don’t know, I used to write a column, “The Prenuptial Project,” in one of our weekly publications, The Weekender. The purpose was to catalog my time preparing for my wedding.
And now, the wedding is over, and I am settling into married life with my new husband.
Overall, not a whole lot in my day-to-day life has changed. We were already living together, and we are both back in the rhythm of our work schedules and household chores.
However, there is one aspect of my life that is in the process of changing – my name.
As a reporter, changing my name was a decision I had to make quickly upon returning from my honeymoon, and just about everyone has had an opinion on it.
It was a complicated decision for me. In my professional life, I have decided to hyphenate my maiden name and my married name, which one of my editors has repeatedly suggested is too long.
However, letting go of who I’ve been for the past 24 years is hard.
Like most people, I didn’t have any control over my name. They are given to us before we can have an opinion about them, and we grow up and into our name.
There were times as a child that I despised my name. No one spelled it correctly. My teachers didn’t know how to pronounce it, and I constantly had to tell people, “Yeah, my name is Brigid, but it’s not spelled the correct way. B-R-I-G-I-D.”
And they would still spell it wrong.
I could never pick up anything at amusement parks or boardwalks that were specialized with names. Brigid didn’t exist.
As I got older though, I learned to live with the annoyance of always having to correct people and learned to love it. It was my name, and very rarely did I bump into another Brigid. Not saying that it never happened, but I can count the instances on one hand.
Unlike my husband, Mikey, who I will continue to call Mikey due to the influx of Michaels in my life (brother, uncle, friends, father-in-law), my name was fairly unique.
There came a time, however, I knew I wanted to change my name. Or at least edit it a little.
As a child of divorce, I wanted a clean slate to dissociate from the negative parts of my past. But it’s a lot easier said than done, especially in this field.
I’ve been with the Times Leader for almost three years, and my name has become recognizable.
So, to have to turn around and switch it is hard, and I’m having a more difficult time than I thought. So, I told everyone, I’ll hyphenate it for a while. Get everyone used to the change.
But every time I put my name on an article, I’m still not used to it.
Over time, I’m sure that I’ll get used to introducing myself as Brigid Lawrence (which I have yet to do), and the byline will get shorter, and my editor, Joe Soprano, will stop giving me a hard time about it.
But for now, I’ll try to get used to typing out my full name.
And, in case you have already forgotten, it’s B-R-I-G-I-D …
Reach Brigid Edmunds-Lawrence at [email protected] or on Twitter @brigidedmunds.