Changing my name is not a new idea for me. I have thought about it, over the years, as a way to separate myself from my father’s legacy. For those who have no clue, and I suspect many don’t, (I wouldn’t expect you to) my father did not leave the family name a very good reputation. In fact, he left it shredded.
Unlike the fathers who 1) break the law, and therefore cast a shadow over their families keeping the ever watchful eye of the law on all the children; or 2) run off and leave their families, my father gained a bad rep for three things. 1. When he “found” God, he made it his mission in life to convert everyone or make their lives a living hell. 2. Though he worked hard, he still earned a less than favorable reputation with the companies and businesses in the area. I doubt there isn’t any businesses who do not know of my father’s aggressiveness and lack of courtesy. And, 3. Attitude, attitude, attitude. Just speaking the last name is like handing out a curse.
In private, he was very verbally abusive. I state this not because I want to open old woulds or because I am feeling low. I mention it because it was a fact. There was not a single moment in my life that I do not remember him saying at least one unkind word to me, except for the four years my grandfather lived with us. His abuse is, to the largest point, why I am awkward, shy, and socially inept.
I never received praise for things well done. It was not in his nature to admit that anyone but himself could do anything right or even know anything. I stopped my art for a while because of him. I never sang in front of him. And he never read a single thing I ever wrote, even when it was published.
He believed that children should neither be seen nor heard, yet my stepsister was his favorite and got away with everything. I, on the other hand, got punished for everything, even if it wasn’t my fault. It has fed my insecurities, my fears. Instead of making me stronger, it made me less able to handle stress. It destroyed me.
I was even more devastated, as a newly graduated teen, when I went to get work and found-much to my chagrin-that nearly every business I went to to fill out apps knew my dad and hated him (and subsequently, anyone with the same last name) with a passion. I got eye-rolls, head shakes, and a few who even reached for the phone as if they were going to call security. I even found that my dad’s advice was, well, a bunch of bull shit and lies that got me laughed out of more places than was necessary.
And, so, I began toying with the idea of changing my last name. (Incidentally, Jaysen True Blood id a pseudonym, not my real name) The idea first crossed my mind in Junior High. Then again in high school. and then after I emerged broken from the wreckage that was my first job search.
But now, someone else has seen what I already knew. My last name had been a hindrance to me. My dad had destroyed any chance at family redemption. Now, more than one thinks it is a good idea for me to change my name.
This time, my ally is my mother’s boyfriend. Oh, and my mother. Of course, now it will detach me from everything in my past…including two exes who just simply can’t let go, even though one has remarried and the other is too far away for me to give a damn. Neither were positive forces in my life. Both refused to be loyal. Both left me for little or no reason and refused to work on the marriage. So I believe it is time to move on and change my name. Good Bye, Jason. Hello Jaysen.