A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

This Parson is no Saint.

The decision to change my last name has led to some questions, the most popular being "why now?". (I actually had it changed several months ago, but I'm still, sadly, in the process of having it changed on every kind of account I own. Little accounts that I forget, like resurrected gym memberships and such. So why several months ago, instead of three years ago, when the divorce was final? The answer is jarringly stupid:

Saint sounds cooler than Parson.

That's it. There was no trouble with paperwork, no misunderstanding, certainly no emotional strings left to be cut. I wasn't holding onto him. Just his neat name. I remember when I got married, I couldn't have that name legally changed fast enough. Not just because getting married was exciting and all, but because I could finally shed Parson. Parson always sounded all wrong to me. In elementary school, a pair of not particularly imaginative girls started calling me Sarah Parsley, as an insult. It didn't really work, and it didn't stick, but it was annoying. PAR-son, an overbearing first syllable, with an underbitten second. When Saint came along, I rejoiced. Alliteration! How freaking cute was Sarah Saint for a name? Effing adorable! What a great name for a writer, or an accountant, or a lion tamer, or a stripper! It was a perfect name for anything. Long after I realized I disliked my husband, I very, very much still liked the name he was lending me. When we divorced, I saw no reason to change it. That's how everyone knew me, after all.

That started changing last year. I work with the public, so I still got a Saint joke (or three) every day. My attitude toward it started changing. It started tasting different in my mouth. A little stale, or maybe like something with chemicals. Tang instead of orange juice. Part of living and working in the south is explaining your genealogy to perfect strangers, because you might actually be related. So when someone would ask if I was kin to so-and-so, I would have to explain that that was my married name. Then they'd ask who I'm married to, and I'd have to say that I wasn't, I just kept the name. This was always met with a brief look of puzzlement, and then "well, ok!". Fortunately, Saint is not a common name around here, so that didn't happen very often. But it still bothered me. Then I started feeling like I was kinda betraying my family, somehow. Parson was good enough for them, so what was my problem? Then I started thinking about how when I get married again, I'll want to take my Mr's last name...because it means you're a unit. Old fashioned? Yes. Demeaning? No. I've never understood the beef some women have with taking on their husbands' last names, but that's their opinion. To each their own. Me, I'll be a Mrs. the old skool way. Joined. Hitched. Cleaved. Yoked. Etc. So if I'm going to be excited about that when it happens, why would I still be holding onto the name of a man to whom I'm no longer married?

Just like that, alliteration wasn't good enough. It also suggested some level of discomfort with my maiden name, so I had to disentangle that, whatever that was. No offense to my family, at all. I think it just comes down to a lot of regret. I like myself just fine lately, but that hasn't always been the case. I dislike a lot of my previous decisions that were made under that name. That dislike led to more bad decisions under the second name. So maybe a name doesn't have much to do with it. I type all this easily now, but it's been a long time getting here, to where I'm actually, finally, comfortable in my own skin, and it has jack to do with a name, or a man. It's just me, getting over my own bullshit and deciding to make peace with the people I've been over a span of nearly 30 years. The intelligent, precocious child, the awkward preteen girl dealing with things no girl should ever have to deal with, failing at dealing and subsequently turning into a rebellious teenager and then a clueless young wife, a jaded divorcee, and then a celibate, withdrawn woman and finally a baby Catholic experiencing genuine love for the first time. This skin has weathered a lot of changes and housed a lot of emotions, the biggest being regret. But I think I'm done feeding that emotion. I can see that whatever phase I was going through, there was enough good in there to like. There was plenty, I just didn't see it. And that's ok, because I really see it lately. Does it matter whether this consciousness goes by Saint or by Parson? A little, but not nearly as much as it matters that this consciousness is at peace.

As far as the name change, it just makes sense to pick the one that belongs to me. Saint's a cool name...but it's not mine. I wasn't born to it, and the tie that bound it to me was peaceably severed a long time ago. Parson's mine, overbitten first syllable and all. I, too, have an overbite. It doesn't bother me anymore, either.

I have no idea what this means for a blog entitled "sarah's saintly blog". I've been meaning to revamp this place for, oh, years now. Maybe I should get going on that. Buy a .com or keep it free over at Wordpress, and begin the tedious process of dragging over six years of navel-gazing, hopes, events, and recipes with me. I'll let you know. Maybe it's time to reconsider the point of this blog. My friend Lindsey said recently on her blog that she's just sort of forgotten how to blog in the way she did years ago, and I totally get that. Maybe that's the beginning of some kind of internet maturity. There aren't exactly any studies done on that, since the internet experiment is still so new. I remember in my first-ever post, I said I felt like I had already kinda missed the blogging revolution. Ha! I was a little off. "Mommyblogger" wasn't even a thing yet, and "microblogging" (twitter) was brand new. I'm thinking that the navel-gazing on this blog is pretty much over, and if I'm going to keep blogging at all, there needs to be some kind of theme or something. Not to bring in more readers, but to talk about something more interesting. I'm in college to study nutrition, and I'm on a constant mission to make something delicious out of the combined dietary restrictions between the sugarface and myself, so why the hell not talk about that? Or about current events? Enter a new phase of internet life, one that's more interesting and less personal. Sounds good to me.

Whatever I decide to call it, it won't have Saint in the name.