What’s in a Name?

I had to go to the embassy in London last week. It was silly really but my passport needed to be renewed, and I finally decided to go ahead (after 8 years of marriage) and change my name.

Cue dramatic music.

I suppose I should have done this ages ago, but… my professional name would stay the same anyway, immigration is already hard without changing up monikers, plus I’d just gotten my last passport when we got married and it had a really cute picture.

I should have been able to do everything through the mail, but I had a question and after spending way too much time trying to get to a real human through the many branches of the phone tree, I decided make an appointment. This turned out to be a good thing because I needed to fill out a different form that I didn’t bring.

So why even change it? My husband’s name is easy to write but hard pronounce correctly. I’m just adding his name to my existing one anyway. Besides, I changed it on Facebook years ago, and isn’t that what really counts?

Well, friends, no, Facebook does not always tell the truth.

Honestly, it was more about having the same name as my husband which at the very least would make getting through airport security faster when we traveled. Also, I guess now I was ready to take on a new name. Not that there’s anything wrong with my old one, just ready to add to it.

It got me thinking about what’s in a name. My husband’s (and my new) surname means “angel” which is lovely. My first name means “God is my judge” which is a lot to stick on a kid. My mom didn’t choose it because of that—she chose it only so she could call me Dani. My brother nixed that idea when I came home from the hospital, saying it was a “boy’s name.”

The thing is, names matter. In fact, in most faerie-lore, revealing your true name gives someone power over you. So be careful how you use it. When I was thinking of names for Watermarked, I chose some just because I liked the way they sounded but others had a deeper reason. I paid the most attention to Cam’s. “Camline” is of Latin origin and is usually a boy’s name. I didn’t let that stop me because I really liked the shortened version, Cam, but also because I liked its meaning: song. It felt right in the story. I don’t call attention to it but always knew that in the back of my mind as I wrote.

My passport, with a new name and decidedly less cute picture, just arrived. I can’t believe that they were so quick, but it’s great. I need it for the next official place I have to change it and then the next, and the one after that until I finally work my way through all the official hoops.

Annoying process but also exciting…

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