A new life is about to begin: mine. I've decided to change my name and go back to my maiden name. I never really wanted to change it in the first place but felt both a 'wasband' as well as societal pressure to do so. It will never change again. Yet, I still feel like I should hyphenate it, somehow go with both. Is that crazy? How will anyone know who the hell Stephanie Lafond is? No one I work with; no one I've slept with (that might be a good thing, depending on the side of the story you chose to believe), none of my friends, not even my children. (Come to think of it, that might also be a good thing.) Part of me feels like I've lost my identity, so as I now know to do, I will take it slow and ponder for a brief while before completely moving forward. The other half of me is excited at the possibilities of reinventing myself with a new-again name. That side that wants the fresh start that began a few years ago, to move to the next logical step. A new me is revealed, sort of thing.
So much is wrapped up in a name though, isn't it? Especially a last name. Take Trudeau. How can you ever emerge from the weight of such a famous name? Even if you aren't related but had that last name, wouldn't everyone you meet ask if you were related to Pierre? Then there's Justin, that gorgeous (at least to me) man in his early 40s, whose hair I'd beg Sophie to let me run my hands through. (What's with bald guys in my life?...other more important attributes, I guess...) His father's foe will forever haunt him, even though Pierre and Justin are completely different people, individuals, whose primary outward link to one another is their last name. Those foe who lived while his father Pierre, the 15th Prime Minister of Canada governed, primarily remember the debt that his government racked up for our nation or perhaps his handling of the October Crisis through the War Measures Act. (A relative to the Patriot Act, for those non-Canadians out there.) However, what they should be focused on are the enormous, progressive, and undoubtedly radical but forward-thinking ideas and beliefs, that he would ultimately embed in our culture: bilingualism, keeping Quebec in Canada, the Charter of Rights, separation from Britain. Many of the principles that guide our generation and those of our children, liberalization of divorce, abortion and homosexuality laws, are owed directly to him. I, for one, am OK with climbing out of a sea of red ink, if it means that we are a progressive nation, hell bent on human rights, individual choice and keeping the "state out of the bedrooms of the nation". For many, Pierre Trudeau in fact had no first name, that's how important his last name was to his identity. I grew up with a mother who was very much a part of Trudeaumania, not Pierre Trudeaumania. He was Trudeau; always has been. (Well, sometimes, when it was just us, she would call him Pee-hhierre, but even then, I could tell by how she batted her eyes, that it was but a serious crush.)
Now it seems, perhaps as his way of marking his own new ground, and claiming his own identity, Justin Trudeau often promotes himself with the simplicity of only his first name, Justin. Understandably, he too wanted a fresh start, not to discount in any way the past, rather to recognize his individuality, his fresh ideas and ways of thinking. A new Trudeau is revealed, sort of thing.
Open Thread Wednesday
23 hours ago