Life Changes with a Change of Name. I know. It happened to me. When I was just entering adulthood, I changed my name. This is a little story about how my name…and my life changed together
I was born “Lori Ann Selten” and was called Lori throughout my childhood. As I grew into adulthood and started to become my own woman (rather than the youngest child/baby girl/princess that I had been until then) I began to rebel against my early self in favor of the woman I was becoming,… the person I would go on to become in my own right, in my work, in my adult relationships, in my marriage, in my spiritual identity, in my whole life. I changed my name as part of changing my whole life when I was becoming “me”. I chose a Name that I felt like…the Name of that woman I was becoming…and one I did become.
My Name Change wasn’t huge or outlandish, compared to Name Changes by a couple of friends I’ve met since. I just dropped my first name completely. “Lori” no longer seemed to be me. “Lori” was the sheltered little girl and I was eager to leave her behind as I was starting to explore the complex, wider world I found so interesting. So, “Lori” was gone, and I was never her again. I had a middle name all those years, but never used it in everyday life. Taking it for my first name, I added an “e” to my otherwise unused middle name and became Anne Selten. Young adult. Emerging all fresh into the wider world.
Sometimes life changes with change of name. For me, that Change of Name was both a cleansing and a graduation. I never used “Lori” again. I had arrived, as Anne. And, inside myself, I was no longer a baby girl, a little sister or the youngest, daintiest person in every mix of people I was around. I had graduated to the person I aspired to be. From then on, I felt free to be whoever I chose to be, without my confining past of a little girl with whom I shared no common dreams. I had to kick Lori out, to step into Anne. And I did. It was great and still is.
That is how and why Lori Ann Selten became Anne Selten. It was important for me to “shove aside” my earlier life so I could explore the rest of my life freely. I made sure that all the places in my life that mattered in a structural way (jobs, bank accounts, government accounts and reporting, etc.) recorded my New Name and used it in dealing with me from then on. Of course, all my new relationships after that point (schooling, work, new relationships) related to me as Anne Selten and without ever knowing there was a Lori Ann.
My Name Change took a period of time before I had rearranged all my old connections (i.e., brothers, best friends, fiancé, parents, etc.). But I did it, and it worked. At first, my family called me Lori, by habit. But I fastidiously corrected them until they started thinking of me as Anne. The struggle of their learning to call me Anne actually helped me get to know them as the adult woman I had become, and vice-versa. Eventually, calling me by my New Name became habit for them too. Even Aunts and Uncles came along in time.
Looking back (I’m a much older woman now), as I entered adulthood, I went through a metamorphosis. Life changes with change of name, indeed. I entered that period as Lori, a dainty, somewhat shallow and materialistic person. I emerged as Anne, a strong, spiritual, and deeply empathetic and compassionate person. My Change of Name didn’t cause any changes within me, rather it reflected the changes I was experiencing, decided to make, made and continued to make. My Name Change facilitated my life changes and I’m forever glad of them all.
Now, when I see pictures of myself as a 3 year old or 6 year old, I see Lori, the person I used to be, and I can smile. And when I turn the pages and see pictures of myself as a 28 year old, 42 year old or a 60 year old, I see Anne and smile too. I was uncomfortable with myself in the name I was born into. I was always comfortable with myself in the name I chose for myself as I became the one I wanted to be. It feels good to live a life of choices and changes you make for yourself.