Thursday, December 30, 2010

#reverb10 - Day 23 - New Name

December 23 – New Name.  “Let’s meet again, for the first time.  If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?”  (Author: Becca Wilcott)

“Nice to meet you Sydney.”

“We have met Sam.

I used to be known as Little Myra.”

I have, in fact, introduced myself to strangers (and those not so strange) as Sydney Renai for a whopping 7,811 days. I had no idea what a blessing that would be when I would later become a member of Facebook. Imagine no one from your past finding you!

My identity was shattered about the age of nineteen when I discovered that my paternity was wrapped in a cloak of secrets and lies. I wasn’t who I thought I was. I was someone else. Who, I didn’t know. All I did know was that everything I believed about myself, my life, my father….was a lie.

Eventually I perceived this to be a blessing in disguise. It explained a lot about how I felt as a kid growing up. It then became my opportunity to start fresh, with a clean slate, a blank book, and create my re-birthing.

At the age of 23 I decided that my new identity needed a new name. I began to research how I would go about actually changing my name and quickly realized it entailed more than I had anticipated. It takes money to change your name, an attorney and a judge.

I purchased a baby name book, read a lot of credits on television and made note of my favorite characters.

Kelsey perhaps?

Nah. Doesn’t fit,” said my inner voice.

I kept searching until I came across a movie starring Sidney Portier.

Hmm. Sydney?

Yeah. Sydney. That works.

Perhaps it fit because of the admiration I had (and still have) for Sidney Portier, or perhaps it resonated with me because during my teens and early twenties I wanted to visit Sydney, Australia. For whatever reason, Sydney fit.

I guess you could say that I’m named after Sidney Portier.

I didn’t discuss my decision with anyone. Once I had the money and the name I retained an attorney, filed the paperwork with the courts, published the ad in a local newspaper and a judge signed on the dotted line the day after my 24th birthday.


Needless to say, my decision didn’t meet with everyone’s approval. Some family members greeted me with acceptance and assured me that they’d call me whatever I wanted to be called. Others, on the other hand, were not so accepting and greeted me with resistance. Today almost everyone calls me Sydney, or some variation of; Syd, Sydley, Syda.

Except for a few distant folk—like my uncle’s late brother-in-law, Sam, who hadn’t seen me in many, many years—no, to them I am still Little Myra.

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