Monday, May 23, 2011

The Sarah Chronicles - Sarah and the Name

She cringes every time she sees the name. She hides the name from her Facebook page. She loathes it. She hates it. She resents it. The name really, really, REALLY bothers her.

What’s in a name? For Sarah, there’s a lot in a name.

Sarah was five-years-old the day her mother would marry Lawrence. His presence made her skin crawl. When they danced, it made her sick to her stomach. She’d become physically ill whenever he was around. She watched with fear, panic and despair as her mother walked across the street to meet with the Justice of the Peace to take her vows. Almost immediately, Sarah broke down into a hysterical cry. Those left to care for her tried to console her.

Don’t worry. It’s okay. Your mommy will be back.”

Sadly, Sarah wasn’t crying because she missed her mother. She wasn’t crying because she was afraid her mother wasn’t coming back. Sarah was crying because she knew that when her mother returned…

evil would be with her.

A few short months later that evil would begin the destruction of Sarah’s childhood when Lawrence would molest her as if it were some kind of game.

See. Now you can pee like daddy.”

Her mother would demand that Lawrence leave, but the events leading up to it would be swept under the rug.

Fourteen years later another event would occur that would shake Sarah’s world and fracture the foundation of everything she thought she knew. The person she believed was her father was in fact, not her father. Her entire life became a series of secrets, lies, denial and deceit.

By the age of twenty-four, Sarah had decided to apply for a legal name change—including the surname of her biological father. Her mother was furious. She didn’t understand why Sarah wanted “The name of a rapist!” Sarah didn’t see it that way. She wasn’t taking on the name of a rapist. She was accepting who she was. Because her mother was so upset, Sarah added and used her grandmother’s maiden name. Her biological father’s name would merely be a formality in her journey to owning her identity.

What IS in a name?

It wasn’t until Sarah had a daughter of her own that she truly realized what’s in a name. Her daughter called Sarah’s mother Grandma Marsha; that is until she insisted that she didn’t want her granddaughter calling her that. She wanted Kylie to call her Grandma Chapman.

Chapman?

The idea of that hit Sarah with a truckload of anger carrying with it the force of a Mac Truck. She refused to allow her daughter to call her Grandma Chapman. She recalled to her husband, “I remember her screaming in anger that she didn’t understand how I could take on the name of a rapist….what has she done? For all these years, she’s kept Lawrence’s name. She kept the name of the man who molested me. Now she wants my daughter to call her by that name. I don’t think so. What in the hell makes her think I’d allow my daughter to call her by the name of the man who molested me?!”

It’s been forty years since evil came and went and Sarah still doesn’t understand. She doesn’t understand how her mother can proudly walk around the world as Mrs. Chapman. She doesn’t understand how her mother doesn’t see it as the deepest form of betrayal. She doesn’t understand how her mother never considered how painful this would be for her. She doesn’t understand why her mother didn’t reject the name of the man who molested and scarred her daughter. She doesn’t understand how her mother doesn’t see the forty-year-old message that she has been sending to Sarah; oozing from every letter of her name…

You. don’t. matter.

That’s what’s in this name. The name she cringes at, loathes, hates, avoids, hides and resents.

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