My not so Mid-Life crisis
Sydnye Ilise Hill. That is not the girl writing this essay. Sydnye Hill was a girl who struggled a lot with her own identity. The root of this crisis stemmed from my name. Your name is something that follows you for your entire life, it is how other people identify you and attach memories to. It is the center of your identity. To me, my name is as important as the oxygen I breath.
My birth name, Sydnye Hill, was not the name I wanted to live my life with. Why would my name reside so strongly with me? It was the last name of my father. I can't remember a time my father was in my life. I felt so confused for such a long time. I felt like not enough. I felt that it was my toddler selfs fault that he left, inadequate at such a young age. I felt that I would never fill that gap of a father in my life. I looked at my last name and saw him, and I did not want to be a reflection of him or want anything to do with him. When I saw my last name I thought of loneliness and abandonment. My grandparents had raised me, and they had the beautiful last name Misero. In Italian it means ¨wretched¨, which I find ironic. I decided that was the identity I wanted. I associated this name with nurturing, love, and a sense of what felt natural. I began the process of changing my last name legally
It was the big day, I could finally be at peace with my past and embrace my future. I approached the courthouse with my grandmother and grandfather on both sides of me, I felt my jaw become tense from the stress. I looked forward and saw our family friend who has helped us through this whole process, he was our lawyer. We entered the courthouse, the same courthouse my grandmother had come to take her citizenship test. It was freezing compared to the hot july sun, I felt myself shivering but I'm not sure if this was from the change in temperature. I faked a smile at the guards, trying to fool myself that I wasn't bursting with nervousness. We entered the courtroom and were greeted by the judge, who seemed like a nice man. I was wrong. He noticed we had not contacted my father that I would be eliminating his mark on me for life. He did not approve my application, stating that
¨We must send a letter informing the biological father that his daughter wishes to receive permission for change of name¨.
Thousands of thoughts swarmed in my head. I had no idea where my father was, nobody did. I thought this was the end, that somehow my father was still apart of my life although he wanted nothing to do with it. It wasn't until weeks later that we approached the courthouse again.
This time, I had received approval. I started crying right away, I was nervous yet happy. I wanted this to be a solution, that somehow my emotional turmoil would go away. I looked up at my grandfather, Papa was what I called him. His face was red and he had tears brimming, it was the first time I had ever seen him cry. He looked at me and gave me a big hug, and I saw my grandmother watching with the same teary eyed expression. I could feel how happy they were, we had always been a family but I felt like I was proving how much I loved and valued them. I let myself hug my grandfather, hoping that he could feel the happiness radiating off of me. My grandmother came and made it a group hug, kissing both of us on our cheeks. These were the two people who she loved most in the world.
Would changing my last name really change how I felt inside? Yes. After I changed my last name, I felt apart of my family. Looking at my last name now, I see so much growth. I feel warm looking at it, I think of everything my grandparents have provided me with, and how much they love me. I can see how after I changed my last name, it gave me so much clarity that I could be who I wanted and be free of the last name that weighed me down. I will continue to change a person. As I continue to change, maybe my last name will change as well. If marriage is in my future, I would change my last name to be my husbands. Embracing the atmosphere I am in, helps me understand that I change with it. Another change of name would have a big impact on me, something I feel others do not experience. My name has gone through all my hardships with me, and will go experience all the good in my life that is yet to come.
I am now so much more at peace with myself and the world around me, I feel that I am my own person and that I can make my future and give my all to those around me. I no longer have a predetermined destiny saying I will follow in my father's footsteps. I embrace the possibility of new chances, and the things yet to come.