Day 11

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    Leanne Matton

    What is your name?

    “I’ve always just wanted to leave, live another life, start over again, different. Not so much a different person, an unknown person, so that what is written on me is with my own hand.”
    Sara in the movie Denial (1990)

    We are named in so many ways. We are told who we are, who we should be, the roles we will play. Our names are given to us by others with agendas and expectations. An identity forms from this, but it may not be the identity we know as true.

    Let us shed old names and write new ones on our body with our own hand.

    Tell us, what are your names, and how would you unname yourself?


    I was taken away and my was identity changed. Two birth certificates.

    My current surname is borrowed. People ask me if I’m related to so and so, but I don’t know any of the others with my surname, I am not one of them. This is the surname of the man I married when I was just out of childhood, who I have not seen for decades.

    I am long estranged from the family whose name I came to bear with my second birth certificate. I kept my married name after divorce rather than return to reminders of that self.

    My birth mother changed her name through marriage, and my birth father discovered the father whose name he bears isn’t his birth father. They were strangers to me anyway. There are no names for me that mean anything.

    Finding my voice has meant finding my Self and her true names.

    My name is freedom – wild horses on the plains and wild wolves on the tundra, running with my tribe, staying up through the night and sleeping till I wake, not when the alarm or the light tells me.

    My name is wild – thick curls that can never be tamed, rainbow clothes that will never conform to a grey office, bare feet and grass and outdoors.

    My name is mermaid – the ocean, the river, the lake, the underwater, bare arms and legs, hair long, a body that can be weightless and held, a body I can live in and trust.

    My name is shadow – all that dwells there hidden coming to the light, glittering, making sound, taking up space and being known, belonging.

    My name is broken – my wild is asking to step into the driver’s seat to create a life based on authenticity and integrity, my broken is saying yes please and handing her the keys.

    My name is rebellion – the rage and sadness of darker days saying here we are, we have so much to say and we will never be silenced again.


    My Name

    My daughter changed her names, her first two, when she was 14. She loves the names she chose. She’s not so sure about her surname. It’s my stepfather’s name which I took when I was 19 when my mum married him. I took it because I liked it better than my birth name.

    A few weeks ago it popped into my head that my name was Jaguar. This amused me greatly. I’m a fabulously slow, heavy being of sixty years of age. These days I even think slowly. Jaguar. I imagined what people would imagine I was like before they met me. And the incongruity of it when they saw me. This also amused me greatly. I could be tempted…

    It pleased me to know there was a jaguar deep inside me.

    I’m so locked in that I wouldn’t change my names until my mum has died. I find that sad. I could do it and not tell her. Like I don’t bother to tell her much at all. Jaguar Star is today’s name. I shall continue to play. I don’t want a name from someone else. I didn’t change my name when I married. I want my very own name. It’s fun. maybe I am Birch…

    Leanne Matton

    Wooohooo I love all your new names, I also love how you’re clear on what you want and don’t want. Jaguar Star Birch – your body does not define your identity, and maybe you have some new names today!

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