Predictably, throughout this process of changing my name back to its original form, this song (I Got A Name [sic]) has been on my mind. I’ve always liked it for its expression of independence, but the lyrics mean more than ever to me now. And different parts appeal to me for different reasons.
The first verse and the chorus speak to me of freedom and movement; never wanting to stand still so that you don’t miss anything. In my heart, I’ve always had a bit of that. Even when I was married, and I was physically anchored, my heart and my mind still wandered over vast distances—to places that were far from where I was, both physically and emotionally. “Moving ahead” on the inside, even when I couldn’t move on the outside.
The second verse reminds me what I lost when I was married; when I lost myself. I had a song—once. And I used to sing it loud, so to speak. Although I am not a loud or outgoing person, I have always been outspoken about what I think and believe. I understand what it means to “go there proud,” even if you’re going nowhere. I’ve made mistakes, but they are my mistakes, and I have handled the consequences. I have tried not to blame, or make excuses, or whine. If I don’t like where I am, it’s my responsibility because I either chose to go there, or allowed myself to be taken there, and I can choose to go or be led somewhere else. It’s no one else’s fault. It’s also no one else’s accomplishment.
That’s one reason it was so important to me to take back my name, and myself. I am about to graduate from college—a dream I’ve dreamed for too many years to count—and no one’s name deserves to be on that degree but mine. Other than my parents, whose name I now bear once again, no one has helped me or supported me enough to deserve to have his name on MY degree.
There have been very few who have encouraged and cheered me consistently. A few others have made weak efforts, but they abandoned me in the end—when they were needed the most.
That’s why the third verse has always meant the most to me. “The fool I am and I’ll always be” sums me up pretty well. Love, dreams, the hope for a happy ending—I fall for them every time. Wasn’t it Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”? Well, by his definition, I have been insane. And I am trying to avoid repeating my history, hoping to achieve those “different results” this time. Finally.
The one thing I am determined to do this time is to hang onto who I am. “They can change their minds, but they can’t change me.” Not this time. People I care about can abandon me if they choose to, but I refuse to let it change who I am or keep me from reaching my dreams. I very much want to share my dream, but I am no longer willing to trade my dreams for someone else’s. I’ve been a wife, a mother, and I’ve done my duty. I’ve earned the right to follow my own dreams. And “If you’re going my way, I’ll go with you” gladly.
But I will not let life pass me by.