Friends, family, citizens of the Internet, I need your help.
It’s one of those pesky details I’ve been avoiding addressing through this whole super fun adventure of becoming unmarried.
What about that whole name thing?
This is always the hardest question for me when I’m building a character in video games, and when I got married I put a lot of thought into whether to change my name and to what. So why should I put any less care into it now, on the other side?
There are a few options:
- I can keep my married name. I have grown into it, it has become in many ways my identity, and it is unique: I can pretty much guarantee there is not a single other Janelle Weibelzahl out there in the world. But… a lot has changed and it might be necessary to grow out of this name as well. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s just plain difficult to spell/say.
- I can go back to my maiden name, and I think this is the option a lot of people assume I will take – I’ve already been labelled by it a number of times this year. I liked my maiden name – Visser was certainly much easier to say and write – but something about the idea of “going back” might just be too contrary to the “always forward” path I’ve chosen.
- I can find a guy with a cool last name and marry him, stat. But we all know that is NOT happening. Actually just the thought of it made me throw up in my mouth a little.
- Which brings me to the final and most intriguing option, and this is where I need your help the most.
A lot of people have suggested I just make up a new name. I know some people – pretty awesome people – who’ve solved the whole “who takes whose name / hyphenates their name” marriage conundrum by together choosing a completely new family name. And writers, of course, are regularly in the habit of taking on pen names, so what’s one more step? Plus, the practice of taking on a new name after major life-altering events is a very old practice. One might say it’s even biblical! If they can do it, so can I, right?
So if I’m to choose a new name, what would it be? Who would I be?
- Janelle Weibz. I can legalize the shortened version of my married name I’ve been using online. But it’s just a version of Weibelzahl, and no one really says it the way I intended (if you use the German pronunciation it should sound like “Vibes” which is way cooler than how most people say it, “Weebs”).
- Janelle X. or Janelle Xavier. Or Janelle Xena. Or Janelle Xylophone. I’ve been J.V. and J.W. so why not just move along to the next letter of the alphabet? I could actually be Mrs. X. And I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be another Janelle Xylophone out there in the world.
- If I’m going for initials I could also save any future offspring the pain of always being at the end of alphabetical order in school: Janelle Aardvark. That should do it.
- Janelle Janelle. Simply double my name just like Mario Mario.
- Take a place name where I’ve lived. Janelle Langley. Janelle Vancouver. Janelle Japan. Janelle Sakura. Janelle Glebe. Janelle Canada.
- Take a name from nature. Janelle Sunshine. Janelle Sunrise. Janelle Rain. Janelle Snow. Janelle Puddle. Janelle Wind. Janelle Winter. Janelle Ocean. Janelle Maple. Janelle Waterfall. Janelle Lightning. Janelle Sky. Janelle Of Earth. Janelle Human. Janelle Galaxy. Janelle Stardust.
- Janelle Duck. Or some other fancier-sounding language for my favourite animal the duck. Janelle Canard – my initials would be J.C. just like Jesus and everyone already says my first name sounds French so why not go all out!
- A fictional last name. Janelle Baggins. Janelle Stormcrow. Janelle Summers. Janelle Warrior-Princess. Janelle Sparrow. Janelle Skywalker. Janelle Dragonborn. Janelle Khaleesi Mother-of-dragons.
- Like the many conventional last names with roots in professions, I could choose a last name that describes me: Janelle Wanderer. Janelle Vagrant. Janelle Vagabond. Janelle Adventurer. Janelle Snowboarder. Janelle Gamer. Janelle Writer. Janelle Teacher. Janelle Tourguide. Janelle Busdriver. Janelle Eternaloptimist. Janelle Awesome. Janelle Mouldbreaker.
- Janelle 01001010 (that’s J in binary code).
- Janelle Ellenaj. I could be my own palindrome.
What do you think? Personally I’m leaning towards Janelle Dragonborn. I wonder how my parents would feel about that claim on my ancestry.
Seriously, though, what do you think I should do? Do any of these fit me? Does anything else come to mind? Throw me your ideas in the comments, no matter how crazy or mundane I will consider them (at the very least they’ll make me smile!)
And how about you, if you could change your name, right now, to anything, what would it be?