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What's in a name?

17th April, 2021:

I am embarking on another journey - I am returning to my birth name: Jacqueline Mary Pearson

In the spirit of the Inanna story, I am imagining this will be a process of letting go, a time of waiting and a time of embracing the new.

My birth name is Jacqueline Mary Pearson. My father used to joke that as the fourth daughter, he and my mother had run out of names, so they pulled my name out of a hat.

As a young girl, I thought I had been named after Jacqueline Kennedy / Onassis. 

I was never called Jacqueline. At first my shortened name was spelt Jacky. Then I decided, aged 8 or 9, that I wanted to be Jackie. As a young teenager, I changed again and decided that Jacquie was more interesting. 'Is all this change and indecisiveness significant?', I ask myself?

To her dying day, my mother wrote to me as Jacky.

In 1993, my (late) husband, Ivan and I made a commitment to stay together and bring a child into the world. This decision came after an agonising yes / no process spanning several years so it wasn't taken lightly. It was a big deal for our relationship on many levels. As a result, it felt really important that our child have both of our names - Sokolov and Pearson.

Ivan and I took each other's name by Deed Poll and became Sokolov Pearson (with no hyphen - that's another story!). At the time, I loved the addition of Sokolov to my Pearson. To a 'kiwi gal', his name felt exotic and different. It wasn't till much later that I realised that Sokolov was a very common Russian name! Looking back I question whether there was something in me wanted to be different from the rest of my family. Hmm ....

When I changed my name to Jacqueline Sokolov Pearson I dropped the 'Mary' as my middle name.

I didn't like the name Mary. It seemed 'boring'; I had an Aunt Mary who I guess I was named after but had never felt any connection with her as a child; I disliked the Christian and especially the Catholic connotations connected with the name Mary: Jesus's mother Mary worshipped as a Madonna and a Virgin; Mary Magdalena depicted as a whore. So Mary went.

All good. I was happy trucking along being Sokolov Pearson.

Then Ivan died in 2009. After his death, it felt important to me to have his name as a way to honour him. In moving out into the world again, setting up a business, the Sokolov made my name distinctive and unforgettable, even if I continued to have the hassle of people being unsure of how to pronounce and spell it. I have had Sokaloff and Sockalof!

One of the themes in my life up to now has been a persistent niggle inside - a sense that there was something that was wanting to be created from within me. I have written about that elsewhere.

About 18 months ago, something important happened that moved me closer to that creative spark alighting:

I was asked, by a body practitioner whom I respect highly, what my name was.

I answered with "Jacqueline Sokolov Pearson".

'No, your name.'

"Ah", I replied, "Jacqueline Mary Pearson."

Something leapt in my chest and belly. I had a strong visceral response to saying my birth name out loud.

Next came the thought:

"Oh my goodness, that is who I am. I need to return to that name. That is where my creative impulse comes from. That name. I am Jacquie Mary Pearson"

Interestingly within a few months of that conversation I started to create Re-imagining Ourselves which I have wanted to do since the mid 1980's. Some of us are late bloomers!

The idea to change my name gestated in me for more than a year; At first it felt like too much of a hassle. I needed to ponder on what such a change would mean for me - practically, emotionally, spiritually and relation-ally. I talked about it with a few close friends and mentors and of course my son, Josh.

Some of my hesitancy in making the change has been because I have no need to 'get rid' of Ivan's name. A friend recently returned to her birth name after her divorce and couldn't wait to be free of her ex-husbands name. In contrast, my relationship with Ivan was a loving and respectful one. During the 25 years we spent together, we championed each other in many different ways and I feel huge appreciation for what I learnt in our relationship.

So my decision has nothing to do with letting go of our marriage and, at the same time, my life has moved on. The thought has crossed my mind that perhaps my relinquishing Ivan's name could be my final way to set him free on his soul journey, whatever that is, wherever he is.

There are a lot of layers to a name. I have also wondered about going back to my full first name: Jacqueline. I love it as a name and am happy to have it as my official name. But I don't feel like a Jacqueline living my life day by day. Close friends and family sometimes call me Jacq, which feels warm and intimate. Jacqueline feels posh and smartly dressed and a little pretentious for me. So just like Goldilocks: as the name I go by on a daily basis, Jacqueline feels too cold, Jacq feels too hot and Jacquie feels just right!

It has been important for me to walk gently through this process with my son, Josh. I have wanted him to understand my reasons, for him to be able to say how he felt about this decision, for me to really hear his feelings and opinion.  I've pondered what a name symbolises; I've sat with my feelings about what this means for me as a woman and a mother, and as Josh's mother, what my responsibilities are and what my responsibilities are not. I love the fact Josh has his father's name.

28th April

The journey unfolds .... the path beckons ...

Like Inanna, I have needed to explore my identity in the world - and what my name means to my work. I confess I liked the uniqueness of being Sokolov Pearson.

'Let that one go!' says that Queen of Death to What no Longer Serves Me!

Like Inanna, I need to find the grit and courage to follow my path and not keep my married name out of anxiety of what others might feel / think.

'Let that one go!' says that Queen of Stripping to the Core!

Like Inanna, I need to do the work and see this process through changing bank accounts, log Ins, bills, insurance, the IRD and all the rest of the details that run our lives.

'Let that resistance go!' says that Queen of the Essential.

The process has started

In fact I am in the middle of a process

I am Jacqueline Mary Pearson, JMP.

I have received my new drivers license.

I am awaiting my new passport.

I have had my logo changed.

In returning to Jacqueline Mary Pearson, the Mary feels really important.

This Mary I have returned to in 2021 feels warm and earthy. A strong and deeply sensual woman.

Perhaps I wasn't able to embody that powerful energy til now.

Ho Mary

Ho Jacqueline Mary

Ho Jacqueline Mary Pearson!

My old / new name has a simplicity to it. I already feel clearer and more focused somehow, in a warm calm way.

Watch this space!


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