You see, I was afraid of what my family and my friends would think if I changed my name. It is probably the one thing that held me back from doing this.
Growing up, my Dad used my full name starting with my first name of Donald as a way to indicate he was pretty angry at me. If I heard it, I cringed.
I knew what was coming and there was no escaping it. The more you tried, the worse the punishment. It didn't matter if you had really done nothing wrong. It only mattered that he needed someone to blame for whatever it was he was upset about in that moment.
On top of it, my dad loved nicknames. I was a small baby at birth and so they nicknamed me pee wee. I can't actually believe I am even writing about any of this. It feels shameful and humiliating to me. Even though I had to endure this at home, I tried my hardest to not get names attached to me in school.
One day in Kindergarten I took a new plastic truck to school for show and tell. My dad thought I needed to put my name on it even though there is no way I would have let that toy truck out of my sight. We didn't have many toys in the first place. The name he wrote on the bottom of it in big black letters - PEE WEE. Talk about making your stomach turn flip-flops all day.
I also remember hearing my dad pound his fist on the table and scream,
"we're family and we will be proud of our last name. We will love one another no matter what or I will make sure we do."
He preached the last name as if it was something great. I cringed in these multi-hour tirades he would have where you had to sit at attention and listen to him intently or he would keep going longer.
He was so proud of the last name and it sucked to me. To me, it stood for sexual and physical abuse. It stood for mental manipulation, mind control, thought control and no freedom. It stood for anything but love and respect like he demanded that it did. He is more than welcome to be proud of it if he wants, but it has a devastating effect on me.
There are many more things that have happened where I just hate my name. My full first name, Donald, was used as a weapon. It was not one of respect or love or compassion. When I heard it used, my fear went "oh oh... what did I do wrong now?" This was immediately followed by dread and fear and anxiety which happened almost every day it seemed.
Now at this point in my life, I made sure I had no kids. My siblings had daughters so there is no chance they will pass our family name on. I had no kids, so effectively it stops with me. I cannot think of a better way to win over what my dad did to me than deprive him of passing on the name he was so proud of when I was a kid.
I don't know if I will ever get to the point I love my full legal name, but if you meet me, there's a good chance, you'll hear the first name I go by now and you would have to ask me what my last name is. I don't readily give it out. I don't readily use it. I want nothing to do with the last name. If you call me Donald, you're probably going to get ignored or get an angry response.
It is difficult to deal with this part of my life. I know the vibration of our name means a lot, but it is a source of pain that I have to live with for the rest of my life. I may still change it yet, but now that I've got music and books out, that may get more tricky. I know it will follow me until the day that I die and I wish it wasn't so. Even if I changed it, the name is still attached to me and that sucks!
Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
- Permission required before any part of this blog post is reprinted, reworded or used in any form.
- You are welcomed to share the LINK to this blog post.