After a busy last six weeks, I’m finally able to sit down and have a session here. This marks the twentieth and seems apropos to my journey. There are times when my memory kicks in and the past comes flooding back, making me both happy and sad at the same time. Happy that I left it all behind to start a new life and move on, making the most of every minute of every day and not by being depressed about not measuring up to others standards, whatever those happened to be at that moment. And for the most part, that is still the way it is. 🙂 But now and then, there are signs, visions and words that make me cringe, make me peer back into that past. One thing that does such a thing…my name.
During my almost half century of living on this planet, I have undergone various name changes, all of them a variation or form of my birth name. It started as James Donald Ross, purely Scottish for sure, as a nod to my heritage, fathers and grandfathers before me. Then, as I started jr high school it turned to Jim Ross only, which stayed with me till around 2005. At that time I wanted to go back to my full birth name as I was proud of the heritage and family line. But so many had known me before as Jim(never liked that) that it was tough to get some to change to James, even though Jim is a diminutive. As the years since my fathers death in 2008 have moved on, my interest and research in family heritage and genealogy has grown by leaps and bounds. The last eight years have produced a very clear picture of where I came from, the origins of my name and what I wanted to do in the future. I needed a new start, but one that would separate me from the past in some ways yet retain my true family heritage. How could I do it but also not make things too difficult for family and friends?
How about another name change? Sure, that would certainly make it new in many ways. But WHICH name? And would people accept it, use it and remember it?
I wouldn’t know unless I tried. And so after a few years of flirting with the idea of my own birth name but in Scottish Gaelic, I came to a decision . My name translated is Seumas Dòmhnal Ross. Shay-muss Daw-null Ross. Easy enough for people to pronounce once they hear it said. Not only would it be something to begin the next fifty years with, but would be a nod to and recognition of my Scottish/Welsh, Celtic heritage. No, not all would be OK with this nor would use the new name. And that is OK!! I would still answer to James but will use my new full name in almost all parts of my life, exceptions being the government based accounts such as DMV, Social security,etc. Much of this has been blogged about and posted on Facebook and Twitter, so it’s old news to most. And perhaps even getting on someones nerves due to it’s constant use. Fair enough. But…this is ME! And this new name distances me from a past with which I have a love/hate relationship for sure. The members of the former religious group I belonged to all knew me as Jim( ewww) or James, but certainly never as Seumas. This makes the new name indeed something very positive!
So is a name just a name? Not a chance! It is US!! Whether a John Smith among a million others with the same name or a Seumas Dòmhnal that is a bit different, we are all something special and known with a name. I simply needed and desired a change that would help me in many ways to heal and move on. And at the same time to show my pride.
From now on, the name is Seumas Dòmhnal Ross!!!!