Introducing Alanna Miel. I have chosen to change back to my maiden first names after my recent divorce. My maiden name was Alanna Miel Davis, and I have been Miel Hendrickson for nearly a decade. It feels like a good time to shift my identity with such a life change.
The complexity of my name extends even further than that. I was originally born as Alanna Miel Simonson. At the time of our birth, Simonson was our mother’s married name, from her recently divorced husband. Her maiden name had been Williams, but I guess she didn’t consider to use this instead. Our father Wally’s last name was Jones, but we never used this name either. We started using Davis when we were infants and have all of our basic records in Miel Davis and sometimes, with my legal full name. Without records as they are today, it wasn’t really important as a kid. We didn’t legally change our names until high school. Somehow we were issued social security numbers in the 80s that didn’t match our birth certificates (it was an earlier era). I was always called Miel, even though this was initially my middle name. My mom liked the ring of Alanna Miel better than Miel Alanna, as I do. I wouldn’t change a thing–though if you’ve ever gone by a middle name, then you know very well about mistaken identity. I lived next to an Alanna Davis in Peace Corps and it caused some confusion and mixed mail (sadly a delay in receiving a new bathing suit).
When I switched to Miel Hendrickson, legally dropping Alanna as my first name, I did so for simplicity. I still adored Alanna Miel and continued to keep it in all my online presence. I took a new married name in part because I didn’t feel overly attached to what could have been one of several last names. The interesting thing is that I have remained consistently since going into college with using Alanna Miel (or some variation thereof) as all of my login and identity tags. My LinkedIn and Facebook were already alannamiel. I like to think of it as serendipitous.
Legally it took a bit more effort, but changing both first and last names has been a bit of an administrative nightmare. When I moved back last year my utilities kept pulling a different name in Oregon systems, and thus I had to reprove my identity after so many years. To this day, I have one place where I can’t get the system to get my name correct, and it still displays incorrectly. I imagine a number of such hiccups along the way, but it feels worth it.
Obviously changing your name is a big decision. If you could manage to follow along the above synopsis, then you can see that I’ve already spent considerable time managing name changes. That would be about the only hesitation in making this choice, but it feels like the right thing to do.
I submitted my paperwork to the court yesterday and I will having a hearing January 22nd to confirm my new identity. Then will begin the process of changing my name over. I can imagine the conversations with a number of representatives. Yes, Miel Hendrickson is now Alanna Miel. Yes, who was previously Alanna Davis. It all makes sense somehow.
I’m excited for this new phase of my life and am happy to start the new year fresh as well.