DexCon 2015 (93)

AMBER LOVE: WHY MY NAME AND MY IDENTITY ARE A BIG FUCKING DEAL

First I was given a birth name that made no sense whatsoever. My parents got to live with me complaining about it for 30 years. They did that stupid nonsensical thing of giving me a first name, middle name, surname (my father’s) and then chose not to use any of them to identify me. I was given a nickname.

This sucked.

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My entire life – every doctor’s visit, every roll call in school, every time I had to fill out a legal document and sign my name, I was forced to sign this stamp of pure fiction in my opinion. It wasn’t my identity and it wasn’t reflective of me in anyway. I was constantly explaining, “Yes, but call me ….” and even that didn’t always work. I had one grade school gym teacher that flat out refused to ever use my nickname and I was always questioned by the girls, “Who is he talking about? Why is he calling you that?” Because he’s a moron that doesn’t give a flying shit what a seven-year-old wants to be called, that’s why.

When I got engaged in college, my fiance then talked me into using the G. Gordon Liddy method and identifying with the first initial so that there was at least a clearer indication. Then we fought… and fought… and fought a whole lot more when I said I didn’t want to change my last name to his name. He actually said, “Then why get married if you want to pretend you aren’t?” I should have backed out then before more years of abuse.

Eventually the divorce came. I was going to finally accept this bullshit identity whether anyone else liked it or not. I was going to keep The Asshole’s last name because it’s a fucking nightmare changing all my documentation and other people’s contact information too. Plus, fuck him for making me take it. Every doctor, every business, every utility company, credit card, DMV, Social Security, etc. I told my lawyer of my intention and that should have been that.

Then my father stepped in.

He was upset that I was not going back to our family name and that I was going to be strapped with the moniker of The Asshole for the rest of my life. Well – a) The Asshole actually had a tattoo of my name which I’m sure was quickly transformed into a soaring eagle or something; b) changing my last name would not erase my marriage neither would seven or eight years of America’s best pharmaceuticals.

It was my mother who stepped in actually as my father and I don’t talk about anything except firearms. She was the one to tell me that my father was upset. And the way I saw it, my father was floating the bill of my sheer existence in pretty much every way as I was beyond broke and a complete mental mess. My mother’s “job” was to make sure I woke up and functioned every day and feed me like a pet; my father paid for it all including my divorce fees. They were my kin, my clan, I owed them so I went through the processes of changing everything all over again by catching my lawyer right before the papers were finalized.

wedding ember-beth-meghan-millThen I got married a second time. I explained all of the above and my 30-year identity crisis to my fiance and informed him in no uncertain terms, I would absolutely not be changing my name again unless it was legally going to be something of my choosing. I was not going to simply take a married name.

He was somewhat progressive but clearly not enough. Later he came to me and said he wouldn’t force me in anyway but (passive-aggressive as he was) it would mean the world to him if I took his last name as a sign of commitment and love because it’s a tradition that mattered to him.

I breathed deeply … a LOT.

I thought about one of my favorite sitcoms, DHARMA & GREG, where Dharma Freedom Finklestein decided to add the Montgomery name because she said, it didn’t matter as much to her as it did to Greg. Could I be more like Dharma? Could I let my 30 years of identity hatred go and do something so important because it mattered to the person I loved? Yep, I did. And regretted it.

I actually did what I proposed: I said any name change after divorce #1 would be a name of my choosing. I was going to finally pick an identity of my very own. I toiled on the decision for months. I absolutely knew there would be no acceptance by people in my life up to that point to stop calling me what they’ve known me as forever so I chose to figure out a way to work things into what I hoped made the best sense for me and still make my future husband happy.

As my About Amber page says, my “real” absolutely legal and now on my birth record name is ELIZABETH AMBER-LOVE DELANEY.

And after seven years with him, we were divorced. There it was again. Being stuck with a name all because of my heartfelt desire to make the man in my life happy. No, I made no effort to figure out how to change it after the divorce since I had my official birth records altered by now.

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If you knew me before, I don’t expect you to call me Amber or Love. I do however expect you to not give me shit, weird looks, or mock my name that could only possibly be that of a stripper or porn star. Fuck yeah, I do adult work too, fucking deal with it. I didn’t when I took the names and porn had no bearing on my decision. I chose them for religious reasons. I expect people to hear what I introduce myself as which is never and has never in my entire 40 years been LIZ. Never. Liz is the name of just one of the diner waitresses my first husband got blowjobs from while he was in his patrol car so PLEASE DON’T. Other than my day job and parental connections, I don’t introduce myself by my first name and the rare times I do, I say the full name, Elizabeth. If you want it shorter, Amber is two syllables and Love is one syllable. Pick one of those.

My name of publication is ELIZABETH-AMBER LOVE. That’s it. That’s what I expect to see in my credits. It is not up to the audience or publisher to give a flying fuck what my paychecks say as long as I cash them.

 

10 comments on “AMBER LOVE: WHY MY NAME AND MY IDENTITY ARE A BIG FUCKING DEAL”

  1. I for one think your name is awesome ever since I’ve come across your comic reviews on youtube. I like the article 🙂
    Keep on with that awesomeness.
    Joshua

  2. Totally agree with Joshua on this. I may sometimes have to ask people what their name is, but that is only because names are one of the few things that don’t stick in my head. Be a proud woman and let us hear you roar.

  3. Your name is your identity, and wanting people to address you properly is important. It shows respect (or lack thereof) if they use the name you ask them to call you by (or don’t). And anybody who badgers you to change your name if you don’t want to is a prick who doesn’t deserve your time and effort to please. Stay strong, darlin’, and don’t let them get you down.

  4. YES!, this is the stuff I love, its ferking kool journalism right there, please do more of this and less podcasts.
    cheers

  5. Great explanation and we all love and respect that you are Elizabeth Amber-Love Delaney! You are truly one of a kind and it would not be appropriate to call you anything else but that!

  6. As long as I know you I love your name Amber
    It is what makes you who you are……
    A super hero

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