July 9, 2014

Being Alison Edwards?

It may be time to kill off Alison Edwards.

No, not kill off my authentic identity. But to kill off this pen name / pseudonymous last name I have been using for the last year and a half online. It’s making my life more complicated than it needs to be right now and it’s feeling to me like the easiest solution is to just drop the last name Edwards and use my legal last name.

Here’s the thing: I am applying for writing jobs online. I have done all my writing in the last year and a half as Alison Edwards, and all the writing before that as Him. Which is great, but that means I have three names to juggle when I apply for jobs — my given legal name, the name I’m writing under, and the name I am legally changing to. Applying for jobs as a transgender woman is already a complicated enough dance of “what name to use and when to tell” without tossing a third name into the mix.

On the other hand, I have come to like the last name Edwards. I’ve grown an affection for it. Honestly, if it weren’t for my kids I would consider keeping it legally. It’s the last name of my grandmother, whom I loved dearly, and the maiden name of my mother, whom I look like. But my children have my legal last name and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Their mother already has an altered last name (hyphenated her old and new married last names) and if I were to change mine completely it could make everything from insurance forms to PTA meetings even more confusing than they might already start to be as this transition continues.

Dropping Edwards isn’t as difficult as it sounds. On the articles I’ve written, all I need to do is change the name in my profile and it will automatically re-tag every post I’m credited for. Sure, there’s also all the website accounts I’ve created with that last name, but again that’s just a matter of a computer switch. And the important thing right now is my writing. I need a job, and dropping Edwards will make that marginally easier.

I know, the obvious answer is staring me in the face. But I’ve grown so fond of my pen name. 🙁

Ah! Decisions, decisions! I have a job app that I really want to send today, but I may wait a day until I can talk to Nancy about this. I don’t think the delay will hurt me, and talking it through with Nancy will probably help. At the very least, she will help me convince myself to stop being sentimental and just do it already!

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