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5 Things I’ve Learned on My Way Back to Z

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It feels like spring outside and it’s still January! I feel a little bad for the earth, because from what I hear, this early heat and lack of rain is actually really, crummy news, but today, it’s hard not to want to be outside just reveling in it!

January has been bringing about lots of changes in the ol’ Jenny-sphere.

I eat green stuff so rarely, I normally take pictures of it to prove it to people. Here's me eating my first salad (mixed greens) in 2015.

Look at me! I’m eating healthy things! I eat green stuff so rarely, I normally take pictures of it to prove it to people. Here’s me eating my first salad (mixed greens) in 2015. Way to go, January!

I’ve actually had this blog post started for a while but every time I’d get it going, it would make me think too much and I’d question what I was trying to say. This is actually one of my favorite things about this blog. It really makes me comb through my thoughts and sort through the real issues and struggles I’m having. Hooray for self reflection!

Then all of you (hey, mom!) get to read through the melee and get a sneak peak into my crazy head. Lucky you 😉

This month, in addition to moving to a cozy new house in the neighborhood I’ve always wanted to live in, I’ve gone through the fun process of changing my last name back to my maiden name. I was asked by my ex if I’d ever considered dropping his name, and that sort of triggered this huge process of paperwork and inner-wrestling.

Here are a few things I’ve learned through the process:

1 – My HR/IT/payroll team is not super-stoked about the whole name change thing. It messes with my paycheck, my email, my benefits, etc. It makes a whole lot of work for them.

If you’re considering changing your name at your workplace, don’t expect this group to cheer and high five you. Prepare to drop off your paperwork and run.

2 – Go by the social security office FIRST, before the DMV. I did these steps backwards and luckily, I had a very nice lady at the DMV point out that if I didn’t change my name with social security first, it’d stall my whole license thing. No bueno.

Shout out to a class act DMV lady. She also told me as I was leaving, “Hey! Nice picture!” I’m hoping she was sincere. I nearly ran a stop sign on the way to my DMV appointment because I was busy practicing my smile in the rear view mirror. My vanity in 2015 is remaining 100% on point with the previous years so far. No changes to report there.

3 – Changing your name is one thing, but being asked by your ex to change your name is a whole different pile of worm faces. I think my pride was the main thing that felt stepped on. To me, it was something I wanted to initiate on my own, since it was my very own name.

But I had to remind myself that to him, it was his very own name first, so he probably felt like he had just as much a right to ask for it back as I thought I had to keep it until I was through with it.

Everyone likes to be the person in control and calling the shots. And in this case, I wasn’t. It made me grumpy and snippy and took many hours of sleep away from my life. But wrestling with my own lack of control in life is nothing new, and once I realized I was being a prideful little twerp, it was easier to just own it and then let it go.

In the end, who really cared? I certainly wasn’t keeping the name because I still wanted to be married to poor guy. Oh no. I’d made that super clear in 2013.

A good friend replied, “Oh! I thought you’d have changed that a long time ago.” Then I felt  a bit like a doofus. Why the crap sticks was I still using his old name anyway?

In my head, I was keeping it to match my kids, because that’s what another divorced friend had done. At the time I made the choice to keep it, it seemed logical and I really didn’t give it much thought.

I mean, do kids really care if their mom’s last name matches them? I’ve never been one for huge family monograms or vinyl appliques of “FAMILY NAME HERE – Established 2000” decor, so it’s not like they really see my name all over the place.

And when they call from me school pretending to be sick so they can come home and watch Cartoon Network and eat Goldfish crackers in their pajamas, they don’t ask to speak to ::Insert mom’s full name here::. No. They just feebly say “ Mommy….I don’t feel good. Can you come get me?”

(Yes, I’m talking to you, Future Violet who’s gone ahead and found my old blog and is reading them to see what kind of a dork I was. I knew you were faking the WHOLE TIME! But I was letting you fake it because sometimes I know we all just need a freaking day to just veg. But don’t think you can do that all the time. Sometimes you need to just suck it up and power through your day. I love you. You are even prettier and more clever than I knew you would be. Mommy loves you.)

4 – Our freaking name is EVERYWHERE…oh my word. It’s going to take me forever to get my name changed throughout the world. It really is incredible when I think of all the online shopping sites, utility companies, social media networks, email addresses, banks, that have my old information.

5 – I had to practice how to sign my old name. A lot. It was like my hand forgot how to write the letter Z. It’s also a trip to hear my work pals call me “Jenny Z.” again. I haven’t been called that since I was 17! It’s so strange.

I’m certainly not the same Jenny Z. I was back then. It’s like I’m Jenny Z. 2.0! Or maybe, Extreme Z! Now with 30-something lumpiness, stretch marks from baby times and a snazzy divorce under my belt!

Well, it’s not all bad. I have run a 5K. (THE WHOLE THING!) And I’ve eaten an entire veggie sandwich. With vegetables, NOT a veggie fake meat patty, people! These are things the old Z would never have done. And I’m much better at drinking wine now. Ooh! And ballet class! I’ve also started doing ballet. Suck it, old, lythe, captain of the cheerleading squad version of Jenny Z! You couldn’t pirouette to save your life. LOOK AT ME NOW, WORLD!

I guess my last takeaway is that I am extremely lucky to have the support and love from the people I’ve surrounded myself with. They root for me no matter how weird I’m acting and they are always looking out and encouraging me to make healthy, safe and positive choices for me and my kiddos. I appreciate you all a ton and I know my life wouldn’t be this great without you. Thanks for being amazeballs.

PS: Please note that I really have no absolute opinion on whether or not ladies should change their name after a divorce. So don’t think this post is a reflection of the ONE WAY I think it should always be handled.

It’s never bothered me when ladies kept their married name or when they’ve gone back to their maiden name. If I could have convinced the world that being called “Jenny of Mermaidia” was as cool as I thought it was, I’d totally have run with it.



About Jenny Z

I love to overuse italics, misplaced hyphens and internal dialogue when I write about my usual favorite topic, myself.

One response »

  1. Jenny Z, all of us “Z” welcome you back into the fold…..Greg Z


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