On Names, Changing, and Bittersweet Experiences

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By the time I walked into the DMV, it was 2 p.m. and the lady behind the desk had just called #70. All the chairs were filled. I picked #92 and sat down. I had 2.5 hours to wait until they closed. I thought 2.5 hours would be enough.

As of today, the DMV is able to accommodate roughly 3 people per hour <—My observation and calculations after sitting there for two hours with numbers still in the 70s.

Two employees handle traditional driver license patrons (the ones who are getting new licenses, renewing old ones, are upgrading their commercial license or class rank, etc.). The third employee is taking special license requests (handicap placards, 30-day temporary licenses, and folks who came in once and waited in line but forgot a document, etc.)

The lines would have gone faster, but at any given point in time, the two employees who handled the traditional licenses would also go take photos, file paperwork, and LEAVE THE BUILDING TO ADMINISTER PRACTICAL EXAMS. A practical exam can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. And one gal left twice.

I’m not a rocket scientist, but I don’t think this is good service. Period.

By 3 p.m. they were at #78, after jumping from #71 to #77. Three people. One hour. I gave my observation to my dad, that we wouldn’t get seen today at this rate. I felt bad complaining—the folks were doing their best job while being stupidly understaffed–but it was too easy to be selfish.

Sitting here for 2.5 hours to change my name back. My maiden name. My original self. To me before marriage. But there was a great possibility I would wait and not be seen. And to have to come back and sit again? Just get it over with so I can move on.

My dad brought him up. That my grandparents really didn’t want this to happen. That he couldn’t believe there were that many differences. To how it’s insane to imagine.To how he doesn’t think my brother will have kids, and now I won’t for a while.

I stopped it. I made a few loud jokes about needing everyone’s Facebook accounts so I could friend them, since we were all getting to know each other so well with the incredible wait. The room chuckled.

Then the gal behind me let out a loud sigh. I turned around and smiled at her, looked at her with two small kiddos by her side. “Does anyone want this number? I just can’t wait any longer.”

#83. And she handed it to me.

At 3:45 p.m., the clerks called 81. For whatever reason, a woman and her son stood up at the same time, holding not just #81, but #82, too. I jiggled my leg. Looked at the clock. Brightened then dimmed the screen on my phone repeatedly. I could make it. Some miracle in the DMV pushed me up sooner. One gal still out with a practical exam. One at the desk with the two-number family.

4:00. What could they possibly be doing?
4:05. Why did they swap chairs?
4:10. Are they doing an eye exam soon or something? Why aren’t they done?
4:18. FINALLY. They left.

And they called #83.

“Hi there! What brings you in today?”
Really? Can I place an order for pizza?
“Oh! You’ve had a Wyoming license before. What brings you back? Marriage?”
Nope. Thanks for the reminder.
“Oh. I’m sorry….”
IMG_5643Five minutes. One photo. And a black and white piece of paper later. I was official. Cross off Change name with Social Security, and get new drivers license. 

I won’t do it again. Whoever cares for me, falls in love with me, and wants to have me, must take me as I am. And that includes my maiden name. I’m not losing myself again.

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On Names, Changing, and Bittersweet Experiences

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes

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When I walked out of the Social Security building yesterday, I had tears in my eyes. There was no one there to hug me. No one there to say it was ok—that I was going to be ok. The door attendant didn’t say “Goodbye!” or “Have a nice day!” on the way out. I held the paperwork in my hand, walked to my car, texted a friend that I was in pain. And alone.

Getting a divorce is lonely. Printing paperwork. Filling in blanks. Explaining why you should be granted to live in peace alone. Leaving your personal items in lockers at the court house. Admitting you can’t make it work.

Ever notice there’s always two chairs, sitting side-by-side wherever you go? I never need the second. That’s how life feels lately.

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None of this has been the “easy” way out. The first conversation left me crying because he didn’t fight for us. When he signed the papers, I walked into the bathroom just to be out of the same room. Tears constantly swelled and all I could do was pretend to wash my hands. No. This was not an easy road. I have a tightness in my chest that sometimes takes days to go away.

I have tears that come when I think of memories. In Germany. Door County. Restaurants. Cubs Games. English Class. College Parties. So many smiles.

I’ve heard the word “strong” and “independent” and “envy” so many times in the past few months that I’ve grown an aversion to them. Those words are exactly the ones he used to describe why we’re not good for one another. Right before he said, “You’ll find someone who will care about you.” And all I heard was, “Because I don’t care about you.  I’m not that person who can.”

FullSizeRender2I’m baffled at times when people look at me and see strength and independence. I feel failure, disappointment and uncertainty often. Because it’s real.

Real is ok.

I doubt anyone is ever going to look at me and say, “How dare you be sad because someone you loved is no longer in your life!”

I’ve cried so hard that my eyes burn and I wake up with puffy eyelids. Sometimes I blow my nose so often the skin peels and I curse the makeup gods for not being able to cover it. Sometimes I’m so sad that I don’t move from the couch and watch all five seasons of Game of Thrones because I can.

That’s what real looks like. And guess what? Real is STILL ok for me.

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I want to be happy. I want to be with someone who makes me happy. I want to make someone else happy. And coexist in a way that seems effortless and easy. It hasn’t been that way. And it’s damn well time it should be.

I crossed the first part of a goal off yesterday: Change name with Social Security. In 7-10 days when the card arrives in the mail, I’ll knock off the second part of getting a new drivers license.

Yes, it’s soon. But why dwell? In my heart, I think I know things won’t change, at least not how they are now. If I want to be happy, I have to make myself that way. And sometimes that requires me to do it alone.

IMG_5548Part of being strong is acknowledging the pain. And then realizing it’s life. My track record for getting through hard times, thus far, is 100%.

I don’t like to dwell—What if I already met someone who could make me happy and love me, and didn’t give him a chance? What if there was a sign, and I was too depressed to see it? What if I spent so much time on my thoughts that I wasn’t able to see a lovely opportunity elsewhere?

I knew when it was time to move on. And as much as I hate doing things alone, if it meant choosing between happy/alone and miserable/together, I’d choose happy. Every. Single. Time.

Think of it this way…. those chocolate hostess cupcakes? Snoballs?Always come in packs of two. Now I can take time to savor them both!

On Strength, Independence, and Name Changes