Almost from the very moment I learned of my acceptance to PTS, I began plotting to make a major life change. Maybe not as major as quitting my job and moving to New Jersey to attend seminary, but pretty huge nonetheless. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be known as "Kate." Katie is a perfectly lovely name, but I find that it reminds far too many people of a Golden Retriever they once had (like the one to the right found by searching katie+golden+retriever). To me, Kate sounds grown up and sophisticated and sort of British. No one names any dog of any kind Kate.
I didn't realize the potential of accomplishing the goal of "changing my name" as an undergrad in a community where I was virtually unknown until it was too late. My name was destined to change while at Houghton, but instead of sophisticated Kate, I became gender-confused Elliott. When I was accepted to grad school, I was determined not to miss my second opportunity! It was like manna from heaven, this second chance. Alas, twenty-five years is a long time to have one name. After a quarter of a century with one label, it's not easy to convince yourself that another one fits.
For the first few days, I was able to introduce myself as Kate without faltering, but each day Katie slipped out more frequently, especially when I was introduced to other women named Kate, Katie, Katherine, Kathryn, of which there are multitudes. Even the people who were introduced to me with my "new name" reverted to Katie without a single iota of prompting. My neighbor, Sara, didn't even hesitate. She told me that I don't exude the pretension necessary to carry off Kate. I suppose that is a compliment, since I don't want to exude pretension, but I felt a little bit defeated. This plan was supposed to work!
Unfortunately, it seems I will have to come to terms with the idea that I'm not a Kate. I'm a Katie and I probably will be forever. Or, at least, until I earn my doctorate. Then I will be Dr. K. Jeanne Elliott, because every respectable academic must disown her first name.
What? You didn't know that? I will now exude pretension in your general direction.
UPDATE: I just realized I've given away my entire full name to readers of this blog...I guess it was bound to happen some time. Stalker, beware, I know where to kick you!