People have been asking about my recent name change, so I’ve decided to post this to answer the questions en masse.
Why did you change your name?
Legally, my name is still that of my daughter’s father. The legal process is going to take a while. It could go faster if I decided to divorce him, but that is expensive and will still take some time. I plan to graduate with my BA in December. His lack of involvement in my daughter’s life has contributed to making this process so long and difficult. In short, I do not want HIS name, on MY degree.
Why did you simply not go back to your family name, Fisher?
I have actually talked about changing my name for a very long time. The impending degree forced me to make definite choices about doing so. While trying to decide what I wanted to do, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to create a sense of autonomy, a separate presence from my family. While I am at turns close to my mother and sister, I felt I didn’t need to keep my father’s name to reflect that.
Why did you choose the new name, Corrigan?
I spent six months looking for a name that said enough about who I was, and what I believed. I came up empty-handed. Most ideas I came up with either said too much or not enough. I also wanted something that sounded good with my first name. I began doing family research, deciding to adopt a name that reflected the Irish elements of my family’s mixed heritage. The oldest family member I could locate from the early 1900’s carried the name “Angel”. I did not feel this would be a good pairing with my first name, professionally. After my friends had a good time suggesting other names that sounded comical, someone suggested several names out of nowhere, and Corrigan was one of them. I loved it instantly. I asked the four people closest to me what they thought, and they agreed it was a good fit.
Will you change your name if you marry again?
I might be convinced to hyphenate my name, but I will never change this one. This is the one to leave in your address books.
People have asked me why I randomly decided to change my name, usually people to whom it is incomprehensible to have a name that isn’t tied to one’s family.
My beliefs hold that to name a thing is to empower it. I didn’t want someone else’s name. I wanted a new one, to reflect my identity as my own person. We live this idea out everyday, when we choose to be known as by screen names, forum handles, email addresses, and even honorifics such as “Mrs. Smith”. People who practice my faith give themselves names used with those who spiritually believe as they do.
I don’t feel any name I’ve had has represented who I am, and who I decided to be. I have grown a lot, because of the people in my life who were closer than family. I haven’t changed my name to confuse anyone. I have finished what I’ve been talking about for a very long time for practical and professional reasons.