What’s in a Name?



(a blurry iPhone picture of the frozen bay to attract a readers attention!)

The next post on this blog was going to be what I hope for in 2018, but, I haven’t quite finalized my goals for the new year. In fact, I’m still carrying around my 2017 journal even though Mark gifted me a beautiful new one. I’m going to blame my crazy hours for not being able to sit down and introspectively think of what I want for 2018. Just go with it, okay?

With all that said, one of my recent goals has been to tap back into who I am as a person. One of my recent realizations is that I do not like putting titles on the things I love. I am not a writer, I just write. I am not a photographer, I just love photographing others. I love exploring the crafts, learning more, bettering myself, watch as my work grows and evolves. Underneath the surface, this fear of titles certainly drives my inability to consistently blog. “Blogger” is another title that makes what I love seem trivial. 

“Titles” was also an internal issue I had with getting married. I was not ready to give up my last name and change that part of me. I worked hard in becoming “Leanne Gelish”: how could I just say goodbye to it all with a new last name? It was a sense of identity that I held close. The constitution of marriage, that was an easy undertaking. Letting go of Leanne Gelish, well… that was much more difficult than anticipated. The tradition of me changing my name was something Mark valued. To him, it was a final stamp in merging our lives together to become one. He explained it much more eloquently than I can, and, it was because of this that we came to a compromise. I would keep “Leanne Gelish” for writing, but, legally, I would become Leanne Verity. 

Recently, I started submitting my work for publication again through Thought Catalog. When you’re just getting back into the terrifying world of submitting work for thousands to read and criticize, it’s good to start where there are no “deadlines” or “expectations.” Just freely give an article when you’re ready to build that confidence back up. (I’m starting to see that I have a fear of commitment, hahaha) And, in an ironic twist of events, they changed the way writers can send their work. I set up my profile without thinking too much into it. That is, until the other day when one of my pieces went live. The author was “Leanne Gelish-Verity”. I clicked the linked name and the profile was only to my new post. All of the old articles about first loves, being white girl wasted, and stages of friendship were permanently linked to “Leanne Gelish”. It was as if it was two different writers.

I went to contact Thought Catalog to see if I could merge the two profiles until something dawned on me; it is two different writers. Leanne Gelish, as a writer and a person, was so green to the world. Tenacious, persistent, and sort of like a labrador retriever puppy with her lack of self-control, or regulation, Leanne Gelish, while the foundation of Leanne Gelish-Verity, felt so far away.Her positive qualities are deeply rooted in the foundation, but, as I grow older, I’ve changed. A little more intentional, a little less green, a little more self-regulated. I looked at the two profiles and started to laugh. Leanne Gelish was “a twenty something doing twenty something things.” Leanne Gelish-Verity is so much more than that. Even the pictures were in contrast of one another. Leanne Gelish was a bit more unpolished than Leanne Gelish-Verity. In that moment, I felt lucky to have documented so much of my life on the internet; it serves as a good reminder that growth is inevitable. 

I realize this a lot of writing about myself, and, a lot of use of my name. Hopefully, that will help with my personal SEO when people search me. This awful picture of me from the Suffolk Times is like the third search result, so, I have a lot of work to do.

In all seriousness, as I look at 2018 and what I hope for myself, the top of that list is that I hope to continue conquering fears. I hope I realize that titles are okay, that change is okay, and, that in most cases (like the case of Leanne Gelish-Verity) it’s for the better.