I was Patty growing up in Springfield, OH in the 40s and 50s. As soon as I arrived in Cincinnati in 1960, I deliberately became Pat. And now I am becoming Patricia.
I started the transition to Patricia 2 or 3 years ago, slowly, and am now becoming more clear and direct about it. It’s been quite a chore for my friends, to re-learn my name after 4o or so years in some cases. But it is where I am and how I feel. At a big gathering of women the day after New Year’s, the 20-somethings in the crowd were really helping out, reminding others about what my name is. That was fun!
I decided it would be good to better explain this to folk, I’ve had to spend the last couple of weeks figuring out exactly why I’ve made this change and why it’s important to me.
I started, sometime in the 70s, to call myself an activist – philosopher. Not very often, but when someone really wanted to know how I viewed my life. I was writing a column for the Enquirer at the time, later for the Post, and so would use this definition occasionally. I was really seen as an activist, but I knew that I was also developing a thought / belief system, observing and commenting on life around me.
What I’ve realized now is that I’ve become a philosopher – teacher – activist. The emphasis now is on that belief system, that structure I’ve built, and actions come from that, are mounted on that structure. I act now when there is a systemic reason to do so, and more often share my philosophy, and cheer on others who are working hard in the thick of pushing for change.
This is, of course, one of the best times ever in America to be observing, thinking and cheering on change. Another reason to be grateful to President Obama.
To sum up my reason for changing my name – Pat is an activist, Patricia is a philosopher / teacher. It’s as simple as that.