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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

I have found the famous quote by William Shakespeare to not always be quite accurate.

A name can hold so much power. It can fill you with pride of your heritage or drag you down with the weight of the memories of it.

For years now I have dreamed of the day I could change my legal name. The name Jaeger is not only impossible for people to spell or pronounce properly (Cue every introduction in my life….”No, no. It’s with a J, not a Y. ?”), but it has been a daily reminder of the one person in my life who has caused more pain than anyone else.

I had planned on changing my surname to my mother’s maiden name if hadn’t married within the next few years, but after meeting my soul mate in 2018, I choose to wait and simply take on his surname once we were married.

Changing my name is, for me, is a final, concrete public declaration of freedom. I have forgiven my abuser and released him to God for justice, I have and set up the boundaries needed for my safety, and I have learned how to redeem the pain by writing about my past and sharing the many lessons learned. But with this name change I feel the start of a new beginning — a step into a new life with a new earthy identity.

Due to COVID restrictions, what normally takes days has taken months to officially change my name with the Social Security office. But at last, with this little card that finally arrived in the mail, I can at last breathe a sigh of relief knowing I am now and forever, Mrs. Anderson. ?



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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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