What’s in a name? Musings on Identity - Newsletter #5

inspiration linkedin newsletter Feb 12, 2024
Maven Musings with Heather Cook Newsletter Cover

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November. Sitting in my favorite chair, with a fresh cup of coffee

Sunshine peeking in between the blinds.

Blue pen in hand, staring at the

The scratch pad - full of choices.

My signature.

My signatures.






‘Baby Girl Cook’ is what was written on the first hospital picture.

What was given to me, chosen for me, with love - the original designation.

There was talk of Heidi, but Heather prevailed.


Heather, a name of the early 1970's, Scottish, a purple flower that grows on the moorland/heathland. 

Ann, family name, Mother of the Virgin Mary, Aunties names on both sides.

Cook, my Father's heritage, German/Austrian stock mixed with Polish on Mom's side.


Heather Ann Cook

Heather Annie, my Mom's fave


Miss Cook



Cookie Monster



Ms. Hedda

Lady Hedda

Then - 

Heather Newman

Mrs. Newman


Ms. Maven




Heddalettuce - no that is an amazing drag queen. :) Respect.


Don't worry I'm not giving you the key to any of my passwords.


Shakespeare asks, What is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Everything, nothing.

One’s identity, your father’s name, your Mother’s if you are Spanish.


Not remembering someone's name is a slight, a sticking point.

Are you important enough to remember?

"What's her name" is one of the rudest phrases in the book.


What is in a name?

The scratch pad overflows with blue lines.

We don't write so much anymore.

E-signatures have replaced our cursive lettering.

What does a big C, feel like?

This name swoops, ‘Cook’, rather than sharp points of ‘Newman’.

I have/had loved being both, almost the same amount of time, 2+ decades for each.

I wrote Heather Cook and had to fit in Newman on my marriage certificate, a sign?

Tracing and tracing over the letters of a signature of the past and now again my future.


What is in a name?

“When do we get our family name back?”

Thank you for letting me borrow it for a while.






What is in a name?

Are you married? Oh, then

Why haven't you changed your name?

When did you get divorced?

How long has it been?


Don't mind if I dig into your heart, right?

These questions are benign, small talk, right?

The things that taxi and car drivers ask when you are captive in their boxes.

The most personal questions are perfunctory when you are a woman.



Single? Barren?


The pigeonhole story of who you are. 


What is in a name?

The steps, the time, the rigamarole.

Is it worth it?

Does it matter?


The tracing of the C on the scratchpad.

The double OOs.

The K.

And yes, the existential question is, who am I?

The meaning of life is 42.

But that is not helpful when you have to go to, talk with, share documents to all the places in the world that are bureaucratic, slow and these days (USPS) untrustworthy of not losing things. More fees, time, energy, standing in line, rubber stamps. Who am I? What is your name, again, hon?


Reclaiming or claiming - the act of resuming possession of - technically is a form, money order, and either $40.50 or $478.00 depending.


The cost is not just the $40.50, the cost is also the loss of identity. Wife. Married. Protected.

The tiptoeing through the memories of the moments of pain you went through.

That everyone went through when you both decided to end that story, that journey, that promise.

The odd public and clinical nature of filing a form for some random person to read, review, stamp and return.

Swoop of the C, the double OOs, the finish of the K.


In California you may reclaim your maiden name any time after a divorce by paying $40.50, sending a copy of your divorce decree, and sending a form and a self-addressed envelope. Any other reason you pay 10x that.

One thing is that is "convenient" for us gals.


Form-395 received back, clerk stamped.

Ex parte restoration complete.

Swoop of the C, the four circles of the double OOs, the sharpness of the K.


What is in a name?

Are you worried you'll lose your followers?

Do the years I’ve spent brand building around my name and business go out the window?

Does it matter?

Will people find me who want to find me anyway?

Maybe it is time for a reinvention along with the reclaim.

Maybe a shedding of the random.


The more I write it, the less I hesitate. It was there all along.


The Swoop of the C, the circles of the OOs, the big finish with the K.


What has changed is not only my name. What has changed is me.


Continuing to create new





The Swoop of the C, the circles of the OOs, the big finish with the K.


My name is Heather Cook, lovely to meet you.


Still me. 

Yet different.


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Published by

Principal PM Manager, Microsoft | Community Connector | Award-Winning Marketer | Speaker | Storyteller | Podcaster | Founder - Creative Maven
12 articles
🥀What’s in a name? Shakespeare's timeless question lingers in my mind as I reclaim my maiden name after divorce. As I signed the final form—Heather Cook—I realize a name is certainly more than just letters on paper. And is it only my name that has changed?

Join me as I navigate the evolution of identity, history, and rediscovery. 

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