Since the last solemn profession held in my Benedictine Canon community, my Benedictine brothers have started to embrace their religious names more fully. In my community, each brother has taken a religious name at his solemn profession, becoming Brother First name-Religious name (so Br. Philip, at his profession in March, became Br. Philip-Martín).
I've given a good deal of thought to the religious name I would take at my solemn profession. I've given less thought, at least until now, to my given first name. I go by a shortened version of my middle name--I have since college. My first name connoted too many aspects of my childhood self that I no longer embraced, so I dropped it, and only a few people call me by it anymore.
I wonder now if continuing to eschew my first name is a sign of my rejection of part of myself. Am I at a point where I can embrace who I was as a child--meek, silent, shy, gullible, frail? Why would I ever embrace those things as a feminist seeking a position of leadership?
I doubt I'll ever return to my first name, especially if I make my solemn profession (because three names is a little much, no?), but I cannot so easily ignore the person I was for nearly two decades.
What do I need to reclaim about my childhood self? What do I fear?