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…And yes, I am screaming my byline, so you’re not caught by surprise as this post grows increasingly hysterical. I’m here to talk to you today, calmly for now, about my name.

My name is… fine. Less remarkable and more pronounceable than my sister’s, yet still deeply troubling to substitute teachers and Starbucks. Jillian becomes Julian, Julianne; verbally and to my horror, Joann. Conochan? Frankly, I give up.

As a youth I claimed to hate my name, probably to fit in with some high-ranking tweens who actually had loathsome names. When I went off to high school—a mostly fresh start in a new town—the first friend I made was named Alaina.

“That’s a pretty name,” I said. “Betcha hate it, though.”
“Actually… I like my name,” she replied, smiling.

Huh, I thought, maybe she’s onto something!

Of course, in a twist of peripeteia, I would soon become “Jill,” because the second friend I made couldn’t comprehend that, unlike how she shortened her name from Kimberly to Kim, I preferred my full name, Jillian.

After eight years, Jill Conochan finished high school and college, then decided to resurrect Jillian.

Strangers of the interwebs had other ideas.

Not breaking news: I send and receive many emails.  ALL of my work emails are signed as follows:


Jillian Conochan
Company Name
Additional Company Information
Tel: +1 555 555 5555

Are you counting?  That’s 3 Jillians.


Thanks Jill!

Maybe I go by Jay. Maybe I go by Li. Maybe I go by Ann. Maybe I go by Connie or Tootie or Boner.
You know what I definitely go by? JILLIAN. That’s why I signed it that way.

…so there’s that. Then to further complicate things, I went ahead and got married last year. Ay carumba! What a mission!

Which is precisely why I decided TO DO NOTHING.

I did not change my name. Not because I’m empowered. Not because I identify as a feminist. No, I have no intention of ever throw[ing my] hands up at Bey.

I didn’t change my name because I am lazy.

You know what I have changed? JOBS. I’ve blasted through seven jobs; four in the past five years. I have 401Ks all over the damn place. I have savings accounts and money market accounts and checking accounts… IRAs and CDs… life insurance and death insurance and health insurance for in between. I have a mortgage—a couple, in fact… a driver’s license and a passport and credit cards…


As a person who has let health insurance lapse because I *whining* didn’t feeeeel like filling out the forrrrmmmmsssss, you can imagine how high a priority it was for me to take on my husband’s last name. So I just… didn’t.  

I don’t expect everyone to understand.

As a testament to that, let’s peruse of some of the mail I’ve received in the year since my wedding.

Exhibit A: The Gold Standard


The accuracy. The handwriting. The contents (paraphernalia for the sender’s charity 😍😍😍). It’s almost unfair for me to include this submission, considering this bon vivant takes the time to send postcards from all of his international adventures. Clearly he’s on some otha level. Therefore I bring you…

Exhibit B: The Gold Standard for Mere Mortals


See: Exhibit A. Minus the typography porn, plus “Ms.”

Exhibit C: The Mostly Right AKA I’ll Allow It


Ignore the fact that a wolverine opened this envelope. The sender, an acquaintance, added an extra “c” into my surname. Because the pronunciation trick for “Conochan” is that “the other c is silent,” I can’t hold against her her zeal for another other “c.” I mean, it’s free, right?

Exhibits D and E: The Oblivious Patriarchy


Sigh. I want to not react. I’m not there yet.

Intellectually, I know that the sender does not mean any harm when s/he writes “Jillian DeCotiis.” I override my wrath instinct (thanks, yoga!) and carry on with my day.

I’ll get there. Or maybe they will.

Exhibit F: I Can’t Unclench My Jaw


My pulse spikes. I gnash my teeth. Eyes glow red. Transformation to hellbeast: complete. Meet Mrs. N. DeCotiis.

Technically I’m not even Mrs. DeCotiis. But MRS. N. DECOTIIS?! Did I just get back from a psychogenic fugue during which I updated all of my paperwork AND changed my first name to Natalie? How conscientious………………………ly INFURIATING ;ALKDHJG;AJKDFHG;ALKSERSDXC!!!

Mr. & Mrs. DeCotiis comprehensively covers any information required to know for whom this letter is intended. Why sully the message with an initial that’s only one of ours? It makes me feel like less of a person… and like more of a hellbeast.

Exhibit G: The Mail Slut


Addressed to “Jillian Conochan Or New Resident,” “Our Neighbors At,” or “Our Friends At,” direct mail don’t give a damn by whom, it just wants to be noticed. I mean, it literally says “HAVE YOU SEEN ME?” No, John Cena, I missed you over there, with your primary color camouflage and advertising outside of the advertising.  But at least you’re not…

Exhibit H: The Mail Bomb


Well, f*ckyouverymuch, pile of papers that defies the laws of physics, simultaneously imploding and exploding. You leave in your wake nothing more than a recycling opportunity.

So what’s in a name? Juliet, another moniker I’ve probably been called, claims “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Had she survived the gang violence, lethal overdose, and knife wound only to receive a piece of mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. R. Montague, I can’t guarantee true and faithful Juliet would remain of that opinion.

Jillian Conochan

Jillian Conochan is a professional amateur; writing and editing just happen to be two current pursuits. Opinion range: strong to DNGAF.

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