10 Jun Born Identity
Ok, first of all, I do not live in the UK, I am happily engaged, and I am not Asian.
Oh, and I was not on Meet an Ostomate, despite there existing a profile with my face and some seemingly accurate and inaccurate info. Someone stole my identity.
Yup, it’s happened often. Last I counted, someone has pretended to be me online more than 7 times. Majority of the time it’s been on Twitter, but it also happened once on Instagram. Now, on this site, apparently, thanks to a “Jessica Poul.” I found her on Facebook and messaged her, but I think the message got filtered into her “others” box. So Jessica, here’s my message to you: Stop it.
Time and time again, my picture has been stolen, accounts made with usernames that sound similar to mine, and details included in the profiles that are the knockoff sounding version of who I am.
K BUT WHY.
Seriously?! Who am I that you, (or multiple people), feel the need to impersonate me? Am I just the most amazing person you’ve ever seen that you have to pretend to live my life? Or are you so unhappy with yours that you think acting through mine will make you feel better? Or is this just some game that you find funny?
It’s not funny.
One’s identity is an important, even sometimes fragile concept.
Some of you may have noticed, for instance, that transgender identity is currently getting major media attention. (BTW: I completely side with every single transgender person realizing who they are and identifying with who they want to be.) Identity is also a key issue for many refugees who have lost the country they’ve known and were born into and are now trying to fit into a new culture without losing the tradition and history that has made them who they are.
For many of you in our community, your identity is largely linked to the situation before, and your life after, ostomy surgery.
For me, my identity is very much so tied to my ostomy and how it gave me my life back. I also identify as an actor and a digital marketer, which makes up the other pieces of who I am. In fact, if you Google me, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
At least, if you Google my first and last name….
Ok so, a few weeks ago when my passport expired (oops), I was trying to figure out if I was even supposed to renew it now, or wait until I tie the knot, which is happening in less than 3 months! I have no idea how to adult, so this was very confusing.
Not only was I unsure of whether or not, bureaucratically, I needed to wait, it also really got me thinking about whether or not a name change was actually going to happen.
Am I changing my name?
Like I said, if you Google me, I’m there – under the name Jessica Grossman. Not by my future husband’s last name. If I were to change my last name, that would all disappear – right?
It would be like erasing my identity…
Don’t get me wrong, I have no trouble being a Mrs. In fact, I find being called Mrs. quite endearing. Put that name on my bank statement, put that name on the buzzer to our condo building, put that name on cute little gifts for us for our wedding – I’d love that. (Oh ya, feel free to send…. 🙃)
However, for me to go and change my ID, my online presence, the name that I’ve built my life, my work, my identify around? To lose what’s tied to the name Jessica Grossman? I don’t think I can do that.
As an interesting anecdote: to have a Twitter profile removed for impersonation, you have to send them a picture of your ID to prove you are you, which I’ve done a few times now. It’s worked and these accounts have been removed because my ID has my last name on it.
This is another question I’ve had – If I change my name and, therefore, my ID, what would happen in that situation? Do I even count as me on Twitter? Hey Twitter, help?
At one point, I was thinking of hyphenating my name. His is only 1 syllable, so adding “Grossman” in front of that isn’t too bad. I also told him any future hypothetical kids we have could take his last name. While my fiancé is the most understanding and reasonable person I’ve ever met (part of why I love him) and he’s been very understanding about the situation, he told me it was ridiculous and sent me an article about how logistically nightmarish it is to do that, and that he thought it would be too long and sound silly.
So I guess that option is out.
Some people might find this silly and that my name doesn’t matter. Some may say “what’s in a name?” like, would a rose by any other name still smell as sweet? Yeah, it would… But you wouldn’t be able to find it if you Googled “Rose.”
The internet is an interesting place because, really, you can be anyone you want to be – hell, you can even pretend to be me, if you want! (No, don’t.) And while it may sound like my biggest concern is whether or not my Google search results become irrelevant, that’s really not it.
My name is my identity, and it’s what represents all the things I’ve experienced, all the things I’ve overcome, and all the things I’ve accomplished in my life.
Like I said, I am very excited to add my soon-to-be husband to the list of things that have contributed my identity, but I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to get rid of Jess Grossman.