I changed my name to Jo, hence the title.
Wait so your mom and dad now call you Jo? Instead of the name they chose for you? Yes, well at least they try.. and I would like you to try too 🙂 ! Also my middle name is Jo, so its more of a name slide over than a total change.
Changing my name is both drastic and not at all. Below are a couple sources of what pulled me to change my name. Wanting to share as some are curious and as always this blog serves as a public diary for myself. Welcome to the inner world of Jo, or at least at parts I choose to share. Here I am as twenty nine year old Jo. This story does meander, and yes I do get to my point eventually. Welcome to the journey of Jo.
First lets start in February 2022, when I bought my first set of ‘medicine cards’ somewhat like tarot cards. For those who have never seen them or experienced ‘pulling a card’ or may just disregard as some hippy shit. To each is own. If you are interested the process can look like shuffling the cards, ask a question of the deck or just pull a card of the day to focus their intention on- or at least this is how I interact with them. I never believed much in things like tarot cards because I believed it was somewhat like astrology or just making broad statements that could mostly relate to anyone. I wouldn’t base my life off of an astrology reading, so why put so much power into it? I thought I would draw the ‘wrong’ card and would make no sense to me. How can I ask a deck of cards intimate questions about my life and expect it to tell me something wise? Here is an amazing 15 min podcast from NPR about reading tarot cards if you want to learn more.
I appreciate my ability to be wrong and change my mind if I have experiences that points me in a different direction. One day my mind was changed. Rewinding back even further to a cold day in January 2021- I was on a weekend trip with girlfriends to a hot spring. My friend Brooke pulls out her animal medicine cards and prompts us to ask a question, shuffle, and pull a card. At the time I was in a treacherous part of an inevitable relationship coming to an end. During that time the things that I love most about myself felt dull, cloudy and inaccessible. I felt lost, hopeless and heartbroken. I was far away from the women who felt most alive in her independence and freedom. That Ally was trudging through the mud and trying to make love be enough.
On that January morning I shuffled the cards, laid them in a rainbow arch in font of me. My three lady confidantes encouraging me smiles and anticipation. I held my hand up as I felt the pull of gravity, hovering my hand over the cards hoping something would happen. Again and again when I am slow, quiet and centered then my intuition has a moment to speak. I saw a card that felt right, placed my hand on top of it and felt the urge to slowly flip it over.
My first inclination was to turn the card around, as I was invited to pause from my friend. You don’t turn the card right side up if it was pulled in reverse, that in itself is apart of the card reading. I flipped through the book to find the words of wisdom for an upside down eagle or ‘eagle in reverse’. The paragraph for the card spoke about an eagle who’s wings had been clipped. Spoke of loving yourself and seeking higher ground to build back up your ‘nest’ that was not currently strong. I felt a deep resonance with this card. All of my friends surrounding me knew of the struggle of this relationship over past six months and didn’t know how deep in I was. How hurt I was, not just by him but also hurting myself by staying in something that I knew wasn’t meant for me anymore. The most heart wrenching question was asking, “Can I even trust myself any more?” How could my heart and my mind want and need something that felt so opposite in nature. Staying or leaving.
I have so much love for this Ally, especially during this time, just wanting to love and be loved. Leaving felt like a slit in my chest. The next step, after the breakup, needing a bit more endurance. The step of trying to return to my sense of self that now felt fuzzy even when I squinted with my watery eyes to try to find her.
Over the next year I continued to call her closer, continued to find my centre, my joy and really my pleasure. This looked like marijuana infused art nights, solo camping trips, yoga for dayzzz, antidepressants, micro dosing and therapy. Looking back over my life I have trusted into this sense of self more than I can understand.
Tapping back into my sense of self also feels so similar now to the practice of pulling a card.
;or listening to my intuition
Centering myself, be slow, listen
; Listening to my inner knowing, my inner wisdom that goes beyond my life and my experiences
Laying out the options in front of me
; knowing there are many more options that I can even fathom or acknowledge in this physical life.
Let myself feel pulled
; I may not like the answer, or maybe confusing to me
Learning that its not really about pulling a card its about listening deeper to myself, my intuition.
; I get a chance to ask myself deeper questions and connect with those emotions in the most intimate way.
This is where the name change comes into the story. Thanks for tagging along this far 🙂
It first started almost a year ago when a client arrived at my office and exclaimed, I’ve changed my name from my first name to my middle name. She expressed, “It just suits me more”. Outwardly my head nodded and a small smile of reassurance “okay” – inwardly I thought to myself ‘you can do that?!?’
Yes, yes!!! You can change anything about yourself that helps you feel more defined in who you are- or at least I have the privilege of doing that. Most name changes these days relate to more of a sense of gender and identity. Oh course the name Jo can has more male roots to my knowledge in the US and people may assume that I want to change the gender I want to identify with. This isn’t the case for me, rather feel more in my own feminine power making this shift. More on this soon 🙂
So there I was one month before I embarked upon what I thought would be a four month (really to be eight month) journey to Central America. Curious about myself, do I feel most at home in my name, Ally, or would do I feel more like a Jo or another name? Should I open up a baby naming book and just scroll through the pages? Jo, rolling off my own tongue felt strange and foreign and similar to the path I was about to embark upon to another strange and foreign land. So, why not try it out? To my intuition, this felt like like the right name.
Acknowledging my ancestry of my first name/ my family. My first name ordinates from my grand mother Alice. My fathers side of the family is a large polish catholic family, with many aunt/ uncles and cousins. Most Christmas days and thanksgivings were spent with this side of the family. So much food, loud voices and love in those spaces still. Knowing my first name comes from this linage, I feel so much gratitude for the family created by my grandma Alice and grandpa Bill.
My middle name, Jo, comes from my moms side, specifically from her mother Josephine. I never got to meet Josephine as she died from cancer when my mom was a teen. I sometimes try to mix the memories I have of my great grandmother Hazel, with my mom and try to envision what she would look like and the vibe she had. Speaking more to my moms side of the family- its a bit more scattered in nature and with the strength of my mom, and my two aunts you couldn’t be able to tell that their childhood was not easy. These three women who have been in my life always, Kim (mom), Shelia (auntie), and Connie (auntie) have guided me so much into the women I am today.
My mom is such a lover and gives in my opinion way too much of herself, crying at Christmas when our family refused to help decorate. She wanted to build the family she wanted for herself growing up and she has won the gold medal of doing this. She was always volunteering, and living true to christian values in the best ways. I love my mom so much, and mom if your reading, which I know you are because you always do, I LOVE YOU. To my auntie Shelia, a women of layers, emotion, and a giver. She’s a mama, a nurse, and a speed walker. Even though the males in my family always have a comment about how particular she can be- she taught me how to take care of myself and to set personal boundaries around family. How to rest and navigate relationships that no longer serve her. I love you auntie She. Last but not least, my aunt Connie, youngest, I remember her making hand made clothes for my dolls with her sewing machine growing up. Her emotion for all us children and her own is potent. She works with people who are dying as a nurse and has been so giving to her community when inevitably someone from our community is dying. She is a lover of the sun, a healer, and gives the best hugs. I love you aunt Connie.
To all these women in my ancestry, my great grandma Hazel, my grandma Josephine, my mom Kim and my aunties Shelia and Connie, I want my name to represent you. Women of sustenance, strength, healers, givers. I want to carry those values that existed in my feminine linage. One odd fact that I carry with me is when my mom was in my grandmother Josephine’s belly, the egg of me also existed in my mama’s belly. However small I am also apart of Josephine, me now as Jo. All the hard working souls, all the love and healing you have brought to those around you. Thank you, I hope I can make you proud in being Jo.
Maybe this can seem too serious for a name change, and I believe the more I feel connected with my linage I also notice how much more gratitude and connected I feel to my being.
So with my intuition, linage and excitement I am introducing myself as Jo. When I say that name I feel a grounding sensation in my body, feels so ‘right’ and calming.
There are so many oracle cards, decks, or tarrot decks and I am an absolute novice in this. The ones I chose are called ’The discovery of power through the ways of the animal’ by Jamie Sams and David Carson.
Here a two pictures that I feel express who I feel as Jo. Inward & curious.