When I want to be fearless, I use my maiden name instead

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Illustration by Marley Allen-Ash

“What’s the last name on the reservation?” the travel agent asked me.

“Glauberzon or Fazekas?” I really don’t remember. Is it under my maiden or maiden name? This confusion has been happening every day for the past year, even though I’ve been married for seven years.

Sometimes, I try to make a joke. “I can’t decide whether I’m married or single today, it depends on the day.” Sometimes, the person on the other end of the line laughs. Other times, they don’t. They just raise their eyebrows and probably think, “Is this woman getting a divorce?”

Confusion happens with flight, hotel and restaurant reservations. Even loan offices.

One trip to the United States was particularly creepy for me. I booked the flight under my maiden name, Glauberzon, but realized at the last minute that my passport was under Fazekas. When I called the booking agent to update my flight name, they required a marriage certificate. Who remembers where they put that paper? It took me over a week to prove that I was both Olivia Glauberzon and Olivia Fazekas.

My surname amnesia started about a year ago. Before that, my last name was a simple matter. I am a happily married woman and always use my husband’s last name – Fazekas.

Glauberzon, my maiden name, was always a sticking point for me, especially growing up. Spell all 10 letters for the telephone operator. For years the kids called me “Glaub” at school. In fact, my big frizzy Medusa curls feel like one big messy ball. Most importantly, my surname highlights my Russian Jewish upbringing, which is different from my classmates.

In my 20s, I became a writer, learned how to style my curls, and my relationship with my last name began to change. It became my byline when I published my first article in a newspaper and dabbled in journalism. I’m not afraid to ask tough questions of politicians and senior executives. It’s also my name when traveling abroad while working on a cruise ship. Glauberzon represents a fearless me.

However, when I get married, I can’t wait to change the name on my official ID as soon as possible. Fazekas – seven letters short! It’s cleaner. A more stable me. Around the same time I left journalism and went into business, Fazekas became the name I used professionally. At this time, I also no longer ride the big roller coaster, no longer drive on the highway. Glauberzon’s version of me in hiding.

Only when I had my first child did something break, and it wasn’t my female body parts. Motherhood has made me question everything about who I am and the sacrifices I’ve made to make it happen. It starts with my body, alcohol and coffee during my pregnancy. Then, I lost my sleep and my paycheck to stay home with the kids. I began to doubt my fearless self: Is she that bad? Why am I in such a hurry to leave her? What the hell is wrong with my maiden name?

After a few months, I started exercising again. Which led me to a side hustle for maternity leave: I started my own line of maternity activewear.

My husband is confused. He never knew I had an entrepreneurial side. He is an actuary and extremely risk-averse. And yet, the Glauberzon in me was always lurking there, like a jack in a box, and it only took a sweaty bucket trying to breastfeed in a regular sports bra to make her pop out.

I registered the company in my maiden name. It felt like the right move, considering how reluctant he was about the whole idea. I need Glauberzon to bring back the fearless part of me, the one who can drive and ride rollercoasters on the freeway, especially since every garment factory in Toronto is next to the freeway and I’m not going to give my husband a ride .

When I went back to work, Olivia Fazekas was wife, mother and company team member. Meanwhile, Olivia Glauberzon became an innovator, activist and nighttime entrepreneur after the kids were in bed, working on a Canadian-made maternity line.

Then, COVID and lockdown. Worlds collide. My husband sees the company Olivia Fazekas struggling in a rigorous banking job where everything is defined and static.

Eventually, I got his Fazekas’ blessing to start it: Stop spectating your career dreams and make it a reality.

Keeping statistics on marriage and entrepreneurship inconsistent. I get it. Started After9 tested our marriage. My business has taken me away from my family, and the working capital needed to keep the business going has drained our family savings.

For a long time, I resented my husband and his resistance to my entrepreneurial journey. After running my business full time for a year, I’m glad he’s here, always keeping track of the numbers. I hate numbers. If it wasn’t for my husband’s full time job, I would not have the financial support to keep going.

I was fearless in my maiden name in my 20s, but starting this business at the height of the pandemic required me to be fearless in my marriage as well.

You might ask, why not just hyphenate? Glauberzon-Fazekas. Seventeen letters, eighteen words.two z’second. The idea of ​​spelling it out makes me hesitate at the idea.

If only I didn’t have to choose a name. I’ll create my own: Fazekerzon. 10 letters long, it’s the perfect combination of identity – fearless and secure at the same time.

Currently, filing for the original surname is just another level of administration that I don’t have time for. I will continue as Glauberzon for the sake of my career. But I also try to remember that the things in charge — travel bookings, my bank loans — are all under the leadership of Fazekas. Anyway, others put it together faster.

Olivia Glauberzon lives in Toronto.

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