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Angelina Carrera is my alter ego.

She was born from my imagination several years ago after my 13-year marriage ended and I asked myself the question, “Who am I now?”

My answer?  “You can be anyone you want.”

Bold outcomes often result when we allow ourselves to entertain the simple question: “What if?”

Some women, post-divorce, go back to their family name.  Some retain their ex-husband’s name. But, what if I chose a road less travelled — a surname that was completely different from anyone or anything I had ever known?  Had anyone ever done this if they weren’t entering the witness protection program??

I was no longer a Lombardi.  I was no longer a Damsell.

This left the road wide open for a Carrera.

It was the first possibility that came to mind. Carrera marble. Carrara Italy. The Porsche Carrera, which I’ve always loved. It conjured up images of power, beauty and high performance (if not a bit high maintenance — oh well)!

Being somewhat of a pioneer in my family, or a contrarian, depending on who you talk to, I took Carrera for a test drive. I wrote it in longhand. Over and over.  Practised a signature. Typed it out. Upper case. Lower case. Said it out loud. Over and over. Introduced myself as Jodie Carrera to my face in the mirror.

Although I discovered the name has a few unsavory associations (one to an American porn star; one to a drag queen and American reality television personality), I turned a blind eye.

It didn’t take long before I decided it was bellissima!  It passed the road test. And, it honored my Italian heritage. (the surname originated from Venice, Italy).

To change a surname was one thing. To think of changing a given name, even if it was seldom used, somehow seemed sacrilegious.

My parents had chosen Janet, my first name, especially for me at birth. Jodie was my middle name and it was what everyone called me. Lombardi was there by default.

I secretly disliked the name Janet my entire life. I never felt like a Janet, whatever a Janet was supposed to feel like.  Suddenly, at this crossroad, I realized it was within my power to change it.

My parents were long-deceased and there was no one to consider but myself. Once again I allowed the question to emerge:  “What if?”

What if I removed Janet, pushed Jodie to the forefront, and chose Angelina as my middle name – a name I always loved and envied as a kid.  What if I made it perfectly legal with an official document, a birth certificate and everything??

Jodie Angelina Carrera.  It sounded melodic to me.  It also cost $137 bucks.

Over dinner one evening, when I announced my “new identity” to my three siblings and their respective spouses, they did what they always do in response to my outlandish ideas: rolled their eyes and laughed.

They started calling me Angelina right away.

My brother-in-law, the family clown, jumped to his feet, grabbed the French’s mustard bottle, and, in a booming voice, instantly declared himself to be ‘Mr. Moutarde Jaune’ – his “new foreign name”.

I’ve since nicknamed him Mouty Bro.

We use each other’s alter egos every chance we get.

– 30 –

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