Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finishing Fund Grant Available AND Coming Home Again

(Photo - Debra Markowitz - from Way Back Week)

Finishing Fund Grants Available AND Going Home Again
LIFTF Finishing Fund Grants

If you have a short or feature-length film shot partially on Long Island, the Long Island Film-TV Foundation is offering two finishing fund grants for $500 (more if the sponsors come in!!). Check www.LongIslandFilm.com. Cut off is February 28, 2010.

Going Home Again

I was born, Debra Markowitz. No middle name, no fuss. It’s an interesting name to have when you’re not Jewish, but everyone assumes that you are. That’s fine; I accept any holiday greeting that is offered. It’s a basic, non-flowery label for who I am. When I was younger I thought about changing it, but I assumed that would be done for me when I married. And I did marry, and two times had names that I thought were way cooler. One time not. But I always used Debra Markowitz for my work and my writing.

When I divorced, I kept my uncool married name because it made it easier to travel with my minor daughter. Not that we traveled much, but even going to Florida to visit my parents was easier with the same name. When I almost got fired because there was confusion between my married name and the name everyone else knew me by, I figured that the time arrived to go back to who I am. My daughter was 18, I was unencumbered. I wasn’t looking forward to all the paperwork I’d have to do, but once I started, it was a breeze. Well, the first half anyway. My credit cards were changed with only a phone call. The Social Security office in Freeport told me I couldn’t change my name until I changed my license first. The wonderful clerk at the DMV changed two registrations, two titles, and my license in ten minutes. He scoffed when I told him what social security had said. “But you had the proof,” he remarked. I agreed. I went to Social Security in Mineola; 15 minute wait time, half the documentation and was done there. Go Mineola! My credit union changed my name easily.

The hardest things to change were items like my mutual funds, my daughter’s college account and my cable account. Come on. My name is changing – I have proof. Call my phone number; I answer. E-mail me; I’ll answer that too. Send a letter; it comes to my address. We’re getting a little ridiculous here requiring signature guarantor (apparently notaries are no longer good enough), original divorce papers, and codes for my cable box, cable box cards and modem numbers. Doesn’t cablevision have these things on file? I didn’t switch my equipment, just my name!

Changing my name on my deed scares me. Legal papers, lawyers, money. My passport is just a matter of inconvenience, but probably not a huge deal. My library card…whenever.

What does feel really good? REALLY signing my real name. Me, Debra Markowitz, can sign a check and a legal document. I don’t have to decide which name to tell people when they ask. Business or writing business: Markowitz. Everything else: Markowitz.

I know it’s just a label. All names, after all, are just identifiers we call ourselves and the person we want to converse with. Perhaps it’s the symbolism of coming full circle that’s so appealing. Our experiences shape us all. My views have changed. I’m not waiting for that prince anymore (though my guy does actually have a suit of armor). I don’t have to wonder if I’m ever going to have children; been there, done that.
As far as what I’ll be when I grow up, I know what I am/was for a great deal of that time. The future is a mystery for us all. Where I always felt that great things were in store for me, now I know that they are IF I’m willing to do the work and not give up. Things are much less random…and much more random. The universe has more in store for us than we can even imagine, so it’s best not to dwell on the particulars more than we need to.

And here I am in the house I grew up in. Bought it twice; once with my ex, and once from my ex. It looks very different from when I was younger. It reflects me and my more streamlined style, my sense of design (or lack thereof) and preference for empty space and organization. Okay, it doesn’t always look that way, but a few times a year it actually does.

And with the new social media networking opportunities, I get to connect with new friends and business acquaintances, and find and touch base with old friends. The really great thing is that they now all know me as Debra Markowitz. Because that’s who I was, and that’s who I am.

As much as I know this lifetime is one continuous linear equation, we really are the people we were before, still. We’ve just added to our arsenal of skills, knowledge and experience. Who we are now is who we were then, just more evolved (hopefully). When all is said and done in this lifetime, I don’t know what the final result will be. I’m scared. I’m excited. But whoever/whatever I am in the end, I was Debra Markowitz, and I’ve come home again.

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