October is National Bullying Prevention Month. If you’ve read my byline, then you could safely assume that I am an expert on bullying. With a name like “Crapson,” my life has been riddled with interesting encounters, especially when strangers learn my last name.
Although the bullying that comes from my last name is superficial name-calling, it is a welcome mat for further bullying. Childhood and adolescence was quite an experience. In middle school, someone let it slip that a girl had been calling me “Crappy Crapson” since elementary school.
At the time, I thought the only solution was changing my last name. My mom looked into legally changing it, but it was too expensive. The next best thing was clinging to the archaic idea that when I get married, I would take my husband’s name. My bullying would cease, and my life would be completely different. As ridiculous as it sounds, I wanted to forge a new identity, exempt from the past.
But here I am, 22, unwed, and still facing the “Crapson controversy.” While names may just be words, I have let it define me for far too long. One of the main tenets of coping with bullying is to reclaim the words that are used against you. So, I am reclaiming “Crapson.” For me, it means victory. Most people have their father’s last name, but I have my mother’s maiden name. She fought for my name; and I plan to hold onto it, despite the notoriety it brings me.
“Crapson” will always be a part of my experience. The occasional rude person still waltzes into my life, and I can anticipate their laugh. So I laugh first now.