Who Am I?

As I approach my 50th birthday, I am having a bit of an identity crisis: I have been called many things by many people.  Who am I?

Aunt Wee-Wee

My ex-husband’s nephew couldn’t say “Wendy” when he was two, so for about a year, I was “Aunt Wee-Wee.”  He also couldn’t say “truck”, but that’s a whole other story… 


That’s what my Broadcast Journalism professor called me in college…I smiled when he said it, but I hated it!  Luckily, I only had to put up with it for a little over a year, because I dropped out two months into the second year of the two-year course to follow my boyfriend (later husband, later ex) to a job in Newfoundland.


For 20 months, I’ve been a grandmother to Elise, my daughter’s little girl.


That’s been Jim’s pet name for me since we got together three years ago…I call him “Honey.”

West Side Wendy

I operated a community newsletter for the west side of Saint John for nearly six years, and gave myself that handle because everybody on the west side has a nickname.  Four years later, people still call me that when I go over there to shop. 


I came up with this alias when I entered the world of online dating in 2005.  Six years later, I still use it on my blog. 

Wendy Shoots

This was my birthname…I had it for 23 years.  I spent a lot of time spelling my last name.


I’ve been called “Mom” for 25 years, ever since Kaylee was born (or “Mother” when they want to piss me off). 

Wendy Matheson

I became Wendy Matheson when I got married in 1984.  I worked in communications and non-profit event management, and served on the boards of various organizations in two major cities.  Even though my marriage broke up in 1997, I kept “Matheson” (two of my children are also Mathesons).  I continued to write and operate various businesses under the name.  I have been that person for 27 years. 

Aunt Wendy

I’ve been an aunt for 33 years to my ex-husband’s niece and nephews, and my niece.


I’ve been “Wendy” for almost 50 years.  In these days of social media, branding is ever more important if one wants to further one’s career.  If Jim and I get married, he wants me to change my last name to “VanWart” – he would rather I have his last name than my ex-husband’s.  I’m worried about the negative effect that might have on my “brand” that I’ve been working so many years to build up.  My ex and I are still friends, but each of us has found other partners (I have seen him twice since we split – he lives more than 1000 miles away).  Parenting our children is the only bond we have.

My blogging buddies know me pretty well…who am I?


Filed under self-discovery

62 responses to “Who Am I?

  1. You are a talented writer who is about to see the best days of her life…

  2. All of the above and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

  3. I’m a big fan of Wendy Wart and Wendy Shoots She Scores although I can understand why you would not find them entertaining. I’ve never done author marketing before, but in my previous life, I would have said the following: your “Brand” name is completely separate from your personal. Your public brand- the one you’ve created – when considered as a true brand- should stay the same. If Coke changes its name- no one can find it, or identify it- as the product they know and love. Brands usually only change names if it needs reinvention or due to a legal reason. I can only think of a couple examples off the top of my head and they’re old- Esso to Exxon, Datsun to Toyota (?)- My vote is to keep your “Brand name” – WriterWoman61/ Wendy Matheson and Herding Cats in Hammond River. Then change your name to the married one on your personal stuff- DL, notecards, etc. What does Kristen Lamb think?

  4. I like the take on your different identities. That’s right up my alley and this one will bounce around my brain for a bit. As for West Side Wendy, well, she just sounds like a gal who can snag a scoop and get into trouble. She needs to be a character in someone’s story 🙂

  5. Happy Birthday, Wendy! My favorite is West Side Wendy. It’s so catchy. When I divorced I took back my maiden name. It caused only a little bit of a challenge the fact that my last name is different from my kids. But we’ve always dealt with it. The break up was so hard, thanks to his affair, that there was no way I could keep his name. Now we’re amiable, but he, like your ex, lives very far (the other side of California), and our only contact is in respect to our children. Thankfully, my kids are grown (both in their 20’s) so that means zero to practically zilch that I actually talk to him. And that suits me fine. How lucky you are to have found another love. Hope you have something nice planned for your b’day celebration!

    • Thanks, Monica…sorry to hear about your awful breakup! My birthday’s not until July…I’ve just been thinking about it lately. Unfortunately, I’m not “West Side Wendy” any more since I moved to Hammond River 2 1/2 years ago… Wendy

  6. Goodness! This is tough. I don’t know what I would do. Identiy crisis, indeed!

  7. Wendy Shoots… for a second there I thought you were involved in my hockey game! That’s a fun exercise though to look back on all the things you/we have been called over the years. Personally I think it would be difficult to change your last name at this point in life/career and I’m not sure it’s really necessary. If you do decided to make a change though. I’d go with Wendy Wee-Wee!!

  8. Wendy, you’ve proven that women are comprised of many facets. Using one name to describe a woman is inaccurate (and impossible). Here’s to you – all of you, including what you will become tomorrow, the next day, etc.
    ~ Lenore

  9. I vote for all of the above..and all the fun new ones that will come in the future. And, Happy Birthday coming up; isn’t spring the best time to celebrate!

  10. You’re thoughtful, fun-loving, caring and you would die for your family. That’s all I know, but that’s enough!

  11. Shoots! Seriously. That’s a great last name. Matheson..very corporate. How about Matheson-VanWart. It’s a mouthful but it might be the compromise you’ll need if you ever feel the need to tie-the-preverbial-knot.

    • Thanks, Jeanne…”Shoots” was probably originally spelled “Schutz” when my German ancestor landed in the Eastern U.S. in the 1750’s…it was “Americanized” at some point. I don’t think I want to do the double-barrelled name thing…it is too much of a mouthful! Wendy

  12. A rose by any other name…

  13. jacquelincangro

    How about just Wendy? Or should I say it like this: WENDY!
    Think of all the successful one-name people:
    You’ve got it all over them! 🙂

  14. Jess Witkins

    Happy Birthday Wendy! I can’t think of another name, but your book club name and motto come to mind. You can just have your logline follow you around. Wendy: Succulent Bookworm.

    Wendy: Succulent Scholar? Woman of Words? Truth and Talent.

    I’m better with lighting candles. Feliz cumpleanos!

  15. WendyFriendtoAll.

    blessings, dear friend

  16. Hello again Wendy,

    What a wonderfully thought provoking post! I can’t solve your surname dilemma but can offer you an option a friend of mine used some years ago now. Her second marriage broke up and she wanted a new surname. She did not want to return to her maiden name but loved her mother’s maiden name. She consulted with her adult children who bear the surname of her first husband and various other family members, all of whom had no problems with her using her mother’s maiden name. It suits her so beautifully:-)
    I think it is very common for women, especially to spend time considering who they are, who they want to be, where they have come from and where they want to go as they reach 50 years of age.
    My mother was killed in a car accident just before I turned 50 and her death and that stage of my life sent me on a real journey of reflection and growth. One of the things I did was explore my first and second names and their meanings…..not much luck with Lynley which I suspect is Lyn and Lea combined. I also felt driven by an inner urge to learn more about my roots and my ancestors. That developed into my passion for genealogy.
    During the past 6 years I have also become a mother-in-law and a grandmother, as well as deepening my connections as an aunt and learning more about being a mother to three adult children!
    I wish you well with your wonderings and will watch for further developments:-)
    Warm wishes from sunny Whitby, Porirua, New Zealand

    • Thank you, Lynley, for your thoughtful comment…I’m so sorry about the death of your mother…mine passed away 3 1/2 years ago after being chronically ill for 23 years (her maiden name was quite a common one…I probably won’t use that one). I am also passionate about genealogy, having been interested in it since I was about 12. I am lucky that other relatives have already done a lot of work tracing my roots back! I appreciate you reading and commenting! Wendy

  17. thejaggedman

    Great post Wendy! Nicely written and honest to boot. That is what some of you blogging buddies think who you are. For me it seems to be the tension between who I am and what I am that gives me fits but such is life.
    Enjoyed it greatly so keep them coming and I hope you have a wonderful Birthday!

  18. I don’t thing anyone can ever answer that question but you and nobody is allowed to correct your answer or answers. Isn’t it wonderful to be almost 50 and know that only you can define you?

  19. It’s a tough one, Wendy. I understand Jim’s feelings, too: calling yourself Matheson maintains a connection to your ex-husband that you clearly don’t feel. I like the sound of Wendy Shoots. Would it be complicated to gradually phase out Matheson? Businesses change names all the time.

    Whatever you decide (or don’t decide), you’ll always be writerwoman61 to your blog readers.

    Good idea giving yourself a few months to adjust to being fifty. It’s a great age; I just wish I could remember it.

    • Thanks, Charles (Jim will be glad to know you agree with him!). I probably won’t go back to my maiden name, although our bookstore is “Dave Shoots, Bookseller.” I will maintain the original bookstore name once Dad’s gone and it belongs to me. I’m lucky if I can remember what I did yesterday… Wendy

  20. You are my friend and an incredible talent. ♥ Diane

  21. You are multi-talented and most impressive! Now how do we turn that into a name?

  22. Questions…you always ask me questions that I’m challenged to answer in a few words or less.
    And your wallpaper…the green is soothing, the flora so cozy….like a bookstore.

    • Thanks, Georgette…my background is an actual William Morris wallpaper pattern from the late 1800’s…I’m partial to Art Nouveau… We only have paint at our bookstore though, although the colours are geared to the period of our premises (late 1820’s). Wendy

    • Follow up. You asked about growing up in the space industry back in May. I think my answer is in yesterday’s post of July 24. I know you are busy and behind in your reading., but I did have answering your questions in the back of my mind.

  23. Lovely Wendy, friend to so many! Kind and generous and funny.
    What a wonderful post – it’s so interesting to reflect on this, especially as the 50th looms ever larger.
    Sunshine xx

  24. Happy almost-Birthday, Wendy — that’s one of those milestone years! Having invested so much time and effort in your writing persona, I think it’d be very hard to shuck it and develop a new writing ID. The previous suggestion about writing under the name you now use and keeping a new (married?) name for personal contacts seems the best solution. I know you’ll figure it out!

  25. Hi, I just sumble upon your blog and love it. Happy ‘almost’ 50th birthday! This is my first time reading your blog so I don’t think I’m qualified to participate in answering your question, but first impression, to me you are a very talented and creative writer. I really love your style of writting. I subscribe! 🙂

    • Welcome, Sendie…I recognize you from my friend Diane’s blog…since Diane is my “almost twin”, any friend of hers is a friend of mine! Thanks for commenting, and subscribing (you are my 100th subscriber – I wish there was a prize!).


  26. I know I wouldn’t want to bump into West Side Wendy in a dark alley on the west side. That’s the name of a person who will mess you up.

  27. You forgot to mention that you are a great cyber-friend to scores of us. I call those people “Frybers” (friends you meet in cyberspace, but you feel like you know them because you read their words, and you develop a relationship of sorts).

    If the bloggersphere is like Sherwood Forest, well then you are one of the ones who knows everyone and helps everyone along the way with kind words and a lot of wit.

    In my mind, you are Fryber Wendy.

  28. Pingback: Movies That Squeamish People Should Never Watch « EduClaytion

  29. You are a fabulous woman who is even more than the sum of these parts.

  30. God! I’ve missed so many fantastic posts Wendy!

    To me you’re one cool gal, a great friend and online soul-sister…enough said 🙂
    Don’t worry about the 50…remember there’s worse to come 😉 Kidding, I’m Kidding!

    Hugs, H.

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