Hi, I’m Ashley T. You probably know me as Ashley Caldwell or maybe Ashley T. Caldwell. Or perhaps Ashley Thiesen. Yes, those are my names too.
BUT … did you know that Caldwell isn’t really my name?
I mean, it was, but it’s my ex-husband’s name that I took when I was a mere 22 years old.
Yes, I got married at 22 years old … and then divorced a few short years later.
And the name lived on.
I started my social media firm at the age of 23 (while I was really Ashley T. Caldwell in full form), and the name stuck. It is a great name! Caldwell is much easier to say / remember / spell / pronounce than my maiden name: Thiesen, so I just kept it.
It hasn’t been a huge deal to me, and I always chuckle when I meet other Caldwells who get so excited that we might be related. Because we’re most definitely not.
But it started to get a little weird when I had my daughter and I had to choose how to list my name on her birth certificate. I’m definitely not ashamed or remorseful of my past, but it’s a complicated story that I’d rather not have to explain to her (at least until she’s old enough to really understand).
I’ve chewed on starting a blog for years. I kept a pretty active Tumblr back in the day, certainly have documented a lot of my “public” life on Instagram and Twitter, but when I decided to definitely jump all in and BLOG, choosing a name really became a thing.
My awesome Forum friends (they’re kind of more like family) gently reminded me of my whole last name debacle as we were brainstorming blog names, and that’s about when I decided that this would be a great time to drop the Caldwell … OFFICIALLY … and use my real, actual name.
Of course there was a lot of strategic research, keyword planning, social media handle investigating and domain searching … because Ashley is kind of a common name. And there are a lot of Ashley bloggers out there (and, yes, I want to be BFFs with them all).
So, here we are.
And here’s to new beginnings, fresh starts, official retirements of old versions of ourselves that no longer serve who we are today.