Note: I really do like Nevada...or at least I like being married to Brad, and so it's okay to live in Nevada?
I’m losing pieces of myself. They are torn from me one chunk at a time. An arm here, a leg there. I blame it all on the state of Nevada.
When I was born, my parents didn’t give me a middle name because they hoped eventually I would take Poteet as my middle name. I love Poteet. It’s who I am. It’s who I will always be.
In Rupert, people know me as a Poteet. When I get a flat tire and pull into Les Schwab, the men see me, know I’m a Poteet, and take good care of me. I never see the bill. Sometimes they don’t even send it because of my dad’s good name.
One time, my sister and I were in the grocery store, and her debit card wouldn’t work. We didn’t know it at the time, but it expired a week prior. Neither of us had cash on us, but the cashier knew we were Poteet girls. Since she already rang up all of the items, she told us to take them home and bring the money later.
Because my parents have a good name, I have a good name. And it was meant to be my middle name. When I got married, I went down to the Social Security office to get a card with my new name: Emily Poteet Goodsell. However, in the state of Nevada, people can’t take on their maiden name as their middle name. I fought with the man. I pleaded with him, and then I almost started crying to him. My name is Emily Poteet Goodsell. Print it on the card. Is it really all that difficult? He offered to make me a hyphenated woman, but that’s not my name. It’s not who I am. The most he could do was put a middle initial on my card. Now, according to the United States, I am Emily P Goodsell. They took my name from me.
Then this week, they took my license plates from me. I’ve put off getting Nevada plates since I got here, but my deadline was up, so I went to the DMV with my smog test and Vin test and car title. When I got to the front of the line, the lady told me to turn in my Idaho plates. Once again, I almost started crying. You want my plates? What are you going to do with them? You don’t need them. I know I can’t keep them on my car forever, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep them. They tell everyone who I am. Anyone who drives on the road can see that I am a 2M girl. They know I’m from Rupert. But now I’m just another Nevada driver.
There’s a teacher at my school who goes around asking people if they are from New York. He never asks them where they are from. He only asks them if they are from New York. I think his identity has been taken away, too. He’s a New Yorker, hidden behind Nevada plates, just like I’m a farm girl from Rupert, a place where my name mattered. And here, neither of those things matters.