An Open Letter About New (Old?) Me

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Hi, friends! Happy New Year!

I hope you were able to enjoy the holidays with those that bring you joy. Now that the decorations have been taken down and the confetti has settled, I’ve got big news to share. That’s right. I’m sporting a new last name in 2019. Whitney Turetzky is now Whitney Avra. What gives?

In 2018, life decided to teach me a few valuable lessons. While everyone was congratulating me for all that I was accomplishing professionally, secretly my personal life was falling apart. In the spirit of keeping skeletons in the closet where they belong, I’m going to spare you all of the details. But I do want to share a little bit with you as some of my long time collectors, colleagues, and friends began asking questions at the end of the year last year. It seems as though even the strongest people can tire of carrying a weight too heavy to bear.

The short story about my name change is that I’m going through a divorce. I’m going back to my maiden name probably never to change it again. Simply put, being the woman that I am, (and given all that my work stands for) I cannot continue to sign his last name to my work. 

The long story is that in spring of 2018, I found myself in a book bound tightly by a storyline that I didn’t recognize anymore. Not only did I not recognize it, I realized that I was not in control of the pen being used to fill in the last lines. The plot was thickening, tension was building, and I was caught in it.

By the summer, it was obvious. My marriage was falling apart— no matter what I did, no matter how hard I fought for it, it kept crumbling. It was like watching the tide rise and wash away a beautiful sandcastle that you worked an entire day to build, or in my case, nearly nine years. 

For reasons I’m not going to discuss here, I felt as though I was suffocating. Both my personal and professional relationships were feeling the ripple effects caused by my heartache. In the early fall, I made the decision to leave. Exit stage left, if you will. I moved into an apartment with my daughter. We started adjusting. There have been ups and downs, but mostly ups, and I know that things will only continue to feel more and more comfortable in this new normal. Now we are navigating things like custody and property, and I’m trying to let myself feel everything— joy and grief, elation and sadness, loneliness and friendship.

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It’s been so long since I’ve thought about myself as Whitney Avra. In some ways, it feels like an epic homecoming of sorts— like I’ve been on a decade-long journey of self-discovery only to return to the original soul and body I was given. I like my hair long and natural. I prefer blue jeans over dresses and beer over rosé. Give me a Coca-Cola, a cheeseburger, a phone call with my Mom, and things will be just fine. 

I promise. It’s me in here. I’m still Whitney— a small woman with a big voice and plenty of opinion. I can’t wait to share my creative mind with you in 2019.

Own your power. Know your worth.

Whitney