The Woman in the Strongbox

Have you ever thought of changing your identity? I’ve done it twice! The Woman in the Strongbox did it too.

Are you curious yet?

I lived by an alias for 27 years. I didn’t know that the name on my birth certificate was different than the one I knew and lived by for those 27 years until I got a passport to go on an epic trip to Scotland. When I applied, the State Department told me that I had to apply for special approval because I had been living under an assumed name and would also need to change the name on my birth certificate so that it matched the other legal documents I had, and I was floored.

What I have told you sounds like a plot or storyline from a book or even a blockbuster movie. It sounds like some espionage shenanigans or the life of someone in the witness protection program, but it’s actually pretty simple and kind of a Jerry Springer show-worthy, in all honesty.

My parents couldn’t agree on whether I was ‘Christina’ or ‘Christine,’ so I went home as ‘Infant Female’.

Yes, that was the name on my birth certificate; therefore, that was my true name for 27 years of my life, and I didn’t even know it. My alias was Christina, the red-headed, freckle-faced girl who was awkward, quirky, goofy, and full of wonder! I was one that no one knew what to do with, but nonetheless, that was the name that everyone called me, never once ‘INFANT.’

Tada, that’s a doozy, right? Now, that’s not the story you thought you were going to hear, not as intriguing as you wanted it to be, but I’m getting there.

The second time I changed my identity was after retirement from the United States Air Force. For 15 years, most people knew me as Msgt A or simply just Sgt A (the last name was too long and crazy for people to try to pronounce, so it was shortened). Then I married Lopez, and it was because Sgt. Lopez for the next 5 years until retirement. That is who I was known as.

My entire life, I have been someone’s sister, daughter, granddaughter, or friend. I have been referred to as someone’s something. Even when I became someone’s wife and someone’s mother, I never felt like I stood on my own two feet as just ME.

When I retired, I decided I wanted to be ME. Who am I? My parents couldn’t decide. The military told me who I was. My kids figured out who I was depending on their mood, and I molded into every situation I needed to mold into to survive.

Now, freshly retired after 20 years, 2 months, and 23 days, I could pick who I wanted to be, so I did some soul-searching after lying in bed and wondering why I was even here. No one truly needed me.

From all that emerged, CJ Ives Lopez. Yes, a play on my name; however, it’s me, and it’s who I chose to be and who I want to be instead of what someone else chose for me.

When I picked up The Woman in the Strongbox, I felt a pinch in my heart because, at multiple points in my life, I thought of packing up my dog, jumping in my truck, and disappearing. Sometimes, life gets out of control, hard, or even devastating, depending on what you’re going through. We may never know why some people choose to leave their situations, change their identities, or just leave marriages, friendships, etc. One thing is true: judgment never makes it better. Sometimes, standing by someone and their choices and being there for them almost always keeps them here on this earth.

Check out my review below or other reviews on Goodreads or here for more commentary

The Woman in The Strongbox

The Woman in the Strongbox by Maureen O’Hagan

Do you really know who you are closest to?

What a riveting tale that has me wanting to learn more. I won’t lie; I found myself sleuthing for more after reading this book. The story was very well put together, laid out, and researched. The author captivated me with this tale, making me wonder if it was something false yet entirely true.

What made a woman disappear, change her entire identity, and then give it all up? What changed so drastically that she couldn’t change again if she needed to?

So many questions will have you, as they did me, going to the Internet to search for more because when you come to the last page, you will feel that you can’t stop.

Until next time, my friends

CJ

https://a.co/d/09ck2EMO Grab your copy now.

CJ Ives Lopez Book Review The Woman in the Strong Box

Have you ever thought of changing your identity? I’ve done it twice! The Woman in the Strongbox did it too. Are you curious yet? I lived by an alias for 27 years. I didn’t know that the name on my birth certificate was different than the one I knew and lived by for those 27 […]

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