I'm Gwenhwyfar (pronounced like Guinevere.) Its a throwback to the old Welsh version of my given name, Jennifer. I'm planning to move to Scotland next year and I feel like I'm reinventing myself on so many levels; I wanted to signify these changes with renaming myself. I didn't, however, want to completely let go of the name my parents chose, so I have changed my name to the Celtic/Gaelic versions, added another middle name and completely changed my surname (Bell) in deference to my Scottish ancestors. The Belles of the Borders were a rowdy bunch. The border between England and Scotland was fraught with conflict and residents on both sides of the border were known for cattle thieving (reiving) and were even named in a huge colorful curse by the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1525. The text of the curse can be seen here.
In 2001, the curse was inscribed into a stone as an art piece on exhibit in Carlisle, Cumbria in England and has said to have brought bad luck to the residents of the town.
This blog post is the first in a series chronicling my journey through poverty, chronic illness, parenting and following my heart with a new love and preparations to move my younger kids and I to Scotland in 2015. As a survivor of many of the threats listed in the five hundred year old curse, its really been a challenge to stay alive and try to find happiness. Wish me luck.