Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hello, My Name Is...?

When I got married the first time I never doubted for a second that I would take my new husband's last name. I had no desire to keep my last name, to hyphenate or anything. It wasn't that I hated my maiden name. I just figured I'd take my husbands. Besides I figured my name was as Plain-Jane as they came, so a new name would be fun; exciting.

Then as I was going through the process of getting divorced, I had to fill out the paperwork and check the appropriate boxes of which name(s) I would go by. I again assumed I would keep my married name. After all, I argued, I had children with this last name, and I would want to keep it the same as theirs. I didn't want to upset them. Plus if I ever did get remarried, I'd probably change it then, so no use changing it more than necessary, right?

Well, AFTER the divorce my youngest asks if HER last name was the same as my maiden name since she lived with me. I told her "no", that her name hadn't changed at all. She then looked at me and said, "But yours did, right?" I explained to her that no, mine is still the same as hers. I think that actually confused her more! Apparently, she thought that my name reverted BACK to my maiden name automatically, just because I had gotten a divorce.

Then a few weeks ago, my oldest said I should have switched back to my maiden name. I thought that was sort of an odd statement. Here I thought I was somehow "protecting" them by keeping my name the same as theirs, and maybe they would have been okay with it after all. Maybe they are seeing that somehow I am NOT the same person I was when I was married to their father (thank goodness for that).

This I know. The more that time distances itself between me and that marriage, the less and less I feel like *that* person... the person with *that* name. Except, that is my name, isn't it? Legally anyway.

In all actuality, I now feel like the REAL me, only better; the OLD me, only newer. I am feeling like I am discovering the ME I was born to be. Funny, because I catch myself writing my maiden name All.The.Time. It's the name I have always tethered to my creative writing pieces, and thus it has never truly left me. And now it is the name I find myself telling people. I slip, I stumble, and I have to think... is this a "legal" question... do they need my "legal" name?

No... I don't think I will change it legally just yet. After all, it *would* be a pain to change ALL the forms, the id's, the bank statements, the credit cards, the gun permit, etc... not to mention all of the $10 fees to get NEW cards. Bleh. No thanks. But it's ok; I KNOW WHO I AM.

So, if per chance I slip and give you the "wrong" name... just know that I am still me... :)


Alice in Wonderland said...

We have different ways of going about things here in England. My friend is divorced with two children. She reverted to using her maiden name, and she told the school, doctor, etc, that she would like her children to be known as".......", until they reached the age of 18, where it could be legally changed. All this involved was a new piece of paper stapled onto their birth certificates, ans signed by a solicitor. It was as simple as that!

Puphigirl said...

Our maiden name isn't so common around here like it is back home.

Hey, I was thinking that you could shop around for the next love interest by last names, just need to find one exciting or exotic. Or maybe this time find another plain name like ours.

Just kidding, the next beau should have more substance than an interesting name.

erasundar said...

Hooray for the new you! And what's that saying? "What's in a name? That which we call a rose would smell just as sweet by any other name".

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

When I divorced my first husband I went back to my maiden name. There were plenty of people who voiced opinions on why they felt it was wrong for me to do that, but I did it for me. Just one more way for me to feel less conected to a bad situation. And I figured that I didnt need to keep my name the same as my oldest sons because I always thought that someday I would remarry and have a differnt name anyway.

RhondaLue said...

I'm glad you clarified because I might have thought you were using an alias for some dark reason. lol

Great post!

Susie said...

When I had my older daughter, I wasn't married to her dad. But, I decided right then and there...I gave her life, he gave her his name. Fair is fair.

I love that you know yourself so well:-)

Tulsi said...

My mom kept her married name when she divorced my father. When she remarried she kept her maiden name with the hyphen to her husband's name. But they do things different in Europe. The hyphen isn't so common here, but it is pretty much the norm there. But she didn't want any association to my dad at all. And if she divorced again she didn't want to loose what she called "herself" again. I have friends on both side of the coin.

Yaya said...

I read a book (sorry can't remember the name!) about how people's names all calculate out to an astrological equation. Sometimes when women grow up with one name and then marry into another name they end up happier because their new name gives them a better equation for a name to align with the starts. Likewise, sometimes it can have a negative effect. I know a lot of people don't believe in that stuff, but I find it fascinating!

apleasantplace said...

I love the fact that you thought about it, at the time, as protecting your children. Love it. I don't know what brought on your daughter's comment...perhaps she has surpassed the need for that kind of protection you were offering. For what it's worth, whatever name you choose/keep/switch, your pausing to consider them tells me more about you than a surname ever could.

springbubble said...

since we are talking about names here, i just recently learned that that you guys from the U.S. use random middle names?

here in the philippines we use our mother's maiden name as our middle names. ex. my mother's middle name is San Jose. so my name would be Lea Marie San Jose Doble (Marie is still a part of my first name).

Cause i have a friend who lives in New Jersey. and she told me a story that the first time she's in the U.S., someone asked her what her name is..and she gave the name Mae Ferrer Rivera. and then the person said Ferrer? 'What kind of name is that, it's not even a name.' Well, Ferrer is her mother's maiden name.

Nothing, it's just nice to learn something new. hehehe

Megan said...

I think my mom had those same thoughts. She was married to my dad for 11 years and when they divorced, she didn't want to go back to her maiden name but she also didn't want to keep my dad's last name. So she dropped a last name and made her middle name her last name. I asked her, "So now you're L. Rose Rose?" She laughed and said no, just L. Rose. Then she got married again and took his name and then got divorced again {Thank GOD!} and went back to using her middle/last name. She says if she ever gets married AGAIN {doubt she will} she'll just stick with Rose. LOL

I believe that *you* definitely know who you are, though, no matter which name you decide to use. =D