baa baa black sheep

8.29.2007

Names

8:49 a.m.

The lovely and ever-charismatic Swistle mentioned I should do posts about a few things recently, and they are a) keeping my last name and b) framing tips, as I have worked as a framer quite a bit. And framing is a weird industry. I'll do the name change first, and do the framing later today or tomorrow.

I agonized over my name change decision. I wanted to keep my last name desperately because I feel so connected to it, it is part of me. I wanted to keep that professional stable identity for my art. I love my name and it is my name and I am who I am.

I felt compelled to change it because I thought it would make it easier for our future children, and I thought J probably wanted me to. I also thought people might be annoying about me keeping my maiden name (although people were also annoying about about me taking his). I don't like hyphenated names. J did not want to take my last name. (I asked him more than once.) (Oh, yes. I did.)

So I decided to keep my last name professionally, possibly as a middle name, but legally change it to his last name. Then we found out in Wyoming on the marriage license you don't change your name. You have to wait and do it later. At Social Security, which was in another town.

This gave me an extra bit of time to agonize. Sometimes I'd sign his name and I would feel all wonky. I knew I wanted to keep my name, but was afraid to actually just make the decision. The professional/legal decision seemed wishy washy, like I wasn't being true to myself. The thing was, J told me, repeatedly, over and over and over and over, that he didn't care what I did. He understood--there was no way he would want to change his, so why would I want to change mine? He said, "Do what you want." He said, "Do what will make you happy." He said, "I REALLY DO NOT CARE, EITHER WAY."

I, of course, being crazy, didn't fully believe him for a long time. But I married someone who is comfortable being who he is, and who understands that his wife is who she is. I mean, I married an awesome bearded burly guy who drinks whiskey and reads Bukowski, who also respects everyone and openly calls himself a feminist, and I am lucky, so lucky. He honestly just wanted me to do what I thought I should do.

So. That was all me being crazy, and, as he said repeatedly, why would he care? Sometime in July it clicked that, oh yeah, my husband MEANS WHAT HE SAYS. I'm an idiot. So I/we decided I should just keep my last name, already. I felt this huge wave of relief after deciding. I was being true to myself and my beliefs. It was the right decision. Some people I've met have been weird about it, most have been completely understanding.

I love my name and it is my name and part of who I am and it will also be who I become.

Next installment: Assvice about framing!

Love,
black sheeped

8 Comments:

Anonymous Pickles & Dimes said...

That is so cool that you're keeping your name and it is even cooler that J. is so awesome about it - he sounds GREAT.

Is it horrible of me to admit that my maiden name is so foreign-sounding and tricky to pronounce and even trickier to spell that I actually kept my ex-husband's last name after we divorced just because it made things so MUCH easier?

(Naturally, I'll be taking Jason's name after we marry. Because it's an easy name and I enjoy not having to spell my name out 137 times just to order a pizza.)

10:22 AM, August 29, 2007  
Blogger CAQuincy said...

My husband and I combined our last names and created a completely NEW name. It felt right--and the two half names made such a cool-sounding new name that I feel all "sofisticated" or something using it. His Dad was a bit put-out, but we're both very glad we did it.

And hubby is even the one who came up with it!

Anyway, good for you! And good for the hubby!

11:13 AM, August 29, 2007  
Blogger Artemisia said...

Black Sheeped, I just adore you!!! And J FREAKIN' KICKS ASS.

I've always wanted to keep my name. Sometimes I think about hyphenating, so I can be part of the Ks. Because I really do adore the living hell out of A. and would be so proud to let everyone know that yep, indeedy, WE ARE A TEAM. Team K., ya'll!

But then I think I would be K's. That I'd be K's heifer. THE APOSTROPHE HOLDS SO MUCH POWER.

caquincy - A.'s sister and hubby also combined their names. Guess what? The passport office wouldn't issue HIM a passport because HE changed his name. No problem for her, who also changed her name.

Apparently, if you are a male feminist you MUST BE A TERRORIST.

AAARRRGGHHH!!!

12:13 PM, August 29, 2007  
Blogger Mommy Daisy said...

Thanks for sharing that. It's great that J is so at ease with it. (I don't think Matt would have minded taking my name, but I'm a traditionalist.) Good for you for doing what you needed to do. You can cross the road with the kids when you come to it.

12:56 PM, August 29, 2007  
Blogger CAQuincy said...

artemisia: That's funny!

Hubby and I changed our names on our soc sec cards no problem. But when we went to change our driver's licenses, the lady at the window said, "You can't do that!" "But it was right on the back of the marriage license!" [She looks at back of CERTIFICATE we provided for ID] "No, LICENSE--that we had to apply for in order to GET the certificate." "Well, I'll have to check with my supervisor." I'm assuming the sup told her what an idiot she was--she came back five minutes later and put the paperwork through. I said to hubby, "Since when does the DMV have jurisdiction over the Federal Government?!"

1:59 PM, August 29, 2007  
Blogger Jess said...

This is a great post, and it reminds me that I have been meaning to post myself on the thought process I went through when thinking about changing my name--which I ultimately decided to do. So it is great to see this from the other side of the coin, and I'm glad that J was so cool about it. You guys sound like a great pair.

4:37 PM, August 29, 2007  
Anonymous Swistle said...

I loved this! And not just because you called me lovely.

I have Paul's last name, and after 10 years I still don't like it. And I don't like that the kids have HIS last name, as if they belong to HIS family. I don't like it that all four of my boys are "heirs" for HIS last name. Especially because I dislike his family.

We probably should have taken a jointly-chosen (made-up) last name as we talked about doing when we were engaged (we even had one picked out, and experimented with it for restaurant reservations). But we hate always EXPLAINING things. And me taking his name was the least explanation. Sadly.

I think the whole name system is stupid. I wish it were different.

8:15 AM, August 30, 2007  
Blogger Sara said...

Yeah, Ed felt very strongly about his last name, and TRADITION! which is why I both took his last name AND named our firstborn after him. I'm still not a fan of the name, however am glad that I changed it because my brother married a girl called Sarah and to have 2 of us with the exact same name (mine minus the "h") would be weird.

9:48 AM, August 31, 2007  

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