I know this topic of name-changing has been covered numerous times, but I just wanted to add in my two cents since I’m getting married this week.
Image via One Wed
As a kid, I never liked my name. My first name isn’t common at all here in the US. (It is, however, very common in French-speaking countries…which meant nothing to me since I didn’t live in a French-speaking country.) I remember getting so annoyed as a kid when we’d go on family vacations and I’d never find my name on those touristy tchotchkes (key chains, license plates, picture frames, etc.). I’d give my sister the side eye every time she found her name and was able to buy said tchotchkes (she has a very common American name).
And my last name? Don’t even get me started. First off, it’s long. Second, on first glance, many people think it looks like a jumble of letters and thus deem it unpronounceable. The way my last name would get butchered in grade school would have given anyone a complex about names. Why couldn’t I have an easy one, like Smith? When I got to high school, though, the self-name-hate eased up a little bit—friends gave me some pretty hilarious nicknames for my first and last name, so I decided that maybe it wasn’t the end of the world to have such an uncommon name. Didn’t mean I had to love it, though.
Then after I graduated college and started a career in the digital advertising world—a job in which 80% of my day was either talking on the phone or emailing people—something new started to happen. People would be like, “Wow, you have such an interesting name. Where is it from?” I can’t count the number of times that people simply wanted to spend an extra minute or two chatting about the origin of my name and how to pronounce my last name. After years and years of this, I started to think huh, maybe my name isn’t so bad. It was a memorable name—memorable enough for people to take time out of their lives just to simply ask about it. It was a unique name. It was me. And all of a sudden, I absolutely loved my name. After years of (stupidly) loathing it for superficial reasons, I finally made peace with my name—after all, it was me.
Fast forward to being a bride-to-be. I wanted to give you all that back story above to say that, initially, I had no plans of changing my last name whatsoever. Mr. M has a nice last name that isn’t very common either, but it’s way shorter than mine and very easy to pronounce. However, I didn’t care that it would be easier to fill out my name on forms, or give my name to customer service reps on the phone. It was me and that was it. Now, Mr. M is a pretty level-headed guy, but this was definitely an issue we debated for some time. After a while, he begrudgingly let the issue go, but he said the children would absolutely have his last name (and I actually agreed with him on that one—more on why later).
I’ve been giving it some more thought over the past few months and usually I’m very unwavering in my convictions—and I rarely change my mind about something once it’s set (that’s the stubborn Taurus in me). But oddly enough, I decided that maybe it wouldn’t kill me to compromise. My compromise is that I will change my last name when we have our first child. Because there is a slim chance our children will look anything like either of us (being a an interracial couple and all), I didn’t want there to be a disconnect in the family name which might further confuse the child(ren).
In the meantime, I will unofficially hyphenate my name across my social media sites, email, etc. Even though that will probably drive everyone nuts since I’ll have the longest last name ever—I really could give two craps. This is my way of easing in to a new identity when it took me so long to come to terms with my own.
What will you be doing with your last name?