To Change the Name?

I’m thinking back to a moment in my cousin’s kitchen about… gosh was it already 8 years ago? It’s the summer before she’s supposed to get married and we’re having some drinks and carrying on like the women in my family tend to do. (Which is amazing by the way and just the way I like it.) We tend to move in pack formation. And this occasion was no exception.

Someone casually slid it into the conversation.

“So… are you going to change your name?”

And this is the part that I remember the most; about four of the older ones converging on my soon-to-be wed cousin (I think this included maybe my sisters and a couple of the eldest cousins who had already been married):

“Tell us you’re not going to change your name.”

You could tell from her expression she’d already made up her mind, and there wasn’t really a chance of mob-mentality swaying her decision. Although to her credit she did a good job of appealing to the masses with only non-verbal communication. They backed off pretty quickly.

I just kind of took it all in – too far from having to make my own decision to really be able to take a decision on it.

And now, nearly a decade later, weeks away from walking down the aisle myself and I’m still not much closer to the final call. (shhhh don’t tell Mike that though… ;) )

So I’m putting it out there; are you the product of your name, or is your name the product of you?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

I flip-flop back and forth; on one hand, I think that having spent 30 years with a title more or less, it’s become a part of me. History morphed around the notion of property rights (including of the person and of actual land tenure… which quite obviously is inalienable and able to be owned…) into a system that seemed straight forward and rational… if only for the reason that you could see who belonged where and to whom subsequent off-spring belonged.

As the feminists might say,

It’s not too pretty of a picture.

On the other hand, I’m a lot more than the name that was passed down to me through my dad’s side of the family. I’ve got a lot of different maternal names buried into the three that I sign on legal documents.

There’s my grannie on my mom’s side that was just this amazing collection of immigration from France and Germany.

And then my Grandma, my dad’s mom, she’s got German in her too – and apparently ties to the Alsace region of France. Which would explain my dad’s ability to have this amazing golden brown tan… (Consequently this was not something that I received in the strongly Scottish-Irish looking genes I sport on the outside.)

What I know for sure; marriage to me, is not about ownership. I know for a fact that this isn’t a universal belief, but it’s what I chose to believe.

So I’d say first of all it’s a choice; marriage is something we’ve chosen for each other.

And second of all, I think I’m already so much more than the name I have today. So while changing my name might change me a bit too, I think that my grandmothers (and even my mother might say) your name will never be able to completely outwardly tell your whole story; it’s only part of it.

Clearly however, my jury is still deciding… so I’m interested to know:

Would you change your name? Have you changed your name? If not why not?!

(P.S. I’ve got no judgement for either decision, like I said neither of my sisters changed their name – I just think it’s cool you can do whatever the heck you want!)