I have just read a blog post by the inspiring Andreea, author of Launch, Grow, Joy.
Her post and this link will take you to her very honest chat on living her truth and her reasons for changing her married name back to her ‘maiden’ name.
Now, boys. You may not understand the depth of feeling that can surround women on this age old tradition of changing one’s surname upon marriage. But think about it. If the shoe was on the other foot. If it was either culturally or religiously or just some idea that some bloke (or woman – hey it is the other foot!) way back then thought was a good idea. How would you feel?
I was married nearly 40 years ago (to the same man – I’m waiting for a telegram from the Queen – I think we deserve it!), where it was the ‘done thing’ to automatically take on his surname when we got together. But I admit, even then when I was a sweet young thing. It felt wrong. It felt like I was giving up ‘who I was’. My identity.
Now I know that one can look at the whole thing as ‘starting a new life‘ and to embrace all that means.
But I was never quite comfortable with the whole thing. I even tentatively asked my husband-to-be if he would mind if I hyphenated the two surnames. Even then I was asking permission! But we both then decided it would be too hard with documentation, what do we call the kids? It was all a bit confusing, and me not wanting to cause any confrontation went with what tradition dictated at the time.
But as much as I adore the love of my life. Whenever I think in terms of ‘who I am‘, I think of my name as Julie Ann (maiden name). I would not go and change back now, as it would hurt my husband’s feelings very much. He would not understand and would take it personally. That he was ‘not enough’. Plus the last thing I would want to do was to hurt him in any way.
So, does this lessen me in way? No, I can honestly say that I have come to terms with having someone else’s name. I have just borrowed it for this lifetime and wear it as a form of garment. While on the inside I am who I am and my surname on paper really doesn’t matter very much.
Just next time around. I’m keeping the name my parents give me. Unless it’s something like Olive or Rainbow Fairy Moondrops. Then sorry folks, it goes!