What’s In A Name…
I’m not changing my name when the divorce goes through. Reactions to my decision have varied. Daddy hides it well, but I know that if it were his decision, I would be taking my maiden name back. My family sends me cards and packages without a last name, or they use my maiden name as my middle name- it bothers them to write my married name.
I understand where they’re coming from, but I can’t escape the feeling that they don’t quite understand where I’m coming from. That it confuses and probably irritates my former mother in law is amusing at worst and delicious at best, but I wish my own family were less confused and irritated.
I would be lying if I tried to say that it has nothing to do with my maiden name being hard to pronounce and spell, because that definitely counts for a part of my decision, but it’s so much more than that.
My name is a part of my identity.
I haven’t been verybadcat maidenname since I was twenty years old. Verybadcat maidenname did not know how to cook. She didn’t understand the force and nature of her own power in this world. She worried more about earning your approval than whether you were worthy of hers. She believed in fairy tales and happily ever afters, and was blissfully ignorant as to exactly how much force of will and hard work they require from all involved parties. She was a great girl, but she was incredibly innocent and naive.
Taking back my maiden name feels like regression. It feels like an attempt to erase the past decade of my life. It feels like being stripped of my identity. It also feels like a big fat pain in the ass.
Verybadcat married name owns a house. She’s enrolled in college. She has a decent career. She knows how to cook, she can run a woodburner like no one’s business. She’s been through hell and back. Walked through fire, and seemingly, on water when she’s had to. She’s loved and lost and picked the pieces up off the floor, dusted them off, and glued herself back together. She’s done things she never thought she could or would, and even the things that are not worthy of pride and praise have helped make her who she is. She wants to make sure that you’re worth it before she concerns herself with your opinion of her. She’s realized the full worth of herself and her love. She knows better.
Sure, the wasbund gave me his name when we married. Over the past ten years, though, I’ve made it my own.
Ten years ago, I would have changed my name to please my father. I would have changed my name to avoid any conflict or misunderstanding with the wasbund, his family, and a second wife someday. I would have filed a bazillion pieces of paper with a bazillion businesses and agencies and changed my work email and my personal email. I would have resented it and felt humiliated, overwhelmed and victimized.
Verybadcat marriedname will roll her eyes when she gets a piece of mail from her family without a last name on it, and remind herself how much they love her. She told the wasbund just not to marry another Catherine if he was that concerned about it. She’s keeping her name and her identity intact because it’s what she wants to do and what she thinks is best for her.
That difference is precisely why I’m keeping my name.
I dare someone to tell me I haven’t earned it.