Friday, December 09, 2011

Reverb11: New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? 

This year I have a new name and an old name.

I grew up thinking that you got married and you changed your name to your husband's, I think most of us of my generation did. The older I got though, the less I felt like I would want to. My identity is wrapped up in my name. It's my Dad's name, my Mum's, my brother's and especially my son's. I have been Debbie B for 43 years and I feel like Debbie B.  Having been single all my life,  I used to say I would never change my name...but then, strangely once the prospect of being married was a reality for me, I started to feel differently.

 It was one thing thinking about changing my name to the name of some hypothetical husband-of-the-future - why should I? Why would I? I liked my name, if felt like me, and I wasn't going to change my name for any man - and quite another to think about becoming a family with my very real and wonderful husband to be. He by the way, as in everything else, doesn't mind which choice I make, as long as I am happy. Of course, it goes without saying that if he were insisting I change it, I Absolutely. Would. Not. When I thought about not changing my name to his, about being Debbie B forever, I felt as though I would be not acknowledging our marriage, and the creation of our little family together. So I decided I would change my name to Debbie M, but that after the wedding I would change my name by deed poll to include my name as a middle name. Sorted.

But. After the wedding I kept meaning to notify all the organisations you are supposed to - and somehow every time I thought about it, I put it off. I thought I was just procrastinating, but over time I have realised that it wasn't that at all, I just don't want to do it. It feels like erasing myself, my connection to my past and to my family.

I have read other women's accounts of why they have chosen to keep their own name, or to change it, and I understand all the very valid reasons for both, I just can't seem to come down firmly on one side of the debate or the other. I want the best of both worlds - to remain one of the Bs, and especially to keep the same name as my adult son, but to become an M, part of a new tribe and this very special team of two with my new husband.

So I am staying in both teams. I am leaving everything that is in my single name as it is, and I am using my married name for joint activities and enterprises with my husband. Best of both worlds. Why not?

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