Friday, August 1, 2008

finally letting it go...

I finally got a new drivers license today, one with my married name. I've been married over 7 years, it was about time! It needed to be done anyways, the address had changed, and it was one of those older affairs where my social was my drivers license number. Totally needed to get a new one, should have a long time ago. But I didn't. I couldn't. I continually put it off, and couldn't even tell you why... but now I know.
Filling out the forms for my new ID I realized I had been holding on to that piece of identification with the embarrassing mug shot, with a completely obsolete address, with potentially dangerous personal info... because that ID had my maiden name on it. It had been my form of rebellion against changing my name. Having been unable during my engagement to express to others (or even myself) what it meant to me to take on a 'married name' I instead held on to a piece of plastic. Now, seven years after marrying, as I finally went into the DMV and got my much needed new drivers license, I felt the letting go of it all as I wrote my (by now so familiar) married name in the blanks of the required paperwork. A little sadness, a little resignation. A little relief (this had been an awkward double life that rose it's head anytime I needed to proffer identification). I mentioned it to my lover afterwards, and his response was "you can change your name back if you like. It won't hurt my feelings." And I know it won't. But I doubt I will.

6 comments:

chandelle said...

I can't say the name change was very important to me. In fact, I was happy to have a new last name because my maiden name was really boring and my husband's last name was reasonably interesting. And, at the time, I was running headlong into the arms of patriarchy and just didn't think about feminist issues very much. In later years when I really thought about it (mainly when I read Rachael's infamous post about keeping her name), I wondered if it was a very unfeminist thing to do, to switch names without thinking about it. It does imply ownership, and all that. Ultimately I decided that I own myself and simply being conscious of all that is implied in a name change (much less receiving mail addressed to "Mrs. Jeremy B" or "Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy B - ugh!) is the best I can do. My husband has said the same thing, that he'd be perfectly happy if I went back to my maiden name, and we've even discussed coming up with a new family name for all of us.

G said...

hey chandelle;
yes, a new family name. that's the thing that most interests me. but whereas DH is fine with me having whatever name pleases me, he is rather startled and reticent about the idea of both of us hyphenating our names.
and meanwhile our son loves to recite his full name (he tells it to everyone), I wonder what would happen if we told him he had a new last name.
So, path of least resistance. that's me right now. especially since I don't have really strong feelings about it. it's just one of those things in the back of my mind.

flygirl said...

It's funny how things like this that people never thought twice about are now the source of so much thought and decision-making. I can totally understand the reasons for both, so congrats on the decision. Your husband is cool for being happy with whatever you decide.

bones said...

Hey G: I thought briefly about keeping my maiden name, but mostly because I hate my married name. The thing that made me decide against it in the end, was just the hassle of it all. Particularly when it comes to having kids. I was mostly raised by my mom and step-dad, so the last name thing was always confusing to other people when they met our family. Anyway, I have thought quite a bit about it. I like the idea of a family name a lot. I also would love if it just became part of our culture for women to keep their maiden names. I think it would be great for women to keep their names and pass them on to their girl children, while men pass on their names to boy children. I suppose that's a further separation of the sexes and a family name would be more appropriate, I just think it would be thrilling to trace my lineage back through my last name to all the amazing women who shared it.

Lessie said...

Bones, that's kind of what I'd like to do. Sometimes I think about what I would choose to start this line off. My maiden name wouldn't do, at least not for me, because it signified the "ownership" of my father, but I toy with different names that would be inherently female to me, and that I would like to pass down to my daughter (assuming I ever get one of those). As it is, I don't have daughters. And my last name is fine for now. But I do keep the idea of changing it in the back of my mind . . .

G, great post. Can't wait to see you!

Numismatist Facts said...

Married at 18, divorced at 29. Took my maiden name back so I could graduate from college with my own identity. Single for eight years. Married again and had to really struggle with the name change. My compromise was to use my maiden name as my middle name.

The only time I cringe is when someone from my past greets me with the name from my first marriage. Then I get sick to my stomach....