My last name was something I’ve been keenly aware of since I first had to learn to spell it at the start of first grade. 12 letters is a lot for a kid to remember, and I recall my name as eliciting many reactions, the most common of which was befuddlement. No one could ever pronounce it properly, even when I sounded it out to them two and three times in an Americanized accent so they wouldn’t have to deal with the complex pronunciation of the Malayalam language on top of the excessive number of syllables. Over time, it came to be a unique identifier and a source of fun, as I gained many nicknames from random variations and plays on words. A few of these variations even came with their own dance moves! As much as the name was a part of my identity, however, I could not wait to give it up.
In the modern era of feminism and keeping one’s last name, especially in the professional sense when a hard-earned title is often purposefully kept attached to a maiden name, I fully understand why many women choose to forego the post-marriage name change. I also understand why the thought of doing so is anxiety-provoking: anyone who’s been to the DMV understands the horrors. Not to mention passports and professional licenses and all those bills and accounts! I’d gladly require all men to go through the same process if I could. On the other hand, taking your spouse’s name makes it easier to unify the family in legal terms.
Whatever one’s reasons are for changing or not changing one’s name, I think it is each person’s personal choice and one is not better than the other. For me, I was happy to take my husband’s name for two reasons. One, I know it meant a great deal to him, not because it shows ownership, but because it shows unity. Two, I have wanted to rid myself of my father’s name for over a decade. Shedding his name was symbolic of removing my last ties with him, short of changing my DNA.
My new name is very common worldwide and definitely no longer a dance move, but it has simplified my life both on paper and in my heart of hearts. It is me.
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I can definitely relate- no one ever spells or pronounces my name right at first glance. If I could count up the minutes its taken up of my life to tell people how to say it or spell it, I could calculate at least a couple of years of my life. I agree that how a woman chooses to name herself or change it or add her husband’s is totally her choice. Btw- is that the Virgin Mary on your signature emblem or am I just seeing her everywhere this week?
Lol I did not see the Virgin Mary in that pic at all! It looked like the initials “VP” to me which are my initials. Maybe I was sleep deprived and bleary-eyed.
This reminds me of a post of mine from nearly 2 years ago… Having an unconventional name causes no end of trouble https://acollectionofmusings.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/why-janes-and-jims-are-less-prone-to-trouble/
That’s hilarious! But if I may, I will offer some great advice someone once gave me: be proud of your name. It is YOURS and is so entwined in who you are. Make sure that people learn it properly because there is no need to make it easy for others to learn your given name! Those who care to learn it will stick around.
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Oh for sure! The fake names are reserved for people I will likely speak to for 3 minutes and never see again. There have just been a few times when I’ve misjudged whether I’d meet someone again!