Wednesday, May 22, 2013

On With The New

Hey, you know what's a big pain in the ass?  Changing your name.  Just think about all the places where you use your name.  Whoa, that's a lot of places.  Now think about calling all of those places.  Having a copy of your marriage certificate permanently in your bag, just in case.  Forgetting you have a new name all the time and constantly signing the old one.  Getting a new driver's license in the mail with your new name and feeling a little unexpected pang of sadness over it because that's your picture but you don't recognize the name next to it and who is that person? 

Changing your name after you get married is obviously a super personal choice and I won't get into all the reasons why I chose to do it, except to say that I wanted very much to do it, am happy to do it, and know that in time this Christina with the new last name will be me.  I just wasn't prepared for how bittersweet it is.  How every time a new piece of mail comes with another permanent change, it feels a bit scary and a bit I-don't-like-it.  I've been me with my name for 29 years.  I like my name.  I don't know this girl with the new name.  It's weird to be strangers with your own name.  It's weird for your signature to feel choppy and unfamiliar and not your own.  It's weird to feel distant from something so personal. 

It's also pretty great to show every new piece of mail and every new change to your husband and see his eyes light up and have him give you a high-five because he's so excited and happy that you share a name now.  It means so much to him, and that too was unexpected.  He was so blasé about the whole thing and so "whatever you want to do, babe." 

There is still a small part of me though that is having second thoughts about the name change, and I was completely unprepared for that.  My law school diploma hangs in my office and recently I was at my desk when I received a copy of a letter confirming that I can practice law under my married name now.  And it felt wrong.  Wrong that the law school diploma hanging on that wall was earned by the hard work and tears and spirit and persistence of my maiden name self and now my married name was going to get all the credit and glory.  I realize this makes no sense.  I realize we're the same person.  But that's what came up in that moment. 

I don't regret the choice overall really.  I'm excited for this new chapter and this new name and our new family.  I know that in time, this new name will be familiar and my signature will flow easily and I'll spend more years hopefully with new name than I did with old name.  And it does make sense to feel this way, if you think about it.  It's a loss.  A change.  There's always a little fear and a little apprehension and a little mourning with any loss or change.  I just wasn't prepared for it. 


LWhits said...

I felt pretty much the same way. But a year in I'm 95% used to it (note the name on this comment) and really like it. And when there are babies it will be 100% worth it!

LWhits said...

over a month without posting! Either you're working too hard or enjoying your summer, I hope it's the latter! Miss ya.