Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What's in a name?

I'm still here!  I'm still reading along for the few that still post on the regular.  :-)  Everyone has seemed to drop off significantly in the last year or so, which makes me sad, but I can't criticize since I've done the same.

I'm getting married in 23 days, guys! I leave for the beach in 19 days.  My last day of work pre-wedding is in 17 days.  I will be off work for 11 days!

Everything is pretty much done.  I'm picking up my dress from alterations on Saturday.  I'm compiling an informational email for our guests to send out this week.  I want to make a wedding reception playlist, all while noting that our "reception" will legitimately be tacos, margaritas and cupcakes in the backyard of the beach house.  :-)  I need to gameplan my makeup since I'm just doing it myself.  That about sums it up!

It's an exciting time, and I'm glad I have so much to look forward to.  In the meantime, I have baseball games, hair appts, movies, acupuncture, and a variety of other self-care and leisure activities to fill the time.  Things are good!  

In light of these impending nuptials, I've been doing a lot of reflection, and it's hard to avoid considering how different this is than my first marriage.  My eyes are open.  Everything was an informed choice.  This wedding will be what we want it to be without the outside influence of anyone else.  That's glorious in and of itself!  The one thing that I'm dealing with differently this time is the name issue.

When I got married at 23, I was so happy to ditch my maiden name.  I have zero relationship with my father and hadn't for years and years by then.  I have almost no connection with that side of the family at all, and some of them were flat out mean to me over the years.  So I was thrilled to wash my hands of my name and start anew.  The new name was more appealing to me in general.  It sounded better.  It was still short and comprised of a single syllable.  Sure, people misspelled it, but someone will find a way to misspell anything, so nothing new there.

When we got divorced, I considered changing my name back.  But I felt like Bluemoon Marriedname.  I didn't identify remotely with Bluemoon Maidenname.  I'd started my adult job life almost immediately with the married name, and it felt like me.  Ex-H and I generally had a good-ish relationship, so I ultimately decided to keep his name.  He was fine with it, it felt right, and I decided that if and when I ever got remarried, I would change it then.

I got married in 2002.  I got separated in 2007 and divorced in 2008.  I will be getting married May 18, 2018.  I spent ten more years as Bluemoon Marriedname, and in those ten years a lot of life happened.  Most importantly, I made the move to a new job that was a move up for me.  I took a brand new position and made it my own.  I established contacts and networked with that name.  I grew used to some folks at work calling me by just my last name and I liked it.  It felt like I'd earned it.

In the fall of this year I went to our CFO and lobbied for a new position for myself.  I put forth my well-researched, well-thought out case.  I was heard and got the promotion I wanted.  I got to decide my own title.  I took on so much more responsibility and gained so much professional independence.  I finally felt like I was truly in the midst of a career and not just a job.

So here we are.  Three and a half weeks until my wedding - and three and a half weeks until my name change process begins.  I can't keep my ex-husband's name once I get remarried.  I still have no desire to take my maiden name back.  I do not love my new married name.  It is not pretty or flowy and I will 1000% be spelling it out for the rest of my life.  But I'm taking it.  I'm just trying to figure out how I feel about it.

If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have never taken ex-H's name in the first place.  But I did, and doing so took me on an even further path away from my maiden name.  It's not me.  

Beyond this, I really want to be sensitive to BF about the name issue.  It has always made him sad that J's mom gave her her own last name instead of his.  It bothers him and I get it, though J prefers her mom's last name because it's easier.  Anyway, this definitely contributed to my considerations about what to do about my name after marriage.  A name is just a name, but it will mean a lot to BF.  I know this.  That makes me happy.

Also?  Over the years I've become more and more OK with leaving behind ex-H's name in general.  We both work in the legal industry, though he's in another aspect of it than me.  However, there's occasional crossover.  I've had instances where people hear his last name and ask if I'm connected to him, and it's not always been a flattering representation for him.  No thanks!

So in summary....

I don't want my maiden name.  That's not me, hasn't been since I was 23.  

While I have a nostalgic fondness for my current married name, I'm less connected to it on a personal level and am really just at a point where I like the reputation I have professionally with that name and I appreciate it's ease.

I love BF and am ultimately OK with taking his name.  Here's how I know where I really stand on this:

If the new married last name was easy or pretty or nice sounding, I'd be ditching this old name without a second thought.  It's only the fact that it's not that is making me struggle.  People will learn the new last name.  I will still be the same professional adult, and I will knowingly roll my eyes inside every time someone misspells it.  It will be OK.  And I forgive myself for this internal (or blog published only) dialogue because it's a big change.  It's the last name change I hope to ever have.  It will become a part of my identity.  Also, I'm almost 40 (!!!) and I'm thinking about things in all of these deeper, bigger picture ways and it's so interesting and cool and introspective, and I love it a little.

Can we believe I'm turning 40 in June?  Wedding in May.  J's graduation June 8th.  My 40th birthday June 24th.  BF's 39th birthday July 11 and J's 18th b-day July 22.  Then J goes to college in mid-August.  Life.... it is a changing!

If you made it to the end of this, congratulations and thank you for being part of today's therapeutic session.  ;-)


  1. It's a big decision to make, IMO. You've made a career out of the name you have now. Do you think you will hyphenate for a few months for work to catch up or just dive in with the new name? I don't know how that all works, TBH. I would only take someone's name because like you, my last name now is my step fathers and I cannot stand him. So, I don't have any attachments to it at all. I prefer my mothers maiden name, and I've considered changing it to that, but at the end of the day, I'm lazy. My signature never includes my last name anyway, and it's so easy to spell, although people have a hard time with it for some stupid reason. It's either they can't spell Danielle or they can't spell my last name. I don't get it.

    Glad to hear that wedding stuff is pretty much done! Miles' sister did wedding eve nacho night, which was fun, but a lot of work. I like casual weddings, you can 'let your hair down' and people seem more at ease.

    1. No hyphenation because ultimately I'm giving it up, anyway, so I don't want to hold onto my ex's name any longer than I need to. I look at it sort of like ripping off a band aid and diving whole-heartedly into the new name. :) I actually sort of had an epiphany writing this post yesterday. While my professional identity really is associated with my current last name, I realized that if BF's last name was something easy and nice I would switch in a heartbeat. Sooooo....found the real truth in my priorities there! :-)

      I'm all about this easy wedding. I'm really looking forward to it and can't believe it's only 22 days!

  2. It is a big decision. But, I think you may find you would love to share a name with BF. And, people will learn it pretty quickly! I have had some major changes in the past 1.5/2 years. If you send me an email I can send you a link to my now private blog! mcathleenw at gmail dot com (ps...not sure why I wrote it out that way. ha. I feel like other people do, so maybe I should???)

    1. Emailed! :-) I agree with you about the name, and although I know it's old fashioned, I still like some of the old fashioned traditions. It will be an adjustment, but I will certainly get used to it. It's meaningful and I want to share that with BF for sure.

  3. I feel you on the struggle! I don't like that it is "expected" a woman will change her name. I also don't care much about my last name. I love my dad but ours is a common Indian last name and all it really identifies is where my family is from in India (where literally a million other people with that same last name live).

    Keeper has a hyphenated last name, his mom kept hers and hyphenated the 3 kids. He identifies with both names. His sister was happy to ditch the cumbersome name when she got married. I will take on his entire hyphenated name. For now, the agreement is that I will take his dad's last name and we'll socially be The HisDadsName. Our kids will get that name. But he's not changing his and isn't sure he wants to socially change it (Facebook, email). I'm only considering it because I don't mind his dad's last name. I dislike his mom's last name so if that were my only choice, I'd keep my birth name.

    So I have a feeling people will still refer to us as the HisMomsName-HisDadsName. Which annoys me, but I'll just have to correct people and hopefully over the years, people will just refer to us as the HisDadsName family.

    Will you consider sharing pics from the wedding? I understand not wanting to share identifying ones for privacy, but would be cool to see the setting!

    Best of luck for you in the coming weeks!

    1. Typo, I meant that I will *not* take on his entire hyphenated name. :)