So a lot of people have asked me if I'm changing my name, hyphenating, etc. Those that know me ask because I do identify as a feminist... Despite feminism being seen as something only applicable to white women lol... But we can discuss that another day. Anywho, I am changing my name. I thought long about it and I decided to for many reasons. I'll try to expound on each of those
- My name is not a distinct part of my identity
I really don't have a deep connection to my last name. It's my father's with whom I have no relationship. My mother is remarried and I actually have no connection with anyone aside from my brother that shares my last name. Aside from me liking what it sounds like I have very little emotional connection to my name, so for me it became a personal question and decision. Why hold onto it? I've seen a lot of people discuss their decision to retain their last name as a feminist notion of not being considered property, and maintaining their sense of identity within their marriage. But for me, I have no sense of identity tied to my name, so there's no particular reason for me to want to hold onto it.
- My fiance' is the shit
My fiance' is very progressive. I definitely couldn't marry someone that isn't. He is very good at listening and learning when I tell him about my experiences in the world as a woman, and for that I am grateful. Because I am known to be a very strong willed, feminist black woman his friends have asked him if I'm keeping my name. He asked me, and we had a discussion about it. It was through that discussion that gave me a clear understanding of what I wanted to do. I knew he wouldn't care either way. He wouldn't feel like me keeping my last name would make me any less his wife, just as me taking his last name wouldn't make me any more his wife, or the union any more sacred. When I realized that it was a choice that I was entitled to make, a decision that we could come to as a unit. That is what prompted me to give it more thought. To him he didn't see me changing my name as an integral part of getting married, he was most focused on what it truly means to share are lives together, and it was comforting to know that we were on the same page in that regard. It was my choice. Which to me, is what made it inherently feminist.
- Starting anew
To me changing my last name was something I wanted to do because I am so staunchly individualistic. I knew that doing so for me would bring a sense of unity, cohesion and amalgamation. We are going to be sharing our lives together; finances, home, children, bed (this is a big deal for me because I love spreading out), etc. Why not share a name? So to me, it wasn't the dilemma of changing my name that was the road block... It was picking what name it would be.
I didn't necessarily want him to take mine, because like I said, the attachment and identity associated with my last name for me wasn't meaningful... and although my fiance' doesn't have a close relationship with his father and those that bear his last name as well, I liked the idea of both of us not starting from scratch and "creating" a last name, but rather building on what we were given, and changing the narrative of what the name means to us, as well as what it will mean to our children, their children, etc. Which is what brought me to taking his name. I wanted our kids to have the same last name as us, I also wanted to rid myself of the negative feelings I associated with carrying a last name that I have no emotional connection to; no sense of family or legacy. I liked the idea of us taking something that also didn't have those connections (his last name) and creating something together that will reflect a sense of pride for our offspring to be a part of. Our hopes is that starting with us, our name will create and establish an identity that will be a unique bond that has more to do with than just sharing a last name.
The fact of the matter is, when you do get married your identity as a single person is no more. I believe that if done for the right reasons, changing your name can be a celebration of that romance and matrimony. That is what I wanted. I've never been the type of person that does things because they are "supposed" to. I believe that you should have strong convictions for why you do what you do....and I had to come to decision that I was happy with. To me that is what made this I just so happened to want to delineate my new identity with a new name, for personal reasons... but for those that don't I believe they are equally justified in doing so. Though my name has never been a distinct part of my identity my marriage will be. I like the idea of having one name that define's our unit... a lifelong connection where the goal of each individual is to make each another stronger and better and happier. That's dope denamug.
PS. We decided no Jr.'s, II's, etc. doe. We found that to be supremely ego driven.... (Another reason my fiance' is dope, I didn't even have to fight him on this lol. His ego ain't built that way).
THAT is where we draw the line on this whole identity thing lol.
We want our kids to establish their own identity name wise separate from us. Make (insert potential LaFlore baby name here) great again. Haha.