Saturday, July 25, 2009

Post 30: I Now Pronounce You a Completely Different Person

I recently went to a wedding of a dear friend of mine. We attended the actual wedding ceremony (Known in Muslim religion as the Nikkah). It's the signing of the marriage contract and the ring ceremony. I was struck by how the bride entered as one person and left as another, changing names, and altogether identities. She is still the same wonderful sweet woman I always knew, but it set off the commitment alarm in my head.

I decided that if (and it's a pretty big IF) I do get married at some point, I want to keep my own name. Not out of any particular familial attachment to it. I feel like the name that I have earned is one that is who I am. I'm defined more by who I am as a person than my ancestral background. Not so much the "daughter of so and so" but more that girl who blogs!

I think it's grand that people want to hyphenate or change their names entirely. Good on you and more power to you of course. For me, I feel like I would lose who I am a little bit, my academic background and how people know me. I know I won't be a different person, but it might feel like that. Perhaps I just can't imagine myself in that situation.

Also I'm not bothered with the paperwork :)


Anonymous said...

There is a beautiful beautiful book written by Daphne Marlatt called Ana Historic. It is about a woman who becomes obsessed with another woman, Mrs. Richards, who appears and then disappears without a trace in the Vancouver archives--she has no history because of her name change. The narrator tries to reclaim a history for her, imagining Mrs. Richard's life:

"who's there? (knock, knock). who else is there in this disappearing act when you keep leaving yourself behind the next bend. given that 'yourself' is everything you've been, the trail leading backwards and away from you behind your feet. evident. named. recognizable in fact. it isn't Frankenstein [a monster who has no name himself, but bears another man's] you're looking for but some elusive sense of who you might be: she, unspoken and real in the world, running ahead to embrace it. she is writing her desire to be, in the present tense, retrieved from silence. each morning she begins with all their names. she has taught them to say, 'Present, Mrs. Richards,' and so, each morning she begins with her name, a name that is not really hers. each evening she enters her being, nameless, in the book she is writing against her absense. for nothing that surrounds her is absent. far from it."

I think it is wonderful that you want to keep your name. It is yours, and it is you.
And you are lovely, ma chere!

Mehnaz said...

You make me smile every time. I love Daphne Marlatt from days of undergrad poetry. Must read this :)

Mere said...

My wife and I got legally married in CT in May, and we're keeping our own names. If we didn't, we'd blend them. It would come out to be Perwood, combining half of each of our names. That would really mess with genealogy though!

Mehnaz said...

I've heard of the name blend. and yes it would mess with the genealogy (where did Perwood come from Gramma?)

I'm all for people doing what they see as fit. I like the idea of keeping my own name though. Good to hear i'm not the only one who would :)