The Random Writings of Rachel: My New Name

My New Name

I’m on my 2nd surname, how about you?

To me, one of the most difficult things to get used to about being married was the new last name. There was never any doubt in my mind that I would take my husband’s last name. I was never romantically attached to my maiden name—I still know that I’m part of my own family, whether I share their name or not. I was happy to share Angel’s last name when the time came, but the road to becoming used to seeing myself as Rachel G. was not without incident.

First, there’s the fact that Angel’s last name is very difficult to pronounce for native English speakers/non-native Spanish speakers. I distinctly remember him giving me lessons on pronouncing  the name over the phone, and I imparted those lessons to my relatives. The whole Social Security and driver’s license procedures are, of course, not particularly fun either. I remember feeling like I was carrying my marriage license with me everywhere for the first month of our marriage as we went from office to office, attempting to get my name changed on all necessary legal documents.

Some months after we got married, we both got new cellphones, and while I was recording my voice mail message, in my nervousness, I blurted out my maiden name. To this day, that’s the voice mail message on my phone. At this point, I figure that everyone who calls me should know who I am, even if the name is slightly misleading.

Also very memorable is the day, over a year after we were married, when my professor called me over after class, holding an essay I’d turned in, and said, “Rachel, I think you did a good job with this assignment, but unfortunately I’m going to have to deduct points because you forgot what your name was,” as he gestured to my maiden name typed neatly in the top right corner. He was just joking about the points deduction, which is why this is a funny story and not a tragic one, but considering that he did have 90 students, I’m impressed that he was able to deduce that that name, not registered in the class at all, was simply a previous name belonging to me.

Do you have any stories of awkward moments to forget your own name? Did you take your husband’s surname or keep your own?

25 comments:

  1. That's so funny about your essay!
    I STILL have to carry my marriage certificate everywhere because there wasn't enough time to change my name on passports between getting married and leaving, and my drivers license needed to be renewed before my new ID arrived so that's my maiden name too. I feel like SUCH a fraud because actually all my ID here is my maiden name. So frustrating... but luckily no problems. And I always wanted my new surname to start with a B so I could keep my initials and my dream came true there :) YAY! :)

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  2. Haha that is too funny about your essay! I've actually thought of this problem a lot, I'm very attached to my name, but also think that it's nice for a married couple to share a last name. This might sound odd, but I like the idea of us both choosing our own "new" name. Haha good thing I don't have to worry about it right now!

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  3. I took Justin's name. I still have the same initials, which is both a blessing and a curse. I can still flaunt the few things I have that are monogrammed. But when writing or saying my name I still find myself going "L..." and having to think about what comes next.

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  4. I took my husband's name. It was difficult to get everything switched around, but considering I never see my birth father, I totally didn't care about my original name. I love my new one and what it means and how it shows that we two are one, a new family :)

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  5. At first I simply added my husband's name, so I had one of those longer hyphenated names. It became too difficult after a while. Always spelling it out. I finally dropped my maiden name and have been perfectly fine with my husband's name since, even it if it still needs to be spelled out each time.

    One time when I was in the middle of changing my name I was stopped while speeding and the officer claimed that I was trying to have multiple IDs because I hadn't changed my name on all of them yet. Ummm yeah. Get a life dude!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  6. i have been married for eight years and still haven't legally changed my name.

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    1. its's pure laziness. our boys have peppy's last name, and i even have my 'new' last name on my license. just not legally, but at the driver's office no one questioned my choice the first time i changed my name. i didn't have to show proof of anything. it's just different on our tax forms.

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  7. I took my husband's name easily. My maiden name is pronounced differently by myself and my family and was just annoying. I don't think I ever stumbled by saying or writing the wrong name!

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  8. I'm not married, not engaged, actually don't even have a boyfriend BUT I have thought about this kind of stuff. It has to be so much work having to change EVERY little bit of paperwork to your new last name. My last name is pretty tough to pronounce but it's going to be weird when I don't have to correct people on how to say it.

    I have a funny story about my first name though. One of my friends when they first met me thought my name was Madison (which is my favorite name ever) and introduced me as Madison. So I played along and afterwards I turned to them and said hey um, you know my name isn't really Madison it's Monica. Well they said I don't look like a Monica and that my name is Madison. So it stuck and now if someone says Madison I will answer. I have also written Madison instead of Monica on papers haha. It's funny how our brains get confused sometimes.

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  9. That's funny about your professor! I'm not married, but I know I'll take my husband's name when I do. I always thought it would be difficult to get used to after so much time with your maiden name.

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  10. Ugh, I remember how much of a pain it was to get my last name switched over. There are still a few things that carry my maiden name just because I don't feel like going to the work to change them...my PayPal account, for one.

    I always knew I would take my husband's last name - it would have felt weird to keep my own, and weirder yet to hyphenate. I guess I never understood why people were so attached to their maiden names - it's not like you lose your identity just because your last name changes.

    The bright side of changing my last name was that I went from a hard to pronounce last name that nobody EVER said properly to one that nobody EVER gets wrong. ;)

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  11. I took my husband's surname but elected to replace my middle name with my maiden name. If I see people sometimes that I haven't seen in forever, I still refer to myself using my maiden name...more so because I worry they'll be like "Who?!" Hah.

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  12. My last name is Cramer and anytime someone first hears it they say "Kramer?? like Seinfeld?"
    ugh no. Cramer, like Whitney Cramer. haha!

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  13. I wasn't really attached my maiden name. In elementary school, people made fun of it, so I began hating it ever since. I was excited that I was able to get a "new" name after I got married. My husband's last name is German, so I am always having to spell it and pronounce it for people over and over.

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  14. So my last name is Gautreaux, which is very, very French and for my entire life I've run into people that can't pronounce it. When I got married the first time, I was really excited to get a last name that, though longer (and very German) would maybe be easier to pronounce. But even before my divorce happened, I found myself missing my maiden name. Sure, it's hard to pronounce and to spell. But very few have that last name and it's part of me.

    When Iz and I get married, I plan on taking back my maiden name (I never legally changed it after my divorce, too expensive and tedious) and hyphenating with Izzy's last name. I want him to know that I want his last name but I also don't want to lose my own, ya know? So when he and I get hitched, my last name will then be a mix of French and Spanish. Kind of fun!

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  15. Yea I heard it's a real pain to change your last name! I've heard of people not doing it for over a year because it was such a bother, haha. I feel like it would definitely feel a little strange changing my last name- i don't know how long it would take me to get used to that. It'd be like changing my name from Marlen to Olive and then having to remember to use that from now on, haha

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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  16. The whole new name thing has taken awhile to get used too...not to mention it was a pain to change it over, but overall I am glad I did...I gained a whole new life and husband in getting married, why not take a new name to reflect it all? :)

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  17. Love the picture! I changed my name legally not too long ago. I went from having a very Italian name to a very "American" name. It was a little sad, but the main reason I did it was for my soon to be daughter. I wanted us all to have the same name when she's born. Although the name changing process is such a pain!

    xo

    Ashley

    Southern (California) Belle

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  18. Aw that photo is so sweet :) That is too funny that you never changed your voicemail message! Haha and I love that you turned in an assignment with your maiden name. Awesome teacher for figuring it out! I happily changed to my Hubby's name too! My maiden name was Dix and I got teased in grade school for it (stupid boys) so I was kind of happy to be rid of it. The only drawback is now my name is so much longer and harder to sign...
    Jessi
    http://haircutandgeneralattitude.blogspot.com

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  19. It took me two and a half years to change mine. I changed it A. because my best friend had just got married and was changing hers, and pushed me to do it. and B. because I didn't want to live internationally with a different last name, just in case something happened and we were getting ready for Peace Corps. I still miss my old last name, people constantly were mispronouncing it and getting it wrong, but it was unique and I really liked that.

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  20. I was teaching so I got used to mine pretty quickly but it felt weird because being Mrs .... was my mother in laws name. I'm super used to it now (14 years).

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  21. Haha! I had to confirm my name at the lab and I was on autopilot and said my maiden name. I always knew I'd change my name when I got married, but I didn't realize how sad I'd be about it until the day came. I miss my old last name.

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  22. I was super happy to be getting rid of my maiden name Burrell because people constantly pronounced it wrong like "Burle" not "burr-ell". I also always had to tell them "two r's, two l's" for spelling. My married name is Schultz...and I still have to say "with a c" but at least they always pronounce it right!

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  23. For the first 5 months we were dating, I did not know how to pronounce my husband's last name. I avoided addressing his parents, since I didn't want to mispronounce it. It makes me a little said, that our children will be forever correcting people on their last name, but these are the things that happen!

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  24. I stumbled across your blog and this happened to really stick out to me...changing my name is actually on my goals list for 2014..pretty sad but I felt that if I wrote it down and made it public it would provide the extra motivation to do all that paperwork :)

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