The Name Game

To change my name or not to change my last name, that is the question. I've never really thought about changing my last name if I got married. Well, I've thought about it, but it was always that I wouldn't change my name. You see, I've already changed my name before.

My given name is my father's last name and not the one I actually go by. By the time I got to be school aged, my father was not living with us. Since my parents never married, even though my father asked my mom on more than one occasion, she retained her maiden last name. People at my school just didn't seem to get it that I had a different last name than my mom. They were always losing my permission slips and other paperwork because our last names didn't match. I went to the same school from kindergarten to 8th grade, you'd think that they would have figured it out by then. They didn't.

Things between my father and I started to turn sour right before Jr. High. Because of this and being tired of the extra work I always had to do because my last name was different than my mom's, I decided to change my last name to my mom's maiden name when I was 14 years old. And change it I did. All by myself.

It use to be really easy to chance your name. First I changed over all my paper work at school. Since I was just about to enter into high school it was very convenient to fill out all of that paperwork with the new name I wanted. I then rode the bus into Santa Rosa to go to the Social Security Office. All I had to do was show them paperwork that had my old name on it and my new name on it and they changed my Social Security card. Just like that. I didn't have a license or anything along those lines so changing my name didn't cost me anything.

Fast forward to today and changing your name isn't as easy. I can't imagine that the Social Security office would let me change my name just like that. I didn't even have a picture ID. Plus, there's now all of these new hoops to jump through to get a licence. Just renewing my licence this past time was a HUGE inconvenience. I had to provided them with more proof that I was me than I did when I applied for the licence in the first place. My birth certificate had accidentally gotten packed in storage during that time and I wasn't able to find it leading me to have to order a new copy from California. Since I couldn't just pop into the office there and show them ID, I had to go through even more hoops and get all of this paperwork notarized and sent to them certified. It was lame, to say the least. And I had to spend a ton of time standing in a lot of lines, holding on the phone and paying too much money. Lesson learned: If you were born in another state then the one you live in now, never ever ever, pack or misplace or have your birth certificate stolen. 


I hate paperwork. I hate standing in lines. I hate forking out money for things that seem dumb to pay for. I hate waiting on the phone to talk to someone. Yup, I'm full of all kinds of hate! Changing my last name would mean having to do all of these things. Many times.

I'd have to change my name on my driver's license, Social Security Card, with the post office, on all my bills, credit cards, bank accounts and the list goes on and on. This doesn't seem like a whole lot of fun to me. I'd also have to pay to have some of these things changed. Changing my name would feel like something I'd need to add to our wedding to do list and to our wedding budget.

My daughter has my last name. If I change my name she would be in the same place I was when I was younger. Although, I think people in general now get that not everyone in a family has the same last name. I wouldn't want her to feel like I was giving up some part of her when I get married.

Plus, I like my name. I like the way it sounds. I like the way my hippie middle name and last name go well together. They just roll off the tongue together. Drew's last name and my middle name don't even look good next to each other, let alone sound good together.

I've had this name now for over 20 years. It's a huge part of who I am. It's part of who I identify as. It's the name I've built my career on. If I was to change my last name that would all change. Wouldn't it? I would be seen differently, right? Or would it not even matter? There's a lot to think about when you really get down to it when deciding to change your name or not.

Are you or did you, change your last name when you got married? Did you have any regrets about it?

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