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What’s in a name?

I can’t get a real grip on what exactly I was thinking when I decided to get married. I feel that I just made a decision and then became obstinate: I would go through with it.  I knew he was the wrong person…and yet I was in love with him.  

It astounds me now to hear myself say those words: “I knew he was the wrong person.”  And I married him anyway.  How could I have recognized what was fundamentally disastrous in that relationship, and at the same time have felt we would be married “until death do you part”. It doesn’t add up: I could acknowledge the weak spots, but couldn’t envision the future consequences.  I couldn’t see down the line of that inevitable sequence of chain reactions.

Still, I didn’t take his last name.  “I want to write a book someday, and when I do, I want to use my own name.”  And if he ever had to explain it to someone, that’s exactly what he told them.  Hearing it gave me a pang of guilt and sadness, and I felt like a fraud.  I felt sorry for him, and wondered if he really cared.  He said no, but we weren’t always honest about what we were feeling.

As a simple statement, it was true.  But I didn’t admit that there was more to my decision than books I never really expected to write.  What I didn’t say is that I wasn’t ready to give up all of myself.  Not to him.  I was not through with her, the girl with my name.  I was not willing to relinquish whatever it was that she represented to me.  Maybe it was the idea that I should someday be more, and I wanted that more to be branded with my own name.


Not to him.  But that’s the kicker: not to him.

Maybe I didn’t trust him enough.  Maybe I didn’t have faith that he could lead.

Of course, I was right.

Last time: lighting myself on fire

Next time: Honesty


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rough stuff. I never thought I would take my husband’s name but that was because I’d assumed I’d be a big hotshot in the business world before I got married and I couldn’t confuse my public. Not so much…

    I ended up hyphenating. It bothered my husband to an annoying degree that I wasn’t fully taking his name but I think it’s similar to what you said. When I finally do make a name for myself, I want my name in there too. I never really thought about it like that before.

    September 24, 2012
    • I love that: “I couldn’t confuse my public.” I guess most of us have some of that in us, the grand dreams and schemes of what we will become. And that’s a great thing, until we let it turn our heads too much, I guess.

      It wasn’t just about that for me, but there certainly was a desire to hold onto my own personal identity. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one to ever feel that way! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!!

      September 24, 2012
  2. I took my husband’s name in all aspects of my life except for my writing career. I feel like this way I can have it both ways, I can still be me and still be “us”.

    September 24, 2012
    • That’s great, and honestly, you can use any name you want when you write, right? 🙂

      My problem, I think, is I didn’t want his name. It wasn’t very fair of me to marry a guy that I didn’t believe in enough to want his name.

      September 24, 2012
  3. It’s amazing how we can do things that we know are wrong for us, yet we do them anyway. I don’t think it’s necessarily denial. Perhaps it’s an unrealistic optimism, a refusal to accept things the way they are rather than the way we want them to be.

    September 24, 2012
    • Unrealistic optimism sounds just right. It pains me to know these things about myself, that I would do something so irresponsible. And I did it to both of us, not just to myself. But that’s life right? As much as I’d like to be so perfect, with a squeaky clean past, etc. – it isn’t possible.

      September 25, 2012
  4. I know this is trite, but if we don’t make mistakes, how can we learn from them? (I made the same one, and spend a lot of time kicking myself over it) It can be really hard to forgive ourselves, can’t it?

    September 26, 2012
    • I don’t know about trite, but it’s certainly true. I did learn a great deal from that time in my life, from the mistakes I made. I don’t like what I learned about myself. But I can only try to use that information to do better next time. Don’t beat yourself up! We’re only human.

      September 26, 2012
  5. Nicely written piece of insight. I have many thoughts about names, including yours and Jill’s. I was going to do a near-future post with the same title, but perhaps I’ll re-name….uh, retitle it

    September 26, 2012
    • Well, I definitely want to know what you think! But there’s no need to retitle. It’s not like I made that one up or anything, haha!

      September 26, 2012
  6. I’ve never wanted to take anyone’s name because that wouldn’t be *my* name, the name that I identify myself with.

    My mother’s maiden name is same as my dad’s last name. It caused a lot of confusion for me when I was a kid, because I thought everyone on the girl’s side ends up taking the husband’s name. xD

    October 7, 2012
    • I had a lot of that – and still do to a great degree – identifying myself with my name. It was a representation of who I am. It’s hard to explain, really.

      I think it does make sense to take one name, especially if you have kids. There would be less confusion, and it’s really identifying yourself as a couple. You are together under the umbrella of this one name. I think now that the decision would be much easier for me, and I’d definitely want to take the “right” person’s name. I think a lot of my own hesitation hinged on the fact that I was not being honest with myself (or him, for that matter) about that relationship.

      October 10, 2012
      • thebirdieflies #

        One of my friends’ had a name that was completely different from both of her parents, because her mom hadn’t taken her dad’s name. That, I thought was very nice 😀

        I hope when you do find the right person, his name goes well with your first name 😀
        Sometimes I think it can be a disaster. Or maybe, that’s just what I think because we get so used to identifying ourselves as some-name and then another person’s last name with your first name just sounds WEIRD 😛

        October 11, 2012

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