I encountered a lady today in my Barre class who just changed her name back to her given name after 15 years of keeping her ex husband's last name. I don't mean they were married for 15 years, I mean they split up 15 years ago and it's taken her this long to make the decision. I almost kept my married name. Changing my name the first time around was such a pain in the ass, and after the hassle of moving twice, dealing with all the divorce paperwork, and the turmoil of the divorce itself, it seemed like just one more chore that I didn't want to bother with. I could have been just like her, or I could have waited until my next marriage and played musical last names with my life.
I'm really glad I didn't leave it though. Going back to my birth name felt like coming home. It had the same air that a fresh haircut can have when you need a change. I felt liberated and grateful that I wouldn't have to see the name of a man that I had no interest in speaking to let alone be with, on all of my paperwork.
As I sat in the social security office waiting for my number to be called, I made a note to myself: "I hereby un-sentence myself to a lifetime spent with an expensive lesson emblazoned on IDs and bank cards like a scarlet letter. Instead I will receive recognitions of merit and mail to my own moniker, an identity never lost but temporarily disguised."
I am me, the same person I was when I carried this name before, but wiser. I'm not sure if I'll ever get married again, and if I do, I'm not sure if I'll change my name. It seemed kind of arbitrary the first time around anyway.