Thursday, April 26, 2012
Lay Lady Lay
I mean, beyond the normal stuff like forgetting your own initials when you're picking up your co-op order and signing your checks wrong and having to get a new gmail address so your resume looks legit (PS. who the hell is the other one of me that took my easy gmail address and forced me to add a weird e in the middle???), I've got this strange phenomenon going on...
Last sunday, JR and I were required to introduce ourselves in a sunday school class. He started. Easy for him...he's been the same name for 36 years. Then it was my turn and I paused. A feeling surged through me...a feeling like...well, I don't know how to describe it but it sounded like this in my head (all happening in .5 seconds): "I don't want to just be the wife appendage saying his last name right after he just said his own last name I want to say my own last name - but if I was alone I would want to say my new last name but just not now together in this room with all these other people and right after he said it like I'm some sort of copycat I want to be different from him but I love him and love being married to him but I just don't want to not say my own last name and then I'll say Lay" and that's what I did, I said, "I'm KaRyn D____ L____". (I can't write them out here together in an attempt to throw off search engines looking for some daily action)
Right after I said it, JR turned to me kind of hurt and said, "there's no D____ in there." BUT THERE IS!!!! There are 34 year of D_____ in there and I miss having my name. I miss it. OK? I read somewhere that men and women (even those of us of a certain age) perceive getting married differently. Men view it as "added value"- they get a wife, a crowning achievement that completes their manly ouevre. Women almost always view it from the lens of loss. We lose our freedom, we lose our parents, we lose our network of girls and we lose our name. Our NAME. The thing that has identified us to the outside world since our birth. Is this not epic????? I get that it is, and I still chose to do it as have MILLIONS of women. We take on our husband's name presumably in an effort to be one. It is important to insert here that my feelings don't seem to be some feminist manifesto-y type of thing. The reality is that my last name from birth was a bestowal from my father's side...someone else gave me that name as part of a patriarchal system that decrees such things. As for my new name, I can at least say that I CHOSE this one (and it's a nice name too...monosyllabic, simple, cute!)
The interesting part to me was my unwillingness to say it right after JR said it. There was a sense that if I said it right then, I would be forever lumped with him as "just" a wife. That's kind of a feminist issue, I suppose. Was it because it was church? I'm intrigued to see if I will be hesitant in other situations to get rid of the D_____ in the introduction. Has anyone else had this happen? Tell me your stories of name changing trauma.