2011/04/15 by Elizabeth
The fact I have already decided I will change my name after we’re married, and become Mrs Sweetpants, is something I’m sure will come as a surprise to most who know me ‘in real life’. And I wouldn’t blame them – to be honest, I’m a little surprised myself.
As previously confessed, getting married is something I never intended to do. And my history of fierce independence would surely suggest that giving up the name I’ve been known by for 32 years would be off the table. But it’s not. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I can’t wait to become Mrs Sweetpants.
Why? Well, there are some ‘traditional’ reasons I suppose – I want our future family to all have the same name for instance. And some slightly frivolous reasons – I hate my signature. But really, if I’m honest, changing my name is symbolic of much more. It’s symbolic of a new life. A new life without the baggage that’s attached itself to my soon to be maiden name.
Over my 32 years my surname has brought me… what… pain? No, that’s too strong. Inconvenience? That’s closer, but it doesn’t sound quite strong enough… My surname, apart from being a pain in the arse to spell and sign, and for some people, to say, has history. History that’s not mine, but which has been ever present in my life and shaped my identity in a way I could never control.
Attached to my surname is an unsolved mystery. A missing child. That alone is traumatic. But add to that a small town, and small town gossip, and you have a recipe for an unhappy upbringing. A childhood (and beyond) filled with whispers, rumours, taunting, and fear. And above all, constant questions. Questions that in all likelyhood will never be answered…
So you see, in becoming Mrs Sweetpants, I will be leaving behind more than just a difficult signature. Of course, I realise that everyone I grew up with is not going to instantly forget about my family name and its history. My mother will still have that name, and in some strange way I feel almost guilty about ‘abandoning’ her to it. But what can I do?
This post is a little darker than I’d thought it would be. And for that I apologise. I promise I’ll make up for it with some frivolous scribblings about flowers and table settings soon. But for now, I’m off to practice my new signature.