Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What's In A Name? UPDATED

I’ve given some thought to the 'Name Change Issue'. Yes, I’m changing my name. Wait! Let me explain!

To those of you who wonder HOW I could even consider perpetuating an archaic tradition (in which the man has ownership over his woman and she in turn loses her identity), yes, I see your point in some cases, certainly historically. But that’s not the case here. Anyone who knows me will suspect identity and empowerment aren’t really a problem. Anyone who knows Trevor hardly sees an overbearing patriarch.

What if in this day and age, where Trevor and I share power in this household (in a give and take sort of way - I deal with banks because he can't, he deals with the Landlord because I can't), I chose to WELCOME his name? Can that not be an empowered action?

It came down to this: I have two priorities in my life – my family and writing. In the case of ‘my family’, which I already define as Trevor and my future kid(s) (and the fuzz-butts), I want to feel the unity that one name can offer. We are one unit, discernible to everyone by name (especially at border crossings). My identity as linked to this choice I made to help create a new family, the most important people in my life.

On the other hand, my writing is tremendously important to me. It could be the biggest thing I will do outside of the context of my family. It originates from my history and my experience, which would be nothing without the people who gave me life and my name. So God willing if I ever publish, I will do so under my maiden name.

But when the principal inevitably calls us to tell us Juniorita was caught smoking pot in the school washroom, s/he’ll be asking for Mr. or Ms. A--.

“I can’t believe Working gave up her identity,” some people may say. If those people don’t have sense to ask me directly about how I see the issue, then their opinions, frankly, don’t matter a sniff to me. Hmpf. If they do ask and still respectfully disagree, I can dig it. Everyone has their own way, man.

This is the decision that feels right for me. “What about Trevor?!” you ask. Oh. Quite right. Let’s ask him:

WORKING: We at Working have a question for you.
WORKING: Excuse me, if you could stop EDITING for one second....
TREV: yes?
WORKING: How do you feel about me taking your last name but keeping my own as my pseudonym?
TREV: I'm fine with it.
WORKING: Roger that.
WORKING: Get back to work.
WORKING: We have a wedding to pay for.
TREV: oh right.


WORKING: Clarification: Why don't we just both take my name, again?
TREV: But I don't want to be Monica.
TREV: I am Trevor.
WORKING: Avoidance! Red flag on the play!
TREV: I'm not interested in changing my name.
TREV: But thank you for the offer.
TREV: ha
TREV: was that a test?
TREV: Anyone who knows Trevor hardly sees an overbearing patriarch.
TREV: hey waitaminit!
WORKING: Did i just emasculate you? So sorry.
TREV: ouch
WORKING: It does literally mean to castrate
WORKING: Hey, Canada Post just dropped of an Amazon package for you.
TREV: my last book from the Green home buying spree. You can open it if you like. Unless its porn. In which case it was sent to me as a joke by some jerk who WON'T be invited to the wedding.
TREV: Unless its the kind of porn you like. In which case I bought if for us.

posted by Working From Home Today
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Blogger Naomi ~ 9:48 AM

I've thought about the whole "principal calling" thing, and although I like to think that they are sensitive to name issues (I know I often have students whose last names do not match those of the people I call to discuss them with, so I try not to make assumptions based on last names) it could cause momentary confusion. And I don't want to feel like a separate unit from hubby and kids. So maybe we'll alternate last names with the kids :) We'll break in the border guards for others, too.  

Blogger Working From Home Today ~ 10:01 AM

So many options! I like the alternating thing, not sure about kids (pluralized). You know I cringe to be thought of as 'traditional'. But I know I'm not. I'd be seriously conflicted if I wasn't keeping my own name for something as important to me. I'm also thinking of giving my family name to my kids as a middle name (I'm keeping it as such for myself).  

Blogger palinode ~ 3:47 PM

Once I looked at Trevor and I saw an overbearing patriarch. Then Ron moved a few feet over and I saw Trevor again.  

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