Letting Go of My Last Name

May 8, 2018


There I was sitting in the SSA office watching the clock tick and getting yelled at for bringing in my luke warm Starbucks cup..apparently you can drink or eat or smile there....


I was there to trade in my old last name for a new one. I had gotten married and after three months I decided that not only would I make it Facebook official but I'd do the whole enchilada. I'd get a new Social Security Card, Drivers License, etc. 


Instead of the enchilada, I got the street meat version because it turned out to be such a pain that I'm still feeling six months later. You'd be shocked to think how many things have your name on it. Last week I tried to buy cheez-its at a gift shop and my ID didn't match my credit card (still getting around to that...) so I was turned away. I haven't been able to use any of my travel miles because my name is different. Oy vey. 


The practicality of it all isn't why I'm writing this, though. I'm writing this because something happened when I decided to change my name. I had what can only be described a mini identity crisis. 


I'd had my last name for 29 years. To be honest I didn't even like it all that much but it was mine. People knew that name. My parents have that name. Kids in grade school made fun of that name. Friends in college made up songs to that name. I'd learned how to doodle 'Dengler' in different bubble fonts my whole life and now I'm just going to throw it away? 


I was sad. 


The feminist in me didn't particularly like that I was changing my name. My husband didn't particularly care if I did or not yet I still felt this internal angst about it. 


After some introspection I may have figured it out. I was really scared about the permanency of it all. I'd made a commitment to someone else and now we'd have to consider each other first in any decision that we make. To prove it, I even took this guy's name. That is some scary stuff to a very independent person. 


Somehow getting up in front of all our peeps to make that promise didn't freak me out as much as sitting in Social Security Administration office waiting for my number to be called. I knew when I left it was 'Bon Voyage Dengler' and 'Bienvenido Kotris'. 


My feelings were (and still are) about accepting change and most importantly letting go. I can cut my hair, change my clothes, get a new last name and I'm still going to be the same person. My identity comes from knowing myself not just the name I doodle on a notebook. I'd be lying if I said it isn't weird every time I sign my new name or introduce myself to people but it's a change. It's a stretch. If you've read 'The Magic of Stretching' then you know it can be an uncomfortable at first but definitely something I can lean into.


Did anyone else ever have any similar emotions or thoughts when changing your last name? If so, share them below!









It's commitment.

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August 28, 2018

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