My good friend Gabrielle (hello!) often likes to drop F bombs on me. Or as I like to call them, Fem Bombs. Both sound equally as offensive. Neither mean what you think they mean.
She’ll casually message me over facebook or text me from time to time with a question like:
“I just read a really interesting article about women changing their surnames after marriage. Can I ask what made you decide to change yours?”
I did think about it a lot, and initially I wanted to double barrel it. I wanted to honour my family and continue it’s name (especially with my Dad not having a son to ‘carry’ it on), but then I went on to think about how I wanted or needed my main point of reference to change from my parents to my partner. I wanted to form a strong partnership that would enable us to be such united parents like my parents were. It’s the whole roots and wings thing for me, and actually, I knew that the best way I could carry my family’s ‘legacy’ forward was to honour them through the way that I live and the choices I make and to learn from their lives and choices.
THEN I had a little think about how I would have felt if my mum and dad had had different names, if and how it would affect me. For example – which name would I take? Which family or ‘side’ did I belong to or relate to most? What would I do when I had kids? Give them four last names?! Did my mum and dad not want to commit to each other completely? Does it matter? And other such wonderings.
I THEN thought about Russ’s family name, and just simply getting to know his family and their families and what I thought and felt about them. Over a handful of years I learnt a lot and I’m still learning – but what I’ve found are people. People. Just like the people in my family. People with stories, history, pain, grief, joy, love, warmth – and the last thing on my mind is what our names are.
From the day Russ and I started dating I felt strongly about not wanting to lose myself to the relationship. I had been ‘lost’ so many times before, I’d seen so many people get ‘lost’ and I didn’t want to sink and just be ‘Russ’s girlfriend’ or ‘Russ’s wife’.
I wanted to be Kate.
An individual who was free and independent with her own mind. And you know, Russ knew that. Before I told him. I didn’t have to spell it out – he knew my heart and he wanted to be the one to free me from the crap that bound me from negative experiences in my past.
!SOPPY SLUSHY PUKEY WARNING!
For our last wedding anniversary he gave me a bird cage, with a bird shaped candle inside.
He told me that the door on this little bird cage would never be closed – and that has been our biggest promise to each other for 6 years now – to give each other wings, to free each other from pain, insecurities – anything that holds us back. To want the best for each other and to FIND ourselves within the promises we made, not lose ourselves.
So, finally, I decided to take on a new name, a new chapter, a new role, a new journey and to ‘fly the nest’ I guess.
It’s a beautiful name and it’s one my parents were more than happy to give to me when Russ asked them if he could propose.