Thursday, 24 July 2014

What's in a Name?

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare

In my case, it doesn't feel that way.  (Warning: I am actually seeking advice, though it may seem like I'm only ranting irrationally)

Here is my predicament - almost six years ago, when I was married, I decided too hastily to hyphenate my name to reflect my maiden name and my husband's last name.  Now my children also have hyphenated last names...predating the wedding, so I figured I would be all matchy-matchy with them.  I quickly, in my post wedding bliss, reflected this name change on Facebook (because things aren't official unless they are on Facebook!).

Fast forward a bit, and I realised that I really wanted to just keep it simple and stick with my maiden name. Years ago, I had been warned by one married woman of the hassle that is involved with legally changing one's name, so thankfully I never changed my official name.  Thankfully.

All correspondence reflected this epiphany, every RSVP to a wedding, Christmas Card, school form, email, etc. contained my original name.  I figured that I had been a Henderson for 35 years, that's who I am and always will be.  Yet, I still met with such resistance from people.  Some people refuse to accept this fact.  I find it so odd.  I read in Emily Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition - Manners for a New World that women should be addressed by the name that they choose, yet some people STILL insist on addressing me by the name THEY choose -  my husband's name. And I'm not talking people that don't know that I still go by my maiden name, I'm talking about people that simply don't care about my wishes.  We're not playing house here people! I'm allowed to choose my own name! My absolute favourite is wedding RSVPs.  It's almost like a game to see if people actually read the RSVP which clearly states my actual name....always an adventure to see what my name will be on the table plan.

Now, I know I'm sounding bitter.  I'm really not.....well, maybe a bit.  Afterall, the fact that people are imposing their views on what I am called, though I realise does not reflect who I am, is still irksome. But that is not what this post is about.  My predicament is that I feel like I'm sending mixed messages because my Facebook name is still the hyphenated name of my post wedding delirium.  I need to change it, but I don't know how to do so without offending people, or without starting the rumour mill that a divorce is looming on the horizon.  There is the alternate name feature, where a name in brackets appears below your actual name. I am wondering if that is a good option for me. Though my initial thought was to put "Not Mrs..so and so" in the brackets, that may be seen as offensive to the very people I am trying not to offend.  Do I simply change my name and not put an alternative name, using the no fuss no muss approach? Do I use the alternate name feature and simply put the hyphenated name to keep my husband's family from gossiping about me? Do I just change my name to "Jane Doe" and run away to Costa Rica? This is seriously stressing me out! STRESSING. ME. OUT. BIGTIME.

Help me, Obiwan, you're my only hope! I hope that someone with a clear logical head can help me. It would be such a hassle to have to get a passport in order to flee the country.  Especially if I were to legally change my name to Jane Doe.



1 comment:

Stefanie Hames said...

Hi friend! You won't be surprised by my advice. It's YOUR name - do what's right for YOU and your family and don't worry about what other people are going to think! You can't please everybody and people are going to do what THEY want to do - as should you. You may want to advise why you're doing this to save the headaches of answering all the inquiries you're undoubtedly going to get! JUST DO IT! :)