Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

 I'm sitting in the Social Security office right now (it's been almost an hour), waiting to change my identity with the US Government. The whole drive down here, I was practically in tears, mourning the loss of my maiden name. Ultimately I'm not feminist enough to keep my maiden name, and not traditional enough to do away with my maiden name altogether and unceremoniously replace it with Mr. Goodlaff's surname.  Though I was really leaning towards hyphenating, I decided to err on the side of laziness--a sixteen letter last name is really a little ridiculous, and I knew at some point, I'd get sick of signing it. Instead, I've added my last name to my middle name, and am taking Mr. Goodlaff's name as my new surname; henceforth, I shall be known as Elizabeth Middle Maiden Goodlaff. It's both a nod to the past and an acceptance of my new role as Mrs. Mister Goodlaff (=P).

It was a long road to that decision, but who would have known that when the time came to change it, I would get so damn sentimental?

So today I'm a little sad about losing my cool signature and the name that I've known for 27 years, but I'm trying to remind myself of what I've gained and what this change represents: Mr. Goodlaff and I are a family now, and in changing my name, I am committing to that.

I am having a hard time explaining to Mr. Goodlaff why I find this change so difficult. He's baffled by my mixed emotions, and probably a little hurt by the fact that I'm not wholly embracing the change. He's tried to comfort me by saying that I can legally change it back if I want to, which is very sweet, but that's not an option and not really the point.  I consciously chose to do this, but that doesn't make it any less difficult.  I can't help but feel that by changing my name, I'm losing a part of myself, which is silly, because all I am doing is adding a new name on to the end of what I already have. I'm not becoming any more or less of a person by this process. Still, it's a big adjustment.

5/18/2011 DMV today.  I waited for over a half an hour before my number was finally called.  My ID is officially changed.  My picture will no longer be my sixteen year-old self (yay), and I am lying less about my weight on my new license than my old one (meh). It's the first time I've signed my new name, which I spent a few minutes practicing this morning so I didn't look like a complete fool with a crappy signature.

On a positive note, changing my name with DMV didn't make me sad, but I was jittery and nervous.  This seemed like a bigger step than changing my name with Social Security, and though the "edge" is off, it still seems strange to be going through this process. It's going to take some getting used to.

After I get my license, it will be time for a new passport, new credit cards, and all kinds of name changing. It's going to be a slow process and a rough transition, but I'm slowly starting to feel better about it.

Did you have (or do you think you may have) problems accepting your name change?


  1. i just went to the social security office tuesday! though its been 8 months since i was married, i needed a new passport so it made sense to get it all done at once! i kept my maiden name as a second middle name, so i dont lose it all together. i couldnt bear to do that!

  2. "So today I'm a little sad about losing my cool signature and the name that I've known for 27 years, but I'm trying to remind myself of what I've gained and what this change represents: Mr. Goodlaff and I are a family now, and in changing my name, I am committing to that."

    You know, I've been thinking about my name change lately as well. Our wedding is in 6.5 months and I agree that I've gotten sad about changing my signature. My last name is very uncommon and it's really unique, where Mathew's is pretty common. It makes me a little sad that I'll change it (which, like you, is my own fully conscious decision) but you're right, changing your name is making a full commitment to your hubby.

  3. For some reason I never had any anxiety when it came to changing my name. I never liked my last name, and I was the only one in my immediate family with that last name because of divorces and stuff. I shared a name with my cousins through HS and everyone thought we were siblings and that annoyed me. I was thrilled to get my new license...I still need to change my passport though--it's almost time to renew it, and I'm just going to wait until it's within 6 months of the expiration date so I don't have to pay the fee twice (it expires next February).