Yesterday was my birthday. Last year on my birthday, I was fitting wedding dresses trying to find the right one for me for my wedding later in the year. I didn’t find it on my birthday but I did find it eventually and I did get married. But this post is not about wedding dresses and weddings it is about choice.
I made the generally unpopular decision to not change my last name. I haven’t hyphenated it, my name is exactly the same as when I was born and I have no intentions of changing it. This post is not about justifying my decision so I will not engage in a diatribe about culture or history or practicality or wrong or right. I made a choice which some days seems like a battle but I was aware of that when I made it. I have always chosen my battles carefully so I did not decide this without giving it serious thought (and seeking legal advice). At the end of the day though, whether you want to accept it or not you know what is right for you and you may decide to go against it and be unhappy or do what your heart tells you is right for you and be happy (or in my case argue about it but with the knowledge that you made the right decision for you).
As I said this post is about choice and so the only thing I will say on the matter is that people make choices every day and whether or not you agree with them, they are not your choices to make. Your only response should be to respect them. If you want to have a conversation about why I made the choice I did, I will have no issues providing some clarification as long it is coming from a place of mutual respect and will not involve you foisting your own beliefs on me.
When you get married there are certain expectations. There is the expectation that you will have children. Deciding to have a child is a big decision. Parenting is an awesome responsibility. While being financially secure enough to provide for children is a big factor in the decision about when and how many, whether or not you are emotionally and spiritually ready should be an even bigger factor. That is one factor that I am not taking lightly. Despite the joys of parenting, it is hard work and you don’t get an on/off switch. You have to be on all the time, reassuring your children that it is okay to be themselves despite the fact that society is into using the same yardstick to measure everyone, that their dreams are not out of reach (even when you have serious doubts and have to steer them to more attainable ones or different timelines), that despite everything that goes on in the world it is still a beautiful place, that they should not be fearful but still have a healthy amount of fear. All this in addition to teaching them to tell the time, tie shoe laces, count, add, etc.
At the end of the day, your choices are your choices to make, whether as an individual or as a unit. So to all the girls who really want to not change their names because it is the right thing for them and are fearful of what society will say/think, if you decide to do the brave thing, it is okay, you are not alone. More power to you! And do not feel pressured into having children before you are good and ready. You are not doing yourselves or your kids any favours and you are who matter, not anybody else.