Today I scheduled an appointment to get my marriage license at the Orange County Court House. Justin and I are getting married in California in less than 2 months, and shit is starting to get REAL.
They have a very convenient online form that allows you to schedule an appointment to either get your marriage license or to have a civil ceremony. It’s all very cold and formal. Then BAM! You get to the box that asks for your new last name, if you choose to change it…
Did you know that you change your last name when you apply for a marriage license?? I had no idea! I thought I would get married to Justin, then change my name a few months later when I need to renew my passport or something…But, no. Today, I had to make the decision if I was going to stay a “Goldberg” or become a “Capone”.
And, honestly, I was caught completely off guard.
Justin and I have talked about me changing my last name…Obviously this is something that he wants me to do, mostly for sentimental reasons (we want to be “The Capones”, to feel like a family, and for me to have the same name as our kids, etc). And I always thought that I didn’t really want to (mostly because of the added paperwork), but I would do it for him and because the sentimental reasons seem very valid. But now that I am ACTUALLY doing it, I wonder if it will make me any less me….I’ve been a Goldberg (a very strong Jewish name) my whole life, and now I’m going to be a Capone (an iconic Italian name with mafia-like connotations, but don’t worry his family are the nicest, least-mafia-like people ever). Yes, I want to be identifiable as part of a family with Justin (and Capone is a pretty dope name), but I am 0% Italian and I don’t feel Italian at all. But I have very strong ties to feeling Jewish, and that culture and that identity, and it will all be gone. Completely wiped away, so that all I’m left with is a “maiden name” when I fill out my taxes.
Am I ready for such a big change in the way I identify myself? And in the way I am presented to the rest of the world?
I’m still struggling with this. I feel like by changing my name I am giving up a huge part of my past and my family identity, and I feel like I’m losing something. But the more I think about it, what I’m gaining – a new married life with the man I love, the potential for a new family, and a brand new future – far outweighs what I’m losing. I’m giving up my past for my future, and I can accept that. It will just take some time to get used to.
Justin just read my blog post, and he immediately texted me saying that he had no idea that I felt so strongly about changing my last name.
“I always thought you were joking or only semi-serious,” he typed.
(This is my fault because I tend to present things that make me uncomfortable as a joke so that it doesn’t come off as harsh.) And he reassured me that I really don’t have to change my name if I don’t want to (he’s a sweetheart).
Now, I have a whole new question…Do I change it or do I not?
On the one hand, I would do anything to make Justin happy, and the argument for building a new family together is a very good one. On the other hand, my mother never changed her last name, and it’s not like anyone ever mistook her for being a stranger instead of my mom. And there is the whole “self-identity” bit that I find very compelling.
I’m going to have to think long and hard about this one and update you later Readers. Stay tuned!