Jan 18, 2015

Why I do not want to change my last name

 I have edited (adding Fassbender*wink) and am re-posting this from 2012 archives.

“What is in a name, that which we call a rose …” The great Shakespeare once said. And I think I can understand the poet a little bit.

There are many things in life that I am not sure of. Politics, how to cook, and, what is the deal with daylight savings time. But my name is not one of them. I will never going to drop it. And, behold… I am not preaching why you should not change your last name, let alone saying that if you do; you are wrong. No, nothing like that. This is just about me.
  1. My last name is the chunkiest part of me. Followed by my cheeks and maybe my not so toned abs. It is me. It is everything that forms me to the day I met you. I have been breathing, living, walking, eating, and laugh-cry for decades with that name.
  2. For years, I have received letters and invitations with that name addressed to me, and bills and pay checks too. It is also the name that’s written in my prescriptions. I have been renewing IDs with that name, applied for jobs and filling out magazine subscriptions with that too. Social media platforms? Yea, that. Some might think those are silly reasons, but… I cannot help it, it is who I am. And the idea of going through the hassle of changing it is just…meh.
  3. I adore the very first man I know in life, my Dad. And carrying his last name is a privilege, a meaningful gem I wish to carry to my grave, crafted to my tomb if I am buried, engraved to my urn if I am cremated.
  4. My Mom never changed her maiden name. And I do not recall her being bugged by a nagging husband pushing her to change it. He, in all his manliness never did that to her. In our very eyes, he was the pillar, the head, the captain of the family.
  5. Patriarchal force is one of the strongest thing that embodies a Batak culture.  So if you’re a Batak lady, married to a Batak man, you might hear sayings like “You are a (insert husband’s last name) now, you should prioritize (insert husband’s last name) relatives and events before anything else.” My Batak family operates (if that’s the word) on love and passion. What we prioritize are always based on reality, logic and urgency. Not names and or hierarchies. Are you about to marry a Batak man? Don’t worry, not all of us are like that (wink).
  6. A tradition. Some might declare. I hate to say this but… Us women were not being able to vote decades ago. That has changed, yes?
  7. Most women would change their name immediately as they get married. It may be a force of habit. I get that. But hopefully we all understand that marriage needs bigger efforts than just a change of name. I for one know that for sure. I did not change it when I got married in 2008 and am sticking with that decision.
Here are some questions people have politely asked me over this matter:
  1. Why not hyphenate and ask your husband to hyphenate his name too? I can say it is great for equality, but then it would be two people changing their identity for marriage. As I said in #7 above, you need more than that. So, I opt to invest my energy elsewhere. I might hyphenate for social events but not officially.
  2. What will your children have as a last name? I will try to raise my future kids so that they will be proud carrying their last name, which is their father’s. They will have my last name as their middle name. Why? Because, if I am not mistaken, you need my eggs and my womb, yes? 
  3. Won't you feel like less of a family if you have a different last name from your husband and children? I am not a mama yet. However, I'm quite sure that if I bear and or raise a child, that is enough to qualify me for feeling like their family. As with their father, we will go through ups and downs together and got each other’s back. We will be busy handling life and there be no time to check on our last names.
  4. Are you just afraid of divorce? Well. Divorce did not kill me. Obvs. And that is not a reason for my decision. I know I will love him dearly, and hope we are going to be together forever until the end of time or at least until I witness an aurora while gazing at herds of unicorns with him. But, it will be naive not to realize that something like a third of marriages end in divorce. Would I then change back to my birth name? And if I re-marry (if, again), do I change it again to the new husband's name? What am I, a cattle? Can you handle the administrative hassle? Boy, I skipped many fields in magazine subscriptions, that is how lazy I can be!
  5. Are you saying that if I decide to change my last name, it means I am not proud of who I am? No. This is not about you. It’s about me. I only do things that make me happier and feel better. I know changing my last name will not do so for me, so I am sticking with mine.
  6. Maybe you’re just being stubborn? It is not a maybe. It is a yes.
  7. What if your husband is James Franco, or Michael Fassbender  !? Ha. You got me. I just made that question up. But the answer remains. No. I think Hutasoit suits me best.
Note to my future long life partner, whoever you may be. Even if you are Franco, or Fassbender.
My dearest, if someday God grant us children, I promise you, I- a woman with head so strong not wanting to change her maiden name- can take care of them... educate them with love so solid and discipline with grace so that they will be so proud carrying their last name. That is yours.
I hope you prefer me to portray my love and respect for you in that noble way.


Tressabel Hutasoit


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