Even today, it is still considered unconventional to keep your maiden name after marriage.
Many women are starting to hyphenate or keep their birth surname, but it is a trend which is very slowly gaining momentum.
I changed my last name once, and it was hard for a multitude of reasons.
Firstly, having a first name which is difficult to pronounce, I found a sense of peace that most people could easily say Litt, with no need for correction.
When I had a first and last name, which were both difficult to pronounce, I felt even more ‘othered’ in society. It was exhausting to have to correct every person who met me because neither one of my names was ‘easy’ to pronounce. Also, at the time, I was a teacher, so I heard my surname about two hundred times a day and it felt foreign; I really missed being called Miss Litt.
Secondly, I have accomplished a lot.
I am proud of the letters I keep adding to my signature line and a part of me feels that I would be giving all of that hard work to someone else. I feel like a Litt, I am proud of my educational journey and want it reflected in the family which instilled me with my educational work ethic. Extrinsic goal yes, but it brings me a lot of pride to be doing well, with the last name of my parents because (I hope) my success is a reflection of their success.
Thirdly, they let me back in.
After getting divorced, I was really lost and took solace with my parents. Returning back to Litt gave me a mental sigh of relief. I recognized the face in the mirror and my signature again. The trauma of having to change your name, back to your maiden name is quite trying, so it is really not a risk I am willing to to take.
I also had to change my name halfway through a school year, which was pretty upsetting. It is one thing to be getting divorced, it is another to have one of the few professions where your last name is utilized hundreds of times a day. I would not wish that experience on my worst enemy, but I got through it, so we are okay.
Also, I do not believe in gender roles.
I tried to for awhile; I played pretend and acted excited to change my name and fully immerse myself into another family, but it never felt right. Being a Litt is something that I fundamentally understand and it feels so right.
‘But it’s a tradition! You have to!’
Fuck tradition is what I say. I do not have to do anything thank you very much. Women are becoming the primary financial earners of many households, rising the ranks in their professional careers and redefining what it means to ‘have it all,’ so tradition is tardy to the trends.
I do not think it is a good or a bad thing if someone changes their name after marriage. I do think it is extremely romantic and might even make a couple feel closer to one another. I am not opposed to it, but I know (from precedent) that it is not for me.
I like being Aman Litt and for me, and defining this boundary in my life has made me okay with the idea of (maybe) one day getting married again. Not that I truly want to get married again, but if my partner did, I would not run for the hills. I feel more secure about marriage, the (second potential time around) because I am creating boundaries for what I am comfortable with.