The feminist in me was opposed, yet I also felt grateful that I had the option to choose. My middle name was important to me, as it is my paternal grandfathers nickname, and my maternal grandmother's middle name. But, I much more identified with my last name. It was my pseudonym in high school, and it was a huge tie for me to my family. I liked the ownership of it and what it meant.
Way back when I was in my early twenties (I can say that, because it feels like it was a lifetime ago!), before I knew all about unconditional love and being in a relationship, the idea of marriage, a name change, and children were all things I was strongly opposed to. But now, all of a sudden, I was making a huge decision to not only consider, but to take the first steps in making those my, *ehem* our, reality.
Part of me felt like I was betraying my old self, that I was loosing my identity, my original wants, dreams, and goals. Part of me was still holding myself to those expired expectations. I had to shed that old skin, those old constructs that served me at the time (or kept me closed off and independent). I had to embrace the fact that the life that I saw for myself may not be the life that I was meant to lead. I had to know that I had free-will and was willing (and wanted) to take a leap of faith and pursue what was now before me. And that that was OK! I had to accept and embrace the fact that someone loved me, all of me, and all I had to do was keep being me.
Jennifer Jakes could become whoever she wanted to be! Her story wasn't written. There wasn't any conditioning or expectations built in. She could live her passions! She could go blonde! She could live big and stop living small! She could do all those things that Jennifer Kramer wasn't quite ready for. And that's when I knew that letting Kramer move over to hold court as my middle name, and letting "JJ" take the reins was the right thing for me to do, right now. It now had the potential to empower and inspire me! Perspective is a very powerful tool.
My new social security card and driver's license have arrived. Bank accounts are in the process of being updated. New business cards are in my wallet, and backpack, and any other potential place waiting to be shared. Passport will wait until it is ready to be renewed. Notifying the utility companies is still on my to-do list. I found taking care of this myself (versus using one of that many services marketed in bridal magazines) was quite easy and not terribly time-consuming.
Do you seek support during a time of change? Are you newly engaged and feeling unsure about what is to come? Contact me to share your hopes, dreams, and fears.