This blog isn’t really anonymous, since I have it linked on Facebook. I’ve kept up with the blognames for my family and vague references for my friends because I’m not sure I want this to be searchable by my name. I’m not sure why, but that’s where I am. Now I want to write about my name and I’m not sure what to do. I think I’ll leave my first name out of it (It’s the name I use when commenting on blogs, so most everyone knows it anyway, even if you don’t know me personally) and symbols for the vowels when I mention my last name(s).
The statistic is that 80% of women continue to take their husband’s name upon marriage. I am part of that 80%. My motives seemed sound at the time (and I suppose still do). It was my gift to my husband. Our families are fairly conservative. It makes life easier all around. Our whole family has the same name. Blah blah blah. I also thought his name was cuter than mine. I was a L0ng. It’s a fairly common name, a good English name, a short-easy-to-spell name, but it is an adjective and I was called the short L0ng and it was occasionally a little annoying. My husband’s name, on the other hand, was L@mb. It’s a fairly common name, a good English name, a short-easy-to-spell name, and it’s a noun. (And my high school boyfriend, the only other person I ever really thought I might marry, his last name was L@ke. I don’t know what to make of that, but there it is.) By the way, for those who may have been looking for a stuffed sheep to hide for last week’s parable, we’ve got plenty. Lots and lots and lots of sheep/l@mbs in this house. And if I ever call the kids the Little L@mbs, the pun is fully intended. But I digress…
So I took my husband’s name. I had always thought I would keep my maiden name as my middle name, my family’s tradition on both sides, but I thought Bookgirl L0ng L@mb sounded goofy. (Since I started using it on Facebook so people from the past can recognize me, I’ve kind of gotten used to it. It doesn’t seem quite so goofy.) So I kept my middle name and justified it because it was a name my parents chose for me rather than being a name handed down through the patriarchy. And I got to keep my initials, which I thought was pretty cool. So. Whatever.
I’ve kind of regretted it ever since.
Now I’m getting closer and closer to actually graduating and I’m not sure I want to be Dr. L@mb. Six years later, and I’m not sure the name is a fit. Partly it feels like it would be giving his family my degree when it is my family who has supported me for 39 years in every way imaginable and in a very practical way the past 2 years by taking care of my kids so I could finish this. But Computerguy has certainly supported me for the past 7 years. And we’re in it for the long haul. I’m not going anywhere, regardless of what name I might use. I need to make a decision before I graduate. I think I could just make a name change (again) at the university and graduate as Bookgirl L0ng, Ph.D. I don’t know if that’s what I want to do, though.
So my choices as I see them:
(a) Do nothing. Graduate as Bookgirl L@mb. Live with it. All the reasons I had for changing my name when I got married do still stand.
(b) Change my name at the university and keep my professional and personal lives separate. I’d be Dr. L0ng, but Mrs. L@mb. I’d have to remember who I was when and it might be confusing for others. It also might be less confusing for others because they could just call me Mrs. L@mb and use Mr. and Mrs. Computerguy L@mb (I hate that designation and refused to let my poor Baptist pastor use it to introduce us at our wedding. He was a good sport. He instead introduced as as Computerguy and Bookgirl L@mb.) All my many other degrees are as Bookgirl L0ng after all. I’ve done conferences under L@mb, but haven’t published anything (more’s the pity, but that’s about the job search–not the name).
(c) Change my name back entirely. It would be a pain and a lot of paperwork and some money I think and I’d have to do a lot of explaining to people up front (and a lot of assuring people Computerguy and I are just fine), but I’d get my name back.
I see positives and negatives in all the choices. I probably most want to do (c), but will choose either (a) or (b). Any thoughts?