A few months ago my brother and I were playing some sort of game, something with questions. I don't remember the details, but I begged him to stop asking difficult ones and focus on something simple. "OK," he said. "What's your name?" Then we both laughed. Because ... what is my name?
For as long as I remember (before boyfriends, before middle school, quite frankly) I was adamant about not changing my last name if I were to get married. A decision my father firmly supported ;) It's my identity! I'm proud of my name! I love my immediate family! As years went on, and I became a magazine writer, my byline became my badge. I remember the first time I saw Ladan Nikravan in the masthead of a magazine. It gave me such a thrill! On top of that, I was dating ... well ... white guys. As someone who's 100% Iranian (and to know Iranians is to know they're all 150% Iranian, really), I just couldn't wrap my head around one day being a Hayes.
Then we got engaged, and suddenly headstrong me was confused on what I wanted to do. Part of me loved the tradition of a family name, and the traditional part of that tradition — I didn't want Brian to change his name. Brian expressed his views while comforting me with the fact that any decision made would of course be my choice, that I had time, and that I can always change my mind. I spoke to my parents and my closest girlfriends (an even mix of last name changers and maiden name keepers), but still, I was stuck.
We got married, bought an apartment, went on some adventures, and I came up with excuses to make my final decision ("Well my ticket's already under my maiden name," "It'll confuse the bank and slow down the process if I change my name now!" "Quite frankly, I don't have the time for this!"). We delayed other processes (dealing with finances, for example) until I could make a firm decision beyond changing my Facebook name to see if I liked how it looked.
And then life slowed down a bit. And so I thought. And thought, and thought. I feel like a decision that came so easily to others has been the most difficult for me ever. Ultimately I decided we had to do what's best for us, individually and together, and no Internet forums, friends or family could help with that.
So here's what I've decided! I'll be legally changing my last name in April (and I'm excited about it :). The idea of the two of us, and any future children, having the same team name makes my heart swell. And, despite my previous worries, it doesn't feel like a sacrifice of my identity or values. I want to be a Hayes. In exchange (which feels strange to type, because truly, this is a decision I came to on my own, for myself, and doesn't feel like I'm owed), any future children will have Iranian first names. I'll be changing my middle name to my maiden name (I don't have a middle name right now) and keeping my maiden name as my last name for all work-related things. It's all a little wonky, but it works for us. And having it figured out and feeling comfortable about it feels so good.
So now, of course, I'm obsessed with the idea of monogramming things for the first time in my life (my sister got me the cutest necklace with my new initials, and Brian got me this robe), and get so smiley when hotel attendants and restaurant hosts call me Mrs. Hayes (Mrs.! Ha!). I've been scribbling a new signature and love the new stationary I was sent from Clementine Studio (seeing my new name in beautiful print, I was like, YEP!:)
Lovely Carly from Clementine Studio is giving one lucky reader a stack of their own personalized stationary cards (without a year long identity crisis before it, lucky you!). Enter below (and check out all of her amazing work, I'm obsessed with her wedding stuff)! The giveaway will close on Friday, April 28. One randomly selected winner will be notified by email. Good luck! And thanks for reading that mumbo jumbo. It feels good to have it on paper. Or something similar ;)