When people hear you are going to be married, they suddenly are filled with all sorts of advice, warnings and words of questionable wisdom (including that guy from work that’s on marriage #4…. um, thanks?) In this mountain of truly unsolicited advice, however; not a single word is uttered on the peculiarity that is the bridal name change. The moment that wedding ring hits your finger, you are the new “Mrs.” and you instantaneously find yourself (after 20+ years of your life) with a brand new name.
Inevitably, awkwardness ensues. Suddenly, signing your name takes the sort of thought and concentration not needed since 3rd grade cursive writing. The letters feel gawky under your pen as your brain struggles to remember just how to scrawl a cursive F. And the clumsiness is not limited to paper alone. You sound unintelligent as you introduce yourself and stumble while trying to get your new last name out of your mouth. It doesn't flow right, doesn't sound right, doesn't quite fit right (at least not yet). Regardless of what the ring on your finger and countless wedding pictures tell you, you still feel like your old self and this "Mrs. New Last Name" person is an unwelcome visitor.
Don’t get me wrong – I was the same girl that every other female was in 7th grade, scribbling all versions of “Mrs. Liz Kuner” over binders, homework assignments and origami notes passed to friends in the hallway. (Mr. Kuner, by the way, was my first real romance, the first boy who wanted to meet me at my locker so he could walk me to my next class. Alas, romance was easier in the 2001). But in practice, the whole bridal name change thing has revealed itself to be ungainly and has, at times, almost felt like betrayal.
I am overreacting? More than likely. Will I eventually stop having to mentally repress Ruiz from automatically following Liz every time I introduce myself? Hopefully soon. Will I still sign my initials EMR as opposed to EMF as the littlest act of pure rebellion? Only on occasion.