Monday, June 11, 2007


Picked up my diploma at lunch today. Sort of anticlimactic after all the work I've done. Just went to a desk, paid my fifteen dollars and they handed me the document. All said and done, though, a lot easier than going through the whole graduation ceremony. I couldn't have made it anyways - I had a Big Meeting, the Boy was sick, and we had to go see the otolaryngologist for a followup to his surgery. It was a big day for me as well, just not ceremonial kind.

You know what? They didn't even ask me for ID. Anyone could have picked it up, and gone on to pretend they're me. (Although, really, who would do this? It's not like it's a medical degree, just a Bachelor of Fine Arts.) Looking at the diploma, though, it is kind of like I'm pretending. It's made out in my maiden name, and I'm not really that person anymore. I mean, she is still very much a part of who I am, it's just that I'm so different now. And yet, I'm still completely her.

Does anyone else have this identity crisis, or is it just me? I decided to take Mr Earth's last name because I knew we would have children, and I didn't want to have a different last name than my kids. It's just so labour-intensive, and I'm not into explaining myself all the time. Personally, it's also a thing I have about unity. We all play for the same hockey team here, we should be wearing the same jersey. After all, if we had different names - how would the fans know who to cheer for? I know that there are manymanymanymany reasons for keeping your name when you get married, and I strongly support them all, but at heart I'm a traditional girl.

The one compromise I did make, though, in favour of feminism, is that I use my maiden name when I act. And apparently, also when I apply for graduation. I did have the choice, you know. I could have used my married name on the degree. I decided to keep this little piece just for me. Acting is the same. Strange to say that though, because graduating is something I could not have done without Mr Earth, period. I actually can't do shows anymore either, without Mr Earth to watch the Boy. So it's intricately woven, and yet I keep it separate. Funny, huh? I like to make things complicated. But I'd be interested to know whether you all kept your name, hyphenated-it, changed it when you got married. Or didn't. This doesn't only apply to married people, if you're living together and don't want to be married, I'd love to know why too. Man, I'm nosy.

But back to my original point: I graduated! [insert fanfare here] As to what I'm going to do with this piece of paper, who knows? The only place to go is up, though.


painted maypole said...

i use my maiden name when I act, too, but this can get difficult when I get so used to introducing myself that way, and then I, for example, go to the doctor's office, and they can't find my records because i've just given them my maiden name, even though I've been married over 10 years. sigh.

My husband wanted to me to keep my maiden name for acting. One of the reasons I completely agree with is the whole name recognition thing... and I have auditioned for people who recognize my name because they knew me in college, etc, and I would have lost that if I had changed my name. But also, he thought it would help keep the weirdo stalkers from finding me. Apparently it has worked. Thousands of stalkers thwarted. That's what my sources tell me, anyways.

Love the playing for the same team analogy of the last name. That was important to me, too.

bubandpie said...

Here's something weirder: I still use my ex-husband's name professionally - with the result that I always pause awkwardly between first and last name, trying to remember which one I'm using in this context. Now that I'm no longer on the job market, I should just switch - it's confusing enough either way.

Christine said...

I kept my name. I always liked it and never really considered doing otherwise. The kids, though, have my husband's name. i never really was bothered either way whether or not a woman changed her name--her choice. But i found that I still sometimes get people who question me on it, and think i am silly for not changing it.

metro mama said...

BIG CONGRATULATIONS! I too opted out of the ceremony and opted to have mine mailed to me (I did splurge on the framing though). It does seem anticlimatic. And I'm still waiting for the damn thing.

I took my husband's name when I got married simply because my maiden name is funny and his name is much prettier. But like you, I kept my maiden name for school and it's the name that will appear on the diploma.

Beck said...

Congratulations to you!
The last name decision was easy for me - my maiden name was dull and prosaic and I was glad to get rid of it. My new last name will look much spiffier on book jackets.

Christine said...

ps Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mayberry said...

Congratulations on the degree! wahoo!

I changed my name for the same reason you did. It's nice you still have a few links to your old name.

Kyla said...


I changed my name, too. It just felt right.

ewe are here said...

Congratulations Ms Graduate! You should be very proud of yourself.

I kept my maiden name, except technically it's not my maiden name. It's my step-father's name who I loved more than anything, and I changed my name when my mom did, as did my sister. When I got married, it just meant way too much to me to give it up, so I didn't. Plus there was the whole professional thing and all... And my husband didn't care one way or the other... My theory, and his, was if it means that much to someone to share last names, change your own. Why I love him.

Anyways, this means my boys have double-barreled last names. Makes international travel easier because whoever has them has one of their names in our own passport. They can change them when they're 18 if they want...

nomotherearth said...

Maypole - Heh, heh. That's one of the reasons I use my maiden name for acting, too. I can't tell you how many stalkers I've kept at bay. (No, really, I can't tell you. I have no idea). The name recognition thing is big for me too. Another selling point was that Mr Earth and I could do shows together without people constantly wondering if we were married or brother and sister. You can see how that could be weird and uncomfortable.

kgirl said...

Whoo whoo! Congrats on graduating. Be proud, mama.
For the record I kept my name, because it feels so much a part of who I am.

kittenpie said...

DOO doo DOO!!! congratulations! It's a neat accomplishment, really. I always felt kind of proud to graduate, even though I'm not all about the pomp and circumstance and my degrees lie buried at the back of a closet somewhere.

Myself, I'm a hardcare name-keeper, just like my mother was. I love that my mom, my grandma, and I all had the same last name. I love that continuity and connection to my grandma, who I loved dearly, though she lived far away. I also had this feeling that everythign I had ever done, I had done in my name, and I didn't want to be at a remove from it all of a sudden, like it wasn't me who had graduated or performed jobs and so on. And everyone who ever knew me knew me by my name, too. I hadn't changed, really, so why change my name? It's identity to me, I suppose. It's who I am. So I wanted that to still be my name. (Plus, you know, Misterpie's last name is even more boring than mine!)

Mimi said...

I'm with There Ewe Are: I've got my stepfather's last name. But I kept it because it was, by this point, *my* name. Miss Baby has Pynchon's last name, but I think of it as *her* name. She share a middle name with me, and well, I'm the one what birthed her, so I'm not territorial about it.

I wonder how she'll feel about Mommy having a different last name? Never occurred to me to wonder until right. this. second. Hm. I'll get back to you in 10 years.

I kept my name for professional autonomy as well, and we are in teh phone book under Pynchon's last name. Stalkers be gone!

Mad Hatter said...

Atta be on the degree. Yay, you.

As for the name issue, I am who I am and could never imagine changing my last name. Besides too many people confuse my husband's name with "Frankenstein." No thank you.

My daughter has his last name (poor lamb) but she has my mother's given name. She's a hybrid of her genetic legacy.

As for the confusion bit, I find that it hasn't been a problem at all. Doctors, schools, etc have all become used to families with multiple last name combos.

crazymumma said...

Um. like HUGE congratulations on graduating!

I kept my last name and mr mumma kept his. The girls have his last name because it did not matter to me and I chose the first names and my last name is part of their middle names.

complicated. ya. Sometimes I wish he had just taken my last name or me his, it would have made it easier. Thankfully we live in an all over the damn place society....

Bon said...

congrats on the degree! i can pretty much guarantee you probably didn't miss much in terms of skipping the grad. or at least i don't think you did...i was AT mine, technically, but i was napping.

i never changed my name. never really considered it. my first marriage didn't last, and thus i've been nothing but happy with the decision...and O's dad and i have never formally married in any case. if we ever do, i'll still keep my name, though O has his father's. his older brother had my mother's maiden name as a second middle, O has my last name as a second middle. if there are more babies, we'll probably recycle my mom's name, as she was the last of that line.

thus far no issues or confusion about the different last names...and a lot of O's little friends have the same type of combo, so hopefully it won't be any kind of weirdness for him. :)

NotSoSage said...

Wow. This is an interesting read.

First, congratulations! What an accomplishment! (And I'm pretty firm on my stance of not attending convocation, but that may change if I ever get this damn 6 year Master's degree done with.)

I kept my last name. I never would have done otherwise, but I like to joke that if Joe and I had the same last name, we would never be able to tell who was calling. "Jill" and "Joe" sound exactly the same over the telephone.

Mme L has a hyphenated last name, but I have no problem if-and-when she chooses to ditch one. For now, as ewe are here said, international travel with only one parent is much easier because both last names are on her documents.

Susanne said...

Congratulations! "Only" a bachelor of fine arts indeed. For me going to the ceremony was important. It's all about ritual.

I kept my own name, my son has my husband's name. I have to explain it all the time, and most people forget how I'm called even when they remember that it's not the same as my son's last name. So I'm responding to both and have given up on correcting people.

I always carry a copy of my marriage certificate and of my son's birth certificate in my wallet in case I have to prove that he is mine.

But changing my last name would have felt like giving up part of my identity.

Alpha DogMa said...

First off, can we all come up with a less-antiquated phrase for our surnames-at-birth? Cos I was long past maidenhood when I took on the Omega Man's surname.

When we got married, I took my husband's surname because I liked the unity aspect of sharing one last name. But it was something I struggled with.

Upon doing some research, I learned that in North America (exempting Quebec and Louisiana) if you assume your husband's last name upon marriage, but do NOT go through the formal name change procedure (of using lawyers, going to court and posting newspaper ads), you are using a legally assumed alias! YES! It's like I'm an outlaw now! Flying under the radar under an assumed alias! EXCELLENT!

But even now I don't self identify as Mrs. (Surname of the Omega Man), which I strictly think of as the name of my MIL. When I publish (oh, god its been sooooo long) I use my surname from birth as my first name and the Omega Man's last name. To thwart stalkers and (even worse) former classmates.

And FINALLY: congrats on the degree!