Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I've Got a New Last Name (and only a few feelings)

Well, hi, friends. Ana Elliott here. And, man, does that feel weird to type!

Austin Elliott and I have only been married 31 days, but somehow it seems like a lifetime has passed in this month. We had the opportunity to take two weeks for our honeymoon in Europe, which was amazing, but it already feels like a distant dreamy memory and not the reality that we experienced just 15 or so days ago.

I'm trying to journal, journal, journal every thought, memory and feeling about our wedding and the surrounding days and events. They were all incredibly special to us, and we were so grateful to share those moments with some of our closest family and friends.

Here's a thing: Before the wedding, I had a lot of feelings about changing my last name. Any time I considered what the future would be like as Ana Elliott, Ana Pierce couldn't decide what she thought about that. I wasn't questioning the decision to marry Austin, but I was a little uncertain about whether or not I wanted to change my name. Austin was incredibly supportive, and he made it clear that he would be happy either way — whether he spent the rest of his life with Ana Pierce or Ana Elliott — because to him, it was the same person.

What's in a name? 

I decided, before the wedding, that I would change my name. Logically. In the Midwest, especially, I didn't want to cause confusion about whether or not we were married if we didn't share the same name. I think there's a different challenge for writers, sometimes, or "internet people" about a name change. My byline — that is — all the pieces I've written online and in print, were authored by Ana Pierce. I've also spent 28 years as Ana Pierce, and I've gotten to know that gal pretty well. In some ways, not changing my name felt like the feminist thing to do, and that was something always playing in the back of my mind. I talked to a few friends who were very understanding about how I felt changing my name. They cited things like this: a byline, a portfolio, an identity as Ana Pierce, and they could understand why I would want to keep that.

The closer we got to the wedding, I thought about it less and less. And since the wedding, I haven't regretted my decision at all. To be clear, I think my choice was the best for me, but I think this is a very individual matter for each marriage. But I'm excited. While it still feels a little foreign to have a *new* last name, my marriage to Austin and our future together is now more important than any life I led on my own beforehand. We're on one team now, and we've got the same-name jerseys to prove it.

I'm still not 100% sure who Ana Elliott is, but I'm excited to find out.

Full disclosure: I haven't legally changed my name yet, so... I may feel differently when they shred my old social security card. Ha!

Our wedding photos were taken by Kinsey Mhire. These are a few previews she sent us right after the big day!