I grew up in a small southern town so it’s probably not hard to imagine little, adolescent me dreamily scribbling the last name of some boy next to my first name inside the cover of a 3-ring binder. At one point I was convinced I was going to become Mrs. Nikki Samuel. Fast forward almost 10 years later when I had an actual ring on my finger (not by Mr. Samuel, of course) and I was struggling with that whole concept. I’ve come a long way since those adolescent days and had researched the origins of marriage and didn’t like what I’d found (business dealings where daughters were “property”, religious institutions with strict rules that included discrimination, etc.) and, quite frankly, I wasn’t having any of that. But I digress.
From the moment we got engaged, I knew I didn’t want to change my name completely. My final decision came down to hyphenating it or keeping it just the same. In the end I chose not to change at all, for a number of reasons, although part of me still thinks hyphenating would have been a fine idea because, in that way, I would have been adding to my identity, not changing it entirely.