Wednesday, July 01, 2015

An Open Letter To My Last Name

Dear 'Blake':
I know this letter might come as a bit of a shock to you. I mean, it's not every day that people sit down to write a 'love letter' to their last name -- or really, any other inanimate object, for that matter. It makes the whole reciprocity thing a bit hard when said objects can't exactly write back or answer you. But nonetheless, I suppose this is really what this is.

A love letter.

We go back a long way, don't we? It would be an understatement to say that we have a bit of history together, don't you think? You've made a heck of a lot of appearances in my life over the years, starting at the very beginning when you made your mark on my birth certificate. Oh, little did we know about the magnitude of our journey ahead. As the years rolled on, you showed up on hospital forms, school report cards, birthday cards, magazine subscriptions, medicine bottles, special packages in the mail and various awards.

But my favorite appearances? Well, I couldn't have been happier when I saw you on my first byline as a newspaper reporter. Then, a few years later, you graced my college diploma -- something I'd worked extremely hard for and was so proud when the day finally arrived.

You were there. Through it all. The good and the bad, the simple and confusing, the fun times and the not-so-fun times.

And, maybe most importantly, you link me to my past, to my father, which can sometimes feel like an entire lifetime ago. Every time I see you, every time I write you down, I think of my father. You help me keep him alive in my soul, and it makes me feel like I'm carrying a part of him with me wherever I go. It's a pretty comforting feeling, actually.

The more I think about it, the more I realize something: We just gel, plain and simple. You and I, we're like peanut butter and jelly, like Oreo's and the rich creamy center, like that purple Teletubby and his fashionable purse. I can't hide that fact. Not really, anyway. You fit my personality perfectly -- you're simple, short and to the point. There's something pretty darn comforting in that, too.
Some people can't wait for that day when they can take their partner's last name. They want nothing more than to say goodbye to the past, to the person they used to be. Every married woman in my family has taken her husband's last name. Take my mom, for example. As she tells the story, she couldn't wait to change her name to 'Blake' after living with the heaviness of the Swedish name 'Erlandson' for some 22 years. They say a name doesn't define you. But how can it not? How can it not when it's been with you through all the days, the months, the moments of your life. It's a part of you and you're a part of it. If you ask me, that's something to shout from the rooftops and celebrate.

So, no, I don't want to change my last name when I meet Mr. Melissa Blake one day. I don't. I'm not ready to say goodbye just yet. It's as simple as that, 'Blake,' so it looks like you're just stuck with me for awhile longer... xoxo


  1. I still go by my last name plus my husband's. My sister's changed their names to their husband's last name. I am attached to it so I go by both. If someone calls me by Mrs. (husband's last name) I will often times correct them. I figure it is just a way of letting them know.
    My sister-in-law has been married to my brother for over 23 years and she is still known by her maiden name and they have children.
    I think it is a personal choice and my husband said it was all up to me.

  2. So true, suburban, about it being a personal choice. :)


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