My new identity was delivered to me at 10.30 this morning, by a woman in a red Peugot 207. The white A6 envelope she presented contained a red slimline paperback of my yet-to-be-written life. A book of blank pages and peculiar watermarks. A book with a thousand possible beginnings, middles and ends, and yet, with none. Nothing, save for the essential details of my name and place of birth, and a scanned photo of myself that I barely recognise.
Packaging up my former life and sending it off to trade for a new version had been a significant event. For thirty ‘odd’ years I’d been a proud Sloane. Sloaney, Slo Sloaney, Slo Jo, Jo Slo, nicknames I’d been given by friends that I’d cherished and which became as much a part of me as Jo. Under that name I’d learnt to ride a bike, been a Brownie, made friends – and lost friends, had my first kiss and won sportsperson of the year at my middle school. I’d joined the local athletics club. I’d won national titles, captained the England Schools’ athletics team, worn a GB vest, sang God Save The Queen from the top of the podium as I watched the Union Jack raised, passed my GCSEs and A Levels, graduated, qualified as a Solicitor, left law and started a new career, met my fiancé and got married. In short, the best years of my life. My entire life.
Giving it up was a hard thing to do.
I’d always assumed that if I were to get married, that I would take my husband’s name, yet with the proposal came the reality of making a positive decision. With Quint and Sloane there was no room for double-barrelling. There could be no indecision. At least not long term. We got married eighteen months ago and whilst I’ve changed all other records, I’d held off changing my passport until now. There never seemed a right time, as we had trips to make and I didn’t want to be without it. At least, that’s what I told myself. In reality, I could have changed it any time I’d wanted, but I chose to hang on for as long as possible, making sure that a part of me, tucked safely away in a drawer, was still Sloaney. Yet, the ten years were up on my battered old book and it was time to make it officially official. As if the words we’d said in church and the little party we had afterwards hadn’t made it official enough. Which of course they had.
I know it’s just a name. But it’s more than that. It’s who I am. Taking my husband’s name was the right thing for me to do. I’m pleased that I did. I’m proud to be a Quint, but today, I’m just a little bit sad that Sloaney has had its corners cut off.
- Elle Magazine – A Change of Name
- Huffington Post – Should Women Change Their Last Names After Marriage?