Worse than the people who didn’t ask, and just assumed that I had changed my name when I got married (that’s a choice, not an imperative)… worse than the people who addressed things to “Mr and Mrs His Name” (as if I didn’t have my own name anymore)… are the people who assumed that I would go back to my maiden name.
Changing something as big and as personal as my own name was something I decided to do for me…
Not for my partner. Not in the name of tradition. Not for the patriarchy. It was a decision made with much thought and personal pride. And it hurt to find out that so many people did not… what’s the right word… believe(?) that Megan Finley is my “real” name. It was like they were telling me that they never felt my name change was a well-thought-out choice. As if my name — MY OWN FUCKING NAME — was just on loan to me via that guy I married.
I never FOR ONE MOMENT considered going back to my maiden name. Because if I had, for any reason, actually wanted to use my maiden name, I would have never changed it in the first place.
I’ve written about the fact that my birth name, Megan Tharpe, never felt like me. I’d even go so far as to say that feeling mis-named gave me some kind of insight, in the tiniest ittiest-bittiest, most privileged of ways, into how a transgender kid must feel — knowing that you were assigned to this identity at birth, and yet, never really feeling like it fit who you are.
“Megan Finley,” however, fit this bitch like a pair of Black Milk dragon scale leggings. The moment I became Megan Finley, I felt like I finally became my true self. Aaron and I even had this exchange: “You know, even if we divorce I’m keeping the name Finley.” To which he responded, “It is my gift to you.” And it truly truly was, and still is a wonderful gift.
Although, now that I am getting re-married, and starting a new family, I get to consider my name options again…
The name Megan Finley is not just my name, but my brand. I’ve built up a million posts on the Offbeat Empire under Megan Finley. My internet handles are either “meganfinley” or “meggyfin.” And I’m the top mother fucking Megan Finley on Google, bitches! I worked hard for that.
But I really want to share a family name with my husband. Unfortunately, Mike doesn’t want to change his last name to Finley. Fortunately, I really like the last name Horowitz!
I thought about having two last names. But that felt weird — like I was collecting names, instead of choosing them. And then I thought… what if I just make Finley my middle name? That way I could always be “Megan Finley” and replace another name I was also never very fond of — Elizabeth. (Hey, I grew up in the ’80s).
So, I’ve decided to make Finley my middle name, and be one of those Three Name People. Like my boss, Ariel Meadow Stallings, I will be Megan Finley Horowitz.
There’s something a little scary and a lot exciting about changing my name this much…
I realize that, with my impending changes, I will have gotten to choose most of my own name for myself. I’ve taken up more ownership of one of biggest identifiers. My name gets to tell my own life story. Megan Elizabeth Tharpe was chosen for me. Megan Finley Horowitz was chosen by me.
New chapter, new author…
I like to think of my new name as a map of the story of my life:
Chapter one: Megan arrives. She was mostly lost and stumbled a lot as she tried to find her path.
Chapter two: Megan Finley takes over. She found her place in the world, decided to forge her own path, and kicked much ass.
Chapter three: Megan Finley Horowitz shows up. I can’t wait to see where this chapter goes.
Anyone else change their name a lot? Either via marriage, or just, you know, because you want to? What are your thoughts on names and identity?