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ON CHANGING MY LAST NAME

Can I really handle not being an “Aenlle” anymore?

As a kid, I almost hated my last name. No one ever pronounced it correctly, and their attempts at pronouncing it always lead to some awkward-sounding words that I did not want associated with me during elementary school. When I got older, those awkward-sounding words became kind of funny, and I started to appreciate being one of the first people in any alphabetical list at school, because for the most part, it made my life easier, and I didn’t have to wait as long for a lot of stuff—including finally getting my diploma at graduation.
I’ve always liked the tradition of taking a future partner’s last name if we ever got married, but of course, it was always no big deal because it was strictly hypothetical. And then, Kane proposed. As you can imagine, being Kane and Kate was cute for maybe two minutes, and I really do love when people meet and say, “Kane and Kate, wow! Almost the same name!” [cue all of the eye rolls]. The idea that marrying Kane would mean that our names would be different by just one letter freaked me out, I’m not going to lie. I’ve always been a big fan of my individuality, and what was once a nice tradition I wanted to participate in now seemed like a surrender of my old identity. 
 
This probably sounds dramatic, especially to all women who have changed their last names after getting married, but the anxiety was very real for me, and I hadn’t expected it to be. I suddenly found myself getting very attached to my last name—so much so that I got a ring with my last name on it, as if I’d ever really forget. It wasn’t until I had to register my business under my name, Kate Aenlle, that I had a moment of clarity. Changing my name wouldn’t negate everything I’d done or accomplished thus far in my life. My degree still says Kate Aenlle, my birth certificate will still say Kate Aenlle, and no matter what, I would still be me, just in a slightly different package—like when I change my hair or get new clothes. At the core of it all, I’m still Kate. Period. I think I took a lot of comfort knowing that I would still be cemented as Kate Aenlle in some aspects of my life, so I wasn’t actually ever giving the only name I’d ever identified with.
 
I still think changing my last name is a fun tradition that I’ll partake in, even if means having just one letter separating my name from Kane’s. However, I think that freaking about it was kind of a blessing, in that it made me take mental inventory of everything I’ve done as Kate Aenlle, and I’ve got to say, I’ve done quite a bit as my single self. Now I look forward to all the things I want to do and accomplish as Kate St. Louis (VERY STRANGE writing that out), and with a partner by my side. 
 
In the midst of worrying about different wedding-related things, it’s kind of amazing where your mind will wander to. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go an practise writing a new signature.

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