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06 October 2011


"I'll change my name if you change yours..."

This is something that I told Beloved when discusses, rather dreamingly one day, our upcoming marriage. It was more of a joke, a jest so to speak. It does however, contain more truth than I let on...

I am not an extreme feminist. I am not a partiarchalist either. In fact, changing my name would not be a problem if it was not for what changing it meant. There are several implications that have lead me to conclude that having a hyphenated last name is the best for me. So come February, I will become Elizabeth M. Andrus-X. Professionally I will remain as Elizabeth Andrus.

The first reason for my stubborn cling to my name is really spite. You see, Beloved is an open-minded liberated man. I love him for his ability to think out of the box. I love him more for this trait in light that his community, his culture, and the general ideologies of his people do not promote out of box thinking. Mores are more than mores to them. They are moral codes and to define these moral codes is to be judged. I do not fear their judgements. I have settled that long ago. In coming to terms with the fact that I am like a hippie moving to a Puritan society, sort of brought a small level of spite. Maybe, I am being disrespectful in my spiteful demand to be a hyphenated woman, but really who should get offended?

The second reason why I do not want to change my name is because I do not see any point in it. It is not practical. There are too many Elizabeth X's in the world anyway. For me, the patriarchal practice of married women taking their husbands' last name is an outdated practice. It is no longer useful and it promotes sexism. Furthermore, in my case, marrying and moving to the "community" also involves a high level of classism. The unmerited respect I will earn as a married women is not something I want to identify with. I also do not want to identify with the prejustices that will come with being a part of the X family. For better or for worse, I am myself. Beloved can be himself.

The last reason is the most personal. I am Andrus. There are not many Andrus's left in the world. In fact, I am the only Andrus in the who country of Belize. In Guatemala there are three Andrus's in the whole country. I struggled to identify with this name. Growing up, I used my step-father's last name. Even after his death, I felt need to continue to use his last name as a tribute to him. He was a great man, who loved me. James Andrus the Second did not love me so much. So Becoming Andrus was a process of healing internal wounds and a surrender to God, letting Him be the ultimate Daddy of my life. While some times I give tribute to the former Beth Garland, and the amazing step-father by giving the characters in my stories a variation of that name, I have been a completely redeemed Andrus.

I love it's unique sound and the fact it has an ambiguous origin. It sounds like Andrews but it is not. It sounds like Andres but not quiet. Some say it is pre-Anglo Irish, others say it is French. I will never know. I love the mystery behind it.

So people might complain. In-laws might think I am rejected them. They might think I am this spoiled child-bride with crazy ideas. But the bottom line is this: I do not belong to Beloved. I am not his woman. I love him, and he loves me. I respect him and he respects me. I love to do little acts of service for him, but he does the same. We are going be partners in life. The legal contract that we will sign will be a mutual agree to build and work and life together legally. Socially we will be married, partners in adventure, house-mates  lovers, a couple. Spiritually, we will be one.

I don't see any ownership in that. Should I?


Domanick Fabro said...

so when you have kids their last names will be Andrus-x or just plain X? its absurd. you guys both need to settle on ONE last name that defines the family name. that's just my opinion of course.

Beth said...

Good Question DOm.... children? what children? If they do come, They can be Andrus-X until they chose to be otherwise. That way if they go to school in Latin America they will fit right in. If they don't they can decide how to make it work.

I once had a student who's last name was hyphenated. He was a jewel. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Domanick Fabro said...

now the question is will your husband agree to that? and i think its the law the children get the dad's last name. Belize is still very old fashioned.

Beth said...

Legally and socially are two different things. But I am sure that my position will change, I just like to challenge norms of society.