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Muscle Memory Resists Name Change

Note: I could write a 5,000 word essay on the subject of women changing their names when they marry, but I’ll spare you. Here are a few thoughts and observations.

In the novel “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” the main character, Connie, is searching 17th century archives for a young woman suspected of being a witch.

What do Deliverance and I have in common? The same thing many of you have experienced:
Their search had been fruitless so far — no Deliverance Dane in any of the christening records from 1629 all the way through 1720.
“ ‘Course, if Dane was her married name, she wouldn’t be in the christening records,” Sam pointed out.
“True enough,” said Connie. “But I had to start somewhere. That’s one reason researching women can be so much trickier than researching men. Their names can change several times, depending on how many times they marry.” She paused. “It’s like they become different people.”
I began the new year with a trip to the DPS get my name changed on my driver’s license and drove from there to the social security office and bank to do the same. I’ve been Christi Hutchins (previous married name) since January 12, 1974. That’s 9 days short of 37 years. I only used my maiden name, Christi Conaway, for 19 years.

I have mixed feelings about changing my name again. Mostly it’s not a real big deal. It helps that I’m starting my new life in a new city where I only know a half dozen people. When I begin my job hunt, I can just update my resume and start fresh.

The biggest hassle is the long list of places where I have to make a name change, i.e. credit cards, bank accounts, my small business DBA (doing business as) at the county courthouse, retirement accounts, etc. I don’t know how many of these accounts can be changed online but I’m guessing most of them can.

As I worked my way through the bureaucracies this week, I started to resent the practice of women changing their names when they marry. My oldest daughter chose to hyphenate her last names which has proved to be effective and a hassle at the same time. When I married in 1974 there were a few women keeping their maiden names, but I don’t recall considering it.

Other obstacles pop up in unexpected places like when I was returning a broken tree ornament to the Hallmark store. They refunded the $6.95 onto my debit card, and I had to sign my name in two places. Name on the card now? Name on the card back in early December when the purchase was made? The baffled trainee cashier either didn’t know or didn’t care.

And then there’s muscle memory. What my hands want to write when I sign my name now.
For 37 years I wrote this
For 3 weeks and 4 days I’ve been writing this
When I read the passage from the book it gave me a new perspective and consequently a new attitude. A new town, a new name, a new life...a new Christi.

A chance to be a different person. A better woman. A happier woman.

It’s all how you look at it, isn’t it?

Christina Lynn Conaway
Christi Conaway
Christina Lynn Conaway Hutchins
Christina Lynn Hutchins
Christi Hutchins
Christina Conaway Hutchins
Christina Lynn Conaway Hutchins Dick
Christina Conaway Dick
Christina Dick
Christi Dick

(and this isn’t all the combinations)

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