© 2009 Marica

077 – Mrs who?

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
— e.e. cummings

I was the ripe old age of 22 when I married the man who was to become the father of my children. Today we’d say that was far too young and I’d agree – it is too young (well, from my perspective it is) but in those days it wasn’t considered so. I realise now that I had no idea who I was or what I wanted back then. I was a naive 22 year old and I had a lot to learn about love, life and living.

In those days I did everything that was expected of me. I didn’t question any of it except for one thing. This one thing was so important to me that even I was surprised at how strongly I felt about it then – and still do today.

So tell me this, why does a woman have to take on her husband’s surname when she gets married?

I know … it’s a tradition … but who established this tradition? Were women given any kind of choice in the matter? How did the feminists let this continue? I didn’t want to do it only I wasn’t strong enough to see this through. In my mind it is all about men wanting to control their woman. It feels a bit like being branded as they do to animals. Not only do we have to move from being a ‘Miss’ to a ‘Mrs’, we are also expected to relinquish our birth name – our family name, our connection to where we have come from – to take on our husband’s family name. As a married woman you also have to declare not only your married name but also your maiden name on all sorts of documentation. It seems unfair to me – unreasonable actually.

I believe we should have a choice as to whether or not we want to follow this tradition, and our choice needs to be respected whatever we decide.

I tried to discuss this with my soon to be husband. It didn’t go down well. I explained why this mattered to me. This made no difference. In the end I succumbed. I got married and I became Mrs ‘someone else’.

Years passed. I spent this time creating who I was as Mrs ‘someone else’. Deep down inside, lying dormant, was Marica Sevelj. Every now and again she’d do a bit of a rumble to let me know she was there and then she’d go to sleep again.

When my husband divorced me I knew this was my opportunity to go back to using my birth name, even though it meant my surname would end up being different to that of my children. I talked to them about what I wanted to do and why it mattered to me so much. They listened to me. They asked some questions. They accepted my decision and supported me. They knew no matter what, our love and our bond superseded everything.

I made enquiries about how to change my name. It turned out to be very easy because all I was doing was going back to the name that appears on my birth certificate. It felt so right. It was like coming home. It felt like I was now able to be who I was born to be. This really mattered to me.

So, my surname is Sevelj and that’s how it is going to stay.

12. Every day love yourself.
23. Every day retain your personal power. It belongs to you. No one else.
35. Every day focus on what matters to you.