I’m a bit upset with Home Affairs, and it’s not because I face the prospect of sitting in a Home Affairs department for an hour or two (though with my bump, there’s a chance they’ll bump me up).
No, I’m upset (and maybe hormonally too) because when we got married in December, I once again stipulated on the marriage form that I wanted to keep my name (also known as maiden name, which is a hideous term). And when I went to apply for a passport and Smart ID last week, all was going efficiently and smoothly and blissfully, until I was asked to sign with my “new” surname. The surname I didn’t choose to take on.
It’s not because I don’t love Andrew, or hate his surname, or want to prevent paperwork, or am making a strong feminist statement. Rather, it feels as strange to change my surname as it does my first name. It’s me. It’s what I’m known as on the work and personal fronts, and it’s something that connects me so strongly to my family.
For example, just the other day, someone asked me if I was related to Kevin, and when I said he was my brother, I listened to a funny story about their work experience together. This is just one way I’m connected to anecdotes and my family, and I love discovering connections, and being affiliated to my past this way.
Home Affairs made the same mistake last time, and I wonder if they actually pay attention to women’s wishes on their marriage forms? I tweeted my Home Affairs situation a few days ago, and lots of women said the same thing had happened to them. In fact, I’m yet to meet someone whose request to keep their maiden name (this word is sounding more and more ridiculous) was noted by Home Affairs.
Subsequently, our marriage officer replied to our email query with the following: “This is a typical home affairs error. I see this mistake with regularity. I checked the registers and it clearly states Kovarsky.”
Let’s hope the process to keep my name is a short and efficient at Home Affairs, otherwise I’ll have strong words in my next blog post.
xMom (Tanya “Kovarsky”)
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