Why I changed my name when I always said I wouldn’t.

Our Wedding Day - 10/8

About a year into dating, Christian and I were headed south to Sedalia for a fancy date night. We gussied ourselves up and headed out the door. Christian hopped in the driver’s seat and I ambled over to the passenger side. I’m sure we had a nice dinner, though it wasn’t all that memorable. However, the minor revelation I had on the way home is still with me today. That revelation was:

I liked not having to drive.

Not in the ‘I want a limo driver’ sense (probably wouldn’t turn that down, though), but in the ‘I like allowing someone else to care for me and go through life with me’ sense. We’re driving home and I glance over at Christian – hand on the steering wheel, eyes straight ahead. And, it hits me that its ok to feel that way.

Let me back up a bit.

Throughout my childhood my family was big on “girl power” — girls can do anything they want, boys aren’t the only ones who can use tools… I had a feminist older sister that I idolized and a Mom that never changed her last name in addition to being the primary breadwinner. In my family, women did it all. So, as my childhood logic would have it. I would, most obviously, never change my name. It was my  name and there certainly was no need for me to adopt someone else’s.

I had all these negative feelings I associated with women that changed their name when they got married. To me, those women weren’t independent, they weren’t strong enough to hold their own and they most certainly didn’t adopt the “girls can do anything” mantra I was desperately trying to embody. They caved.

So, fast forward, again, to my revelation.

That moment in the car was the first moment when I felt like there could be a place for me between the two worlds. Neither was right nor wrong and neither was the determinate for what made you weak or strong. I wanted to live in my own world – one where I can be in love, have a partner to do life with and still be my own person. I didn’t have to sacrifice one for the other. I didn’t have to live by ideals I had set for myself at age 10. I didn’t have to hold onto something that no longer felt the way I had hoped it would. I evolved, we all evolve. It’s part of life.

Even though my thought patterns were shifting and my pre-conceived notions of what it meant to be a woman were being challenged, I was still holding on to my last name. It was the final stronghold that defined my views on who I would be.

When Christian proposed many months later, I had no idea what I was going to do. Stay Megan Stout, change to Megan Stecker —- the only thing I knew was that the hyphenated last name was not for me. Too long, too cumbersome and it felt like I, then, belonged to no one, but rather to an in between. I would no longer be me, but I wouldn’t be joining Christian either. If I was going to have a different last name, I was keeping my own. End of story.

As we moved forward in planning the wedding, buying a house and all the things that come with engagement and newlywedness, I started to feel the death grip on my last name loosen. The need to be a person, completely autonomous and separate from the husband I had agreed to marry felt wrong. It felt like I was fighting for something that I already had, something inside. Knowing that I am who I am and a name is a name.

Regardless of the name I took, I would always be me. I would always be Megan.

Almost two months after saying I do, I took the trip to the social security office and made it official. I retired Megan Stout and became Megan Stecker. I can’t say that I feel at home in the name. Stout will always have my heart and it patters just a bit every time I think about it (oh! nostalgia how you get me every time), but I’m growing into it more and more each day. Christian and I, we’re the Steckers, we’re partners, we’re in it together. And that, for me, is how it should be.

Seven months ago.

Seven months ago today I became a wife, I married the most handsome and wonderful man I’ve ever met. These past seven months have truly been an adventure and I can’t wait for the next 50 years. Xoxo.

 

Who am I again?

I got married… and I’ve needed a little decompressing time from all the stress and craziness that is planning a wedding, meaning I haven’t done a lot of talking about it. Yet.

But, there’s still one thing that lingers, one thing that I haven’t gotten done (beside mailing out my addressed and sealed thank you cards, oops), and that’s figuring out what to do with my last name. I signed my marriage certificate Megan Stecker. Let’s all just take a minute to really roll that around in our mouths. Megan. Stecker. It’s got the same first letters as Stout, but feels so absolutely foreign when paired with my name.

My whole life I thought I would keep my maiden name, that I would remain a strong woman that never changes her identity for anyone. Well that anyone happened to be Christian and after 24 years of believing to the contrary, I’m not keeping my name. But, I also haven’t change it. Yet. I can’t seem to find the will power to change my name and leave Stout behind. To say goodbye to all the “Ah, you must love beer” comments and references to a good Guinness when people read my name tag. It feels like I’m saying au revoir to a piece of me, severing the connection to my family and leaving behind years of steadfast stoutness.

Most of the girls I know that have gotten married, logged onto Facebook and swapped their name the day after their wedding in hysterical jubilation. It’s been over a month and I’m still hesitant to even pull that trigger. None of this is because I don’t love Christian or that I’m having doubts about our relationship. It’s all change, and change is hard for me.

I promised Christian that I would work on changing my name the week of Thanksgiving. That’s next week. Seriously? And, I’m still having a hard time fully embracing it.  Did you change your name when you got married? Was it hard or easy? I’d love to know!

*Image by: Paul Watson

It’s like a fairy tale… only better.

I’m getting married today. To the man that I love. To this man:

I get this feeling inside. This warm, overarching feeling. A feeling that tells me you’re right, that we’re right – wrapping and intertwining itself around me. My day is spent with sudden longings for you, remembrances of moments and an excitement that reaches my toes. You’re it for me. I love you and there are days when it’s so overwhelming I can’t even put it into words. I want you for forever, for eternity. I want to grow with you, know you deeper than I ever thought I would and love you more than we thought possible.

To the rest of my life? Yes, please! Hooray!

*Image by: All Things Homie

In the blink of an eye.

Oh, hi, fall. You’re here already? Pretty sure I just blinked my left eye and it was the 4th of July, so where the heck did you come from? Maybe if I blink my right eye tomorrow will be Christmas? I’m guessing this will probably happen regardless of whether I blink an eye, take a nap or click my ruby shoes together. Time flies when you’re having fun, er, are busy.

I love fall and I’m saying my pretty prayers that the leaves keep them selves stuck to tree branches around here for another week to make for a lovely fall wedding, and so I can enjoy it afterwards! The details, final touches and everything else feels like they might finally be falling into place for the big day. And, I’m just going to say it… I’M GETTING MARRIED THIS WEEK! And, I couldn’t be happier.

Wedding Bell Anxiety.

With C and I’s wedding happening next month you could say that the stress level around here is running just a touch high. My mom can’t sleep because she worries about everything that needs to get done, everyone coming into town and the limited time we have left to get it all done. I can’t sleep at night… adding, deleting and reviewing my, what seems to be, never ending list of things to order, things to do, and things to make. At 12 am, trying to determine just the right amount of flowers for the centerpieces and the color of shoes to go under my dress just seems vitally important and sleep can wait.

But, none of this beats the anxiety that my Dad is experiencing. Not only is he worried about how I’m getting down the aisle, how he’s getting down the aisle, who’s pushing the wheel chair and whether or not he’ll stand up… he’s dreaming about it too. Not any dream, mind you. A dream, that I believe, would be haunting for any man. It went a little something like this:

My Dad: You think you’ve got it bad, I’ve been dreaming about the wedding.

My Mom: Really?

My Dad: Yeah……. Only in my dream…. I’m the bride. And, no one is showing up for the wedding. I repeatedly ask why no one is showing up and finally find out it’s because they’re charging $22.50 per plate to come. It was awful.

My Mom: <insert hysterical laughter>

It puts it all into perspective. My dad is dreaming about being the bride, which is not only slightly disturbing, but also not a particularly attractive image. I’m not sure any of the other details can top that.

 

Let them eat cake.

Let’s talk cake here for a second. I love cake. There are a lot of people out there that don’t really care for cake (ahem, my father) and would rather settle of a DQ ice cream cone. I am not one of them. Me + cake = heavenly love forever. So as I mentioned earlier that we were going to be doing cake tastings I was nothing but ecstatic about the venture. Think this through with me, free cake, lots of flavors of cake, free, I get to try them. Um, hello, why have I not thought of this before?

So, last Saturday Christian, my mom and I embarked on our Colorado Springs cake tasting spree. We first stopped at Boonzaaijers Dutch Bakery… their vanilla raspberry cake blew my mind. It was delicious, sugary, and so so good. However, the rest of the flavors didn’t really jive with my high cake expectations. But don’t worry, it wasn’t time to fret because we had two more stops before we were going to throw in the cake tasting towel.

Next up Marvels Cake Boutique. Now, not to sound too high maintenance, but I was instantly thrilled that we each got our own bites to taste as opposed to sharing a small piece among the three of us. More cake for me, heck yes! We love, love, loved the spice cake (and what could be more perfect for a fall wedding, nothing you say? I agree). My mom got chills up her spine when we tried the almond (hello, yum). We decided that the chocolate and red velvet were winners as well. By the end of the tasting I was so full that I honestly felt that if I had one more bite of anything I might explode, or die. Do you ever get that full? On top of the immense fullness going on in my abdominal region the sugar coma, must nap now stage of the afternoon was in full swing.

Though I was borderline catatonic, the decision couldn’t be made just yet. While Marvels upped the ante, we had to be certain that there wasn’t another cake out there with our names on it. So, that’s just what we did.

Little London Cake Shoppe here we come (if not a little more haggard that when we started out). They handed us a box full of cake. Not a few slices, but a box, which I promptly forgot to take a picture of. At any other phase in my life I would have been overwhelmed by cake joy, but the thought of having to try 14 more cake flavors and two frostings had my hurl meter beeping at high alert. I never thought I would say it, but I couldn’t fathom putting another piece of cake into my mouth.

But, I bet you can guess what I did. I put 14 more bites of cake in my mouth, followed by 2 more bites of frosting. It was delicious, or as delicious as cake can be after eating it for hours on end. From there I proceeded to swear off cake for life and try to talk Christian in to serving a veggie tray with sprinkles at the wedding in place of the sweet, debilitating cake we ate all afternoon. It was a no go, but worth a shot anyways.

After some long and hard discussion, we’ve made the decision to go with Marvels — but the flavor combinations? Top secret. On another note, my birthday is next week and I feel deeply saddened to think I may not be able to eat cake… I’m crossing my fingers that my cake appetite returns in the next few days. Not that I’ll complain if we end up eating Strawberries and whipped cream — my new addiction.