The other morning, I posted the following status update on Facebook: “I was sincerely committed to not letting parenthood change me, but now that I see ‘buy photo paper’ on my to-do list, resistance just seems futile.” I know. Funny, right? I live to amuse myself.
Soon after, a friend very sweetly and genuinely commented about the joy he felt in the way his son has changed everything about the way he thinks and feels. My immediate reaction was to jokingly reply, “Yeah, but I was already awesome before having a kid.” I didn’t, partly because I didn’t want to imply that he wasn’t (he was!), but mostly because of another reason the joke might not land: It’s a little too close to how I really feel about myself.
I’m changing my name back. I know. After all the the serious thought, hemming and hawing I put into the decision to become Natalie Burg Vial, I picked the wrong choice. I was just wrong. I tried it on, and it didn’t fit.
I have been annoyed at every piece of mail that has come addressed to Natalie Vial. I roll my eyes at the people in my doctor’s office who look up my file and say, “Oh, Natalie Burg Vial?” Which is insane, because the only reason they have me filed that way is because I told them that was my name. But it feels wrong. It feels like a lie. It’s not romantic or sweet. Every time I hear myself referred too by the (actually rather cool) last name of my (wonderful and loving) husband, I feel the crushing weight of thousands of years of patriarchy grind on my bones.
I got to do something really special yesterday, which was be interviewed on a radio station about my new book immediately proceeding my singer/songwriter husband, who was interviewed about the tour he’s on. So, if you happen to be in touch with 14-year-old Natalie, please give her the following message: “Relax. Everything works out PERFECTLY.”