Today I received a copy of a published paper that used a piece I wrote as a reference. It sounds really exciting, but the reference is a figure that I quoted from another reference. No original thought was quoted. But. But, my report and more importantly my name is being circulated in the bibliography section of this paper. Which is AWESOME. It appears as though I am starting a career, a career under the surname of Runnebaum. It now appears that I have, by happen stance, made a serious commitment to myself. For the sake of my career, for further publications and for the sake of keeping all of that simple I will forever be known as a Runnebaum. Even if I get married, it would be foolish to take the man’s surname. For as long as patrilineal societies can remember the woman has always taken the man’s surname. Once a woman becomes married her entire identity changes. Not only does she take a new name, her title changes as well. She is no longer Miss but Mrs. She is Mrs. Husband’s name. She is wife. Nothing really changes for the man however. Things are changing a bit, but it used to be during a wedding ceremony the preacher would pronounce you man and wife. He keeps his last name. He keeps his title, Mr. and his identity was never really altered, he is still a man not a husband. Like I said things are changing now they pronounce you husband and wife and a woman doesn’t have to promise before God and everyone to obey her husband. But a lot of times, even as young girls, we know some day that our identity will change and we will take on some unknown, strange last name. We even go so far to try our first name with the last name of the boys we have a crushes on, take it for a test spin and see how it fits. I would like to say we grow out of this, to a certain extent we do. We just stop writing it down. As we get older you take the strange last name for a test spin and quickly return it to the owner feeling a like a school girl again. For me these official singledom, girlish activities are finished, I can stop trying to figure out what my future self will be called and how the name will sound. I will forever be known as Jocelyn Runnebaum. Like having a man propose to you, you know that at some point in the future you will be signing a marriage certificate and filling out the paper work to change your identity. I knew for a while that I would have a paper published under my given name, at some point in the future. The paper hasn’t been published yet, I had no predetermined date set in the future. I didn’t get to send out invitations and ask my family and friends to celebrate this lifelong commitment I am making to myself. It just happened. Someone asked for the paper [unpublished] they knew we produced. It was added to the bibliography and bam I am Ms. Jocelyn Runnebaum for the rest of my life. It was a surprise; I didn’t know that today would be the day I would make this commitment. But it is and I feel pretty good about this situation. There are no announcements to mail out, registers to make or thank you cards to write. There will be no ceremony or reception, but you are most welcome to join me in celebrating me being me FOREVER!
Men, you may celebrate at any point in your life you being able to be you forever. And to my fellow ladies who made the commitment to be themselves for every, I salute you, join me in this celebration. And to the ladies who changed or will change their identity, I salute you as well. We have choices now. We can choose who we want to be. Before today I would have seriously considered joining you in the ranks of changing identities. But the choice has been made, and I no longer see that as a choice. So join me in celebrating the choice.