'In a few days, your life will change forever.'
I stared at the words on my iPhone screen as it stared back at me, challenging me to embrace the gravity of that message. Suddenly, everything started rushing in. New house, new routine, new roles, new name. Out of all those, the last one hit me the most.
I am a person of ideals, so attracted to the abstract. My name, Deanne R. Bañares, is what I've been writing for 25 years. It's what people call me; it's how I identify myself. It's what I'm known for and heck, it stands for everything I am as well. And to have that changed, just like that? Well, that's a lot to take in. How am I supposed to accept a new ideal, a new last name that I don't even know quite enough?
I also am a person of memories, waxing nostalgia everywhere I go. So my name is not just my identity, it's my past, too, everything I've ever been through. It stands for the little girl who grew up with stars in her eyes and in her heart, dreaming of an adventurous future. For the girl who learned to love the power of the written word, for the one who lived on the quest of perfection only to realize it isn't as good as it sounds. For the girl who yearned to study and work abroad, hoping for a more successful and storied life. For the girl who desired attention and romance and love only to be disappointed again and again. For the girl who turned into a lady when she discovered the beauty of style over fashion, mind over matter. For the lady who turned into a woman when she made the decision to commit and lay down her life for love.
I've been through quite a lot as Deanne R. Bañares. I've grown, believed, discovered, hurt, healed, and lived. That name has treaded life; it has also been so proud to be connected to a family that inspires. The idea of changing it made me afraid. For a few weeks, I was serious about keeping my last name but then I realized what will be my symbol of marriage? Of becoming one with my husband-to-be? I knew I needed courage to accept this change so I prayed for it.
I don't know why the woman has to be the one to take the last name of the man, where that tradition came from. It might be blasphemous to some. But I'd like to think of it as a symbol, not just of a new chapter, but a glorious symbol of how woman is capable of making sacrifices for love and togetherness. What a beautiful opportunity I will have very soon.
So this is my ode to the name I've known my entire life: You won't die, you won't be forgotten. You're just simply breathing life to something new. And (soon-to-be) Deanne B. Dimacali will remember you for that and thank you every single day for your choice. Thank you, Deanne R. Bañares, thank you.
P.S. And now I will go write my name as many times as I can because I will miss having a Spanish-sounding family name. Hah.