This past November, on what turned out to be a beautiful, sunny evening in Philadelphia, I married my now-husband, Chris, at The Philadelphia Magic Gardens. After the ceremony, and amid the craziness that occurred between the wedding and the reception, Chris asked me if I had decided what I wanted to do concerning my name. From the moment we were engaged, his stance remained the same: I could do whatever I felt was best for me, including keeping my maiden name, if I wanted.
I had spent the six months previous debating the pros and cons of changing my name or not, hyphenating, or making up an entirely new last name. Before Chris, I never thought that I would do anything but keep my name, or maybe hyphenate, if the guy I was marrying had a really awesome last name (For example: My initials were K.A.R., so, if I had married someone with a last name that started with the letter “I” and hyphenated, my initials would spell my first name. Who thinks of this stuff?! ME. Never mind that I have never even dated a person with a last name beginning with “I”.). When it came down to it though, and I actually did the deed and got married, the decision of what to do with my last name didn’t seem to clear cut anymore. In fact, weeks and months after having been married, I still couldn’t make up my mind. Friends and family kept asking, and I simply didn’t have an answer.
The more I thought about it, the less it seemed like a big deal to keep my maiden name. Changing my name would not cause the entire feminist world to come crashing down around me, nor would it change– or even challenge– what I believe about women, marriage, and partnerships. I didn’t hold any emotional connection to my maiden name, and the prospect of changing it didn’t feel sad or scary. Sure, my maiden name was short and easy to spell, and, let’s face it, “Tumminia” is neither, but taking a new last name felt like I was being offered a “start over” and a new beginning.
In many ways, my life, both creative and not, has changed dramatically in the last three years– even in the last year– and a new last name feels like an appropriate way to memorialize this new place in my life. I did end up changing my last name. Tumminia it is, and, in some ways, it feels cathartic to have done so. A re-branding and my new site (www.KariTumminia.com) are an extension of that, and I’m looking forward to new and exciting things!