Step One: Secure a Gmail account per your personal preference before it is scooped up by someone else and save your password as “thisisthenewme”. Complete those steps so far in advance that you will have no chance of remembering the credentials.
Step Two: Several months after the wedding go to the Social Security office and contemplate changing your first name too, when you notice how quickly and easily you can create a new name for yourself. “Miranda” has such a nice ring to it.
Step Three: Let new Social Security Card sit in a drawer while you tally up the other places you have to call or visit to finish this business and wonder if going to the Social Security office and asking for your old name back is permissible.
Step Four: Realize that I am not providing actual instructions for a name change, but describing my personal experience. Stop reading and Google “how to change name” to view valid results or brave on to the musings of Miss Early Bird below.
Eventually, I departed from the DMW with less patience and more photographic evidence of the official name change. My hair has tripled in length and it’s clear that I should have discovered Exquisite Threading and colored lip-gloss much sooner in life. I have the same North Face jacket and squinty-eyed smile in both. I am pleased with the new photo. I feel like that girl, I feel married and a little more grown up, but I do not feel like A.A.
I am nervous when handing my new ID to a waitress or bank teller, as if I’ve guiltily stolen someone’s identity or taken my boyfriend’s last name in a crazy, clinger, clueless girlfriend kind of way. For fear that people will see through this ruse, I carry my old ID with me. (I’m not using artistic license to exaggerate this point. Check my wallet.)
When I see the name come across in emails or on documents, I need to remind myself, That’s you! My signature—slow and effortful now—is a pull between instincts and experience. Will the W or the A be the next letter on the page?
Someday, A.A. will roll off my tongue and I will feel like her. Until then, I want to bask in the in between. I linger in a luxurious, vital space where I can remember who I was, practice who I’d like to be and anticipate who I’ll become. This space is so lovely, that I may just stay here awhile.