I Don't Want To Be Someone's Wife - And I'm Married
Pretty inflammatory title, I guess. So just to set the record straight for Chris and every single one of my family and friends - I am not leaving Chris and I don't regret our wedding. We're very happy and I have no intention of that ending anytime soon.
What I'm talking about is the Cult Of The Wife. Sort of, because it's more a set of rules and expectations that seem to follow me around and it's pretty annoying. But in order to fully explain the title and the cult I have to tell you about some things related to my marriage.
It breaks down into four things that seem to surprise people.
- I proposed - It was awkward and involved Lego and took place in our living room after Chris got back from walking the dog. But I like to think the crappiness is more overshadowed by the whole love and dedication thing. He said yes so it can't have been spectacularly awful.
Turns out that a woman proposing to a man is still radical. I get a lot more whys than hows, and explaining that it's because I wanted to baffles some. I chose someone, rather than them choosing me, feels like the norm I'm breaking here. Like I'm not supposed to do anything but wait. Whatevs.
- I kept my surname - I have many reasons for keeping my own name but the main one is that I had to fight to legally be called a Crosbie because my absent father won't sign the papers for the name change. I feel an affinity for my name that many won't have unless they've had to wait over a decade to be called it properly.
Also, there's only like three Abigail Crosbie's in the whole world, and to have a name that rare is super cool (shout out to my name twins - represent!). And finally, my husband's surname is Spann. And I'm not spending a lifetime being misheard as Mrs Canned Ham (Spam, if you missed the joke).
This is also something that gets a lot of whys, and this is the one I think I find most frustrating. Changing your name is a massive change of identity, one that I don't want or need.
- I'm not a Mrs - Did you know that Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms or other, is not a legal part of you name? Ideally you should update but it's not necessary - trust me, I looked it up. I was extremely relieved because I haven't had to change a single piece of ID, bank detail or bill. I don't care if they say Miss, I ain't doin' nothin'.
I chose Ms over Mrs because I tried both on for size and I really didn't like it. I'm adopting Ms because I'm an adult and should have done it years ago, but past me didn't understand the titles situation and assumed she was a Miss because she was young and female. Stupid, young Abigail not-Crosbie...
- I don't mention I'm married straight away - It's maybe half conscious, half not. I just don't think it's massively important and I'm in the habit of calling Chris my partner rather than my husband. The looks of surprise are good though, I like to think it's because we're so young and good-looking.
Those are my four surprises for people to get over and now I can fully explain the title -
Just because I got married doesn't mean I am primarily someone's wife.
In fact, being married is probably the least important thing about me. It's a fact like where I went to school or that I have tattoos. It's something that I've done, but it isn't all of who I am or the most important role I fulfill.
All of my proposing, name-keeping, and not being a Mrs stuff were things I did and decided because they felt right to me. I'm not trying to take down marriage, or say that I did anything extraordinary, or hate on people who did the opposite to me. But one theme links all four - I am not defined by anyone else.
I am not defined by implication of ownership. I am not defined by my relationship with anyone. I am not defined by my title. I am not defined by being a wife.
I don't want to be someone's wife.
I want to be me.
This entire post reminds me of one of my favourite phrases - "I hope you like feminist rant because they're kinda my thing." (I love you, Jessica Day)