What’s in a Name and Peppermint Mocha?

So, a good friend of mine brought up the topic of names and how people address you.  We apparently had some common ground, common worries, and unbridled rage towards some issues.  So I decided to post about my personal issues.

I want to clearly state right off the bat:  I love my husband more than anything (except maybe the dogs).  I would do almost anything for him and he’s my best friend.  However, I am not a reflection of him, nor am I an extension of him (and vice versa).  We are completely separate people, we do our own things, and we choose to be together every day.

It all started with the wedding, and the wedding guests.  At first, I brushed off all the letters and cards and gifts to “Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Swensen” as people trying to be cute and as a casual throwback, rather than casual misogyny.  When I decided to change my last name, it was a big deal.  I loved my last name.  I had done so much with it.  My art was all under my last name.  I had bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and I registered for classes under my name.  My name represented my Irish heritage.  It was a conversation starter.  And most of all, I loved it because it reminded me of one of my favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor.  It was a huge internal debate for me on whether or not to change my name.  Zach never pressured me either way, so my decision was my own.  I ultimately decided to change it as a symbolic gesture.

So at what moment did I lose my first name as well?

There are a lot of people who don’t see the big deal.  It’s just a stupid card, or a stupid letter.  People say, “Meg, it’s just a generational thing.”

Yeah, a generational thing that symbolizes ownership and takes away the identity of the wife.

Besides, MOST of the “Mrs. Zach” shit that comes to our house are from people around our age.  In fact, the OLDEST MEMBER of all our families has no fucking issue with addressing my name as well.  Someone actually tried to make the argument that it was less writing to leave out my first name.  It’s not.  Same writing (I counted!).  Also, why not leave out Zach’s name then?  Or shorten my name to Meg (which is the name I prefer anyway).

So what’s the big deal about the whole name business?  Imagine going through the rest of your life, and everything that is addressed to both you and your husband never has your name on it.  You’re just Mrs. Husband.  You’re Husband’s wife.  You’re Daughter’s mom.  It’s a lot of pressure.  It’s a huge loss.  I hate the concept of ownership of a person, even symbolically.  That’s why Zach never asked my father’s permission to marry me (I’m pretty sure I’m the only person that can consent to that/I would have been super angry with both Zach and my dad) and that’s also why, when we planned our wedding, Zach’s grandpa (the officiant) asked, “how do you want to be introduced to the world?” I answered, “I want my name spoken.”  Actually, he never even said “Mr. and Mrs.”  I loved that.  It was just Zach and Meg.  It was just us being introduced to the world.  Grandpa John got that, and he really heard me when I told him how worried I was about being lost.

I still have a lot to do in my life.  A lot of my own stuff.  It’s going to have my name on it.  It’ll be mine.  Not my husband’s.  I still exist without him.

I know there might be people out there that think I’m overreacting, or I should feel honored to be a part of someone.  I feel honored about being a part of my husband’s life, not my husband himself.  Plus, it’s my name.  I want to be able to see and hear it, even if my husband is around or involved in something.  He doesn’t cancel me out.  I’m not a redundant version of him.  And for people who enjoy the “old” ways, that’s totally fine.  Let people know.  Because the “old” way shouldn’t be the default.

Marriage aside, names are important.  Some may change their name to reflect their preferred gender identity.  Saying another name is just disrespectful.  Or, in my friend’s case, names can be intimate, and saying an intimate version of her name when she doesn’t have that relationship with someone, is just as disrespectful.

I’m going to quote Star Trek real quick.

There was an episode in TNG where Doctor Pulaski keeps mispronouncing Data’s name incorrectly (she uses the other pronunciation for the word).  When she asks him why it matters, because they are both the same word, he replies, “One is my name.  The other is not.”  Sassy.

Okay, I think you all get the picture.  Now on to Peppermint Mochas.

I decided to try something this morning because I was craving a peppermint mocha, but neither wanted to pay the money for it, nor consume so much sugar.  So I made my own mock-up version.

Meg’s Peppermint Mock-a

Mug of brewed coffee (I used Ehtiopian from the Sprouts bulk section)
Peppermint tea (I used 1 bag of the Celestial Seasonings)
Hot cocoa powder (I used NOW brand organic cocoa)

Steep the tea in your mug with the coffee for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the bag, add the cocoa powder to taste (I like mine pretty chocolatey).  Add creamer or milk (I used a tiny bit of flax milk this morning).

It’s delicious.  Play around with it so you get the right amount of peppermint taste.  See?  No need for tons of dairy or an espresso machine.  Still get tons of caffeine, and that’s what’s important, right?

This will be my last post until after Christmas.  So, I would also like to share my favorite Christmas song and moment.  I can’t really accurately describe what this song means to me, but if I tried, it would be”home.”

“Bless Us All” Lyrics

Life is full of sweet surpises
Everyday’s a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong

Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam
Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere

Let us always love eachother
Lead us to the light
Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all

Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyful tears
We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask You bless us all

We reach for You and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams we ask you
Bless us all


Until Next Time.





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