My name is Juliet Kathryn Izon. When I was born 27 years ago -- the progeny of two English majors -- I was named Juliet for its poetic Shakespearean roots, Kathryn for my mother, and inherited the Spanish-by-way-of-the-Philippines surname Izon (that's EE-zon, folks) from my father.
JKI, my initials, have been emblazoned on everything from my sturdy L.L. Bean backpack in middle school to -- my latest find! -- a retro tortoiseshell necklace I've been wearing to work almost every day. The prep-school girl within me has managed to give up my near-pathological adoration for pink and green and grosgrain belts, but I do believe the habit of initialing everything is most certainly here to stay.
And I am, I would venture to stay, more attached to my last name than most. Perhaps this comes from the decades of correcting the legions of people who insist on pronouncing it EYE-zon. The French, unsurprisingly, seem to be the only ones that get it right at first glance, which only strengthens my belief that I am a true Frenchwoman manqué. Regardless, I have had to spell ("Yes, that's "Z" as in "Zebra...") and annoyingly correct the pronunciation of my last name since I first learned how to speak. For the record, that was incredibly early. I was a gifted child.
And so, since there are no boys in my family, the name Izon more or less ends with my sister and me (we'll save the conversation about my future children's surname for another post, shall we?). I never gave this much import until recently, when I became engaged and everyone started asking me what I planned to do about changing my name. "Well," I managed to stammer, "I really like my last name? It has a Z in it!" This was met with mostly confused stares and an awkward leap to another topic of conversation.
But hey, it's the truth! I like my last name. I like that nearly everyone I meet with it is most likely related to me. I like that, as far as I know, I am the only Juliet Izon in the world who you can Google. And speaking of search engine accessibility, I have, so to speak, made a name for myself ... with my name. A quick Google search reveals some of my proudest moments professionally: my very first Huffington Post article, my numerous TV and radio appearances, and, if you dig a little deeper, that amazing canon of work from my early years as an editor at the Trinity College Tripod. This is what Juliet Izon has done so far and, I hope, only a small percentage of what I will continue to do.
So, what, I'm just supposed to give it up? Part with my super sweet "Z?" Swap my place in the alphabet for -- gasp -- another letter? I'm not even going to broach the topic of the changing my Gmail address. I break out in a cold sweat just contemplating such a Herculean task.
All of this for matrimonial unity, huh? Now, don't get me wrong, I love my future husband's last name. Many people even call him by it. It's the same number of syllables as my own and even ends in the same letter, so the conversion wouldn't be terribly painful. But it's still not my name. And that, my friends, is the distilled essence of my predicament.
If I took my fiancé's surname, a part of me feels like I'd be erasing everything that I've accomplished under my maiden name. It may be an entirely nonsensical sentiment, but it's one that sticks with me nonetheless. I don't want to have to give up a huge part of my identity just because I'm getting married. Standing together on our wedding day, I'm thrilled to be marrying someone that I am crazily, stupidly and entirely in love with. But, at least for me, marriage doesn't mean you suddenly meld into one being; it's rather two people who form a union that makes each individual that much more awesome.
I will be my husband's wife and wear that moniker with enormous pride, the same way I hope he's counting down the days until he can call himself Juliet's husband. But as for the rest of you? You can address me as Ms. Izon. Or "your highness," I suppose that's acceptable too.
To read more about Juliet's wedding planning, please check out her blog: www.julietsgettingmarried.com