25 January, 2010


I feel exhausted, but brimming with praise. I have run the full gamut of the emotional spectrum this weekend. It is difficult to describe the span of sentiments between finding your wedding dress and finding out that your grandmother's cancer was worse than expected. I lost it in the middle of lunch with them; just started sobbing over my chicken casserole while everyone was talking very civilly and plainly. I couldn't think of anything else. The slightest memory of her would incite buckets of tears; my mind was a frenzied loop of prayer. But then, today, God came through and her scans came back negative. She will still have to endure what I understand to be a "preventive" form of chemotherapy and radiation, which is of course tremendously unpleasant, but it is infinitely better news than we had expected. If you know her, thank you for praying, and please, keep on; we covet your intercessions. God is listening.

Back to that other little bit of news: Yes, I think I found my wedding dress. I actually fell in love with the back of the gown first. Trying it on wasn't this supernatural moment that I feel most brides expect--when the heavens open and fairies alight on your shoulder and your mom has to have "a moment." (She did cry a little, though, especially once that cathedral veil was tacked to my head.) But I did feel very pretty and I felt, finally, like I was going to get married. I wish I could show you, but I think Guion reads this every now and then, and we just can't have that. Suffice it to say: The gown ROCKS. It's enough tradition with a dash of modern to please me and my no-strapless manifesto.

I'm hoping this thesis wasn't a terrible idea.

"Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves. Women, then, have not had a dog's chance of writing poetry. That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one's own." -- Woolf, A Room of One's Own

I read a helpful little piece on one of the many wedding blogs I subscribe to about why one bride chose to take her husband's name. Kemp, Rose, Guion, and I had a mildly heated conversation about this topic one night at dinner. Thanks mostly to my entrenchment in all things Woolf, I am predisposed to see the name change as a hold-over from the patriarchal past, when women actually were men's property. But after reading this article, and recalling my discussion with Rose, I see taking Guion's last name in a different light now. As a twenty-first century feminist, I'm exercising my right to choose by taking his name; women didn't have that choice centuries ago. And so, as much as I love my last name and its rarity, I am happy to take Guion's last name. But I'm definitely keeping my last name as my middle name; it's too weird to surrender.


Caroline said...

As a feminist who also struggled with this for about a year before making a decision, I am curious why you decided to take it. It's a good point that it IS your choice, but why? = )

Congrats on finding the perfect dress!

Ashleigh R said...

I've been meaning to blog on this topic for a couple weeks now, since I just got my new social security card in the mail! :o)

I'm glad, Abby, to know that I'm not alone in this. It was a difficult decision for me, as well--still is at points. On the one hand, I've felt judged by other feminists (including many imaginary ones), felt like a sell-out... but the also felt deeply frustrated by the fact that some of Jeremiah's friends and extended family seemed to assume that I was taking his name without asking. (And don't even get me started about receiving cards to "Mr. & Mrs. Jeremiah Bailey"!)

Just warning you--you may still feel some questions and doubts along the way, especially when you encounter people that make assumptions about you based on your decision or, on the other end, don't even acknowledge that you had a choice to begin with. But if you're both a feminist and taking his name, then, gosh darn it, I guess both sides are just going to have to learn to deal with something they don't like. ;o)

Hope you are well!