There are very few careers nowadays where public image does not matter. I find myself constantly aware of it, despite wanting not to. It all amounts to “Am I seen as a professional?” And a large part of starting to build awareness of your professional knowledge is creating a “personal branding”. I know that word is bandied about to the point of being a scare tactic. But it’s true: If people don’t know who you are how will they give you lots of $$ and props?

This is what I propose: The modern woman might be giving up even more then just her history by changing her last name. Street cred? Pride? But is she giving up more by refusing to?

I’m not sure my stance other than I’ve been afraid to admit that I can’t wait to change my name in domestic bliss. This is a bit more deep rooted than the personal branding angle.

Some history: I’m getting married to a one Austin Flores. After much debate I have decided to change my name to Sheila Suarez de Flores come October when we wed. I am modern enough to keep my last name but honored enough to append. I have a website called sheilasuarez.com, as two years ago, I tried to abandon my wishy washy handles that I always grew tired of (deltaspark, eatther0ses, esscore, bluespringtied, birthdayzoot, smapdi3000… and so on) for something I have always been: Sheila Suarez. Plus then when an employer saw my awesome CSS skillz they’d know who to call.

But now as I’m relying on this handle more and more, filing my taxes (or failing to) online, banking, handing out business cards and otherwise, I realize that with the ring comes the destined name change. I know who I will be in six months. Why not change now?

Pride. I always thought myself the feminist, a sensible one, likes to pay dutch but doesn’t mind a car door being opened for her. But with this has come a stubborn streak that won’t admit that she WANTS to change her name. Aghast when other girls did so before their wedding. Changing their handle to include a “Mrs”? Good lord not your internet handle! If guys don’t do it at all or get all giddy about it, why should I (working in a male dominated field probably doesn’t help this…)? If it was more acceptable, would guys do it? I do not want to be defined by my relationship but supported (like Hedwig!). Why do I really think this name will define me?

But I’m here to admit it. I like that I’m changing my name because I’m proud of being Austin’s. Can’t wait to change my name! But pride has also kept me from doing it sooner than later. Until tonight, setting up hopefully a blog (god I hate that word) that will last me through several adventures (including marriage), I had to pick a name and I picked: sdeflores.

Is this me being realistic or girly? Austin is pretty dreamy… and there really is no good reason to change my name other than that fact. But if I’m going to do it, why not do it now?

My point has quickly deflated as I’m out of coherent blogging practice. But a little part of INDEPENDENT WOMAN OF STEEL AND CAREER-NESS, named so man or not, has died in me tonight. I know its not a bad thing. In fact, I have missed out on all the giggles. I don’t need my old name to define me! Take that maiden name! In the end, its not that big of a deal. A redirect added from sheilasuarez.com and new business cards in 6 months, but, at what point should we define ourselves? How do we define ourselves? And what is there in a name?

What’s the big deal?

A rose by any other name would taste just as sweet… – “Mrs.” Sheila Suarez “de Flores”

P.S. I need to go to Feminist-Anonymous and admit I like fluffy things and that’s okay.

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