Monday, March 15, 2010

I Went Out Of My Way To Marry Your Father

Seven plus years ago I changed my name.

Well, I got married and then I changed my name.

Courtney Jane Clark turned into Courtney Jane Kendrick.

I stood in lines, I filled out papers, I called my bank and my United Airlines Mileage Plus account. I presented a marriage certificate as proof, I made it all legal.

It was sort of sad, though. Not that I didn't want to change my name. I did. I just wanted it to be more momentous. I wanted to come home from milling around the Social Security office to a husband ready to toast to My Big Romantic Gesture. Or Sweeping Sacrifice. Or something. I worked all my life (up until that point) at molding a reputation for Courtney Clark, and now here I was willing to take on a new alias all for love. All for the love of Christopher Kendrick.

Courtney Kendrick

Or as my brother Topher sings it (to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn):
Courtney Clark Kendrick and I don't care.
Courtney Clark Kendrick and I don't care.
Courtney Clark Kendrick . . .

. . . you get the point.

I have found it somewhat tricky to re-establish myself with a married name. I never know if I should use my maiden name when re-connecting with former acquaintances. I sometimes wonder to myself if people like my friend's parents would know my married name. Or my aunts or uncles. Or my old Sunday School teacher. I don't know if it is common, but I think it can be confusing. For twenty five years I was Courtney Clark and suddenly I am Courtney Kendrick (and who cares?)

Tonight I went to the Mortal Fools production of The Glass Menagerie. And for some brave reason I decided to go alone. This was a new deal in the life of Courtney Kendrick--to actually do something solo out in public. Courtney Clark never understood how people could go to the movies alone, but tonight Courtney Kendrick came to a fine understanding. Being alone is quite refreshing. Especially in public.

Before the play began I headed to pick up my ticket at Will Call from one of the producers. When it comes to acting/theater/performing circles in Utah I never know if I should introduce myself as Courtney Clark, Sister of Christopher Clark, Director Extraordinaire or Courtney Kendrick, Wife of Christopher Kendrick, Veteran Actor of Film/Theater.

But when I arrived at the window, the producer already knew who I was--not Wife of, or Sister of but me, Courtney Kendrick.

And I can honestly say for the first time in nearly eight years I felt like my name was mine, not borrowed, not rented, not requiring a ". . . but I used to be . . .", not just legally altered. It was more than sharing a last name with the man I love, but being that name completely.

I had arrived at a point I didn't even know I was headed.

(Perhaps it was just a bit ironic--in light of this enlightening--I went to see a play about a mother's desperate approach to marry off her daughter for the express purpose of financial, social and emotional security.)

In the end, Courtney Kendrick talked it over with herself and thought the play was really excellent.

*as Chup and I actually eloped, this photo is actually of Halloween of the same year.
Photos of our actually wedding may or may not exist.