What’s in a Name?

The origin story of Furleigh
-Kristen Furleigh

Growing up I didn’t give much thought to names. I had a name that I was given at birth that I just knew to be mine. For me it became a part of who I am. When I got to my teens I was finally truly aware of the reality for most women when they get married; their name changes. You become Mrs. name of husband. Why?

I’m sure that somewhere along the way I found out that not all women change their name when they get married but I am not sure when this exact moment was. I do remember asking my parents about their name change. My mom, like most women, took my dad’s last name. However I was shocked to find out my dad had actually wanted to take my mom’s last name but she wanted to take his and they ended up going the more traditional route. This got my wheels turning.

It was decided not long after, “When I get married I’m keeping my last name!”  And that was that, I thought. Come to find out my declaration was wrong yet in a way that I would have never imagined. When I did end up getting married we did something that no one we had ever met had done. We got creative and created a brand new last name! I know we aren’t the first in the world, but it was a pretty radical idea in conservative Texas where we grew up.

When it came time to make some marriage decisions Richard was completely OK with me keeping my last name and him keeping his, but something just didn’t sit right with me about having different last names even though for the longest time that is what I had wanted. So my wheels started spinning once again. At one point I ended up experimenting with different ways to smush together our last names that didn’t require hyphenating. I’m sure there was inspiration from somewhere that I just can’t recall. The idea simply fascinated me. Creating a new last name by blending together our old ones made sense to me. It is part his, part mine, and wholly ours. We are creating this new family where one is no more important than the other. Where two come together; not one to the other. It just made sense. It just fit. The hard part came next.

Convincing the other half to get on board with the name change. It took some time and soul searching and he finally came around to the idea. Change is no easy thing to do, so to make a decision that was something you had never thought of, much less seen done, can be unnerving at first. Over time he too found the significance in Furin + Burleigh = Furleigh!

In art, I believe strongly in the idea that we are not original. We get inspired by something or someone else and end up co-creating and modifying what we know to produce our creative works. In life and business we have got to be open to the influence of others to better serve them and ourselves. This idea of co-creation is extremely important. For Richard and I, our name, for us, is a symbol of that. It took thinking a bit differently about names and some influence, for me from my parents, to think that just because it’s been done a certain way for so long doesn’t mean that I have to do it that way too. If something doesn’t mean the same thing to you as those before you then that is your key to start your wheels turning as well!

What is your creative alternative to tradition and what does it mean to you? We would love to hear your story. Share it with us below! Have any questions for us, ASK! Thanks for reading. Til next time Pengminions.


7 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Love this! Your origin story is different from ours – ours started out of convenience, we had to name our Wifi network *something* so that’s where we started trying combo names. Eventually we used it enough that when it came time to get married it was a logical choice to consider. We still haven’t made it official yet, we started the process but put it on pause due to a few (one international) trips coming up soon. I love this line in your post the most: “We are creating this new family where one is no more important than the other.” that’s how marriage should be, and I love that combo last names can be a representation of that ❤

    • That’s too cute. I love that. We started using it for our animals early on. I think it’s what helped convince him 😉
      We took an international trip too that made us put it off for a bit too.
      I’m glad you do; I completely agree!

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  4. I’ve always disliked the tradition for women to change their last names, but it also seems wrong not to take the husband’s last name either. This is an awesome innovative solution! Really inspiring and what I hope my marriage is like someday!

    • I am sure it will be just as grand an adventure. I’m glad that we could share with you our alternative and hope you find someone open to trying something that works for both of you!

  5. Pingback: Why Kristen and I Almost Didn’t Get Married (For a Good Reason) | Finding Furleigh

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