Why I Want to Change My Last Name

Something I've been thinking about for the past few months, maybe even years, has been my identity. Who am I? 

I've just recently returned from a study abroad program in France and it really opened up my mind to question who I always thought I was. I grew up in a one-sided Puerto Rican family. By one-sided, I mean that I only know my Mom's side. They are all the family I've ever known. My last name, my height and my heart problem are the only things my father gave me. Before going abroad, I found out that he died. This opened up a full set of questions I was too scared to ask before. I started digging and haven't stopped since.

One question that hit me the most was why I didn't have two last names like my other friends whose parents weren't married when they were born. The answer I got was that my mom didn't want to. But then I questioned why she wouldn't want me to have her name. Why can't something so permanent and simple pay homage to her? Why didn't she want me to have her last name? Was she trying to reject the traditions of our culture?

Wanting to change my last name has become a mission for me. I grew up wanting to know about my father, wanting to know why I belong to him. I wanted to get to know what it meant to have my current surname but now it's different. I know what it's like to be a byproduct of my mother and her family. I know what being part of this side of my family means and I want to pay homage to that. I want to feel like I belong to both sides. So soon I hope to hyphenate my name. I want to feel as though the two people who created me have come together to make me who I am.