I don’t expect you to understand.
I do not have any expectation that another living soul can comprehend how much I despised that name I was given at birth. I balled up a lot of hate, resentment and pain and pushed it into that name. I had tried renaming myself. It never stuck, but it was unreasonable to expect it to in a place where you’ve been a child. I played with several names, variations of the original – but no – the thing had to go. I had looked into changing it once I first hit the age of legal majority. I would have to retain an attorney to formally petition the court, run ads in all papers in a 200 mile (ish) radius in the classifieds declaring my intent, then make the petition. All of this was estimated to run approximately $2000. After all that, I would not be able to change my social security card or my Driver’s license. I’d have to carry around the order forever, and hope that people would abide by it. So- Translation?? I might as well flush $2000 down the toilet for all the good it would do.
So I lived with it.
I moved 2000 miles away and started going by by middle name, slightly tweaked. I did a little research and discovered that my first initial was all I needed to use as a placeholder, and my first and middle were the same letter – so I started signing everything with my initial only. My checks were printed as initial, middle (non-tweaked). I did as much as I could to strip that hated name from existence.
However, the damn thing would not go away. Worse than an annoying relative, the thing would show up every time something official had to occur. Health care, legal crap, education related, etc, that thing would have to pop up like a bad tooth ache. My current employer said their computer system could not accommodate nicknames. My badge is in my chosen name, but my time card is in the other, and every time they would call me, they were likely to forget and call me the old name. Every time they would tell a family I was coming, they’d give the wrong name. It caused confusion every time. One time, I was recovering from surgery and they were trying to rouse me from the anesthesia. Over and over they called the old name louder and louder. I wished that woman would hurry up and answer them so I could sleep. Finally my Dr. came in. He called the legal name, then my chosen name. I responded immediately to my chosen name. ‘Why didn’t you answer the nurse?’ ‘She never called me, just that other chic.’He proceeded to take out a Sharpie, cross out my given name, write my chosen name, and left the room. Absolute proof that I was no longer that given name anymore.
Recntly, I researched what it took to get a name change done…maybe the rules had changed since I looked last. Gone was the need to retain an attorney and the need for weeks of paying for classified ads or pleading your case to the judge. All you had to do was print a form, pay a fee, submit copies of the requested documents, and take it to the right department. The fee was low enough that I couldn’t have taken my family out to a nice dinner for that!
It took me a couple of months to build up my nerve….but I did it. It was approved and came through.