Names are funny things they usually stay with us longer than anything else, yet people that dislike or even hate their names seldom do anything about it. I guess for many legally changing one’s name might seem like a slap in your parents face or the long line of history. Some may think it is difficult, expensive or just not something ‘normal’ people do.
The main reason I changed my name was due to the fact I was tormented by bullies from my first day of school until I moved into the secondary school years later, where I became the jester the new bullies of school seemed to like me. So my old tormentors were forced to find new prey. It wasn’t that I was weak, it was just a fact that I was out numbered. Being chased, punched, bundled and kicked on a regular basis does little for ones self esteem. I was very quiet when I was young and soon discovered that was not a good thing. Bullies tend not to pick on loners and strays. It would be fair to say I was not only picked on at school, but I was actually picked on everywhere I went; from Cubs, rugby practice to the boss at my dads work. Once out of the safety of my home, childhood was a painful experience. So I had no wish to drag around those memories for the rest of my life, for me changing my name helped me to disconnect from my past.
I know it sounds crazy but I never felt any connection to my birth name, It was an ugly shape and sound. My first name had no link to my ancestry or place in the world. My old first name would bring up images of Italy, I have nothing against the Italians but no one in my family was Italian or had ever been there. My name was normally used as a shorter version or replacement for something else. Every time I was asked for my name in an official capacity I would be told No, I need your real name. Then I would have to explain that it was my real name and sometimes prove it .
My surname didn’t have a lot going for it and most people spelt it wrong anyway.
I changed my name legally without any doubt, a decision I have never regretted. Would I recommend changing one’s name ? Yes very much so, For me changing my name was one of the most positive and self defining things I’ve ever done. I will point out you should be under no illusions what others will make of it, you will no doubt confuse, frustrate even anger friends and family. Years on some of my family still refuses to respect my wishes and call me by my new name, which after all this time kinda frustrates me. I have not mentioned my old name here, many of you reading this that know my art or photography will know it, I’m not really that bother if people find out my old name I’ve nothing to hide. For me my birth name is like an old address you remember it, but once you have moved you never use it again. When they ask what’s in a name, I would say for some people lot more than you would think .