Changing My Name

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen the other day that I had asked the Twitterverse how difficult it was to change one’s name by deed poll (it turns out that it’s actually very easy, if logistically something of a pain in the arse).

I have been thinking about changing my surname for ages – at least two years.  During that time I’ve been fairly to absolutely sure of the new name that I would adopt, and I think I have thought through all the ramifications of the whole thing properly.

Despite what many people think, there is no official or central register of name changes in the UK.  Theoretically, you can simply write a letter yourself stating your intention to use a new name, though that tends not to work much in practice when you involve banks and passport agencies and the like.  The lack of such a register means that you have to inform everyone yourself – preferably using certified copies of your deed poll – of your new name.

This includes passport agencies, driving licensing authorities, the health service (and specific services therein that you use), banks, credit and ‘store’ cards, insurance companies, utility companies, pension companies – the list goes on.  That’s not even considering your personal contacts.  It’s a profound logistical hassle.

But, for me, it is worth it.  I have long since hated the fact that I have links to my father via my name, as of course the man was a detestable piece of shit.  This was exacerbated after the whole kerfuffle over V’s will; I don’t want to share the same name as my American relatives either, after them virtually glorifying my ‘father’ and then stealing my bloody money.  I want to sever connections with that whole side of the family absolutely and completely, and this gesture is a symbolic way of doing so.

Furthermore, my surname is a completely shit one.  So much so that it was the brunt of endless verbal pestering when I was at school, which wasn’t exactly fun (not that that was what made me so inherently miserable there, but the name-calling and teasing certainly didn’t help).

I haven’t discussed changing my name with with C, although I probably should.  Perhaps this can be touched upon briefly tomorrow.  I did discuss it in some detail with Margaret, the CBT therapist I saw in 2008, and she felt that if I was prepared to go through the hassle of informing everyone, that changing my name could bring some “closure” [hate that word] on the many mental health issues I have that are attributable (at least in part) to V.  To be honest, I think that’s a very simplistic way of looking at it – changing my name is not going to change what he did to me, nor to my mother.  However, it’s one thing I can do to publicly acknowledge that I want no part in his legacy.  A token gesture, some might say, but I think it’s an important one.

I determined towards the end of last year that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it in 2010.  So yesterday (as intimated last night on Twitter) I took a deep breath, filled in the online deed poll application, and – after dithering a bit – hit ‘submit’.

The lack of a central register means that my name is not changed at all until I sign and date the deed poll (which should be with me by early next week), and in practice it remains unchanged until I send the certified copies to the aforementioned agencies and they update their systems, my cards, etc.  But I’ve taken the first step – and as I said, it’s a big step, in my view, as I have lived with this name for over 26 years.

I’m really nervous about what I am doing, but it’s a new start in a kind of symbolic way, and to that end I’m terribly excited too.

So up yours, V, and up yours, V’s family, for contributing to my being completely batshit mad.  Shortly I will have no links with you whatsoever other than my mother and genetics, and I cannot wait.

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22 Responses to “Changing My Name”

  1. Congrats!! On the first and biggest step!!

  2. CongratulAtions to you my dear. The creativity of your mind never ceases to amaze us. Naming is such a powerful thing, right? We have all these names foisted on us all the time. Fat, skinny, gorgeous unattractive any minority memberships illness…..goes on and on forever. But the most elemental, the one thattakes enormous creativity and effort to change, the simple surname. Such grand kudos to you for your courage and insight. You are a remarkable individual!

    • You’re very kind, SO, thank you :-) You make a very good point in that with all the labels we have over us, we have the power to modify the most important one – I hadn’t thought of it quite like that.

      Thanks for commenting – really appreciate your kind words xxx

  3. I’ve thought about doing this too. It’s a huge step and I’m impressed you’ve done it. All power in your hands ;)

    • It does require careful consideration. Someone said to me when I first started thinking about it that if I was still seriously considering it a year later, that it would then seem fair to then proceed. Two years have passed, so…

      Anyway, thanks hun. Good luck if you ever decide to do it x

  4. I missed your original inquiry about this. I legally changed my name from my birth name to Sarah Elyse about 15 years ago. In the U.S. it just involves jumping through a lot of paperwork hoops, and then publishing it in a local paper several times.

    My birth name, Anita Carol, was (to me) tainted, while since earliest memory my Sarah part(s) were the most free, most expressive, most inner-beautiful essence of who I believe I really am. I did not discover till a year later why I (cluelessly) had insisted on the new middle name of Elyse. My Inside Sarah’s very well-hidden twin was named Charyse Noel. Reverse the name and you see … NoEL CharYSE = ELYSE. The twins were reunited, legally. (Cluelessness is no obstacle in DID/MPD!)

    And yes, it’s just a piece of paper proclaiming your new name, but my entirety felt as if a terrible burden had been lifted. As if I could start breathing again. The feelings about it are very real.

    I hope your change fulfills your need and desires to do so.

    Sarah

  5. Congratulations. If you ever did regret it, I don’t think legally there is any reason why you couldn’t reverse the process. Sometimes doing something like this sends out a clear message, and a strong message, both to those around you and to yourself. I guess it’s a little like declaring your independence.

    Lola x

    PS I contemplated changing my name to Lola Snow once, but then thought that could bring endless complications ;)

    • You mean to tell me you are not Lola Snow?!! ;-)

      Yes, apparently you can change your name back should you wish, so that option is certainly open. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head – it is like declaring your independence. I am saying to all that this is me, and I am not associating any longer with those who I do not wish to be associated. Yay!

      Take care xxx

  6. Big congratulations! Obviously it is a nuisance changing your name, but women change their name all the time (when they marry or divorce) so all the banks and official people must be used to it. I hope you feel more comfortable with your new name. Did you pick a random name that you liked, or something from your Mum’s side of the family or how did you choose?

    • Yeah, the UK Deed Poll Service (with whom I am doing this) say that if the banks et al don’t accept their deed poll, they will refund the cost of obtaining it. I know other people who’ve changed their name through these folk and it went smoothly, so it should be OK :-)

      The name is after one of an obscure but brilliant sci-fi author. It also is the name of a character in a TV series I really like, one of the most well-developed characters ever conceived. So it stood out as the obvious choice :-)

      Take care hun xxx

  7. Fantastic! Well done you on taking such a brave and important step ~ it really is a very self~affirming thing to do, especially with respect to identity in both a psychological and day~to~day sense.

    A rebirthing, if you will.

    So happy rebirthday!

    K xx

  8. Well done you! What a marvelous step. :)

  9. Yay to taking the first step. I’ve been considering changing my name for a while (first and last) but not really sure…

    I have a friend who changed his twice – long story short, but changed his name to separate himself from past, then decided on a religious conversion and wanted something “more fitting”.

    Actually in judaism it is quite common to change your name after a life threatening illness – something to do with fooling the angel of death… – interesting fact and one that friend of mine from volunteer place was using to encourage my name change (a number of people at volunteer place have changed theirs).

    Take care,
    Differently

    • I didn’t know that – thanks for the information! You’re in no rush I suppose – give yourself plenty of time to think about it, weight up all the pros and cons and if you’re still thinking about it in a year or two, then look into it. Good luck whatever you decide!

      Take care x

  10. This has nothing to do with your decision, and perhaps I shouldn’t share it in light of the seriousness of your decision, but I share it to inject a little levity into this very sombre situation. I apologize in advance if you find it in poor taste. Anyway, while i was in the very midst of my delusion, my friends (Bill and Melinda Gates) revealed to me that my real name was Pangea Mermaid. They encouraged me to change it. Unlike your situation where you pondered it for 2 years, within 2 weeks of this revelation I was determined to change my name. Before I could take action I was hospitalized. Now, of course, I’m thrilled that i never went through with it. But your case, I emphasize, is way different, as yours is a case of psychic healing whereas mine was not.

  11. I changed my name two years ago, as my Christmas present to myself. I kept my first name but changed my middle name and surname. It is a very powerful thing and yes, deeply symbolic.

    One of the side-effects that I hadn’t expected was that I now find it much easier to make phonecalls. It used to be a real problem and I hadn’t realised how much that was to do with having to say my old name.

    I hope you find it as positive and healing a step as I did – yes, the practicalities of getting everything official changed are a bit of a pain but it is definitely worth it!

  12. Wow this is something that I’ve thought about doing for similar reasons (and because getting married didnt change it “automatically” of course in my case).
    Please keep us informed – you are paving the way for a whole generation of name liberation!

  13. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bosca and Serial Insomniac, Serial Insomniac. Serial Insomniac said: New Blog Post: Changing My Name http://bit.ly/7xRfjH #borderline #bipolar [...]

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