If you had to switch your first name, what name would you choose and why?
It’s an interesting question to ask. Now that I think about it, I only know a couple of people who have changed their names (and I’m not including those who have gotten married). Everybody else just seems content with the name(s) that their parents have given them.
I remember when I was a little kid and I used to get teased for my name, and for about a week I wanted to change it. I wanted to be called Jacob. I don’t actually remember why I chose Jacob… I guess I just liked it at the time. But the reality was, it was too similar to what my real name is, so that didn’t last very long.
When I got to high-school, I really started to hate my surname. It was something that I got teased for. People made a nickname out of it which I really hated, and it’s the only name they’d call me. Usually, that’s the only word I’d hear before they shoved me into a wall of lockers, or just a wall, or punch me in the arm, or trip me over, or throw my notes across the classroom etc etc… that was almost always followed by “fucking fag!”.
Clearly, high-school was just peachy!!
I only really started to enjoy my first name after I had a bit of an emotional breakdown when I was 20. Something was revealed to me from a family member that really knocked the wind out of my sails. It literally was heart-breaking and soul-destroying all at once. Combine that with the white-hot murderous rage that immediately followed and I made a decision right then and there that I was done.
I was done with this person. I wanted nothing to do with them ever again. As far as I was concerned, they were now dead to me.
A week or so later, I went off to the office of Births, Deaths & Marriages and changed my name. I changed my surname and removed my middle name, and then as I walked out of there with my Change of Name Certificate, I remember feeling this weight being lifted off my shoulders (off my soul!), and could sense that this may have been, single-handedly, one of the best things I’ve ever done. I remember sitting on the tram on the way home. It was a beautiful day and the sun was beaming in through the window. It was so warm on my face.
I walked home and sat on my bed just staring at these documents almost with a sense of disbelief over what I’d just done.
There was no going back from this. No changing my mind. I’m a new person now, and I was going to make sure that I enjoyed this new version of me.
10 years later, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve never once felt any regret over my decision. I closed a chapter of my life and cut out a chunk of people from my life, and as harsh or as blunt as that may sound, I’d do it again if given the choice.