What is in a name? | Why changing my name meant so much to me

If you didn't already know, back in the summer I changed my surname.

It was a long time coming for numerous different reasons.


I shan't be getting into all of those reasons today, because ultimately, they aren't things I want to talk about on here. What I want to talk about is the overall impact changing my name has had on me, and how it has made me feel, and why, it actually meant so much to me, the fact I finally made the leap and changed it.

Without going into too much detail, I changed my surname from the one I was given at birth - my biological father's, to my mum's surname. I no longer have a relationship with my biological father, and though I was sad when I changed it, I am now at peace with the decision I made, and I know that it was the right one.

I was mainly sad back then because not only was my previous surname my biological father's surname, it was my grandparent's too of course, both of whom have now sadly passed. I lost them a few years ago and I guess keeping their name was a way of me having a part of them with me, no matter what. However, I soon came to realise that nothing would change the relationship I had with them, nor would it impact my ability to carry them with me, if I did go ahead and change it.

After toying with the idea for a while, I started to seriously think about what it would be like for me to change my name. After all, I had had my previous surname my whole life, throughout primary and secondary school, it was what everyone knew me as. I kind of felt as if a part of me would die, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that. I am often not a huge fan of huge change, and this did feel a tad overwhelming and a bit too daunting at times.

I started looking at the positives, and they basically came to outweigh the negatives. A lot of how I felt about a "part of me dying" was actually attractive. I have always wanted to move on from a lot of shit in my past, and this name change would give me that fresh start in a way, a clean slate to build from. I don't even mean this in regard to my family with that name, I am more referring to the horrid school experience I had, and how at school your name is such a crucial part of who you are and the impression people have of you. Where as by changing my name, I could escape all of those associations and kind of, well, let go! It felt freeing, and liberating.

Sadly life has been far from perfect since changing my name, so it's not like everything is plain sailing and I have had this crazy new existence, with my previous surname a distant memory and only happy times associated with my new name. Of course, that would have been more ideal, but that's never going to happen! Yet, one thing I have been able to do, is truly love and connect with my new surname, as every time I see it anywhere, I am reminded that I was raised by the strongest, most beautiful woman I know, and I am honoured to have a part of her with me now. My mum is my biggest inspiration, and I love that taking her name has inspired me even further, day in, day out. Apologises now to my future husband, I really doubt I'll want to change my name again. I love it now and unless your name is incredible, I ain't here for it. Not that I should be apologising, it's 2020 after all and we can do whatever we please ;)

The next steps were changing my name legally, which was a stressful experience in itself. SO. MUCH. PAPERWORK! It weighed me down for a wee while, and made me want to rip my hair out at times! But it was so worth it for how I felt afterwards. I have so much pride associated with my new name, and every time I think about it, I feel so loved because I know the person it's from truly loves me. I guess this is how people feel when they get married, but for me it's how I felt when I was brought closer to my mum <3

Like I mentioned earlier, there were times when I was sad, and when I even doubted what I was doing, and the decision I was making. It all felt a bit strange, and unfamiliar, and as someone who doesn't like huge change, it felt so far out of my comfort zone. But all in all, it just felt like the right thing to do. It felt like something I should have done a long, long time ago.

I don't hate my old surname. Of course, I squirm a bit whenever someone accidentally says it (which doesn't happen very often, if not ever, as most people in my life now didn't know me before or are close enough to me to fully grasp it and understand) but I don't resent the name or ever being called it. It has nice associations too, but I've learnt that actually, What Is In A Name? as Shakespeare once poetically put it. I've learnt both sides of it I guess, that whilst changing my name has been so significant for me, and has felt so transformational, it should have never have been something I was scared to loose. I'll always be able to carry the associations I want to carry with me, and forget about the ones I no longer care for.

Bye for now,
Tamzin xxx

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