What’s in a name?

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is the oft quoted Shakespeare line (slightly modified for common use) in terms of the relevance of a name. This topic is weighing heavily on my mind at the moment because I’m thinking of changing my own name. You see, the surname I currently have belongs to my dad; my mum and my stepdad have a different name. I think I want to switch to theirs.

The politics of a move such as a child’s name change are tricky. I don’t want to offend anybody but I also am now old enough to make a decision like this by myself. I know that I want to take the same name as my mum and I plan to do so as long as I can get all the paperwork in check before it is time to apply for my visa. If it can’t be done before then I’ll just stick with my birth name.

It is rather odd because women are often the ones whose name changes. It is standard form to take your husband’s name after marriage (although many people find this rather anti-feminist, frankly I don’t care one way or another) so a woman changing her name should really be no big deal. However, I feel that it may cause me some familial problems when (and if) I break the news. Why do people place such importance on a name? Is it an ownership thing? Pride? I’m not too sure.

One of the most famous name changes in history, Norma Jeane to Marilyn

I am wondering how it will be to be known by another name. I’ve lived with my current name for 18 years so far and it has served me well. However, soon I will be known as something different. It is a bizarre thought but something that people go through every day. Famous people often assume a stage name and people don’t know them as anything other than that. I wonder how long it takes of people calling you your new name for it to stop being weird?

I think I myself am placing too much importance on this. I just felt the need to get my thoughts down on paper, so to speak, before I do it. However, as I said in a previous post, 2016 is a year of change and a year of departure. You must keep moving forward and keep getting better or you will become stagnant. Perhaps the Japanese term Kaizen applies, although to an individual rather than a workplace. All I know is that it didn’t take long for Norma Jeane Dougherty to become Marilyn Monroe – my name change is nowhere near as drastic. Physically I am still the same, mentally I am still the same, only my signature is different. It should be easy to adapt, right?

Eve Gardiner is the founder and content creator behind evegardiner.com

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