New me

In the late 1980s I discovered my paternal grandfather had changed our surname prior to marrying, at the insistence of his future wife, she did not want the hypenated surname. It may also have been related to his being disinherited as he was marrying a catholic where he was I assume Church of England.

Upon learning of this I really wanted to restore our surname to its original, though it did eventually take me another four years before I did so legally. During those years I would use it unofficially and also considered whether I wanted to keep my first name, something I associated negatively with all the bullying I’d endured throughout school.

When in 1993 I formally changed my name I had wanted to change my name to Corin but I faced such opposition within the family just with changing the surname that I ended up retaining the first name but modifying middle names to feature what I wanted. The result never was what I wanted and having all those middle names I felt kind of embarrassed, I would avoid telling people about or how they came to be.

After my little brother took his life in April I couldn’t help but cast a lens over my life and examine what I too wasn’t happy with. For me it was obvious, for 24 years I had lived with those names as middle names that I had wanted to make my new name, it was time to seize the day, carpe diem. At the end of May I began using Corin as a preferred name, I had some interesting reactions:

  • Some friends expressed liking my original name but supported my change;
  • Many expressed liking the new name;
  • Some were curious to understand the name’s meaning – it is Celtic with Roman origins to their god Mars; it means Spear thrower;
  • I got asked by one person at work whether anything else was changing. This made me laugh so much, but I confirmed was solely a change of name, happy with gender and sexuality!

I submitted the paperwork to change name formally in August and a month later, or thereabouts, an email advised I had to send my old birth certificate and change of name certificate to them to be destroyed. I had a quiet chuckle here as mum had covered the birth certificate in contact film in the 80s, good luck shredder! I was forced to delay sending due to a holiday to Singapore in October, I knew I’d not get documentation and a passport quickly enough.

Finally, on my little brother’s birthday, the approved change of name came through and I am now officially Corin. I felt quite elated for about ten or so minutes, almost as though floating. I’ve since been arranging new identification and updating name with banks and government etc, this has been a lot quicker than I thought it might have been with 75% completed in 2 days.

I think I need a holiday!

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Time for a fresh brew, and name

For the longest time I can recall not liking my name, Bryan. My own spelling is the less common, most spell it with an “i”, thus colour me surprised should anyone spell it correctly. I think another reason I have a negative association with my birth name was all the years of bullying, it’s hard for me to separate the two. 

Ever since the upper high school in the late 1980s I had been thinking about my name and perhaps changing it. It was at this time I had discovered my grandfather had changed our family name at request of his wife to be. In the early 1990s I reversed that family name change, for me it actually meant something. At the time I considered changing my name too but chickened out doing so, I wasn’t ready. 

The loss of my brother recently has made me step back and think about things, my name being one of these. For years I have used my preferred name on forums, or if I didn’t want to give my real name to someone, this my decision to change this past weekend seemed natural. 

My decision to change made I changed my name on Facebook and made a post with one of those new colourful backgrounds. Generally most were supportive, while some expressed support but said they liked the old. 

Changing things at work was interesting, at present of course it’s just a ‘preferred name’ rather than by deed poll, but thankfully our systems support this kind of change. Having been at my employer so long I qualify for archival, I am quite well known by many people, thus adopting a new name may lead people to thinking I’ve left when I don’t come up in their searches. Or, as one staff member queried yesterday, asking whether the name change was all that was changing. Indeed the name is as far as this journey goes, but his asking made me laugh.

Suddenly I find myself the subject of curiosity in the office, and people tripping over the old name worried about getting it wrong. Some don’t yet know, so my supervisor is to send a tongue-in-cheek email shortly that tells people I’ve undergone a rebranding, I loved the suggestion. 

My journey begins anew. Hi! I’m Corin 🙂