We come into this world transient things on a time limit, born in on wings of promise and hope, but with so little life to be had and so many things to accomplish. It seems weird to me, then, that the names we bear, those little icons of our inherent humanity, are chosen before the givers of those names even have an inkling of who we are, or who we will turn out to be. Think of yourself in that position, if you haven’t already been there before. You are an expecting parent, mother or father, and your child has yet to be born, but you must in your “infinite wisdom” give them a moniker they will be effectively stuck with the rest of there lives. You must define them, in most cases with little more than a grainy sonogram pointing out their genitalia. It seems to me that a person in that position has better odds of pulling a name out of a hat that will be a fitting one than picking one on the basis of the information they are given.
Names have power, the names we are given define is I subtle ways, define how people think about us in terms of gender and identity, and define how we think of ourselves in those terms and many more. Given the choice, and with zero repercussions, would you chose to alter you name from that which was chosen nearly at random? For me that answer was simple, a resounding YES.
Our society puts so much pressure on the naming of children, so much to the point of if a child isn’t given one of the current socially accepted names they become nearly a pariah among their peers. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the naming of a person fell on the person themselves? Who knows better about who you are than YOU. Who better suited to give yourself a name than YOU.
Our parentage is another matter entirely, our last names show where we came from, while inversely our first and middle names show where we are going, or are meant to. But what if you wish to cut yourself off from your past? Many people do, its not entirely uncommon. And in that same vein, what if you wish to redefine where you are going? To take the reigns of your life and redirect your course in some dramatic and well thought out manner? Is it really so capricious to want to alter the once thought to be set in stone series of concept and letters that are our names?
Think of cases of trans children, whose entire identity hast to be altered on the basis of gender in flux, or those who wish to cut themselves off from painful or abusive relatives, or even those who just wish to have a name that is more in line with who they are are less in line with the thoughts and whims and expectations of parents with no idea who they were birthing? A THOUSAND reasons to change those tiny letters that spell out who we are, and very little to give credence to the current name giving paradigm. If I could without much recourse I’d change my name to one better suited to me, for both purposes, to cut myself off from my history, and to redefine where I am going, and I doubt I’m the only one.