Alexandra's Notebook

By Any Other Name

In a recent post Pete Moore asks us, What’s In A Name, in which he talked about his struggles with his first name. Wondering if, at this stage in life, he could start (legally or otherwise) using his middle name. A name he’s always preferred because of the brutalisation of his given name, while growing up.

So many of us suffer due to our parent’s name choices.

I knew a fellow military colleague that suffered daily at work from an insensitive form of bullying by a handful of sad minded people. His name was Denis Petrie, a name he despised because these particular bullies always referred to him as Penis Detrie. Childishly transposing the capital letters of each name, and finding it funny. He always swore that, when he left the military, he was going to change his name.

After reading Pete’s post, I wondered if Denis ever did. I know that I was subject to similar bullying during my own military service due to my then name at the time. One I changed several years after I left the military, and not because of the bullying per se, more but because I fell out with my family.

My change of name was the ultimate form of protest.

And while it started as a protest, it also became apparent that I should have done it long ago, when I realised how liberating it was to chose not only my own name, and identity, but the fact it freed me from a set of mental chains I never knew were there.

People change their names for any number of reasons. From personal reasons, like Pete, where his given name has never felt his to begin with. To those getting married (for legal reasons) or divorced, to those transitioning to the people they were always meant to be.

Maybe society needs to change the way we are all named at birth. And that, on the age of majority (whatever that age might be), we should be allowed to chose our own names.

What say you, have you changed your name to reflect the person you feel you are?