I've taken the steps, after years of deliberation and nail-biting, to legally change my name. I don't mean "change my name" in the sense that brides in our culture mean it, wherein they assume their husband's last name so as to announce ownership or to establish a new family unit (which ever reason suits). No, I mean "change my name" in that I am changing it entirely. Well, not entirely. I'm kind of sandwiching parts of my given name between my chosen name.
As one could probably imagine, this change is stirring up a great deal of emotion. My reasons for doing it are manifold and some are deeply personal, others are entirely calculated. Despite the fact that I feel like this is the right decision for me, I can't help but explore all of the issues of identity that this change inevitably provokes.
The aspect of the transition that I fear the most is telling my family. In fact, I'm inclined to not tell my family at all. I keep everything a secret from them so one more secret won't be any more difficult to bear. I know that they will be hurt, that they will not understand, that this could potentially cause greater tension between us and I don't want to do that to them. However, it is because so much of my identity and my desire to change it stems from them that I have always fantasized about changing my name so any threat of disapproval isn't cause enough for me to divert my plans.
I am still working out how I'll let people know whom I have known for a long time. People in my life already think I'm crazy (or "eccentric," as they all so diplomatically put it) and this will certainly solidify those thoughts in their minds. But who cares? When I die, I certainly don't want to be on my death bed saying, "Thank the universe that I listened to all those closed up people in the world and did everything as normally as possible." No, I'm going to be thankful that I lived my life the way that I have, as truly to my own spirit as possible, uncompromisingly and with a defiant finger in the face of conformity. For me, the pain and struggle of trying to live a "normal" life is far greater than any inconvenience my own drummer has ever caused me. So there.