Over the years, I tried out different names for myself. I started out of course with the name my parents gave me. At one point I changed up the spelling of it for fun. And now I go by Ryn. But names are more than just fun for me, they carry a lot of weight.
To me, a name is the biggest representation of yourself. It’s how you introduce yourself to others and it’s how they reference you or call for you. Your name is pretty much one of the most important parts about you.
When people get married, it’s common for them to share a name. This, to me, is a promise. It’s a shared bond. It’s literally saying, this name is now a part of both of us. Whether you take on the name of your partner, they take on yours, you hyphenated, or you take on a new name, you’re sharing a major part of your identity with that person now. And it’s simply beautiful to me
You may think then, that I’m against those couples who don’t share their names. Actually no. Not at all. Some people want their identity to stay the same and their bond isn’t shaken by that. These people stay who they are despite being in a relationship and that’s beautiful as well.
These sorts of name changes are common but no one really gives a thought about them. Until you want to change your name as an individual.
Most people never have the urge to change names or never even think about names at all. But I think about names all the time. As a writer, I’d say the bulk of my time writing is figuring out names. How do I want to represent this character? What connotation does this name have? What does this name mean to me? How does this name resonate in the story?
To want to change one’s name is extremely significant to me. It’s not abandonment of your past. Quite the contrary. Changing one’s name is starting over with yourself. It’s a promise to yourself to start over. Give yourself a clean place to start from. Whether you change around a few letters, adopt a nickname, or completely change it, you’re giving yourself the freedom to recreate yourself.
Clean slate or a complete awakening or rebirth. You are making a new way for yourself.
If anyone ever tells me that they are changing their name, this is what it means to me and I will treat it with the utmost importance. I will immediately start calling them by this new name – unless they ask me to hold off or refrain for whatever reasons. They will become a new person to me and the old left behind.
The new person will have to clean up any mess left behind by the old one, but under a new name there will be new light shed on those old ways. A new name is a promise to yourself to do better than before.
So if you ever change your name, or even want to try it out for a short while, do it in a way that attempts to be better than before. Forgive more people, clean up old messes, tie up loose ends. But more than anything, under this new name, be more honest with yourself and above all, love and respect yourself more.
I definitely will. Your new name is a promise to yourself and to anyone you share it with. Be it marriage or through introduction, you have something new. Wear it with pride and honor.
And to anyone who refuses to notice that this is what you are changing your name for, I hope they aren’t around for very much longer. I know what it’s like to have people refuse to see the new you. Give them time. They might still see it as abandonment. I don’t know. Maybe share this post with them. Maybe I can enlighten them a bit. And if you are someone who hasn’t adapted to someone else’s name change, consider everything I’ve said here. Maybe it’ll change your mind about things. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just try your best to understand their reasons and do better from now on.
Good luck and best wishes to all who read this. Names are important. What are you making of yours?