Even though it’s constantly mispronounced, every time I see or hear my name it makes me happy. It’s my own name, one I’ve chosen and claimed.
It’s not the name I was born with. The first name is similar and I kept my birth surname as a second middle name (in a futile attempt to appease my parents). My birth name felt girly to me and wasn’t something I identified with. And my birth surname was something I was teased with as a kid (that and a dozen other things.)
There’s been disadvantages to changing it. It was expensive – about $700 for the various court and paperwork fees, plus missing two days of work (but that job sucked anyway). And my old last name was at the end of the alphabet (which was one reason I changed it – I was tired of being at the end of the list). But being at the end meant it was easier to find on a list. And the last time I got called to jury duty, my new name meant I got called into a court room faster (lawyers: never ever pick me for jury duty. It’s a terrible idea.)
It took about a year to get all my bills changed. There are a few things I’ve never bothered to change. I have to put down my old name for background checks when I get hired.
I changed my name because I didn’t like my old one. It didn’t fit me. But I didn’t have any real trauma associated with it, so it’s not painful to deal with references to my old name (except people refusing to use it or giving me shit about it…)
I love my name. It’s my own name. And it makes me happy.