I’ve been ready to change my name since I was four years old. Once I was strong enough to move my furniture around my room, I used to hide behind my dresser and write my chosen name in crayon on the back of my dresser. I would write Timmy or Sylvester over and over. I named multiple stuffed animals Tim, Timmy, Timothy, Sly, and Sylvester. I also considered the name Simon at one point. While I was out riding my bike, I would call myself Timmy or Sly in my head. In fact, my brother would call me Timmy and Bro when we were out riding together. He never questioned it or thought it was strange.
When I was older and we were moving, my parents moved my dresser and saw my crayon names. They asked me who wrote those and I shrugged and told them I didn’t know. They asked why I did that and I told them I didn’t. I know they never believed me. But I never knew how to say “I hate my name and it doesn’t fit the boy that I am inside. I need a better name that fits me and I really like Tim and Sylvester.” Those words would’ve fallen on deaf ears anyway. They spent a ton of time trying to make me what they felt I was supposed to be.
I’m moving into a place recently where I don’t care what they think about me changing my name. It does not fit. It never fit. It sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me every single time I hear someone call my name. It has for as long as I can remember. I once asked other people if they hated their names this much and no one really does. As I have said before, my parents intentionally chose a name that did not lend itself to shorter nicknames, leaving me no option but this name. Over the years, people have offered other options that do shorten it, but those are still too close for me.
Today I read an article about a local woman who changed her name from this name. I feel inspired to change my name now. The second part would be sending my new name and some paperwork to NY state to change my gender marker. Based on the 7 months it took me to get a copy of my birth certificate, which just required looking for it, making a copy, and stamping the copy, I am sure this will take closer to a year. So it makes sense to make the name change now and start working through changing my name on ALL things while waiting for the gender marker change. NY is one of the few states that allows an X gender designation, but that doesn’t feel right to me. Plus, I want to travel overseas eventually and having a non-binary id might be dangerous.
The thought that keeps coming into my head is that I can change my name, change my gender on my id and in paperwork, and not really have to tell anyone that might be upset that my gender is changed. But that would be selling myself out. I know this. I can’t do that for everyone else’s comfort. I know who I am on the inside and it’s taken me forever to find my back to the real me. I don’t want to dilute that person again. I don’t want to pretend to be who everyone needs me to be for their own comfort. That’s no way to live my life. And right now, today, all of this feels so manageable. Not so scary for once. I didn’t ask to be born like this and I tried really hard to be what everyone told me I was supposed to be. But I can’t do that anymore and actually stay alive. It will kill me inside to live a life that I despise. To continue answering to a name that feels like nails on a chalkboard is no way to live. I can make these changes…and soon.
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