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21 Stories From People Who Changed Their Real Names (And Why)

As an adult, I’ve grown used to my name despite the fact that it’s pretty common and I knew way too many women that shared the same name. When I was growing up, I was literally known as “Amanda F” because there had to be 20 other girls in my class with the exact same name and we’d all get confused as to which one of us the teacher was talking to.

That’s why when I was a kid in the ‘90s, I would often go by “Mandi” (yes, I thought I was cool by spelling it with an i) and when I used to frequent local open mic poetry groups, I ignored my last name entirely and went by just my first name and my middle name, since the latter’s pretty unique.

I also had a field day back in the day when I was taking belly dance classes and started performing at haflas (student shows) because I could finally escape my boring, mundane name. I chose the name Isolde because I was obsessed with Celtic mythology and the legend of Tristan and Isolde was always my favorite.

When I became a more accomplished dancer years later and started teaching beginner’s classes, I decided to change my stage name away from Isolde and I chose the name Cleopatra Morgana because Cleopatra VII (AKA the most famous one) has been my idol since I was 12 years old and Morgana was my favorite Arthurian character from the legends.

While I have come to terms with my boring and utterly mundane name now that I’m an adult, some people, like the ones in the list below, haven’t had good experiences with their childhood names and made the choice to legally change their names the minute they could.

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21 Being Named After A Color Is Too Pretentious

Alex told Yes and Yes that her birth name was Brandy, and she always hated the name because not only is it a color, but it also sounded like it should belong to an overly-dramatic rich girl that is a bit too pretentious when it comes to others.

She felt that a gender-neutral name that had plenty of opportunities for a good nickname suited her better, and that’s why she changed it the minute she could legally get away with it.

20 The Name Sounds Like Someone Eating Cereal And Trying To Talk

According to Alter Net, a writer named Anneli made the decision to change her name because she absolutely loathed her birth name of Sharon because “it sounds like someone trying to pronounce a name while eating a bowl full of cereal.” Dang girl, tell us how you really feel!

Her current legal name sounds like it’s a mouthful to pronounce, but at least it’s more creative than Sharon and she can rest assured that she’s the only person with that moniker in her neck of the woods.

19 Saving Themselves The Hassle

One Redditor admits that they decided to change their name due to the fact that they felt it sounded “stupid” and was too much of a hassle.

They also note that since they hated their birth name so much, they often have to bite their tongue whenever they meet someone else who is called that. Apparently, the mere mention of the name sends them into a rage and they have to stop themselves from going on a tirade about how stupid it sounds.

18 They Battled With Terrible Dysphoria

Teen Vogue writes that a New Jersey resident named Hyacinth made the decision to legally change their name when they became 20 years old due to the terrible gender dysphoria they battled when they were growing up.

Even though it was a bit stressful and financially draining to change their name, Hyacinth felt that their new moniker better reflected their identity as an agender, nonbinary individual (something they realized when they were 16 years old) and the change helped their mental health too.

17 They Had A Bad Relationship With Their Dad

One Redditor reveals that the reason why they legally changed their name is because they didn’t get along with their father when they were growing up.

They admit that they really hated their father and they didn’t want to have that lasting association with him, since he wasn’t a very good person and it was a symbolic way of breaking the childhood chains that had previously bound them to their dysfunctional parent.

16 The Name Felt Like An Itchy Sweater

Possibility Change points out that a man who was previously named Adam decided to change it due to the fact that the name fit him the way an itchy, ill-fitting sweater bought by an ancient grandmother in the wrong size for their grandson does.

After mulling it over for a couple of years, Adam because Adrien felt like a “blank slate” and he finally felt as if he was free to author his own life, especially now that he was in his ‘30s.

15 Honoring One’s Family History

The Chicago Tribune writes that Saladin Allah made the decision to switch from his birth name of Christopher Frank in an attempt to honor his family history. He knew that on his father’s side, his ancestors were taken from Africa as slaves, but didn’t know much about his mother’s side of the family.

A DNA test revealed that he was related to members of the Tikar tribe in Cameroon, and after that, he made the decision to legally change his name. Since it was common for slave owners in the past to give their slaves their last name, Allah felt as if his birth name didn’t represent his familial heritage and wanted something that accurately reflected his connection to the past.

14 Time To Run From The Debt Collectors

According to the Chicago Tribune, Thomas admits that the sole reason why he changed his name from Gary to the one he has now is because he was trying to escape the obnoxious calls from the debt collectors.

Even though Thomas doesn’t owe any debt, his name is way too similar to one of his relatives. Since the debt collectors apparently can’t tell the difference between Thomas and his ne’er-do-well relative, he got sick of their constant calls and took the plunge to make the switch. At long last, his phone line is blessedly silent and free from calls from the debt collectors.

13 Bring Joy To Your Inner 11-Year-Old

Kara tells Teen Vogue that she knew she was a girl from the time she was 11 years old, but she had a very bad relationship with her father and attempted to deny her gender during her teenaged years.

Once she was an adult and had come to terms with her gender identity, Kara decided that it was time to make the change, since her birth name didn’t reflect who she really was. After the change was made, she admits that she was so relieved to finally have a name that made her inner 11-year-old incredibly happy.

12 Stand Firm In Your Identity

Teen Vogue writes that Skylar knew since high school that they were non-binary and their birth name didn’t reflect who they were. Once Skylar was 24 years old, it was time to take the leap and pick a name that allowed them to stand firm in their new identity.

Skylar tried asking their parents what they would’ve been named if they’d been born a member of the opposite sex, but they didn’t get a clear answer. So they picked their new name in 2015 and it took them a year and a half to get through the legal brou-ha-ha. Thankfully, by August 2017, it was all done and they were now legally Skylar.

11 Avoid Jerk-Faced Relatives Like The Plague

One female Redditor admits that she wanted to change her name because it’s the same as her mother’s and the two of them are estranged. She picked a name that was unusual and inspired by nature as a way to cut ties with her mom, who was a total jerk to her over the years.

Even though it was a hassle for her to change her name in the UK and she’s worried about how others will take it, it was a huge relief when she finally got the process started.

10 Too Many Wannabe Pink Power Rangers Out There

Another Redditor revealed that she absolutely hated having the very common, very boring name of Kimberly that her parents decided to spice up by spelling it with an “I” instead of a “Y.”

Since she was sick of having a dumb name that no one took seriously, she decided to become Katrina. Now, no one will mix her up with the first Pink Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and she’ll never have to share her name with 10 other ladies, either.

9 The Ghosts Of The Past Haunted Them

In an article for The Establishment, Alaina admits that she changed her name in order to heal from a traumatic event and put the ghosts of the past to rest. Her birth name was Lisa, but she was sexually assaulted during a party on campus when she was a freshman and developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

She decided that changing her name was the logical next step to working through her trauma, since one therapist named Rachel Kazez points out that this can be a powerful tool to help people reclaim their consent and agency.

8 Their Name Made Them Feel Sick

Teen Vogue writes that before Jessica says that before came out as a transgender woman, seeing mail addressed to her dead name used to make her feel sick to her stomach.

Once she legally changed her name to Jessica, she adds that getting mail no longer made her feel nauseous; instead it was validating to see her new name in bold print. The switch also made job hunting easier for her, since she didn’t have to awkwardly explain why her name on legal documents and on her resume didn’t match up.

7 Time To Take Out A Family Tradition

A poster on Reddit writes that they are in the process of changing their name, despite the fact that it is a family tradition to have a hyphenated first name. The Redditor says that they are planning on either dropping the first name or the hyphen, since they find spelling the whole thing out to be a huge pain in the neck.

The Redditor adds that after the divorce, they are also planning on switching their surname to their mother’s maiden name as well.

6 Too Many Bad Memories Of Childhood Bullies

Cosmopolitan writes that Ash decided to shorten her name because people kept mispronouncing her birth name of Aswini (which is pronounced “ush-win-knee) by calling her “Ash-weenie.”

Needless to say, all of the bad memories of people either butchering her name over the years alongside the childhood bullies that had a field day mispronouncing her name, Ash felt it was easier to go by the nickname she developed over the years to try and combat all of the folks that got tongue-tied when saying her name.

5 Name’s Way Too Boring For Their Taste

One Redditor says that they wanted to change their name because “Morgan” isn’t a traditionally feminine-sounding name (especially for someone that wants to be an author) and they were tired of being called by a moniker that, in their opinion, is very boring.

To add insult to injury, it’s a common name in their neck of the woods and they complained that there were four other girls and one boy in their high school class with the exact same name as her, which further added to her distaste.

4 It’s Difficult Being Know By Your Last Initial

Another Redditor says that she got sick and tired of seeing her birth name of Nicole being used for villains in pop culture. Plus, it was annoying when she was growing up and she was only known by her last initial, since there were at least 10 other girls in her class with the exact same name as her.

That’s why she decided to make the switch. She kept Nicole as a middle name, but chose a first name that used to be popular amongst members of her mother’s side of the family.

3 Even Rapunzel Would Change Her Name To Escape Her Wicked Stepmother

One poster on Reddit admits that they made the change three years ago because they grew up with parents that were totally narcissists and they weren’t very close with either of them as adults.

Despite the fact that it was a total hassle to get a new driver’s license, birth certificate, and a passport, they still feel it was well worth all of the time and money they spent in order to get a new name that better reflected who they really were.

2 Time To Find A Name That Fits

One Redditor says that when they were growing up, their birth name gave them a ton of grief and they slowly came to resent it because of all the trouble it caused them as a child.

They wanted to move away from their birth name due to all of the shenanigans that occurred when they were young and besides, it didn’t really fit who they were as a person now that they are an adult and are getting ready to graduate college.

1 Their Personality Doesn’t Jive With The Name Their Mother Chose

Another Redditor writes that they desperately wanted to change their name because they grew up with an abusive mother and she was the one that made the decision on her first name after they were born in an attempt to spite the poster’s father.

While the poster admits that they like the meaning of their birth name, they wanted to change it as a way to heal from the trauma of growing up in a dysfunctional family and to find a name that actually was more in line with their personality.

Sources: Reddit, Yes and Yes, Teen Vogue, Be Yourself, Alternet, Possibility Change, Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, The Establishment

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