I changed my name today. Quite literally. I went to the Department of Home Affairs and legally changed my first name. Why, you might ask? Well let me tell you.
My first name was a nausea inducing combination name. A mix of my mother and father’s names. The worst thing a parent could ever do to their child. I realised this very early in life and became the subject of mockery because of this name I had been so unfortunate to be given. I had a mostly horrid childhood, and beginning of adulthood for that matter, because of this name. I can honestly say that I hated my parents for many years because of it.
Why do I hate it so much? Well it was impossible for people to say or spell and I hated it so much that I even had to mispronounce it to make it sound better. Even my friends felt my pain and said that they would have felt exactly as I did if they were cursed with a name such as mine. While I completely understand that my parents gave me this name because they love me and they are a part of me, they failed to think of the consequences. They never thought of the many ways that my name could be mispronounced or even modified to become something horrible that will make their beloved daughter cry herself to sleep on countless nights. They didn’t think that because of the things people do to her because of her name, that she would hate herself and even want to die through almost her entire high school years, that she always wished she could have been lucky and got a “normal” name so that she wouldn’t have to cringe in embarrassment whenever her name is announced off a list, whether it be at class or at the doctor’s office. That she dreaded the moment her name would have to be said out loud every single time and wished she didn’t exist because of it. This might seem harsh but unfortunately this is, well was, my reality.
Since I finished university last week Friday, I decided it’s now or never because I needed to decide what name I want on my qualification that I will keep forever and I realised, I’d rather have anything but the name that caused me so much pain.
While I will not say what my old name was (if you don’t know then you don’t have to know – most of my closest friends don’t even know my real name), I will, of course, tell you what it is now. Since for almost a decade people have thought that Joss was short for Josslyn, well, now it finally is. And I couldn’t be happier.