Opinions Needed; Name Changer's Remorse

Dear Wizards,

I would love to hear your opinions on this, both from a name enthusiast's perspective and from a general human being perspective. The name my parents gave me at birth was Emily Rose. I was born very premature so they only picked Emily because they thought it was pretty. (Rose is after my grandmother). So I legally changed my name to Beatrix Rose Lyra. I had been very focused on the perceived "style" of the name; I wanted a name with British, classic flair. I chose Lyra because I became a better person after I read the His Dark Materials series. (I'm an English major - literature is very important to me.) Everyone at my college knows me as Beatrix, or Bea. 

 

But. 

 

I have experienced deep regret multiple times at the fact that Beatrix does not have that much meaning to me. Yes, it is pretty and sounds British-y and strong, but it isn't in any works of literature that I adore, and my family has had a hard time adjusting to it. I respond when called it, but it does not feel like ME. Now I am seriously considering changing it, and this time my name list is quite short;

Rose (Pretty, classic, and would be an easy transition as I would tell people I want to go by my middle)

Lyra (I really admire Lyra Silvertongue, the main character in His Dark Materials, and the mythological/musical connections)

Gemma (my parents called me EmmyGem a lot when I was younger. This is the main reason I'm considering this name)

So. I would like your opinions on these names, and on how well you imagine them aging. I would just tell people I'm going by my middle name in the cases of Lyra and Rose, and with Gemma...I'd just say I'm changing it. I would really appreciate any and all comments!

 

Thank you!

Replies

1
April 16, 2014 12:10 AM

Hm.  I think I'd personally go with either Rose or Gemma -- Rose for the ease, and both names because I feel like they might be easier for your family to transition to than Beatrix or Lyra.  Gemma, to me, is one of the most British of British names (in that I have literally only ever encountered it on Englishwomen, unlike any number of names that are used widely by English-speaking people), so it has that going for it, too. 

Lyra is a lovely name, and Lyra the character is obviously very important to you, and that would be as easy as Rose on your end. If your family having a rough time with transitioning to a new name is a concern -- and it sounds like it is -- I think this one would be the hardest for them; it is the most unusual and the one without a connection *for them* to your original name. 

2
April 19, 2014 10:38 PM

Rose seems like the easiest change, so I'd put that at the top of the list. Do any of these names feel more like you in your heart of hearts, or is this more of an intellectual exercise? You could try the coin toss test--pick Rose for heads, Lyra for tails and flip a coin. Do you have a moment of panic when the coin is about to land because you know one will be rejected? That kind of gut check can be very illustrative. If you don't, try adding Gemma to the mix and see what happens. Good luck and keep us posted!

3
May 30, 2014 3:21 PM

As a name enthusiast myself, I think sometimes we put too much importance on names. Your self esteem and personal relationships define how you feel about yourself and your name. I would work on really defining what a name means to you and going from there. I have never loved my name, Jennifer, but it is what everyone who loves me knows me as. So I love it for that reason. There are so many names I love MORE than Jennifer, but none I would go by myself. It would never feel like home.  

Of course your family has a hard time adjusting to calling you Beatrix instead of Emily. I can't even imagine how I would adjust if my husband or sister told me to suddenly start calling them something completely different than the name I used for so many years. Names are part of the first impression... when your parents held you as a baby and said Emily Rose, they locked it in their memory. You can't just become Beatrix with them. The whole concept is really bizaare if you remove yourself from it and think about it. Even if they are hypothetically calling you Bea to your face, they are still referring to you as Emily in their minds or when you are not around... and probably with a big eye roll. 

I would legally change your name back to Emily Rose and go by Rose. Rose is a beautiful name with so much symbolism. It also connects you with your grandmother. I'm sure your family will feel much less awkward referring to you as Rose instead of Beatrix. Or if you just totally can't stand being Emily for whatever reason, you should figure out why that is. After changing your first name to anything other than what is on your birth certificate, it is always a bit of a headache paperwork wise. That is why I would go back to Emily Rose instead of staying your current name.

One day you will spend 9 months crafting the perfect meaninful name for your child... and 9/10 times at some point in their life they are going to hate it. That is just the way it works! 

 

4
June 5, 2014 5:35 PM

Re; her birth certificate - In many states when you legally change your name (for reasons not related to a marriage of course) your birth certificate gets (or can be) amended (or a note attached) - a fact not well-known outside the adoption and transgender communities. (I don't know if the OP amended hers or not, but when people talk about the hassle of your birth certificate and other IDs not matching they need to bear that in mind.)