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I hate my name. I really hate my name.
Hear me out. What happens when you have a father who loves Star Wars more than anything else in the world. You get a name like mine, Chewy.
Yes, that is Chewy like Chewbacca the Wookie.
Growing up was difficult. Kids can be quite mean if your name sounds different. Teasing was commonplace. If I made a pound for the amount of times kids made the gurgling Chewbacca sound at me, I could buy a mansion next to the queen.
The worst part about having a name you hate is the fact that I didn't feel like it fit my identity. When I looked in the mirror and said my name out loud I didn't feel any connection. Still to this day whenever someone calls me by my birth name I feel a little pang of annoyance inside.
I also hate my name because I feel that it separates me from my parents. I always felt a little resentful towards my father for naming me Chewy. Even though my father is a great guy, I still felt a little bit of anger when he called me by my name.
Additionally, my name caused me to be separated from my heritage. Most of my relatives were named after my grandparents and great grandparents. This means I have a lot of cousins named Jack and Abigail. Of course with my cursed name I couldn't even share in my family's history.
All my life I heard stories of Grandpa Jack and his heroics in WW2. My cousins would always listen to these stories and I imagined they had pride being named after a great man. I could never connect to that part of my legacy because the albatross around my neck (or birth certificate in this instance).
I always assumed that I would have my hateful name for the rest of my life. However, a teacher in university mentioned that it would probably be smart to have a different name when I went for job interviews. I didn't even know it was possible to switch my name. I thought I was stuck with it for life. Thankfully, he told me I could switch my name via deed poll.
A deed poll is a legal document that allows you to change your name to any name that you wish.
Once I realized that I could change my name to anything I wanted I was a little overwhelmed by the options to choose from.
I had already resigned myself to having a name I hated for the rest of my life. Suddenly a whole new world of possibilities was opened for me. I could finally have a name that fit with my identity.
However, once I put some thought into what I wanted my new name to be the choice wasn't that hard. I am a huge history nerd (WW2 in particular) and Winston Churchill was always a character that I was fascinated by. The man was the essence of someone who does not give up no matter how many times he lost in life. I felt that I needed to incorporate some of that strength into my life.
So in October, I went through the name change process via deed poll. The process was incredibly quick and easy.
I cannot tell you how great it felt when I switched my official government documents from Chewy to Winston. I was officially a new man. The name that I always hated, the name that I could never identify with was now gone.
I didn't tell my parents or cousins about my name change right away. I waited until the family got together and informed them that chewy was no more. It’s funny, most of my relatives assumed I was fine with my old name. I guess they never knew how much I hated it. My father wasn't too happy (he still thinks Chewy is better than Winston) but I had finally found peace with my new name.
In summation, the one piece of advice I would have to anyone who is stuck with a name they hate, is to change it. You are in control of your own story. If you do not identify with your given birth name then choose a name that you do identify with.
The process is very quick and the joy of having a name that you like is well worth it.