I have heard about body dysmorphia and, more commonly discussed lately, people who feel they were born with the wrong gender. But I have never felt I had the right name, or at least not that I can remember. It never felt comfortable on my tongue. I never liked introducing myself. I have learned to respond to it, but it has never seemed to be me.
So why haven't I changed it? I could never think of any name I felt more attached to, that I would like more. Even my SCA name, as much as I like it, is a specific person, it is not the everyday me.
More recently I have been thinking about my writing, and more specifically, submitting some of my poetry. I googled my name, and there is apparently some well known math person who has it. I had considered using a last name that is rumored to have been the name that should have been my name (long story), but I was still stuck with the Paula part.
Paula is meek. If I looked different, Paula could be a bit exotic. Paula is too classy for the room, unlike me.
Paula is anxious and insecure. Paula is a victim.
The past decade or so there has been this second dynamic happening. People who were my elders, who knew me as a child, have been disappearing into the next great adventure. And somehow in the process, I started thinking about how my mom used to call me PK. No one else ever did. This is what she called me when things were going well, when she was happy and relaxed. This is what she called me when she was pleased with me.
And I googled PK with my last name, and nothing came up. It is unique.
So now I'm in a process of figuring out how to go by PK. Most people call me mom, Grandma, Sadb, or Mama Sadb. People at work call me Paula; it is right there on my badge. I haven't talked to anyone else in person since I let this be known and changed it on Facebook.
But thinking about it makes me happy. PK is more confident. She has less anxiety, is a little less concerned about precise times and numbers. She is me, but just a little better. PK deserves to be loved. I don't know why this name would make such a difference, but it does.
I think I do not know all the differences yet, but I think PK doesn't really care to eat much meat, likes her rock music a little harder, and is more easily bored with TV. I mean, this is still creative, spiritual, funny/quirky me, but a little more fiesty.
It is a scarey thing, at anytime in life, to decide to go public with some kind of identity change, just because it makes you happy. I wonder what else I will get bolder about going after. This could be interesting, I hope that I am brave enough to stay on the ride.