I somehow keep forgetting to write about this/keep putting it off but my legal name change came through in the mail last month!
I have actually started and scrapped at least half a dozen posts about my name since I won the name battle against my old library job. I have been having weird feelings because, on the heels of that victory, I went back to a previous job, and didn’t tell anyone there about my new name. I just… never got around to it on the first day, or on the next one, and then after a while it got weirder and weirder and I kept putting it off.
Anyway, eventually, I just decided I would wait until I had the certificate in hand; this decision worked for me on a bunch of levels, because it motivated to get the name change application fixed up and sent in once and for all, and because getting the certificate in the mail was an event that would help me avoid “but why didn’t you tell us before now?/why is this suddenly important?” conversations.
And, true to my word, the day after I got the envelope, I stopped procrastinating on telling folks at my retail gig about the change. As soon as I got in to work the next morning, I popped into the office and let the admin folks know about the change. And then I went about letting my actual coworkers know as they turned (I’m always among the first to arrive in the morning).
I adopted a super positive, “hey guys, I’m so excited, you’ll never guess, my legal name change came through in the mail yesterday!” attitude to letting people know, and people generally picked up on the vibe that this was a happy/momentous/celebratory occasion for me. I also have a really pat answer that effectively satisfies anyone wanting to know why the heck would do this, without having to get into my gender etc (I have, since I was in high school, seriously wanted to change my given first name into my last name; I was given my paternal grandmother’s maiden name to carry it on, and I can better do that if it is my last name.)
People have generally been positive and supportive and curious about the actual process of the legal name change. I actually have a lot of things to say about specific kinds of reactions I’ve gotten, and the transition process that is still ongoing as people get used to the change, and as the news is still trickling through to people in other departments, or folks I work with less regularly, but I’m going to hold those for another post.
The whole process has gone just about as smoothly as I could have reasonably hoped (i.e. everyone didn’t just magically start perfectly calling me Kasey all the time, but everyone is trying). And yet.
The thing is, this process is so exhausting for me. I think that’s why I put it off for so long, honestly; because I am, without a doubt, an introvert. And when I got home from work the first day I started telling everyone about my name change, I crashed harder than I have in a very long time. Despite everyone being positive about it. Despite no problems whatsoever. Simply repeating the same, slightly fraught conversation so many times over the course of a day felt like a lot. In part because it is a strangely intimate sort of conversation, talking about your name and why you chose it. And in part just because it is an extra interaction on top of the ones I am accustomed to and can handle.
Since the first day, I have been pretty passive about making sure everyone knows – I know a bunch of people haven’t been told yet, and I’m inconsistent about correcting people when they call me by my birth name (in part simply because sometimes I don’t want to derail attention from the actual work-related concerns they’re dealing with, and in part because each time I need to evaluate whether I have the energy to have that conversation right now, and that in itself is a tiring mental check-in process), but the information is trickling through at its own pace anyway. I have had a few people come to me and apologize because someone just told them, and they wanted to make sure that the only reason they’d still been calling me by my birthname is they hadn’t known yet (because they are all lovely people, when I get right down to it).
But yeah. It’s not an easy thing for an introvert to do, this name changing game.