So what’s really is in a name? Is your name important to you? Does your name define you? Or is it just a name your parents liked at the time of your birth?
When i have asked people over the years if they like their given names, i’ve mostly got the response « yes, it’s my name, it’s ok ». A few responded « yes, i love my name » and quite a few hated their names, and wished they could change it to something else, but they don’t because it’s a whole long process… Also most people will think that it’s silly that you changed your name, and won’t bother trying to call you by your new one.
So the next best thing is to get married and at least change your surname to your husband’s or wife’s. As a big plus you can finally change the juvenile signature you chose when you were old enough to sign on your own passport to something that looks like it was done by the mature, responsible adult you have become.
I recently met a woman who officially changed her surname, and her boyfriend officially changed his surname to the same one. This way no one had to take anyone’s surname when they got married and together they created something new and fresh that only they have. At first i admit i thought is was silly, manly because the surname they chose sounded funny. But after thinking about it, i think it’s romantic and sweet. She also told me that they hadn’t shared the news with his Greek family yet, i wonder how that will go…
So i was given the name Hilda at birth, it was my father’s idea. He wanted to name me after my grandmother Ilda, with whom he had a wonderful relationship. They added the ‘H’ because they thought is made the name sound more English so it would be easier for South Africans to say. My mother, bless her, wanted to name me Bernadette, thank goodness that didn’t happen! I really dislike that name, even more than Hilda.
Yes, i hate my name, i’ve always hated my name! It’s means war maiden. It’s harsh, ugly to look, horrid to hear! The gay community in Cape Town have silly slang words for different things and they’ve chosen ‘Hilda’ to replace the word for ugly! I’ve never felt like my name was really mine, i’ve never enjoyed telling people what my name is. I’m 38, and it’s never got easier.
A couple months ago i had an epiphany in the bath (the place where most of my good ideas reveal themselves). I decided that i had dragged my name and that ugly ‘H’ around with me long enough, and as i am in my middle life and big changes are happening this is the perfect time to make a name change.
In France, people are unable to pronounce the ‘H’ in Hilda. So they call me Ilda. I stop bothering years ago to introduce myself as Hilda and instead i just say Ilda. So in essence i have been Ilda for 8.5 years now. Only I have now just accepted it as my real name. I now write my name as Ilda everywhere!
Ilda means heroine, I like that, i spent half of my life as a war maiden and i would much rather spend the next half of my life as a heroine. I’m tired of being in conflict with myself and others, and i don’t want to be that angry person anymore. This just feels right, i love the name Ilda and I loved my grandmother very much. We had a special bond, i miss her dearly. She was a gentle, brave and incredibly loving woman. I am proud to have her name!
So i have changed my name on all social media, my email, basically my online life. It is way too my bother and expense to change it for official purposes. But i hope that my family and friends will all respect and understand my decision and call me by ILDA.
I feel new and ready for more changes and growth, 2019 will be a great year all around! And i’m still that magical 38!
My beautiful grandmother Ilda!