Her Guide To Life

An Unofficial Guide to Staying Sane(ish) in your 20s

Monday, 1 May 2017

BEDIM 1: Hello, my name is (not) Hannah Billie Perry.

Leena Norms made a really good video on names and identity recently. The gist of it is that Leena's actual name is Kathleen, and that when she got older she renamed herself Leena because she didn't identify with or see herself in that name. Considering Kathleen is Queen J.K. Rowling's middle name, I think that it's a great name, but it didn't work for her and now she is Leena.

Anyway, this video resonated with me a lot, because yep, you guessed it, my name isn't Hannah Billie Perry. It's Hannah - Perry, with a middle name that, despite not actually being awful in the slightest, I've absolutely hated since I could remember. Out of that hatred, around the age of 15, Hannah Billie Perry was born. In the interest of full disclosure, the middle name 'Billie' came from an obsession with Billie Piper as a child that started with the pop song 'Day and Night' and came to a head in 2005 when she played Rose Tyler in Doctor Who. What. A. Role.

There are a LOT of Hannah Perry's in the world. Or at least it seems that way. In middle school I once did a string orchestra showcase (unfortunately named  'The Fiddle Fiesta') where the conductor's name... was also Hannah Perry. And I did NOT go to a big school. And it's not that having a common name annoyed me in itself but that I didn't feel particularly attached to it.

As we get older we discover more and more ways to help shape our identity, whether that's through the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, the industry we go into or even what we decide to stick on TV at the end of a long day. Changing your name might be seen as a bit more extreme but I think in some cases it can really help to help you get a clear idea of who you are, or more importantly, who you WANT to be. It's a weird thing that such an important part of who you are and how you are going to called and referred to for the REST OF YOUR LIFE... isn't your decision,

Cheers for the name, Bil
I just read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and the main character has a lot of thoughts about names. Her name in the book as we meet her is 'Offred', and her real name is never revealed. As a Handmaid (a woman who acts as a surrogate for rich, infertile couples), she loses her name, and instead takes the name of her Commander (the male in the marriage), prefixed by 'Of'.  In this instance, his name is Fred. She yearns for a time where people used her real name, and feels faceless and anonymous when this is removed from her.

Related image
Photo credit: Linkedin
Shakespeare once wrote (oh, come on guys, you knew this bit was coming): 'What's in a name?' For me, it's something that I chose to change because like Leena, my name before that just wasn't working for me. It didn't make me happy, or make me feel good. So I changed it. And I like that decision. I'm fascinated by names and nomenclature, I loved finding out all of the Latin roots of the creatures in Harry Potter, and Hannah Billie Perry looks right to me on the page.

What does your name mean to you? Do you have a name you don't like? Have you renamed yourself? Let me know!

Feature image © Her Guide To Life



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