In the last 3 years, many of my enlightened friends have changed their name. Often prompted by divorce, sometimes prompted for an unshakable urge for a fresh new start. In my case, it was prompted by a spiritual transcendence that will not settle for anything less than perfect alignment and harmony between past, present and future identities.
There's something magically empowering about choosing your own name, your own identity, free of social norms, free cultural conditioning and free of what others may think
It's thanks to my tribe...
Thanks to the support of my soul family (MEGA shout out to Nathallee and Christina for your insights and guidance), I have chosen a new name that I LOVE. The old me would have written an epically long post to defend and justify my choice, in hopes of seeking your approval.
The new me doesn't give a rat's ass. Just so you're prepared, between the old self and the new self, there was a lot of pain, a lot of suffering, a lot of doubt, and a lot of fear. It was the hardest and most worthwhile leap of faith!
So I'm writing this for YOU!
So I'm writing this for 3 purposes:
- To support you if you've been thinking about changing you name, but are on the fence about it
- To satiate the curious minds, because people are naturally curious! They want to cozy up by the fireplace with you and hear your story of why you did what you did, and
- To acknowledge and thank my ancestors for ushering me this far, knowing that what got you here, won't get you there.
Reason 1. To Activate the Power of Choice
Since the first day of kindergarten, I never felt like Tina Chen. I've wanted to change it since I was 8 years old. I knew it in my bones.
I actually tried when I was 20... thinking that if I married the first boy I dated, then I'd full and legal permission to change my last name. And while I was at this magical name change palace that my imagination conjured up, I'd change my first name too. Thank God, I did not proceed!
It took 13 years of on-and-off counselling to finally accept the baggage that came with that name. Had I known I had the power of choice within me to change my name and my identity, I would have done it eons ago.
But when you're a kid and your environment isn't supportive or championing, you surrender all your power and no one ever tells you to claim it back.
So. I claimed it back.
My darling, don't silently suffer for 13 years and shell out tens of thousands of dollars in counselling and therapy to give yourself that permission. You already have it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, some people will not understand. They will criticize.
They will attempt to strip you down to their size. They don't soulfully love you. They are not worth keeping in your life. It's gonna suck to let them go. it's gonna hurt to let them go. And once the suckiness and hurt has dissipated, you will rise like a Phoenix and be in awe of yourself. Complete and utter awe.
Reason 2. To Be Set Free of Trauma
I was a very, very sensitive child and that made me THE easiest target for ALL bullies. My full legal name Tina Yung Yu Chen was massacred day in, day out, by "monkey face boy" until the whole school chanted it as a Chinese opera song to taunt me. This lasted for years.
And yet, I never resorted to calling him "monkey face" to his face even though he looked just like one, the ears, the nose, the eyes, the posture. Even at 8, I took the high road. Yay me!
In retrospect, the poor kid was probably abused or neglected at home so he offloaded that pain onto others. I used to see this as a trivial and normal rite of passage. There NOTHING normal about bullying.
My energy healer identified tell-tale signs of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in my body from many incidents, this one included. It made it even clearer the pressing need and value of changing my name, of plucking those traumatic weeds out of my psyche.
My darling, gifting yourself with the greatest gift of all: complete and utter freedom. The freedom to chose, the freedom to be set free, and the freedom to be Me!
Reason 3. To Be Whole Again
As I dove deeper into name searching, I came to see that Tina was always a short form of another name, like Christina or Constantina. Whenever I introduced myself as Tina, 95% of the time, I'm asked "Is that short for something?"
When this becomes the story of my life, my inner child couldn't help but feel like a half-assed diminutive of someone else. And add my inner teenager to the mix, woah, how I really felt inadequate, broken, not whole.
It wasn't fair that I had to change diapers at 6, do family chores at 8, pack the kids lunches at 12, do the family taxes at 14 and be the soccer mom at 19 because mom doesn't drive and dad was away on business. I wanted to shed that person last century!
My darling, the only two things worth striving for in this lifetime are: freedom and wholeness. The rest will not matter a single bit when you're dying (or dead).
Reason 4. To Stop Crying from Hysteria
I was chatting with one of my tribemates and trying to explain what my chinese name 郁 (Yu) meant to a friend. My parents always told me it meant "rich" like how a coffee is rich. Of substance. Yeah? Well, here's what Google Translate had to say about 郁 (Yu):
Translations of 郁
Can you hear me? Can you hear me crying out loud from hysteria and sarcasm. Great, that's just great. Thanks mom and dad.
Upon digging a bit further, I discovered that 郁 is:
old obscure variant of 鬱
Ok, so the parents were aiming for a rich name, but do your research, man! No wonder I cried so much in this one short lifetime, enough tears to fill all the oceans twice over!
My darling, never, ever settle to be an "old obscure variant of" anything. Do you hear me? Don't you ever settle for anything less than complete and utter wholeness and freedom.
Reason 5. To Experience Balance
I sent an intention before bed every night that I'd be magically inspired with my name. Sure enough, 2.5 months later, as I was folding laundry in my apartment in Lisbon, the name Ella flew into my consciousness. Done. When your cells sing, your bone marrow jiggles and your goosebumps rise in places you didn't know you had goosebumps, you've nailed it.
Then I consulted a numerologist to support me in this grand decision. She gave me a report of my old name. Oh god, she was spot on: duty, strife, duty, hardship, duty, labor, duty, suffering. She used a harmonical mathematical algorithm to generate harmonious names based on my birthday.
None and felt right so I persuaded her to generate 5 more lists. In the 5th list, Ellany appeared. Done.
My last name took a bit more finangling. I wanted it to be harmoniously balanced with my first name and have meaning. So as a math geek, I reverse engineered the mathematical algorithm and pieced Lea (pronounced Lee). It means light and bringer of good news, it rhymes with tea which I love, and it filled me with Grace. It sounds Chinese, but is not your typical Lee. I have never been typical, I don't plan to start now.
My darling, do what makes your cells sing, your bone marrow jiggle and discover goosebumps in places you didn't know you had them. Everything else is just a massive waste of time and energy.
Dear ancestors, thanks but no thanks
From epi-genetics, I learned that trauma (and its sidekicks of scarcity and suffering) can be passed down from generation to generation through DNA. Fascinating!
So dear ancestors,
- thank you for the gift of grit... I keep moving forward past my breaking point
- thank you for the gift of frugality... I care not for material crap
- and thank you for the gift of discipline... I bite the bullet day in and day out
But dear ancestors, where is happiness? Where is joy? Where is love?
So with great happiness, joy and love, I say thank you and goodbye to you my "Chen" ancestors. I will cherish the grit, the frugality, and the discipline. You can keep the trauma, the scarcity, and the suffering. Namaste.
My darling, namaste your lineage and set yourself free!
It's a new girl!
So I give you Ellany Lea (pronounced Elle-a-nee Lee). It's a 120lbs 5"5 girl! Lol! My peeps call me Ella, so can you <3
- Update your phone books and come celebrate with me over on Facebook!