In the last 3 years, many enlightened friends have legally changed their name, first and last. Sometimes prompted by divorce, most of them were compelled by an unquenchable thirst for perfect alignment between inner self, outer self, past self, present self and future self.
Dear Tribe, Thank you!
Thanks to the support of my soul tribe (especially to Nathallee and Christina <3), I have chosen a new name that I love more than life itself. The old me would have written an epically long post to defend and justify my choice, in hopes of seeking their approval. You know, the approval of people who don't know me and don't care about me, the critics, the haters.
The new me will share with you the 5 reasons why I had to legally change my name, so that:
- You feel braver to legally change yours, if that's what your heart craves
- You get the sneak peek of how the process unveiled itself to me
1. To Activate the Power of Choice
Since the first day of kindergarten, I never felt like a 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 could legally change my name. I decided against it, thank god!
I was raised in a culture where women surrendered all their power. I didn't have a badass single mom or a take-no-prisoners grandma, I had no empowered female role models in my life.
When I did a "soft launch" of my name change, of course people criticized. Of course, they tried to strip me down to their size. The masses are terrified of change, even if the change is in my life, not theirs.
When I found out that you could just march into the police station, request a form, and change your name for $50, I had to do it. You mean for $50 I could be the first woman in my lineage of 98 generations to claim her power back?
Ayutthaya, Thailand 2015 © Ellany Lea
2. To Be Free From Trauma
I was a very, very sensitive child and that made me the easiest target for bullies. They loved massacring my Chinese-translated name day in, and day out, they loooooved making me cry. I could still hear "monkey face boy" taunt me with his wicked laugh.
Note: I never resorted to calling him "monkey face" even though he looked just like one, the flappy ears, the big nostrils, the gangly limbs. Even at 8, I took the high road. Proud of self :)
When my energy healer identified tell-tale signs of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in my body from decades of bullying and developmental trauma, I wanted to do something grand to release it. Something so grand that my body, psyche and soul would forever remember the release.
Legally changing my first and last name did the trick!
3. To Be Whole Again
As I researched names, I realized that Tina was always a short form of another name, like Christina or Constantina. And I began noticing that every time I introduced myself as Tina, I was asked if it's short for something? Just Tina seemed inadequate.
For decades I had my dad, culture and society tell me how inadequate I am. I didn't need every new person I met to make me feel like a diminutive.
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. I had to shed Tina to be whole again, to be me again!
4. To Finally Stop crying
I was explaining to one of my tribemates the meaning of my Chinese name 郁 (Yu). My parents always told me it meant "rich", like a rich coffee, of substance. Well, I found out 3 decades later it means:
Translations of 郁 • adjective
depressed, melancholic, blue
Translations of 郁 • noun
When I read this, I was howling! Howling from hysterical laughter and sorrow because it explained why I cried soooooooooooooooooooo much in my lifetime. Enough tears to fill the seven seas.
I dug a bit further and discovered that 郁 is:
old obscure variant of 鬱 • noun
Ok, so the parents were aiming for rich, but man oh man, did it come with a baggage full of sorrow. And who the f*ck wants to be an "old obscure variant" anyway?
5. To Experience Awe
Every night before bed, I'd say a little prayer for my soul's name to come to me. No baby name book, no frenzied search, no pro/con lists. Sure enough, 2.5 months later, as I was folding laundry in my apartment, the name Ella flew into my consciousness. Done.
My cells sang, my bone marrow jiggles and my goose bumps tap danced. That's when you really, really know you're onto something!
I then consulted a numerologist to support me in this grand decision. She gave me a report of my birth name. Oh god, she was spot on: duty, strife, duty, hardship, duty, labor, duty, suffering. She used a harmonic mathematical algorithm to generate a list of names, based on harmony with my birthday.
After 5 rounds, bless her heart, Ellany appeared on the list.
My cells sang, my bone marrow jiggles and my goose bumps tap danced.
Dear ancestors, thanks but no thanks!
My last name took a bit more finagling. I knew from epi-genetics that trauma (and its sidekicks: scarcity and suffering) can be passed down from generation to generation through DNA.
So I needed a new last name that balanced harmoniously with my new first name. Something far, far, far, far, faaaaaar away from: duty, strife, duty, hardship, duty, labor, duty, suffering
I geekily reverse engineered the mathematical algorithm they used and pieced together Lea (pronounced Lee). It means: light and bringer of good news. 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.
So to my dear Chen ancestors, with great joy, love, and freedom, I say thank you, goodbye and RIP. I will cherish the grit, the frugality, and the discipline you've gifted me. You can keep the trauma, the scarcity, and the suffering. Namaste.
It's a girl!
So I give you Ellany Lea (pronounced Elle-a-nee Lee). It's a 120lbs 5"5 girl! Lol! Update your address books: Facebook!