I’d been meaning to write this post for a while, but it had to be at a time when I was feeling calm, as this is still a frustrating subject.
In mid 2008, I changed my surname legally by Deedpoll from Baker to Delancey. The reasoning behind this was that I hadn’t spoken to my father in years and at that time, unfortunately, no longer wanted to be associated with him and his name. I didn’t particularly want to change my name back to my mother’s maiden name which was Cox – so I chose Delancey.
Luckily, my father and I are on much, much better terms these days – but I still don’t regret my name change.
As for my first name, I have always been Dannielle. Over the years, my nicknames have varied from Dan, Danni, Elle, Lucy, Lou, Dee … and Ella. It’s pretty much the same as someone called Richard who is then called Dick, or a James becoming Jim, or even a Robert becoming Bobby.
None of these names I have chosen, they have all been bestowed upon me by friends and family. Ella however, is one that stuck at university and one I’m happy to use on a day-to-day basis. I am still Dannielle though, officially – and always have been.
All of this sounds simple enough to me.
So what’s the problem?
Over the eight years I’ve had my name, I’ve faced a hell of a lot of backlash. One of the most frustrating things was, (and still is) that many people didn’t bother to ask me about it. Instead, I was on the receiving end of catty, sly words and even anonymous comments posted on my social media channels: “Swear your name is Danni Baker?”.
It’s like I was being accused of making it up – completely changing my identity for the lols rather than it actually being a sensitive subject and an acute source of pain at the time.
I was pretty lucky in that most of the family members who knew I’d changed my name didn’t get upset, even if they didn’t understand why I did it. I also had total support from some people, like my mum, and my boyfriend at the time. I remember a few people at school changed their second names midway through, due to family changes – I don’t believe they received the same amount as bullshit about it that I did. People change their names all the time, through family changes, marriage and just pure and simple reinvention – each to their own. I just didn’t and still don’t understand why something as simple as someone else’s surname is such a bone of contention or confusion for some.
“But I’ve got no idea what to call you!”
Why not? Just call me what you’re introduced to me as. I’ll introduce myself as Ella or Dannielle, depending on the situation. But my surname stays the same, thanks.
I’ve written this for those who may be curious but haven’t wanted to ask. I’ve also written it for those who were complete bastards about it and who although they would never admit it, are still watching my life. I love my name. Jog the fuck on. Or, stay – read my blog and ping me a message. Maybe we could be friends now.