College is a huge identity crisis to begin with. You start to realize things that never crossed your mind before. You start to become your own person. You're able to stand back and see those people from your past who have never fit in right. You go through a lot of self discovery. You might even start to become uncomfortable in your own shoes, or in this case, your own name.
For the past two years, I've been playing around with the idea of changing my last name. I didn't know where to begin, so after a self-discovery and a quick Google search, I changed all of my social media to a different last name, got a new email address, and made sure that my friends and family all used this different name. I thought this was the first step: the first step to a new life away from the name that, in my mind, has been holding me back my entire life. This would be how I ran away from him once and for all. I was wrong.
Until the legal part came around, I felt free. I felt like I was finally starting over with the name that I should have been given at birth. I used to blame everyone else for giving me that wrong last name that belonged to a group of people who didn't care too much about my existence. I grew up and realized that this was never anyone's intention and no one is a future teller.
Changing your last name is not only expensive, but it's confusing to everyone. Especially if this change is happening when you're already an adult, already go to college, and have already made a new name for yourself. A new name that doesn't care about what your last one is.
After realizing the cost of the process, feeling the confusion on everyone's faces, and mixing my own last name up on some important documents; something clicked in my mind. This wasn't the answer. Changing my last name wasn't going to help run away. I began to think to myself: What was I even running from?
I was starting to feel like this turned into a game, an unspoken game between myself and him. This game was starting to control my life, much more than he ever had. I started feeling like if I would change my name that he would win. It would be a forfeit on my side that I couldn't handle the stress he's put on me, and I was giving in. I couldn't have that. I wasn't going to lose, especially to him.
I now have turned this sick game into motivation for me to be who I really am. This is my motivation to not be like him. This is my motivation to be a good person, to wake up every morning with a smile on my face and know that I am different. I know that my last name doesn't define who I am. I know that as long as I've made a stronger, better, newer name for myself then the legal one won't hold me back.