At my job, I can mostly go by my new name and have some official electronic things set up (e.g. work email), but since my name isn’t (quite) legally changed (I have the court order now…I just have to actually change it everywhere official). But in the big system as a whole, I am sometimes old name and sometimes new name.

A few days ago, I was calling the shuttle service for a ride after a long night in lab. I knew I was “old name” in their system, so I just said that one when I called. The very cheerful and very chatty night dispatcher went on a bit about what a great name it is, and told me I should tell my mom and dad they picked a good one.

He was right. It was a really good name (the one I used IRL). Until it wasn’t. Because good lord it was a super-girly (if awesome) name. My new (in real life) name is arguably quite dull. I enjoy having a fairly run-of-the-mill name now, and it fits so much better, but I did have a sharp pang when that cheerful dispatcher delivered what he thought was a simple compliment. I had a deeper sharp pang when I considered actually delivering his message to my folks. Maybe I felt a tiny piece of what they are going through: that it is, in some sense, a loss. And I don’t just mean the name.

But I just said “Thanks, I’ll let them know.” Maybe I will. Or maybe that would just make it worse. OK. Probably I won’t.