The Stigma Surrounding Name Changing

Personally, I don’t have two different names. I have one name. Leo Grey is my preferred name, but I wasn’t born with it. I was born Karl Paul Andrew Shannon. I have, and have always wanted to change this name. Why? No reason necessarily, I just don’t really like the sound of it. Honestly, I think that I’d like to change it because names are incredibly personal and considering it’s my name, a name that I and I alone have to live with for the rest of my life (and possibly thereafter) I think I should be allowed to do that without the stigma that surrounds name changing.

From my experience there are many different genres of stigma that originate in different sources. For example, my family. My family were insulted and took it as a direct offence when I told them I wanted to change my name. I quickly added that it wasn’t to disregard my family, I just wanted to. But still, it was taken as offensive. I was young at the time, possibly around thirteen, so I was scolded for this behaviour.

All I knew was that I wanted to change my name. I didn’t know to what at the time, but I wanted to change my name. And me being me, I didn’t let my parents’ outlook sway me.

So I began experimenting with names at that age. I didn’t tell my friends because I didn’t know what to tell them, and I wasn’t sure how they would react. I never mentioned it to my family ever again.

I told my friends when I was about fifteen. I told the ones I trusted that I wanted to change my name, I pretended to those who I didn’t trust and that didn’t know me too well that I had a different name. (Obviously they knew my name was Karl, but I pretended my name was Karl-Max [Max being a name-phase I went through]). My close friends didn’t attack my stance, but instead questioned the idea of it themselves. They said it would be ‘weird’ if I were called something else, that other names probably wouldn’t suit me, but I took this as light-hearted, and truthfully, quite right.

So by the age I was sixteen, I had received a positive and a negative reaction. By the age I was sixteen I had discarded in my head the name ‘Karl Shannon’ and I was ready for the change to become legal. But there were problems. It’s a tricky situation, I didn’t understand what to do, I didn’t have the support of my parents, and I didn’t know my name yet. But the fact that I was ready meant enough for me. I was prepared to face the stigma and fight it tirelessly.

Leo Diarmuid Andrew Grey is my name. Leo (pronounced Lay-O) I chose due to it’s pronunciation and the fact that I just love it. Diarmuid I chose for it’s relation to Ireland. Andrew I chose to keep for personal reasons. And Grey being both my favourite colour and abstract thought. This is my name.

I have different friends now. They find it unsettling. Some say I’m attention seeking. I’m not. Some say it’s just a phase, and I’ll regret it someday. People use this as a backdrop for everything; tattoos, sexuality, hair dying, even fashion. But I did take their sight into consideration. I played with the name. I made it my e-mail address, I featured it on some of my lesser known networking sites, I say it to strangers. And you know what? I’m comfortable with it.

Professionally speaking it’s suspicious to have someone who changed their name, simply because it isn’t the ‘norm’. I don’t understand why this would hinder my ability to preform in whatever way, but I’m willing to explain; you guys watch too much TV. I’m not on the run from the law. Changing one’s name doesn’t make you invisible. Fake ID’s and identity theft isn’t as simple as that. If you ask me, I’ll tell you. I would have changed my name because I wanted to. Simple as.

My family still see it the way they saw it those years ago, which leaves me in a tricky place. I am still lawfully Karl Shannon, but in my mental state I’m not. I have refrained from the legal transition simply because I still don’t completely understand how it works in Ireland, and also because I don’t want the awkwardness in my family that would undoubtedly act as a silent gap.

To summarise, people will find it weird and suspicious when they hear of someone changing their name under these conditions. They are quick to judge, but I judge too. Why do you care? Does my name, old or new, inflict you in some way? Jealousy? Or just old-fashioned suspicion? The stigma surrounding name changing is unnecessary and though it isn’t a huge cause of depression or suicide, I think it is harmful in that it is oppressing self-expression and individuality, and it is outcasting people who don’t fit the norm standards over something so small as a name. It is also a means of guilt-tripping purposely proposed by family which is unfair. We should be who we want to be, without fearing our reputation in the eyes of those we love, or should love.




A kingdom awaits. A kingdom stands.

The lone renegade wanders endlessly through the empty violet streets. Traffic lights flicker, neon signs buzz, as he steps slowly, with a sad beat of his feet softly pounding the ground.

There are no remnants of other life. The road is clean and wet with a rain that has fallen long ago, but never dried.

Static screeches in his eyes. He sees another, one other, a boy. Eyes a colour he hasn’t seen for ages. The boy waits for him at the long end of the road, where it meets a dumb hillside and slants smoothly.

Dead electric blue numbers develop along the boring brown building walls, in random patterns. They are cracked and illuminate at a great speed and follow the renegade.

The beautiful renegade, a cloud ready to implode wanders on, not oblivious but accustomed to the appearing numbers. He is following the boy.

He is nearly there. There is an echoing feeling of distance reverberating off the hollowness of his kingdom.

The bad renegade needs mending.

His soft hood is not threatened by wind. Wind does not blow. He does not allow it. His complexion is complete. It does not change. His head is down. He breathes steadily. His face is but a black shadow. But until..

The boy is an intruder. He does not belong. His belief is misplaced. He deserves to be punished. He was warned. ‘Beware the broken.’

The renegade lets loose his fist. His finger tips brush the polished brick pavement of the hindmost building. He feels nothing with his dented sense. The numbers shock at the close touch, pulsating harshly, but still silent as the emptiness that they act as counterpoint to.

There they bump. The two do not touch physically but bump elements. It is a bold idea. Two kings stood in front the other. Their bodies face but their heads are stooped. Neither move.

The boy awaits. The boy’s hands are cold, his body is stiff, he smells the old petrichor. The renegade does not.

Two kings bouncing power. It’s a subtle bargain, it’s a number.

“I feel numb”, breathes the renegade. The male planets are not far from each other. The boy picks up the whisper.

The scratches on the renegades waist itch beneath his clothing. Only but for a moment.

He moves closer.

The boy then glides over to the renegade, for this is no human boy. This is a shadow of a boy with no features – only an outline, and a black cesspool of undetermined body. Burning white eyes.

They stop directly in front of one another. The boy returns. His bare feet patter to the floor. He is blood and bone again. He is grateful but ever fearful.

Now, the renegade looks at him. Those eyes… They see the boy. They allow the boy. But they hold no promise. They betray the boy. They burn the boy. They burst the boy.

The renegade’s lips preform again. In his dull, doped voice, he speaks again.

“I feel numb.

I feel numb.

I feel numb in this kingdom.

I feel numb, make me better.”

The renegade reaches out to the boys lips. He can barely feel them but there is a touch. The renegade frowns. His eyes turn red.

You better make me better.

You better make me better.

You better make me better.

You better make me better.

You better make me better.

You better make me better.”

The boy accepts the energy sizzling from the renegade, he breathes the sparkling snatches down into his lungs, and breathes them back out, turned from blue to white and the Renegade is thrown back. Mix-matched numbers flicker through his eyes, counting to infinity but in no order. They increase in speed and the boy can smell the friction of connection as the renegade faces the empty sky, his body agape. There comes a low murmur from the streets. The murmur picks up into a mumble, a mumble into a groan, a groan into a shout, a shout into a yell and a yell into a whistle and the whistle SCREAMS and the Renegade pushes his hands through his face as he vibrates relentlessly and then the renegade throws his hands down in an outright power burst, and the noise quits and numbers are sent slashing over the surface of everything as they redo and disintegrate and redintegrate.

Nomi And Amanita’s Wedding – Sense8 Fanfic

Capheus sat in awe. Riley had to more or less drag him to their seats as he stared at the wild lace  ribbons curling from stand to stand, slightly swaying in the Hawaii breeze and the beautiful sunset colouring the sky a deep pink, which conveniently matched the Gerbera flowers scattered delicately on the smooth grass beneath them.

Nomi and Amanita chose to have an open wedding, a simple, cost efficient wedding, but despite being a minimalistic wedding, many people had come, and the decoration of flowers and ribbons and  lace on the marble pedestals and on the backs of glamorous chairs were coherently gorgeous. Capheus tugged at the satin ribbon tied loosely around his chair and felt it in between his fingers, it’s soft touch like a lullaby, making his heart pour in warmth and his eyes tire to puppy sleep.

Riley smiled at him, drawing odd stares from the others that were seated and waiting the arrival of the brides. Still smiling, Riley looked upon the minister, just to her left. He stood wide, a big brown book in his hand, an oval thatched shade above him like a little hut.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it” said Will in her ear.

“Yeah”, she breathed into his cheek. He smiled and gave her that open look. The sincere look of his eyes that peeled his way into the depth of her innermost tangled self.

She took his right hand with her left one and rubbed her head onto his broad shoulder.

“It’s perfect, the sunset, the sky…”

“Yeah… Absolutely perfect.”

He kissed her forehead.

“Alright, I’ve got to get back there…”

She allowed him to take back his hand and stand up. He fixed his tux and winked. “Be back soon.”

He walked away with such a defensive demeanour and a bounce in his step.

Wolfgang tweaked with the flower behind Kala’s ear.

“You’re going to break it!” she sang.

“Am I?” asked Wolfgang with a mischievous smirk.

“Yes. You’re hands are too rough. They are unable to handle such delicate things…”

He raised an eyebrow.

“They seem to handle you alright…”

She nudged his rib with a playful grin.

He had a chuckle to himself and Kala’s cheeks hurt from smiling so much. He was such a goon.

“It is of course, beautiful, but I would rather such a more extravagant area!” Exclaimed Lito, his hands flying with a fierce motion as he gestured with such passion.

“Big walls! And big huge windows! With the colours! What are the windows with all the colours again – the blue and the red and the sort of transparent emerald green” –

“Stained glass?” Offered Sun.

“Yes! The staining of the glass! Such beauty. With the sunshine pouring through as we held hands, and some doves flying about and a smell of the finest French perfume…”

He leaned back in his chair, satisfied with himself. He rubbed the stubble of his beard.

“I would make a great Fiancé, you know.”

Sun huffed.

“And by the sounds of it you would be a very costly husband!” She giggled.

“Ah but you see, what is money worth when compared to a lover?” He smiled intensely.

Lito breathed back.

“I can not wait for my marriage.”

Sun examined the people around. Most of the chairs were occupied now and voices were intensifying to hushed, excited whispers.

“I presume it is about to begin” announced Sun.

Wolfgang leaned over Kala and tapped Sun on the shoulder.

“Psst. I bet you’ll tear up at least twice.” He jested.

Sun rolled her in eyes.

“You’re on.”

Kala slapped Wolfgang over the back of the head.

“Ow!” Gasped Wolfgang. He rubbed where he’d been hit. “Big ring.”

“That is what you get for being a…a…”


“A big man! You big…man, you!”

She turned to whisper in Sun’s ear.
“He’s still upset because he lost the sparring match to you.”

They laughed.

Wolfgang gave Kala the evil eyes.

“Am not.” He mumbled.

Kala and Sun looked at one another with a sarcastic gleam.

Behind Kala’s head, Wolfgang stuck his tongue out at Sun, and retracted it quickly when Kala’s face turned back to him lightning-pace.

There was a soft tropical glow and an odd, light-stringed harp delivering an exquisite melodic rhythm as Nomi, criss-crossed in arms with Will, walked down the natural aisle. She was veil-less and wearing a tight-fitting dress that showed off her beautiful curves and came together in a heart shape over her breasts. Sprinkled on it were diamonds that shimmered as the sinking sun kissed them. The dress flowed to her ankles and then glided gracefully in an angelic trail behind her.

Nomi blushed as they continued on, very grateful to have Will with her (and also appreciative of his great balance) but she truly missed Amanita and awaited her presence with celestial yearning. The distance was covered before she could mentally prepare herself, Will kissed her and she thanked him, to which he replied “It was my honour.”

And now she stood alone, awaiting her Fiancé, or was it Bride, or was it Wife? Bride, it’s Bride, Nomi. She took a deep breath through her nose. She felt like she was standing on the tip of a cliff, or that she had been shrunken down in size and standing on the lip of a needle. Peering eyes, judging her, thinking about her, undoubtedly gossips were in front of her, and they would probably make rumours about this to their friends and laugh and and and…

Amanita danced through the middle. Her cornrows hair in its glorious colours hanging by her left shoulder, over her bare collarbone and onto the white of her dress. She was smiling with her brown cola eyes fixed on Nomi, ignorant to anyone else, focus only on the stiff wingless angel that was staring right back except with an open mouth and teary eyes. Amanita reached her and with a wink whispered “Hunny, your mouth’s open.”


“Good because I cant feel my ankles” Amanita half-laughed.

And then Nomi felt the balance again, and she was on a regular hillside in front of regular people that could whine and bitch all they wanted.

“Amanita… You have given me everything that I have ever been deprived of. Growing up, I felt starved and cold, and it took me a long time to allow myself to seek warmth. And I found you. You believed in me and saw in me what I couldn’t understand. I was too weak to feed and bathe myself but you took it upon yourself to care for me. You didn’t treat me like a broken toy, you heard what I had to say. You didn’t shame me or refuse to acknowledge me. You made me into the person I am today. And I know that most people in the world consider that to be fucked up, but you did, you made me. You made me the exact way I wanted to be made. You did this because you listened to me. And now that I have become my complete content self, I am able to completely love you.”

There was a gentle ‘Aw’ from the audience. And quite a loud sniffle from Capheus.

“Nomi…Nomi, life is unlimited with you. Our adventures together, they are ageless. Someone should write a book about us I swear. You make me laugh in a way that nobody else can. I feel like we’re going to be that old couple who gets trashed before we go to bingo and break our hips doing slut drops. I wake up every morning and I can’t wait for the time I’m going to spend with you. There is no place else I would ever rather be.”

Another sniffle from Capheus.

Nomi’s lips curled up at the sides, that smile she did when she was trying to act ‘cool’ but couldn’t. Amanita gave a big teethy grin. “Do you, Nomi, take Amanita to be your wife, in sickness and in health?”

Nomi breathed a full, untampered smile.

“I do.”

Amanita’s shoulders jolted with anticipation.

“And do you, Amanita, take Nomi, to be your awfully wedded wife, ‘till death do you part?”

“I do!” Rushed Amanita.

“Then by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you wife and wi”-

Before he could finish Amanita jumped onto Nomi’s familiar lips and gave her a slobby wet kiss as she threw her arms around her Wife’s shoulders.

“That was elegant”, whispered Nomi as the audience boomed in applause behind them.

“Fuck elegance. I wanted a real kiss.”

Nomi gestured an eyebrow in the direction of the aisle.

“Shall we, wifey?”

“Don’t say that!” Screeched Amanita. “It makes me too excited and I already need to pee.”

Nomi smiled and gave Amanita’s lips a quick but sincere peck.

Together, hand in hand they turned to the standing people, whistling and cheering and screaming with glee (the screamers were Amanita’s erratic friends, to whom she waved frantically to as they passed), and Nomi gave a loving look to her friends, standing at the front. Capheus had a tissue to his nose, and she could swear Will wiped a tear and then went back to folding his big arms.

“I feel like everything is going to be okay.”

Amanita rested her head on Nomi’s shoulder. “It will be.”

Sheer Divinity

Palm trees in the light. That’s all that was visible to me. The light was ghastly and divine, nefarious and exotic, inspiring and terrorizing. My ears heard only the stupendous song of nothing; I couldn’t even hear myself breathing. I wasn’t sure I was. My eyes flickered on and off under the strenuous pulse of this light. The long and healthy palm tree leaves were slightly swaying by a wind I could not feel on my skin.

The sea was so grey. Or was it the ocean? I didn’t know, though I didn’t much care-nothing, nothing could affect its beauty. Usually, people believed that for something to be pure, it must vibrate in colour, but how this sea curled its waves, and calmly poured them onto the light shore line, was the visual definition of purity. And with the white light spraying as far as the misty horizon, my fragile wrists curled, my eyes lifted, and the soothing drone of the breezy coast was swallowed.

The gleam was blinding. I’d have shielded my eyes with my palms if I had been able to feel them. Shutting my eyes was useless, the light pierced through easily. Through squinted eyelids, I observed. The snow was untouched, flat like a hardback book, and it was everywhere- It engulfed the brown of the trees, the green of grass, even the blue of sky had been banished and now reflected the marble floor. Was it cold? I couldn’t feel any cold, or warmth, or anything. I could feel the lights ominous presence, as though a single eye had been stretched across the surface of the sky, with one purpose only- to watch me silently, and transport me wherever it wanted. I was helpless, hopeless, but unsure, as to if I was victim or a champion.

These corridors are too hollow. Where are the windows? How was the light in here too, ricocheting off the immaculate walls? This is a hospital, I know, but it must have been a hospital built on a star. The lux was too heavy; I could not bear it any longer.  I tried to scream, but my lips were stitched shut. Still my legs walked, soundlessly through the shimmering endless corridor. No end, no beginning. My eyes and mind were the only parts of myself I owned. The rest of me had been stolen.

Here, in these four places, I spent my eternity.  Alone, silenced, banished, I unwillingly wandered. Before the palm trees, where I once lay on an open road, calling for death. Before an exact recreation of the very same melodic water I had once thrown my lifeless vessel into, and drowned the breathing dead. The snowy forest, in which I’d ripped my veins, letting the blood flow like a raging river from my deceased beating heart, and dyed the snow  the inside of my dead body, and lastly the hospital where I was born. And when I was born, my soul dragged itself along the endless corridor, seeking salvation.