Apologies if I'm digging up an old-old thread; but this piqued my interest, and my fingers all but itched to get my story out!
I changed my name by Deed Poll almost a year ago now; my boyfriend paid for it for me as my present for my 25th birthday, and we even had the documentation forward-dated to my birthday.
When I was born, my parents had been desperately hoping for a son after my older sister's arrival almost 6 years previously - mum always wanted one of each, I think! - and so had already picked out the names Philip Gareth. When it was clear I was a girl, they panicked for a few minutes, then decided to simply feminise Philip to Philippa and swap Gareth for Emily, a great-aunt's first name; she was pretty chuffed, and for all the time I knew her, she only ever called me Emily - much to the annoyance of my mother.
This combination probably doesn't seem too bad; but unfortunately, my family name was Arthur, so I had a lot of teasing at school with my initials being PEA, and all my family would often shorten my first name to simply 'Pip' - the fruit jokes got a lot tiring very quickly!
Struggling through primary and secondary school with all the teasing about my name, and how boyish I was - while my younger sister is quite girly, my older sister and I have always been more tomboyish and robust - I firmly decided I would find some way to change my name to something that suited me better.
It wasn't until I was working at a Citizens Advice Bureau a couple of years ago that I finally found the information I needed, about changing my name by Deed Poll; the thought of being able to use a name that I chose, with a meaning that really seemed to describe me - because isn't that what a name is supposed to do? - on my legal documentation, was really delightful, and so I began searching all sorts of "names and their meanings" books and websites, looking for the perfect name.
I decided to go for something in Welsh, for my paternal grandfather; and found that 'arian' meant silver, which was apt since I can't wear gold jewellery without plating on the back to stop me getting a rash, so I modified it to Ariana (silvery), stuck in Scarlett as a middle name (not Welsh, but I do love the colour as it suits me well), and picked Cadfan (battle-raven, apparently) for my surname - I love the whole corvid family, and got into more than a few fights and scraps as a child!
My boyfriend also loves calling me his "little Anna", and that I'm a bit more girly now, with a "proper" girly name!
Of course, my family had varied reactions; my dad and his side of the family just said as long as I was happy, that's all they cared about, and have gotten used to it very quickly. My mother's side, on the other hand, took it disastrously! I think I spent at least an hour every night for the first week having to defend my choice to my mother on the phone, and my nan still hadn't come to terms with it the last time we spoke (only a few weeks ago).
But now I'm me, and I've never been so happy.