For the longest time I hated my name.

In grade school, I wondered if the other kids hated their names too. I don't think I ever asked one of my peers, but I made the assumption that yes, they probably did. I believed that everyone hated hir own name because it was hirs - perhaps due to a natural self-hatred, or a desire to become someone you idolize, or being sick and tired of hearing the same name every hour of every day. Adults who had not changed their names, I assumed, had learned to deal with their given names.

In middle school, I pondered a name change. I wasn't sure what to change my name to (though I was able to come up with name-change candidates) but I was sure I didn't want to keep my birth name. But, although I was now aware that a dislike of one's name wasn't a universal human trait, my thoughts about hating your name simply because it is yours remained. I could point out specific reasons why I hated my name, but I figured I would be able to do that with any name. I could change my name, but after a few years, would I grow weary of the new name and begin to hate it as much as my birth name? I wasn't sure, so I decided that a few more years of thinking would bring me closer to an answer. After all, I had to wait until I was eighteen anyway.

In high school, I discovered my male gender identity. The name story became simple: I hated my name because it was female, yet I am a male. Eventually, I chose my male name - Mykell. My choice was based on two criteria: do I like the name, and does the name describe me. 'Mykell' passed both tests. I did think about how inconvenient spelling my name 'Mykell' instead of 'Michael' would be, but I figured that although it would be a hassle, I liked the spelling of 'Mykell' so much that it was worth it.

In college, I always introduce myself as Mykell and everybody else calls me Mykell. I am a sophomore now, and I haven't tired of my name. In fact, I love it even more than when I first picked it out.

Until I started going by Mykell full-time, I never truly believed that it was possible to love one's own name. I knew in my head that other people didn't feel the same way as me, but I couldn't understand it, I couldn't feel it, and I couldn't accept it.