Well-timed request, HC. I have just this morning reached what may end up being the final decision. This is by no means yet conclusive. I'm going to try it out for a while and see how it fares.
For the past few days I've been leaning more and more towards...
I know you don't like it, HC, but it just seems to fit, somehow. I think I look like a Mara. It suits me.
It's unusual without being wierd,
elegant without being pretentious,
feminine but not cutesy.
It can't be shortened to anything stupid,
it's easily spelled and pronounced.
My flatmates and I sat around at lunch today and discussed it. B reckoned I should imagine how it would be to introduce myself as Mara in a variety of scenarios, ie at the pub, at a job interview, etc. And I should also imagine how it would sound to me if a man ever asked me "Mara, will you marry me?"
And I must admit, I think it works.
Here's the thing: my middle name and surname both begin with "Ma." So Mara Marie Ma----- just doesn't cut it.
What if I change my middle name? Swap Marie (which is useless) for Mara? I won't have to drop Stephanie, so there's no risk of hurting my dad's feelings (whatever else he may say), and I won't hurt my mom (Mary), buecause Mara, like Marie, is just another variation of Mary. PLUS it makes the paperwork a bit easier, bucause most of my financial institutions et cetera only have my middle initial on file anyway, and that won't change. Easy peasy! And lots of people use their middle names for everyday address.
It'll still be a pain in the ass to change it legally, what with my passport and visa and all. I'll have to see what's involved in that. I'd like to do it before I graduate here, so that my diploma will have my new name on it, but that may not be possible. We'll see.
And I won't demand that anyone who already knows me as Stephanie suddenly do a 180 and start calling me Mara. I can understand why people would find that difficult. If you want to, cool. If not, no worries.
My flatmates said they would make an effort to call me Mara for a week so I can try it on, see if I still like it in 7 days time, but I reckon i will. It's comfortable.
Thoughts? Feedback? Lay it on me!