I’ve always had a weird relationship with my name.

My mom named me Kimberly and she didn’t like it when people called me Kim. She cringed with the various nicknames and friends called me like Kimbo or Kimbob. In choosing the name Kimberly, maybe she had visions of a fair maiden from the castle meadow (that’s what Kimberly means) who would grow into an elegant southern lady. (I laughed too when I typed that).

Try as I might to squeeze into the name(s), they’ve come to fit about as comfortably as a pair of L’Eggs Panty Hose in Atlanta on an August afternoon.

Over the past year or so, I’ve felt a call deep in my bones to change my name. Just ask my loving wife how many times she’s patiently participated in yet another conversation that started with “How about this name…?”

What has landed and bloomed in my heart is not just a new name; it’s a waymarker on a journey guided by a divining rod in the search of wisdom and resilience that animates my life. I’ve explored a few final choices with family and friends and sought advice from some generous folx in the queer and trans community who have navigated name changes with grace and integrity. I even received an effusive affirmation from a friend with the name I am adopting.


Hazel is a name steeped in Celtic mythology, the Hazel tree stands at the center of the Otherworld as a symbol of wisdom, inspiration, and protection. The Celts believed that the nuts of the Hazel tree contained all the knowledge of the world, a divine gift to those who sought understanding. Hazel trees were often found near sacred wells and springs, places where the veil between worlds was thin, and the presence of the divine was palpable.

I want y’all to know that I have zero expectations that folx will be into this change or ready to call me Hazel. And the funny thing is, now that I am living into this, what others call me feels way less itchy than all the variations of Kimberly ever did. It’ll take some time and will be a bit unwieldy for a while. Perhaps I thrive in unwieldy.

Changing my name is not a rejection of the past but a way to relish the journey, live fully into the present, and lean with curiosity into the Crone chapter of my life.

To change one’s name is to change one’s story. We all have the power to redefine ourselves, to bear names that reflect our essence, and to live lives true to who we are at our core.

With warmth and wonder,

Author: Hazel