She looked at her slip of paper: 201. This was the place.
She cracked the door and popped her head in. “Hi. Is this where the support group meets?”
“Yes. Come on in and have a seat.” A woman sitting within the circle of folding chairs waved her in with her clipboard.
She took a seat. The clipboard woman addressed her again. “Welcome. My name is Diane; I’m the facilitator of the group. We were just getting started. If you don’t mind, would you introduce yourself, please?”
“Oh, uh, sure.” She cleared her throat. “My name is Marth. Not Marth-UH, just Marth: M-A-R-T-H. My parents were going to name me Martha, but they figured they’d eventually start calling me Marth for short, so they decided to make that my actual name…and, um, that’s why I’m here.”
“Well, welcome, Marth.” There were waves and some mumbled “hi”s around the circle. “All right, let’s go around and introduce ourselves, everyone.”
There was Bobert. Not Bob or Robert–Bobert.
There was Billiam. Not Bill or William–Billiam.
There was Nance. Not Nancy–Nance.
There was CJ; his name was just those letters and they didn’t stand for anything.
And finally, there were the fraternal twins, Boy One and Girl One.
Diane spoke up again. “OK. Thank you, everyone.” She glanced at her clipboard. “So last week when we left off, we were talking about legally changing your name.”
Bobert jumped right in. “Yeah. People are always like ‘Oh–you don’t like your name? Then change it!’ But, you know, that’s easier said than done. First of all, we’ve lived with these names–for better or worse–our whole lives, you know? Changing it’s not like, you know, just getting a new email address or something. You have to go to court and file papers and it costs money, and I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t have piles of money sittin’ around.”
There were nods of agreement, then others chimed in and the discussion was underway.
Marth didn’t say much at that first meeting. She mostly just smiled. She had been skeptical about joining the group, but these were her people. She decided she was going to like being a part of AWUNNLMUOARWLTJSAKOE (Adults With Unfortunate Names, Not Like “Moon Unit” Or Anything Really Weird Like That, Just Strange And Kind Of Embarrassing).