Kendall Stafford to Kendall Curtis; The Dark Truth Behind My Name Change

In December of 2011 it was approved by a judge to change my name from Kendall Stafford to Kendall Curtis, something I had wanted for a long time. It was a tough choice for me to change my last name because my mom and two brothers had that last name but it was more important to me to separate my self from the Stafford name. I had high expectations for my future and didn’t want any association with the last name Stafford although the majority of my life I was known for that name. When my mom and dad got divorced early in my life I didn’t have any control over my name and when my mom decided to get remarried all parties agreed it would best for me to take the last name of my adopted father, Mark Stafford. While I am thankful for the brothers I was given by my stepfather I was treated as an outcast within the family and didn’t want my name associated with his and to this day I stand by my decision to change my last name to my father’s. Although from the outside looking in it appeared I had a normal and happy childhood the reality was much much worse and I don’t blame my mom for that. She didn’t know everything I was having to deal with on a daily basis in regard to her husband but when given the chance I was eager to separate myself from him. I don’t want your sympathy but rather I just want to bring awareness to situations that I’m sure occur in a lot of homes across the great country of the United States. I was physically and verbally abused for many of my childhood years and would like to help people in that situation come to grips with the reality of how their children are being treated.

I stopped believing in God at one point. There was a time in my childhood where I actually quit believing that a God existed who would allow such horrible things to happen to a child. I vividly remember one occasion where my step father, unhappy with something I had done pushed me down on the ground and cursed at me. He told me to get up and in a state a fear I did so and then he proceeded to push me back down and spit on me confirming my belief that he didn’t care about me what so ever. I am lucky in the sense that he is no longer a part of my life but the emotional scars he left on me will be forever present I’m afraid. I grew up with the belief that I wasn’t good enough, a belief that stemmed being told so on a daily basis by him. He forced me to call him dad yelling that he was a better father to me than my dad ever was. There was a time when he took me to the front yard to practice snapping the football as I was probably going to make the football team as a center. I farted. I was an eleven year old boy who completely naturally passed gas as I was bent over. That innocent mistake justified a kick that sent me to the ground which was followed with a lot of profanity about how useless I was.

Mark Stafford only cared about how his kids did in sports and since I wasn’t all that athletic I was fed an earful of profanity laced discouragement about how terrible I was. I loved the nights when he was working overtime and wouldn’t be home that night. Later it was discovered he wasn’t working but rather cheating on my mom and I had hoped with everything inside me that that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, ever the sweet talker he weaseled his way back into my life and continued to make it miserable. I couldn’t stand to be around him anymore so in December of 2008 being an adult I made the decision to move out of the house and live with my grandparents. Thankfully my mom made the same decision a few months later and decided not to be married anymore. It was hard on me after my mom left not because I thought they would be together forever or it was a shaking blow to the family but because he never once reached out to me. I was just someone he had to deal with in his latest marriage that he didn’t care about at all. Most step parents I believe would have at least some sort of relationship with their “kids” they had been with since the age of four but not him. I never once heard from him again until I was on Thanksgiving break and attending my brother’s basketball game almost five years later. He approached me in the parking lot and I regrettably told him what I thought of him using quite a bit of profanity. He and his then girlfriend yelled back at me attacking me for my physical appearance as well as how I was completely useless to society. The whole thing happened because of something I had found out about him earlier in the week; think Ray Rice. He then called my mom after the encounter and as the “saint he was” informed her that he wouldn’t go to the police but if I ever threatened him again he wouldn’t hesitate to have me arrested. I didn’t threaten him. My wife who was my girlfriend at the time can attest to that but in his sick sociopathic mind took it as a threat. I don’t wish the my brothers grow up without a father because I love and care about them but I sincerely hope he is miserable and never finds happiness. That is the reason I changed my name from Kendall Stafford to Kendall Curtis, my birth name. I didn’t want to be associated with that monster anymore.


5 thoughts on “Kendall Stafford to Kendall Curtis; The Dark Truth Behind My Name Change

  1. Kendall – I am SO sorry I never knew any of this was going on! I was a friend of yours at the time and hate that I didn’t do anything to help you. You have always been such a great friend to Mason and always super sweet to me and Jay. You have been through so much and I’m so proud of the man you’ve become -despite all of the messiness of your childhood. Thank you for sharing. Much love to you!


  2. Kendall, I remember the huge infectious smile that you once had. Then I remember when that smile was no longer on your face. I’ve long realized that your situation at home was not good & wished I could have done something to help you. I’m thankful that you’ve shared your story and thankful for the love you share with your mother, brothers and wife. God bless you, Kendall. Hope you’re sharing that beautiful smile with those around you.


  3. Kendall, we love you so much. Grandaddy and I were aware that you were going through so many things, but really didn’t know much. We prayed that you could overcome the hardships you were dealing with. I am so proud of you and how you are moving forward with your life. I know with God’s help you can overcome. With God and time, you will be able to have a wonderful life with all of your family who love you so much. We are so glad that you have moved to Memphis. God continues to bless you and will help you put the bitterness behind as you both grow together in love and faithfulness. Grandaddy and I are so proud of you. It will be so exciting to be together with our loved ones I again.

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  4. Kendall, I am so sorry for all that you had to go through. Your right, we don’t always see the whole story from the outside looking in. You are awesome young man, and I am so proud of you for having the courage to stand up for yourself and to share your story so that you might help others. I have always loved your mom dearly, and you and your brothers along with you mom and grandmother are all very special to me. I hope that you now move forward in your life and leave all negativity and bitterness behind you. You and your wife will be in my prayers. Kendall, if you decide to have children one day, I think you will be an awesome father!


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