Ch 3. Ex 6. Pick a New Name.

If you had to select a new name, what would it be and why? Names help us forge identity. Changing the name can be prophetic.


I don’t want a new name. The idea is offensive. The author explains that she feels having an unusual name has helped to define her. I feel the same way. My first name may be odd, but it has come to represent me quite totally.


My last name is also precious to me since it is the name I chose for myself. It is my mother’s maiden name.  My father left when I was only a few weeks old. He signed blank adoption papers that would allow anyone to adopt me if my mother wished it. He didn’t have any interest in me at all after that. My mother’s second husband did adopt me and I grew up with his name. It was good since my brother and I had the same last name. It contributed to building a bond between us but the name itself bothered me. My Mom  divorced my brother’s father when I was about 13. He didn’t do much to stay involved (not that he was particularly involved before). He was, to put it mildly, not a very good person. Why would I want to use his name? My grandparents were the ones who mattered to me. They provided moral and physical guidance. My grandfather was as close to a “father” as I ever had. I chose to take his name when I became an adult. I would never give that up.


I understand why people change their names. I see the beauty of it. It is rebellion. It is self-definition. It is brave. I just don’t need it.


I tried thinking about the names I would have picked if I had ever had a child. That did not help. Those names are blank. They are meant for someone who will grow to embody them, not for someone who is already themselves.


Ultimately, I guess, if I must answer the question. I might choose Leo Black. I never particularly liked my middle name. It has little relevance or meaning and I did consider changing it a few times. I never thought it was worth the trouble but if I did, I would probably chose Leo.


The name Leo, like my first name, works well for a girl or a boy. I like that. It is the name of a character in a story my Grandfather used to tell me.”Leo, Cleo and Theo” were brother lions who lived in the Bamboo Jungle behind out house. The character of Leo still lives in my mind and he has come to represent safety, security and love. He is afraid but he conquers his fears. He loves everyone and is always willing to help. he is adventurous and exciting but he isn’t careless or reckless or wild. If I had to have a new name, that name would make me feel good.