What's in a name?

August 5, 2016

 

Changing your name is sort of a big deal, if not for any other reason than the paper work & money it involves. So, I spent a lot of time contemplating: to change my name to Wren Brian or not to change my name to Wren Brian that is the question. Whether it is nobler to stick with the last name Hookey or take arms against the patriarchy...and so on. As you may have guessed, I decided to change it. If you want to know why, keep on reading!

 

Hookey is my father's family name and was the last name given to me at birth, because when my parents got married in the mid 80s it was still sort of rare for women to keep their family name after marriage. My mom's family name is Brian, which she changed back to after the divorce. The interesting thing about it is, that wasn't the family name my grandfather was born with, he and my grandmother chose it together (well...she chose it, he happily went along with it) and he legally changed his name just before they got married. I wish the reasons for this were progressive and feminist, but alas, it was more that there used to be a lot of stigma attached to Polish sounding names in the 1950s, and my grandfather's family wasn't great to him (long story), and according to my grandmother, she chose the last name Brian after the actor David Brian...so weird origin story, but it's still sort of cool.

 

But why did I want to change my name? Well, I like the custom/idea of a mother passing on her name to her daughters and a father passing on his name to his sons. The last name Hookey...well, it's not always smooth sailing (so many jokes, all the jokes), so I'm attracted to the idea of just starting that tradition now with me. Admittedly I've also never been 100% okay with my birth name. Wren Hookey. If people aren't hung up by the first name they're making jokes about the last name. I've made my peace with my first name (and even love it now), and was resigned to my last name for a while, but I was never completely happy with it, so I figured it was time to think about doing something about it.

 

Is it maybe a waste of money to change it? Will it confuse people who've met me as Wren Hookey? Could I survive without changing it? Yes, but after a lot of thinking I realized that looking at my name and feeling 100% happy about it is worth all the bother.

If you're wondering, this is the actor David Brian who my grandma fancied. She named her only son David and ironically her first daughter was born on the actor's birthday too as if that's not a bit freaky.

 

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