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What’s In A Name? (An Updated Repost)

I am cheating a bit this week and reposting some of my old blog posts with some updates from my life as I see it now.

Kids can be cruel. In elementary school, anything that sets you apart can be a catalyst for open ridicule and teasing. Not only was I one of the ONLY Asian students in the entire school – which by the way was in a small town, so the ENTIRE school was not that big, but in the sea of Anglo Saxons, my black hair, slanted eyes and unique name made me stand out big time. And I was also one of the smartest girls in every class I was in. (How’s that for stereotype?)

My name was devised by my mother. “Hanssie” is the phonetic spelling of my Chinese name. It means a type of poem from the “Han” people, who are the largest ethnic group in China. It is pronounced pretty much how it is spelled (rhymes with “fancy.”)

For a little girl longing to fit in with everyone else, I hated my name. But even more so, coupled with the fact that I have no middle name, and my maiden last name was “Ho.” Yes, that’s right, even as I type this I cringe. It was bad enough in grade school, but man, in high school…well, you can only imagine. Imagine the awkwardness of high school and add puberty and emotions and acne and the name “Hanssie Ho.” How unimaginably cruel. (And the horror remained after college when I had to go back to the same high school as a substitute teacher…that’s a story for another day).

In college, to my immense relief, I got engaged to a man with a relatively normal last name. Even so, when our wedding announcement made it to the papers, the “Ho-Trainer” wedding made it’s debut on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show as one of the “Headlines.” Go ahead and laugh. It’s pretty funny, especially since the paper misspelled “Trainor.”

After the divorce, I chose to keep my married name mostly because well, not only is my business under my last name, but the hassle of trying to change everything over again gives me a headache. Honestly though, as proud as I am of my heritage and my family, I don’t think I could ever go back to the last name, ” Ho.” So, either I remarry and take on a new last name, die with my ex’s last name or just have a symbol like Prince. Oh the options…

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[...] My last name has always been an issue growing up and once I got married, I happily changed it. Read about it in my previous post HERE. [...]

Liz - December 11, 2012 - 10:56 am

In the book “Wild” she gives herself a new last name that she chose for herself. The author became Cheryl Strayed becuase she felt like a stray without a home…

Katie - December 10, 2012 - 11:57 am

I don’t have kids and the decision to go back to my maiden name (mostly because of my business) or not was so difficult!! Eventually, I decided to re-brand and include my middle name – BUT there is already a Katie Jane Photography in new york! Grr! So now I have “Katie Jane Creative Studio” and am going back to my maiden name. If I had kids, it’d probably be different. Amanek may be funky, but at least it’s not Ho…

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