A brief overview and history of my name.
I was born Timothy Warin Bruhn in 1972 by my mom and dad.
In the 80s my parents divorced and I went to go live with my mom and my new stepfather. He was a Korean man with the surname Kim. My mom asked me if I would consider changing my surname to Kim in order to maintain a sense of continuity and peace in the household. Since I identify with being Korean, I agreed.
That’s how I became known as “Tim Kim” to my chagrin. If I had been a more thoughtful youth, I would have gone by T. Warin Kim, but there you have it.
After my stepdad abandoned my mom I had no reason to keep his blighted name, so I let myself lapse into Tim Bruhn.
It sat there, just being a white-coded name for a long time. Occasionally I’d have white dudes try to explain my own name to me when I wrote anti-racist screeds and essays. “You know that your name is German”. Duh. I know.
I’m in the midst of changing my name yet again, and this time doing it on my own terms. Returning from Korean after burying my mom I’ve decided that keeping my family surname on that side of my family is really important to me. To that end, on Facebook, I’ve changed my username to Tim Bruhn Yang. Yang of course being my Korean family’s surname.
It’s a positive, bright name.