To those of you that have known me prior to May of 2008, you may have known me under a different name.
In August of 2006 I had a very detailed and pointed conversation with my father relating to the events of CFB Namao and his parenting skills and abilities. These conversations continued on for about a month until Richard got bored.
It was then that I realized that there was never going to be a “father – son” relationship between the two of us. His ideals of family norms seem to have been shaped by television and popular media. Not the slightest were his ideas based in reality. This may have been a side effect of his having been in the Canadian Armed Forces since his 17th birthday and not having any idea of what the real world function like. The chain of command told him all he needed to know. His station was not to question.
I decided that seeing as how my past was acting like such an anchor I’d do something that I had always wanted to do.
Change my name.
It’s actually not a hard process to undertake, but there is a process none the less.
First, you have to choose your name and how much of your name you want to change.
I changed my entire name.
First name, middle name, and last name.
The first name was easy. I never really like the name “Robert”. As a kid friends of the family had always called me Robbie or Bobby. Both names had an appeal to me. Bobbie even more so than Robbie. Robbie was still too close to “Robert” for my liking. Bobby I didn’t like as it was too “male”. However, I did like “Bobbie”.
Bobbie is an interesting name. Bobby is the masculine spelling. Bobbi is the feminine spelling. And Bobbie is the unisex spelling. Throughout the last 100 years according to the various censuses, Bobbie has gone between being a dominant male baby name to being a dominant female baby name. The unisex aspect of it appealed to me as I’ve never really identified as either male or female.
It took a while to decide on my last name. It wasn’t until I was working as a canvaser for the 2008 City of Vancouver Municipal Election that I came across my last name. I had decided when I wanted to change my name that I wanted my last name to complement my first name. As I was making my way though a voters list I came across someone with the last name of “Bees”. I did a bit of research on the Internet. Turns out the surname Bees has quite a long history behind it.
I also liked the name “Bobbie Bees” because it actually has a lot of “B’s” in it.
So, please with my new name I decided to head off to the Vital Statistics office to initiate the process. This was basically collecting all of the paperwork required and then filling out the paperwork.
“Bobbie Bees” was almost my new name until I was ready to submit my paperwork. When I took the paperwork in, the worker at the counter asked me if I really only wanted a surname and a family name without a middle name. I hadn’t really planned on having a middle name as I’d never really used my previous middle name. The worker suggested that I should pick a new middle name as this would give me an alternative name that I could use depending on the situation. The worker suggested that I choose my birthstone as my new middle name.
My birthstone is sapphire.
The worker agreed with me that “Bobbie Sapphire” and “Sapphire Bees” both sounded like stripper names.
In the list of birthstones I happened to spy “Garnet”.
I checked the definition of “garnet” in the dictionary. It was a red coloured gemstone known for its abrasive qualities.
And Garnet was also the name of one of my favourite characters from Final Fantasy IX. So Garnet it was.
Now that my new name was chosen, it was time to finalize the paperwork and pay the fees. I also had to attend the fingerprinting section of RCMP “E” division headquarters to get my finger prints checked.
I couple of weeks later I received a letter from the RCMP notifying Vital Statistics in both BC and Nova Scotia that I had passed the records check and that there was no reason to deny me the name change request.
The next letter I received from from Nova Scotia congratulating me on the name change and letting me know how to request new birth certificates and how to properly destroy my old certificates.
All my other ID had to be updated as well.
At this point in time I’m of the opinion that people should have “childhood” names and “adult” names. Childhood names are often picked by people who don’t have any idea of what their child would like to be named and they pick the names based upon reasons that may mean nothing to the child. When a child turns 16, they should be encouraged to pick a new name that suits them, that suits their identity, and fits with their idea of the world that surrounds them.
There were some unintended consequences of my name change.
In 2008, I hadn’t spoken to my mother since February of 1992 when I moved to Vancouver, BC. When I legally changed my name, my “dead name” ceased to exist. The only place my “dead name” exists is within law enforcement. Even today, I am not allowed to use my “dead name” for any legal purpose.
My mother would have turned 65 in 2011. So she would have been eligible to collect her CPP. For some reason she had to be able to prove to CPP how many dependent children she had had. She requested my brothers birth certificate from the Nova Scotia government. But when she tried to obtain mine, the Nova Scotia government told her that my birth certificate was restricted and that she could not have a copy.
When I tracked my mother down in late 2013 to ask her about some of the answers my father had given me in a Federal Court of Canada matter she said that she was surprised to hear from me. She explained that when the Nova Scotia government wouldn’t give her a copy of my birth certificate she had assumed that I was dead.
She didn’t really seem to care that I was still alive. But I think at that point in her life she was just too broken down and defeated to care.
I’ve been Bobbie Bees for over 12 years at this point in my life. I wasn’t able to kill off Robert like I had hoped I would have been to. “Robert” lives on due to the trauma , neglect, and abuse he was subjected to. “Robert” and the people that harmed him will be with me until the day I die.
But at least Bobbie Garnet Bees allows me a respite from “Robert”.