The politics of my name

Here is my (micro) identity crisis…

Crisis I: My name is supposed to be pronounced “Brook” (ብሩክ) but for some weird reason it was always written in English as “biruk” (ቢሩክ) in all my official documents. This didn’t matter when I lived in ET but living abroad means that I have to explain this nuance to almost everyone I know (literally), when they get to see how my name is spelled 🙂

Crisis II: This hurdle began when I applied for my passport for the first time some years ago, when some pen pusher at the immigration office decided to put in the wrong birthday. Back in those days getting an ET passport was a hustle and deciding to change it was going to be a bureaucratic nightmare. So I went on and did all my collage application with the wrong birthday. From then on I am 10 days older in all my official documents and I get more “happy birthday” emails on my fake birthday than on the real one 🙂 ..

Crisis III: This is again caused by the policy of the immigration office. Since we don’t have the last name system in Ethiopia, when I applied for my passport, my grandfather’s name became my last name. But not only that, the same office deiced to join my name and my father’s name into a one long first name. Oh, how many times I had to correct people when they struggled to call me with this long ass name (In the wise words of Bill Burr, “It’s brutal ” 🙂 ). This last name thing also means that I have to be called after my grandfather whom I have never met and who really didn’t have to do anything with my upbringing. It has been many years and I still can’t get used to being called with this last name, it sort of feels like being identified with a token or something like a prison id 🙂

Crisis IV: This one is just a self inflicted. Inspired by the story of some engineer, who legally changed his name to small letters, I sign my name on emails as biRuk. So the other week I received an official email which started as Dear Mr biRuk 🙂…So I am this person whose name has been spelt wrong throughout my life, who also has the predicament of being called after my grandfather, whom I have never met and to put the icing on the cake, I also have to confuse between two birth dates…

Could this be labeled as a micro identity crisis ? 🙂

እንደዚህ አይነት ትግል ነው የገጠመን 🙂

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