I stared at the piece of paper in front of me, not wanting to blink for fear of it all being a dream. For years, I had wanted to change my name to escape my past, and after six years of hesitation, I had finally done it. The black ink on the page before me represented my new life, and more importantly, my freedom from the family that had kept me under its thumb for almost sixty years. Yes, I am a non-traditional senior citizen applicant, and yes, my name is Butt Thompson.
A lot of people ask me why I changed my name from Jonathan Huang to Butt Thompson, including the boy at the grocery store who picked up my ID when I dropped it on the floor of the seafood aisle. The answer that I give is always the same: "Don't you like butts?" They usually look at me with an unsure smile, and then I reply, "exactly, so why wouldn't you want that to be your name?" For me, my choice of name was the consummation of my choice to be happy. Very few people understood, but when they did, they usually laughed and said "this guy knows what he's talking about."
I am an Asian American man born in San Francisco. When I was a young boy, my grandfather would always tell me, "Jonathan, you need to grow up to be big strong boy. You need to provide for family." I would always say, "Grandpa, I do not want to provide for my family. I only want to have a good life for myself." He would then pick me up and throw me over his lap and then spank my butt sixteen times in rapid succession. Therefore, for me, choosing the name Butt Thompson is not just about having a fun and happy life. It is about reclaiming painful experiences and empowering myself to make them my own.
That is why I want to go to law school. Some people will continue to live their life as Jonathans who got spanked by their grandpa. However, I changed my name Butt Thompson, so that memory does not bother me anymore.
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