My Chinese name 赵婧仪(zhao jing yi) means elegant noble woman. It’s really feminine, and it embodies the expectations of who my parents intended me to be. So instead, I decided to adopt a masculine English name, so as shatter those expectations and reinvent myself.
When I was in the 5th grade, our English teacher asked the entire class to choose our English names. I listed my choices as follows:
Harry Potter was really popular back then, when I was growing up, and was probably the most desired English name.
My 2nd choice was Daniel. When I was in the 5th grade, I was not only interested in the character “Harry Potter”, but also the actor that played him, Daniel Radcliffe. I had hopes of someday marrying him, but first I had to meet him, and thought that naming myself Daniel would be a good first step. I imagined the scenario playing out to be a chance encounter, I’d be sitting/standing next to him in some public place, and people would recognize him and call out his name, “Daniel!”. I’d respond to that, pretend to be surprised, and then casually mention to him, “oh, your name is Daniel too, nice to meet you, I’m Daniel…”
I forgot why I chose Lester as my 3rd choice.
My first choice was quickly taken by another girl, so I went with my second choice, and I became Daniel.