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Personal History for Brian Leonard

Just The Facts

What is your name (first, middle, maiden name, last)? Do you like your name? If you could, would you choose another? What name would you choose? Who were you named for?

Brian Joseph Francis Leonard. I was named after no one-that I know. In fact my name was supposed to be "April" as everyone was hoping for a girl! My middle name is after my Grandpa Joe and Francis is from St. Francis - I chose this as my confirmation name. My favorite nicknames were Flyin' Brian and Crazy Legs Leonard. Flyin' Brian came from my Evil Knievel dare devil side and Crazy Legs was from Basketball where apparently my stringy legs did contortions as I went up for a trick like layup! I've never been that happy with my name. I was a bit of a mumbler and many people think I'm saying "Ryan" instead of Brian! When I was a kid I wanted people to call myself "BJ" after one of my favorite shows "BJ and the Bear". Mom tried and so did Grandma but it didn't stick. I remember at some point - maybe in my first punk rock band - flirting with a different name. I think I called myself "Tree" - again it didn't stick. Was I trying to escape myself? I met a hostess at L&N Seafood, Bernadette Yamin. I began to flirt with other names in my band. I was Willow Rae, Raymond Pomeroy and William Raise and when I went solo, I was Monkshood. I was getting more succesfull at escaping myself. Was my personality splitting? Was I shaking my history off? Sure - I was free, for a while of the Brian that just berated himself into the ground was self recriminating thoughts of "not good enough, too shy, too slow, not handsome, not comfortable, an alien etc. etc. etc... As I went up the ranks in the restaurant industry I worked in a restaurant that had some 30 employees on a given night. I came up with my food service name... I would call myself "Vern". It cut through the din and noise of restaurant hustle, bustle and noise - so when I was needed - I could be found easily! It allowed me to stay anonymous outside of work. Today I am just "Brian"... I have pulled together my congregation of selves that were left abandoned because the anxiety was too high and the future so dim that I had to shut them away from the world. I am proud of my struggle as a human. I was stuck with a younger man who sought to be perfect while now I am at peace with the man I have evolved to be. The evolution is not done as I have learned self-gentleness, self- forgiveness and the welcoming of a whole life adventure on this uncertain planet.