Aubrey Portwood

What’s in a Name?

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Well, for years I’ve been going by Aubrey Island on the Interwebz. This started off as a joke, back in my beginnings with college and it stuck! I’ve been using it ever since. It even twined its way into my real life, I am known by friends and clients as Aubrey Island. So, over the past few years, with graduation coming up (yup! December baby!), and my future ahead of me [which is always true for everyone, I guess], I was considering changing my name permanently to Aubrey Island.

Once the situation came into my head, I started thinking about a lot of things that are involved in a name. Like family, reputations, even brand. Island has even become a brand for me locally among my clients, etc. Being Aubrey Island is for sure more interesting. My actual name is Aubrey Portwood. It has been my name since I was born. Though, my mother put me down in grade school as Aubrey King (her last name). King, as a last name, was also considered.

Once I really started thinking about it, I really started thinking about what I really wanted. Island was sort-of a joke, almost a pen-name I used. King is my grandfather’s last name (who my first name is named after), he was Aubrey King. Portwood, though, I’ve never really considered my name. Growing up I went by Aubrey King, when I started college the confusion started the joke that I should just change it to Island, and it stuck!

My new-found spirit in Buddhism has shown me a little more about my respect for my parents. My father was never there for me, in fact he was completely absent. He died one summer, and I never even got to meet him. I had no resentful feelings towards him, yet I really didn’t have many feelings at all. This would all change as I got older, I wish  had the opportunity to meet him, at least. So, I never really was too attached to the name Portwood. Though, Portwood is about all I got left of him.

Within the last few months I’ve been really giving thought to keeping Portwood as my last name. My dad did give me one thing… life. Thinking about Buddhism the last few months has given weight to that. I am my dad. No matter how un-involved he was, he was involved in this way. I’m not going to get into a Buddhism lecture about birth and suffering. But, I can’t just blot that part of me out of my life. When it really got down to really changing my name, I felt uneasy about it. Thoughts like these started coming forward. So, I’ve given strong consideration to keeping my name as it is, and I think I may be going with that in the future.