The one question that I get asked more than any other is, “Is Tiger really your middle name?”
Most of the time the question is asked out of curiosity because it is an unusual name, and sometimes there’s a glint in their eye that tells me that they are hoping that it’s some marketing ploy and they just found me out.
I hate to let anyone down, but the truth is, I added Tiger to my name because I loved my Dad.
My Dad’s nicknames for me since I was a little girl was “Tiger” and “Tiger Brown.” In fact, I don’t have a single memory of him referring to me as “Tara” except for when I was in big fat trouble.
My Dad died on December 19th, 2010 after battling colon cancer. To remember and honor his memory, I added “Tiger” to my middle name. It’s really that simple. It’s really a bonus that I was born in the year of the Tiger and it happens to be my favorite animal.
Another question I get asked is if it’s legal – meaning did I change it on my Passports or Drivers License. The answer is no, I didn’t. At the time of my decision, I was living as a permanent resident in the US and traveling a lot. If you have ever changed your name, you know it’s difficult. If you have ever changed your name while living in another country you know it’s the most painful experience of you life. And now that I’m a citizen of two countries and living in a third country where I can barely speak the language, there is no way that I’m going to change a single letter or katakana on my legal documents. That being said, my husband informed me that in the US, usage is 9/10th of the law, and because I’ve been using it since December 2010, then technically it’s legal. I haven’t looked into it myself so there might be some caveat there.
Maybe one day when I’m settled in one place, then I will change it “legally.” Then again, my legal middle name is related to my Mom, so I would hate to lose that connection with her.
So, yes, Tiger is really my middle name because I choose it to be, not because the government recognizes it as such, but because it’s important to me.