Fearless

Fearless Brooks learns to appreciate the meaning and importance of his name
While writing “I am Fearless,” Fearless wears a handmade bracelet displaying his name, which showcases his appreciation towards his name. During high school, Fearless finally accepted the significance of his name. He felt proud and appreciative to have such a memorable name. “My parents gave me a solid, unique name that is an adjective and you can [find] my name in the dictionary,” Fearless said.
While writing “I am Fearless,” Fearless wears a handmade bracelet displaying his name, which showcases his appreciation towards his name. During high school, Fearless finally accepted the significance of his name. He felt proud and appreciative to have such a memorable name. “My parents gave me a solid, unique name that is an adjective and you can [find] my name in the dictionary,” Fearless said.
Lathan Levy

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Our own specific name carries a legacy of our culture, our history and our family. While it may be a simple word that differentiates us from another individual, our name is a constant piece of ourselves that accompanies us throughout our lives. A name is a piece of our identity. It is the most intimate word we immediately respond to or a conversation starter when meeting a new person. 

While some names could be short and sweet, a powerful name that carries deep significance is Fearless Christian-Soldier Brooks. Junior Fearless Brooks’ name was crafted by his parents, who poured their time and thoughts into its meanings. Described by his mom Joya Brooks, his first name Fearless means “to not be afraid.” With their spiritual background, his middle name is Christian-Soldier which illustrates that he “is to not fear anyone but God.” Lastly, his last name is the same as his father’s.

The origins

At first, Joya hoped her children would learn to love their names unlike her experience with her name. Growing up, Joya preferred to go by the nickname Gigi, named from her parents favorite French musical. But, she came to realize that her true name Joya, which means to bring joy, was a lot more beautiful. 

“I know that the power of words can bring life or death into a situation,” Joya said. “I felt it was very important that all of my children’s names had meaning and that they understood what their name meant. A person’s name is something that stays with them forever.”

Joya’s family comes from African and Native American roots. Thus, especially from those cultures along with their family’s spiritual belief, names are so important. Names bring meaning and names bring life into an individual, which is shown through their family’s names. 

“My older sister’s name is BeLov’ed, which means to be [dearly] loved,” Fearless said. “My little brother’s name is Courageous. So, I would say it’s a trend for us. My parents really wanted me to have a strong, powerful name.”

Fearless’ traits of being daring and distinct is similar to the uniqueness of his name. For instance, his mother characterizes Fearless as an “old soul” and someone who is “dancing to his own drum beat.” Also, longtime friend since sixth grade junior Hiro Cockrell outlines him as a person who is “not scared to be himself and voice his opinion.” Fearless himself similarly defines himself by those beliefs. 

“I believe in honesty,” Fearless said. “[It’s] a very important value that people should have. I don’t try to sugarcoat anything for people, so I’m going to be very blunt with you about how I feel. I also believe in self righteousness. You [should] do things for yourself and be able to do that without causing problems for another person.”

Growing up

Living with a name as rare as Fearless comes with questions and curiosity. Some people couldn’t grasp the fact that his name was truly Fearless. Some people would probe endless questions or make jokes with his name. 

“As early as Pre-K, when adults would find out what my name is, they would often be confused or they would have questions and ask my parents questions,” Fearless said. “Through all of elementary school, no one would believe that Fearless was my actual name. So, when I was younger, I really hated my name.”

Elementary school and middle school consisted of constant inquiries of familiarizing themselves with why Fearless was named Fearless or simply asking if that was his name. Constant repetitive questions drilled Fearless down. Constant skeptics annoyed him, as he retold the same story. 

“People [did] not believe me, like ‘Hey Fearless, are you really Fearless?’” Fearless said. “I’m like ‘Dude, are we really doing this?’ There’s been a time where a kid didn’t believe that Fearless was my name. He would not be convinced. So, I had to call my mom and have her tell him that this is my actual birth name. I did get an apology.”

All these questions made Fearless cultivate negative emotions towards his name. But slowly Fearless learned more about his dislikes and likes, as a lot of his friends started getting into “Pokemon cards” and he joined them. This process of learning about himself made him find his people, so Fearless began to feel comfortable with himself. When Fearless displayed his true opinions and was unafraid to be who he is, this allowed him to make connections with similar individuals.

“In sixth grade, I was terrified of making friends,” Cockrell said. “When I first met him, we would talk about how it’s so annoying how people make corny jokes about our names, [which was] something we have in common. He was so chill, and I wasn’t afraid of him as I was with most people in our school.” 

Acceptance

From having a hostile relationship with his name, Fearless now appreciates how his uncommon name enables people to get a glimpse as to who he is as a person. Similarly, Cockrell now makes jokes about being abundant, which is the meaning of her name. Her full name is Hiroko, named after her Japanese grandmother who immigrated from Okinawa after World War II. 

“I always kind-of felt like an outcast in middle school, that’s how Fearless and I found each other,” Cockrell said. “[But], being different and embracing that uniqueness is very powerful. Fearless very openly loves the color pink. I admire that he’s willing to be himself and embrace his masculinity, even though it’s not what society would typically deem [as] masculine.”

Although Fearless states that his biggest fear is “being forgotten,” this worry stays hidden in the back of his mind. He is surrounded by friends and feels a sense of belonging. This transition and being in high school presents a new stage in Fearless’ life. 

“I’ve gotten to the point of my life where I don’t have a reason where I need to be uncomfortable around anyone,” Fearless said. “I don’t get many questions about my name [anymore], because at this point, people know who I am. People know there’s a guy named Fearless lurking around these halls somewhere. I can pretty much be comfortable in almost any situation now, because I am being my authentic self and I’m not lying about who I am.”

Joya hopes that Fearless is continually aware of how his name is crucial to his identity. That soul that lives within each one of her children is what Joya hopes Fearless persists to love and nurture throughout his life. 

“All of my children are products of the hard work, blood, sweat equity and tears that my parents and my parents’ parents poured into us, trying to make a better life,” Joya said. “I never wanted any of my children to lose focus of who they are. If people call them by their legal rightful name, they are still speaking life into my children. No matter how upset they may be, they’re still speaking Fearless into his life.” 

Now, Fearless exists by being unapologetically himself and content with who he is today. He feels completely at ease expressing his views. This was created from a process of learning to appreciate his name and discovering what his name truly means for him. Now more than ever, Fearless just loves being fearless. 

“As I get older and meet more people, every time people ask me about my name that gives me a chance to immediately show them how my personality works,” Fearless said. “My name wows people and causes me to shock them before they even know me. My name by itself makes me stand out and [makes me] unforgettable.”

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