Hello, My Name Is…
Image Source: Etsy
In the span of a work week, my name gets butchered so many times that sometimes, I don’t even notice until a coworker says something like “How many times are they going to call you ‘Sylvia’ before they realize your name is ‘Sylvie’?”
I can only imagine the spelling mishaps that would occur if I used my full name, Sylvania Tse, professionally.
Growing up with such a hard-to-spell-and-pronounce name was tough. My classmates would make jokes, relating my name to Transylvania, Pennsylvania, or most traumatizing, calling me saliva. Even now, when I have to give my full name at doctors’ offices or over the phone with my credit card company, it is a slow process that tests my patience, with me often having to spell out my name a couple of times to a confused staffer.
This is why I understand the recent uproar around the “Dear Abby” advice column, suggesting that parents “rethink” giving their children traditional Indian names as it will “saddle” the kid with having to explain and correct their name throughout their lives. It’s something I’ve lived through. I remember the first day of second grade, when being sorted into classes, the anxiety I felt waiting for my name to be called and then having to correct not only the teacher’s mispronunciation, but also ask her to correct the misspelling of my name in my official school file. It’s seared into my memory and not something I wish on any seven-year-old.
That’s one reason why I use a shortened version of my name now (though my family and oldest friends still call me Sylvania). While I did choose to simplify my name, I’ve come to appreciate the name my parents gave me and how unique it is. In a way, I think the name you’re given does contribute to shaping the life you live. And I can’t imagine my life with any other name!
Posted by Sylvie