Thursday, February 20, 2014

Name Frustration

I saw this article on Buzzfeed yesterday and found that I could relate to several of the items listed.  Before I proceed, let me assure you that I really like my name.  I am not at all annoyed with my parents for naming me Celia.  But I will say that having a unique first name has led to some uncomfortable situations.
  • Every time I answer the phone at work:  *Phone rings.*  "Unalp CPA.  This is Celia."  "Oh hello, Julia, is Melodie available?"  "Yes, let me transfer your call over to her."  "Thank you, Julia."  I feel like if I ever want people to hear my name correctly over the phone I'm going to have to hiss out the first syllable like a snake.  "This is C-s-s-s-elia."
  • Every time I go to a place like Jamba Juice and they ask for a name to match to the order, I cringe a little.  Do I give them my first name?  My last name?  My middle name just for kicks?  There was one time I told the girl behind the counter my name.  She looked uncomfortable and confused so I spelled it out for her.  "C-E-L-I-A."  A look of comprehension finally dawned on her face and she said, "Oh, for a moment there I thought you were saying Si-we-uh.  Okay, that makes more sense."  Really?  Do I need speech therapy now as well as a new name? 
  • On the first day of school in 5th grade, my teacher read out the roll.  When she came to my name, she said, "Cell-ya Christensen?"  Being the shy little 10-year old that I was at the time, I didn't correct her.  At recess, all the other kids were telling me that I needed to tell Mrs. Cashion that she was saying my name wrong.  Why this was such a difficult thing for me I have no idea.  I finally gathered up my courage to tell my teacher she was saying my name wrong just after the bell rang to go home for the day.  So stressful! ;)
  • People constantly spell my name wrong.  I can understand how that might happen but it can still be annoying sometimes.  I saw Cilia on Valentine's cards in elementary school far too often.  People who had known me for years sent me cards in the mail that were addressed to Ceila Christensen.  (My last name has been spelled a variety of ways as well:  Christiansen, Christenson, Christianson...the list goes on.)  The one that gets me the most is when people write Cecilia.  There is only one C in my name when you say my name.  ONE C!!!  My name has two syllables, NOT THREE!  (Although, some people disagree with me on that and say that the proper way to say my name does actually have three syllables, but that's a whole other story.)
  • Because my name is difficult for some to pronounce, I have had to come up with an easy way to explain it.  In high school, I started telling people, "It's SEAL, like the animal, and YA, like 'See ya later.' Seal-ya."  Explaining it that way made sense to people but it also gave me the nickname of Seal, a term of endearment that endures to this day.  I used to dislike it but now it's just what close friends call me.  (If you don't call me that on a regular basis already, don't get any ideas.  Only a select few are allowed to call me that.)
So, the next time you see my name on a name tag, I would actually prefer you to ask me how I say my name rather than you trying to figure it out and butchering it.