What it’s Like to Grow Up With a Weird Name

Throughout my school years, I always dreaded roll call and attendance. I anticipated the moment the teacher would stop. There would be a brief pause and a confused look. Then an attempt to pronounce my name. There have only been a handful of times when a teacher pronounced my name correctly on the first try.

For the record, my name is MyChalia. It’s pronounced Makayla.

Yes, the C is capitalized. No, it’s not misspelled. Yes, there’s a silent I.

So, you can see why attendance was always dreaded for me. Despite this, the weird spelling has garnered me a few fun nicknames. I’ve been called, Ma-chay-lea, My chinchilla, Ma-cah-lea, and so many more. The nicknames got to the point where some of my friends would only pronounce my name incorrectly.

In spite of the teasing and the endless list of mispronunciations, I love my name. The unique spelling of my name has become an important part of my identity.

I’ve had countless conversations with Lyft drivers, baristas, and other people I meet about the unique spelling of my name. They always comment on how they think the spelling is beautiful or just different. I’ve even had a friend say she wants to name her child MyChalia.

Also, I have a running gag with my friends to see what the weirdest spelling would be on my Starbucks cup. So far, it’s been Mycalya.

I’ve been asked many times if I would ever change my name. There was a time when I would have said yes. Now, I couldn’t even fathom having a different name. I appreciate all that comes with having a unique name.

My name is MyChalia and I wouldn’t change that for a thing.


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