Let’s be honest, right off the bat, you probably don’t know how to pronounce my name correctly (which is completely okay). Maybe you think it’s pronounced “Dah-nee-ya” or “Day-ni-ya,” but it’s actually pronounced “Dahn-ya.” People mispronouncing my name is nothing new – it’s been occurring my entire life. However, I’ve noticed recently that there have been many times I simply let the mispronunciations slide without any correction. And I realized I always shorten my name to “Dani” whenever I order my iced matcha lattes at Starbucks.
Why exactly do I do that?
Well, it feels like an inconvenience to try and correct people or to try and spell out my name in the long Starbucks line. Instead, I keep quiet and let people refer to me as something I don’t identify myself with just so it’s not too much of a hassle for the baristas. I’ve also noticed that my friends from various cultural backgrounds share the same struggle. One time, I even met someone that went by something completely different than their actual name just because it was easier for others to pronounce; this quite frankly broke my heart because I wish they didn’t feel the need to do so. I think it’s one thing to go by a nickname you like, but it’s another to go by a name you’ve never been referred to before and don’t really like just for others’ convenience. No one should have to do that.
My name originates from an Arabic word that means “close” or “near.” I suggest you look up what the meaning of your name is too if you don’t already know what it is. It will most likely result in a very interesting history lesson about when your name originated from and how. It will also make you grow a certain fondness and sense of pride. Like, “WOW. That’s MY name they’re talking about.”
Just take the time to think about your name a little more: after all, it is a huge part of who you are. You write your name on every test paper you receive, whenever someone tries to get a hold of you they say your name, you see your name every time you log into your laptop, etc. Although it may not seem like a big deal, you are always going to be surrounded by your name and you deserve to own it and feel comfortable with it.
All this is to say that it’s okay to take a few moments out of your day to correct those who don’t know how to pronounce your name. You are not bothersome, and you owe it to yourself to be called what feels the most natural to you. It’s a form of self-love.