Things You Only Understand If People Can Never Spell Your Name Right

     Your name is one of the most important parts of your identity. It’s the first thing you learn about yourself, and most people go by the same name their whole life. So if you have a unique name that nobody can ever seem to get right, you learn very early on how much of a pain that can be. Whether you have an ethnic name that’s uncommon where you live or simply a unique spelling of a common name, I think we can all agree that there are certain struggles that our counterparts with easier names will never truly understand.

  • You’ve learned that simply saying “My name is [name], with/without [insert arbitrary letter here]” usually doesn’t communicate to people how to actually spell your name.
  • My name is quite literally “Christina” without an “H”, but if I tell people that my name is “Cristina, without an H”, they’ll usually spell it “Kristina”? I don’t get it.
  • So when you’re introducing yourself to someone, you spell your name out for them.
  • Person: what’s your name? Me: Cristina, that’s C-R-I-S-T-I-N-A
  • You have a deep-seated (yet totally justifiable) fear that your name will be spelt wrong on important documents, such as your driver’s license or passport.
  • This hasn’t happened to me thankfully, but I remember as a kindergartener having a meltdown because my name was spelled wrong on my shiny new lunch card. As a sophomore in high school I was forced by my mother to speak to the yearbook director about why my name was misspelled in the previous year’s book. It’s probably worth noting that I hate confrontation.
  • People always want to know what your ethnicity is (because of course only “exotic” people can have unique names).
  • For the record, my parents named me Cristina because my mother is Latina and my father is Italian, and the name happens to work in both Spanish and Italian.  So yes, in my case my name is indicative of my ethnicity, but a lot of people have names that come from a culture or language other than their own. So please don’t make assumptions.  
  • If you have a unique spelling of a common name, you’ve probably had at least one person question whether you’re actually spelling it right.  
  • “But isn’t Cristina usually spelt with an ‘H’?”  is something I get all the time. Yes, most people with my name do spell it with an “H”, but I don’t.  Besides, it’s far from the only name for which there is more than one accepted spelling.
  • But despite all of the struggles, you know that there are some serious upsides to having a unique name.  

     When you were in school, you rarely (if ever) had to deal with sharing a first name with another kid in your class (I went to school with a few “Christinas” but never another “Cristina”.  You can create a social media username based on your name without having to tack a bunch of numbers on the end. People tell you all the time that they like your name. Above all, though, you know that your name is a part of your identity and you embrace it as such.  

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