Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

A few years ago, my friend told me her teachers don’t pronounce her name right. It filled me with rage that people thought they could disrespect her like that. This girl was essentially my younger sister; I remember when she moved in next door, how we grew up together. When I heard about how she was being treated, my advice to her was to walk up to them, look them dead in the eyes, and say “That’s not how you say my name”. I wanted to teach her to not let anyone trample over her name or reputation because she was a person worthy of love and respect. But as I pushed her to correct her teacher, she pointed out my hypocrisy. 

At the time, we were halfway through the school year and my art teacher had pronounced my name correctly a grand total of 0 times. I only bothered correcting him during the first week of school because at some point I accepted my fate. I was a senior at the time and was doing my best to get my credits and get out. I tried my best to not care about the daily butchering of my name, but it stung my heart a little more every time he said it. He was far from the first person to not remember how to say my name, and he wouldn’t be the last. I lied and said it was fine. It wasn’t.

I wish that I could tell you that the next time I walked into that class, I loudly and proudly corrected my teacher. That I stood up for myself, set an example to my friend, and upheld my reputation. But this is not a story about how I fought against those who disrespected me. This is a story about how I tolerated the disrespect for a year and still wonder why.

People have always wanted to fit in. Everyone around me seemed to fit in. I had just wanted to fit in. But I was shoving myself into a box that simply didn’t have room for me. I’ve spent the last year slowly emerging from my box. It’s terrifying and exhilarating all at once; here I am standing up for myself and letting everyone around me see that I am not to be messed with, When we make the choice to live outside of the boxes people shove us in, we choose to constantly be on guard for someone willing to disrespect us, every day, every hour, every minute. I fight by going to Starbucks and using my name and by using the correct pronunciation of my name instead of the Americanized version and by correcting every single person who mispronounces my name. Part of me still feels shame for correcting people all the time. I hate the awkward pause and air of tension that comes with defending myself, but I have a promise to uphold. 

When I had finally graduated and gotten out of that infuriating art class, I sat down with my friend and made a promise. As we both entered new eras of our lives, with me headed to college and her to high school, we would correct anyone and everyone who said our name wrong. When I walk up to people, look them dead in the eyes, and say “That’s not how you say my name”, I do it for her.

I’ll make this promise to you too. Defend your pride for me, and I’ll defend mine for you.

Hi there! I am a sophomore Biology major at UT Austin. I am super interested in research and science, but I also love writing about my life and what I see around me. I love cat videos, weird science facts, and cooking new food. Thanks for reading!