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An Open Letter to the People Who Mispronounce My Name

Dear everyone who has and will eventually pronounce my name wrong,

I hate to break it to you, but you do NOT have the power to change my name. Please stop making up names in place of my actual name. This is the name my parents graciously chose for me. I had no say in the decision process. Heck, if it were up to me, I would have chosen a name people could actually pronounce. I’ve been called the wrong name ever since I was born. No, seriously, even the pediatrician mispronounced it. My parents gave me a unique and unusual name no one in the world seems to know how to pronounce.

But pronouncing my name is simple, really, so let me spell it out for you. My real name is Cady. To pronounce my name, think of the two letters: K and D. Okay, are we on the same track? Now quickly say the letters K and D, K and D, KD, KD, Cady. Good, good.

So now you have officially learned how to pronounce my name. But this strange and unusual name still seems to trip people up. I’m not sure why you and everyone else in the world don’t know how to pronounce two simple letters. Why do people pronounce my name by adding or switching letters? No sir, it’s not Caddy, no ma’am, it’s not Cody, no customer, it’s not Candy. Two letters, KD, Cady.

You have probably thought the name “Cady” is pronounced “Caddy” ever since the movie Mean Girls came out. The number of Mean Girls references I’ve received since 2004 is no longer funny. The limit does exist, so please refrain from the Mean Girls references and stop calling me Caddy Heron.

Just think of the word “lady.” How do you pronounce this word? Okay, now drop the “l” in “lady” and add a “c.” Now try saying the name “Cady.” Please do not get all defensive when I try to explain how to correctly pronounce my name. I am only trying to teach you how to politely call me by my name.

This is my name, which is a part of my identity. Calling me by the wrong name is offensive, but I understand there can be a bit of confusion with linguistics. If you struggle with pronouncing a word, sound out the letters. But simply adding and rearranging letters in a word is not the proper way. I’m sorry, but I cannot help you if I teach you the correct pronunciation and you still say it wrong. So, to the fellow students in my current group project, no, my name is not Caddy, and I will continue to ignore your questions until you say my name properly. I’ve corrected you several times and you still feel the need to call me “Caddy.” Sorry, try again later.

To the people who have called me by the wrong name and question why my parents named me Cady, thank you for making me feel like crap. Thank you for letting me know you can’t pronounce two syllables. Thank you to the customer at my job for asking me how my parents could give me such a strange name. My parents chose to name me Cady because they obviously loved the name. This is my name, this is who I am, so please stop questioning my parent’s decision.

You have called me by the wrong name, and I’m sick and tired of it. How would you feel if I continuously called you by a different name? I’m sure you wouldn’t like it. Try to put yourself in my shoes. I’m not trying to be mean, but when everyone mispronounces your name for the last 22 years of your life, it doesn’t feel good. So, the next time you try to pronounce my name, or any other name, please be kind and considerate. I hope you will never pronounce the name Cady wrong ever again. It’s not Caddy, Cody or Candy, it’s Cady.

Sincerely,

Cady Cohen

Media: 1, 2, 3.

Cady is a senior at the University of Central Florida who is majoring in Writing & Rhetoric and minoring in Mass Communications. She's a lover of green tea, dogs and all things fashion. Cady has been writing her entire life and she hopes to pursue a career as a lifestyle magazine writer. If you want to follow her on social media, you can find her on Instagram and Facebook!
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