What’s in a name; A Rant

If you try to find me through google, chances are, you have to pass by this article:

“Brittney, Brittny and Brittneigh on What’s in a Name” NYTimes.com

I have a weirdly hard time with some of the comments in this article. They are equally disparaging of unusually spelled names, and frustrated with common and typically spelled names. I also have been seeing an increase of memes and comments on places online (coughREDDITcough) that really put down people with unusual or non-traditionally spelled names. This really rubs me the wrong way.

Unique names are not a personal affront, and if you don’t hire or want to talk to someone because their unique name makes you uncomfortable… guess what?

YOU’RE A JERK!

Most of the population doesn’t choose their own name, they simply roll with what name their parents picked out. And honestly, parents typically don’t pick out names to personally affect YOU. So shut up. Be considerate of someone else and stop rolling your eyes at their name. That five year old kid has ZERO CONTROL over whether his Mama named him “Chase”, “Chayce”, or “Chaise”, and don’t you dare take it out on him. It’s rough enough internalizing the constant misspellings and weird looks you get when you habitually spell your name instead of simply saying it at every function you attend without dealing with people getting annoyed by something that PROBABLY affects them for less than five minutes of their day.

That being said, I have a non-traditional name and sometimes I really hate it.

The top 10 reasons why I dislike my non-traditionally spelled name:

1) There were four other girls with “Brittany” variated names in my classes growing up, none of us spelled them the same.
2) I have to spell out my name completely, emphasizing the last three letters to prevent billing errors, every single time I go anywhere or sign up for anything. This is frustrating when the person in line in front of you is named “Bob Johnson”.
3) 9 out of 10 professors I had never spelled my name correctly in correspondence even when my full name was in the email, subject header, and signature of the email.
4) Strangers will occasionally insist on pronouncing the “A” in BrittAny when they address me. There is no “A” in my name.
5) I got called “Britney Spears” from 6th grade to 8th grade, which was kind of horrifying to a super awkward, conservative and chubby kid.
6) I hated having a common name and sharing it with 5-6 other people growing up. Now I don’t know any other Brittany’s! It is STRANGE.
7) Sometimes I short my name into “Britt” to avoid dealing with spelling it out and the frustrations that always follow that, which means that people THEN proceed to call me “Britt-Britt” which is the stupidest nickname in the history of ever PS never call me that I WILL END YOU.

Uhhh so I can’t come up with 10 reasons. SO I CAN’T HATE IT THAT MUCH.
I have also passed on the idea of changing it. I daydreamed about that for a long time, and when a good time for it came, I passed.

Having a non-traditionally spelled name is a pain in the rear. I get frustrated by it sometimes, but because of my name, I learned how to take ownership of it and turn it into an identity I can love and be proud of, something I’m not sure that everyone has to or gets to do, at least as early as I did.

…Even though I don’t really identify with my name and even disliked being called by that. I typically much prefer a “hey-you” to my actual name.
…Even though I typically go by BrittKnee, BrittNeigh, BrittNooooooo. That’s simply because they are way easier to remember than my legal spelling.

And really, BrittNeigh has been my name for over ten years. It’s pretty much here to stay.

When it comes to the babies I will someday have, I will probably go with a traditional spelling. I will probably look at record books and try to not pick the #1 baby name of that year. But when it comes down to it? I have no say in how students will make fun of my child’s name, how people will misspell it because of some new celebrity that hasn’t reached their peak yet, or how it will be a super common and annoying name in ten years. And it certainly won’t be my kid’s fault. Just like it’s totally not mine.

In conclusion: let’s all just accept everyone’s names and identity for what they are. Theirs. I feel like our society is way too opinionated about other people’s choices. Let’s just let it go, realize that identity is none of your freaking business, and move on.

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