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Meeting new people is hard. First impressions are terrifying. You only get one shot and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to prove your worth to this person. But what if they don’t like you? What if they think you’re boring, ugly, hopeless, or not funny? Worse, what if the hardest part of the introduction is telling them your name? Oh, just me?
This is exactly how all of my encounters with new people go:
“Hi, I’m so-and-so. Nice to meet you!”
“Nice to meet you too. I’m Brionna.”
“Yea, sure, whatever.”
Facebook tells me my name is phonetically spelled “BRY-AH-nuh.” I like to describe it like “Bri” rhymes with “try,” “on” is said exactly how it should be, and so is “na.” I guess the only confusing part of my name is the beginning. Everyone assumes “Bri” should be pronounced “Bree.” Maybe my name is better spelled “Bryonna,” but it’s not because that’s far too hipster for my traditional parents.
Having my name is worse than having a super unique name because it’s only one letter away from the common name “Brianna.” An “o” to an “a.” The little tail that determines the right from wrong spelling. Honestly, I’m annoyed by my own name.
I think my name makes sense. Either I’m too full of myself to admit it doesn’t or it does and everyone is just really stupid. I don’t know how I can say my name correctly to someone and immediately after they repeat it back to me wrong. It drives me insane. Am I only being introduced to idiots?
Listen, I’m not one to really care what people call me. I’m not getting my panties in a bunch over the short and long pronunciation of a vowel. I have much better things to worry about, like how I’m gonna explain the dents in the floor to my landlord or tell my mom the search for her son-in-law is still a cold case. No, the problem is not at all my desire for my name to be said correctly, but something else entirely.
You see when someone fucks up my name, I have one of two options:
1. Correct them, only to have them fuck it up again in the future, only to have to correct them again, and then fear they secretly think I’m a bitch because, I don’t know, society or anxiety or something.
2. Let it go and forget about it, only to have them find out later they’ve been saying it wrong all this time and to be offended that I didn’t correct them initially.
I’m either being too bitchy or too passive. It’s a classic lose-lose. I’ve actually caught myself in situations where I purposely pronounce my own name wrong just to not have to deal with the explanation of it. Am I overthinking this? Probably, but it all just builds up.
I’m a people person, but only people I already know. I hate meeting anyone new. People don’t remember my name. They call me blondie or give me weird nicknames. They do anything to avoid saying my name. Miss, ma’am, you, she, her. I sometimes think people just avoid talking to me altogether to avoid my disastrous name.
It got to the point in college that my friends just changed my name. One day I was simply “B.” I introduced myself as B and no one knew me as anything else. I created these great friendships with people and they probably couldn’t even tell you my actual name. I’m not spiteful or anything. I sort of find it comical at this point. I was Greek and “B” actually ended up transforming into “Beta.” Everyone from college still calls me that, but that’s not going to cut it in the real world.
The issue I’m currently facing is that I’m about to start a new job. I’ll introduce myself as “Brionna” to remain professional, but when no one can pronounce that, what should I go by? “B” is far too casual. “Beta” is purely an inside joke. Everyone pronounces “Bri” as “Bree” which just makes no sense to me. I’ve thought about changing my name, but that’s probably the biggest pain in the ass.
I guess the only good thing to come from this misnomer catastrophe is that I’ll be fully skilled on naming my own children. Every time I meet a new person, I judge the shit out of their name and I think I’ve got the rules of naming down. Make sure the first name isn’t longer than two syllables, unless it can be shortened to a nickname. No irregularly pronounced vowels. Be sure the first, middle, and last names flow fluently and none have similar letter combinations.
But that’s for the future. For now, I’ll continue to avoid introducing myself and continue to tell the barista my name is “Megan.”.