4 Reasons It Sucks to Have a Unique Name
Having a unique name sucks at times. Truth be told, it sucks most of the time. Giving your child a unique name has been huge trend since forever. A trend with no end in sight.
Moon Unit, Rumor, Jermajesty, Sailor and Apple - why would you do this to your child? Here’s why having a unique name sucks.
No one can pronounce it. In my lifetime, I’ve one met person named Kwame. And I’ve met even fewer people who can pronounce it correctly. No matter how well I enunciate my name to ensure people say it correctly, they screw it up.
I've been called Connie, Courtney, Kwacky, Swami. My personal favorite is Kwane. That's what my English teacher called me my entire junior year of high school. I corrected her several times but since she wasn't getting it, I just gave up.
You have to tell its origin story. Sounds weird, right?! Believe me...it happens quite often.
Them: “Where's your name from?”
Me: “It's Swahili and originates in Ghana.”
Them: “Were you born in Ghana?”
Me: “Nope. I was born in California. My family is from Jamaica and Belize.”
Them: “Oh, I thought you were from Africa.”
Them: “How did you parents come up with that name?
Me: “My Dad picked it. He liked Kwame Nkrumah, former President of Kenya.”
Them: “Were you born in Africa?”
See previous dialogue for my response. And insert a “will this conversation end eye roll”. I just get tired of repeating these stories.
No one can remember it. Not only do they mispronounce it; they can't seem to remember it either. At least once a day I'm called by coworkers name. She's the other black women in the office who happens to have short hair like me. That's where our similarities end, but it doesn't stop people from confusing us.
Her name is more traditional and easier to remember. Maybe if I had a name like Ellen or Sarah I’d be memorable.
Egregious spelling errors. Even if I spell my name for someone, they often write it incorrectly. I have friends who even after years of knowing me, spell my name Kwami instead of Kwame. I love Starbucks, but they often spell my name wrong as well, so usually I'll just saw my name is "K" or "Kay" which is what my Mom calls me.
After decades of dealing with the unique name struggle, I've come to embrace this wonderful differentiator. I love my name and I'm annoyed when someone says it incorrectly. But hey, at least they tried. Right? Who I'm kidding, I don't give out brownie points for that.
Since I'm acutely aware of the unique name struggle, I make a conscious effort to pronounce, spell and remember people's names. I encourage you to do the same.
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