I was just reading this thing where parents were complaining about how other parents gave their kids hard to pronounce or unique names.
And everyone in the comments was like “why would you do that to your child.”
“Poor child will have to correct everyone all the time.”
And I just want to say.
My name is one of the biggest gifts my parents could have given me.
I love everything about my name.
I often look at my name on the page and think about how beautiful it is.
How beautiful the letters look all together, the shape it makes written down.
How beautiful the sound.
People always say it wrong.
99.9% of new people that I meet say it incorrectly.
If you haven’t heard me say it you probably say it wrong.
In school, the teacher would pause when they got to my name.
Both my names were so challenging.
I told everyone they could just call me “Dee.”
Everyone decided that was easier.
And I made things easier for them.
My name has forever been mispronounced. Over loudspeakers, every ceremony, every important event.
But I never felt like I was the problem.
I felt like people put in very little effort particularly adults.
My name comes from Demeter.
Goddess of fertility and agriculture, the harvest. The mother. Cycles of life and death.
I could tell you stories upon stories of how my life mirrors her story.
Demetra means “devotee of Demeter.”
Essentially, devotee of the earth.
The ways in which I have become my name are some of the most magical pieces of my life to me.
There are actually two correct ways to say my name.
The other is the Greek pronunciation of it.
The Greek pronunciation is special to me too because the only people who have said it are my grandfather and people in Greece.
I never liked being called “Dee.”
It was an annoying thing people did who couldn’t bother to learn how to say my name.
No one called me Dema until I went away to college when I was 18.
I started telling everyone my full name.
And I gave them the option of Dema.
Dema feels like love to me.
My full name is just true but Dema feels like affection.
Everyone who has met me since then calls me that.
I prefer to have a mix. It means a lot to me to know that people know how to say my full name and that it is important to them.
To be honest when someone says “oh lol great that’s easier!!!” In my head I roll my eyes at them.
Dema is because I like it. Not because it is easier for you.
I always want to know someone’s full name.
What are you called.
How do I shape the sounds that call you, roll them on my tongue, sound them out in my mouth.
It is such a tender thing a name.
I have stopped making it easy for people.
I stopped a long time ago.
Even when I call for takeout I give them my full name.
Even if I have to repeat it ten times.
That is my name.
I don’t care if they misspell it or get it wrong. That is their problem.
I rarely offer to spell and I wait until people ask.
Every so often I am surprised.
When someone meets me and says it correctly without me saying it first. Or repeats it back to me correctly on the first try. Almost never happens.
Or when someone meets me for the second time and remembers how to say it.
I don’t hold it against people if this doesn’t happen but I really feel it when it does.
It makes me sad to read that parents don’t want their children to have to go through this.
I love my name so much.
I learned to speak up early and people always remember me.
I will give my children beautiful names
They will be unique
And they will learn how to hold it
They will embody it.
And they will say
These are the sounds that make up me.