Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In which Shana muses on names and naming conventions


I am a firm believer that people tend to 'fit' their name.

Whether it's the parents just having a feeling about their child, and the stars aligning... or if it's just random happenstance, I don't actually know. What I do know though, is I grew up as a Shana, and hating it for the better part of my life.

there tend to be two (well sort of 3, but the third group is really rare) group of people when it comes to my name. The first is the people who READ my name before they hear it.

I find I have to correct most people when they pronounce my name. I've gotten some pretty crazy pronunciations... Shania, Sharna, Shannon, Sheerah (made all the more amusing because I actually KNOW one now).

My name by the way... is pronounced Shaw-na. Imagine how you'd pronouce a boy named Shawn, or Sean's name... and add an A to the end. That's my name. The closest anyone has ever gotten on a first attempt was a Sh-on-a... (rhymed with on a, as they put it). I was mightily impressed to be honest. It was SO close.

Anyhow... I once tried changing my name completely. I started signing things with Donna. I figured Donna was close enough that if I heard it I'd react, but easy enough for people to KNOW what my name was. That attempt was aborted quickly when the school complained to my mom and my mom told me to cut it out.

So I tried changing the spelling. I figured if it was spelled Shanna, people might get it right (though in retrospect, I'd likely get another wrong pronunciation of it)... and this attempt was ended by the mockery of my dearest friends at the time. There are still 3 ringed binder pages out there covered in the letter n, over and over and over again. All hand written, typing would NOT do for the neurotic girl who wanted more n's in her name.

Eventually, I learned to embrace that I'd have to correct people when they say my name. Or just giggle about it.

The second group of people are the ones who HEAR my name before they read it.

My grandmother falls into this group, and so to many others I know. To this day, it's rather hit and miss whether or not my grandma will spell my name right on my annual Christmas card. She normally adds a W to my name, or a second N.

I tend to just roll my eyes at it when people spell my name wrong. Though I do get a little excited when I see my name spelled correctly. It's just one of my nerdy traits I think.

So... Back to names and people suiting them... we'll revisit MY name.

I am CLEARLY a Shana. No questions. The name means beautiful (and I am, but I'm not going to be arrogant about it). And it's a name that not many people really 'get' the first time they see/hear it. That's ME in a nutshell.

Sadly that's not where my name technically stops.

When I was about 15 or so, I got my birth certificate (mine was lost when we fled into the night as a child). When I got it... my world shifted. I had mostly grown into 'Shana' by this point... and I was about to find out that my FULL name was Shana-Marie.

I was a hyphenated kid.

And my mother didn't tell me.

In fact, her reaction was "oh yeah... I did do that, didn't I?"

When I told my friends, the overwhelming reaction was "you're SO not a Shana-Marie"

For a time, I believed that.

It's really only been recently that I've taken on my full first name (mostly because I don't like using my last name {maiden or otherwise} for many reasons) and I don't know about you, but I think it fits me. What do you think?

(oh, Marie means Bitter or Rebellion... so I take Shana-Marie to mean a Beautiful Rebellion, or Beautifully Bitter... both of which ENTIRELY suit me)

2 comments:

Vicky M said...

I know how you feel. Nobody spells my name correctly either (first or last!). I've gotten everything from Vicki, Vickie, Vikki (which I liked, but it's too late for that now), even Vickey (which to me should be read more like Mikey).

Then there's my last name. Word commonly tells people that my name should be spelled MacArthur (there are a lot of interesting anglo translations of our name from the Gaelic, including our spelling, which isn't all that uncommon). I also get McArther, McCarther, and people sometimes even call me McCarthy when they read my name out loud (which is hillarious, since when is 'ur' prounounced 'y'?).

Sometimes I miss all of your n's, but I still love you all the same!

Shana-Marie said...

I sometimes miss the N's too... I held onto the 'big book of idiocy' for years until Nick asked to borrow it. He then moved away and I lost track of it :)

I wouldn't think you'd have so many problems with McArthur, but then in a world where grandmothers still spell names wrong, anything makes sense!