Them: Awww! Thank you Kathy!
Me: It’s Katy.
Me: My name is Katy.
Them: *chuckling* Katy. Kathy. Same thing!
Me: Um, no it isn’t the same thing.
Them: Well, yes it is! Katy is just short for Katherine and Kathy is short for Katherine. So same thing!
Me: Katy isn’t short for anything. It’s my whole name. Katy.
Them: My, my, my some people are soooo sensitive!
Me: I’m not being too sensitive. I’m simply correcting your mistake about my name. How would you like it if I called you Judy?
Them: Don’t be silly! My name is Jillian! You know that!
Me: I do know that, but evidently you don’t know, and refuse now to understand, that my name is Katy.
What’s in a name? I’ll tell you what’s in a name. A name is part of your identity. You grow up hearing it and you know this is how you will be known by everyone that touches your life from then on. You learn to form the letters in Kindergarten with your big, red pencil. You sound them out as you print them on the letter pages, on the dotted lines of your lettering workbook. Your name, even though a million people could have the exact same name, is uniquely yours and who you are.
It is your name!
A couple of my best friends experience something rather unusual when it comes to names. They know a woman that can always remember Kim’s name, but can never seem to remember Jess’s name. They have known this woman for about eight years and every time they see her, it’s the same thing. They become “Kim and Kim’s friend.” I could wax on about how this is some kind of subliminal slight directed at Jess, but I’m going to say that this woman is probably not so concerned with learning anyone’s name. Not really. I correct her every single time though, just standing on principle and refusing to tolerate the aloof and condescending arrogance of being so rude to one of my friends.
I had another interesting conversation a long time ago with someone who’s name got shortened as a child. Her name is Candice, but growing up everyone called her Candy. Now she preferred, as an adult, to be called Candice and corrected everyone constantly.
One day I asked her why this was so important to her. She told me that the shortening of one’s name by others was a way to diminish them. Any shortened name with the sound of “Y” on the end was simply a method of bringing the person down to a child state. It was disrespectful.
I was a bit perplexed and looked her in the eye and slowly sounded out my name, K A T Y. Then I told her that this was my name, this word with the “Y” sound at the end of it. I reminded her that I had never felt the least bit diminished by the sound of someone saying my name, until that moment, sitting there talking to her about it. And this would probably be the only time I ever felt that way.
I could not believe the foundation she used to get her friends to call her Candice, but I did respect her and so I would try to remember this when I said her name. I reminded her that I had been calling her Candy since we were children and that to me this was not, in any way, my attempt to discredit or disrespect her. It was simply a term of endearment and a way to show how much I loved her and how long we had been friends.
In truth, calling her Candice made me feel like she was now a complete stranger to me and eventually that was what she became.
I had another friend that decided to stop using her first name and wanted to be called by her middle name instead. After years of calling her Kim, suddenly I was supposed to remember to call her Robin instead. I know it sounds like a reasonable request and something that should be easy to comply with, but it’s not.
Actually, calling Candy, Candice was a lot easier than remembering to call Kim, Robin.
When a woman gets married and changes her last name to her spouse’s name, that’s not something that will take long to adjust to, but changing your first name is something that takes a lot longer to digest. I would get so frustrated at times that I just wouldn’t say her name at all because each time I slipped and called her Kim, she would get angry.
I just can not fathom the rage I would have experienced if I had ever said to her “Kim. Robin. Same thing!”
I have another good friend named Morine. I am always tempted to call her MoMo or simply Mo, as a term of endearment and because it sounds so cute, but she has reminded all of us that we can call her anything we like, except we can never call her Mo, or any derivative of Mo, (like MoMo). So I refrain from calling her Mo. And I totally get it too! I can imagine that growing up Mo was probably a constant nickname and one she didn’t care for. It’s so easy to shorten her name to Mo! But I love her madly and so to me she will always be Morine.
I get called a lot of other things besides Katy too. Other than Psycho Bitch, which is my personal favorite, there’s Cakey, Kates, KayKay and Katybug. I like all of those. Those are terms of endearment, except the Psycho Bitch one. That one is based purely on factual accounts and information, I would imagine. Anyway, I don’t mind being called by any of them, not one single bit ❤
The next time someone tells you “that’s not my name” try really hearing what they have to say about it and never make light of what they wish to be called, unless you just don’t like them. You might be surprised by what’s in a name.