Daily Prompt: Say Your Name
Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
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My name, Edlih, is unique and often misspelled or mispronounced as Edith. Although created in the Spanish language, even Spanish speakers have trouble saying it, as if they try too hard. It’s simple: ed-lee. Ignore the “h”, it’s silent in Spanish. There is no “t”, it’s an “l”. My Mother, bless her heart, had just given birth and was suffering from gallbladder stones she couldn’t treat during her pregnancy with me and my Father thought it would be ingenious to follow my Mother’s example in naming his second daughter.
In high school, they played a game where they would nickname themselves after their own name backwards. My Mother’s name is Hildelenia (say that five times fast!), so to make it work she only said the second half of her name backwards and her special name was “Ainel” (pronounced eye-nail). She thought she was being creative when she named her first born daughter after her cool school nickname. For the record, my sister has always hated her name for the way English speakers would pronounce it – use your imagination. She goes by another name today.
Fast forward to the hospital:
I’m out and probably kicking and screaming, my Mom is probably wishing she was passed out and my Dad digs deep into his creative cavity and pulls out the second part of her last name to finish what she started three years earlier. Hilde backwards is Edlih. He must have been feeling good because he then tacked on an English name to compliment it: Ann. Edlih Ann, so similar to Ilian in pronunciation, yet, foreign enough in appearance that no one can see it and calls me Edith Ann. Not to mention, it suggests that I am a male. Iliana is a female name and sure enough my grandma would call me EdlihAna or EdlihAnita to feminize it. Most of my uncles and Aunts still do not spell it correctly. Eliana, Eldiana, Elianna, etc. Even my Colombian ballet teacher calls me Edlith after a year of dancing with her (I gave up correcting her politely).
For some time I went by Anna, having worked in a call center and gotten tired of correcting and explaining to customers the origins of my name (we are timed, people, and our performance reviews reflect our average call time!). That lasted about 3-4 years out of high school and somewhere along the way Ed was weaved into my life. From there after I’ve been known as Ed by most who meet me. It’s funny how quick we are to rename someone when we find their name difficult. I always joke that I know what era my friends came to be by what they call me.
Oldest and dearest friends: Edlih Anna
Early college years: Anna
Mid College/Professional Years: Ed
I have never wanted to change it. I love my name. I just have to remember to behave now, because it is a name that is not easily forgotten and so will hold my reputation for years to come. I did find once that in a tribal Alaskan language it means “to sing” and I found it fitting since I did love to sing most of my life. Because of this I’d like to think that my name is the most fitting gift my Dad has given me yet.
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