Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm Coming Out

Because I want the world to know, my name is not really June. It is Alexis. Most of you may have gathered that by now probably but it is with frustration that has been building for years that I tell you my name. Alexis. A-L-E-X-I-S, not Alex.

For years and years, from school to work and now as you could possibly tell from the ultrasound the doctors office, people have been shortening my name for absolutely no reason that I can see to Alex. When I was growing up my family called me Lexi or Lex and that is how most people who knew me before high school know me. It's actually pretty interesting to me, you can tell who has known me longer by what they call me. My sister still calls me Lex informally. This is a nickname I was given, it's dear to me, Alex on the other hand just irks me to know end and I can't even really explain it.

It started to really bother me when strangers at the grocery store where I first worked would want to be formal with me and use my name, but then completely ignore the last two letters of my name. I could never understand if they couldn't pronounce it or they just had it in thier minds to give me what they may have thought was a popular nickname for my first name. I didn't appreciate it. And dozens of people did it over the course of my career in retail. I hated wearing a name tag. I thought of changing my name.

Maybe it's because Alex sounds like a boy name. I just know I hate it. It seemed rude. But it continued in college where I was often called at the beginning of the semester as 'Alex' or professors in my smaller classes would ask if I wanted to be called 'Alex'. Is Alexis such a strange name? At my high school and college graduations my name was botched by the person calling out diplomas and degrees. At my high school graduation they said Alex and tried to cover it up with the -is, making a long drawn out mess of my name. I just rolled my eyes. In college it was actually my middle name. Instead of Aileen they called me Eileen. Maybe it's where I live, maybe people have a hard time with pronunciation, but it really drives me up the wall.

I know it shouldn't bother me and I have mostly come to laugh at how my six letter name so easily gets said incorrectly but sometimes if the dog tore up the trash that morning and I burnt my morning toast a small thing like 'Alex' can just ruin my day.

I am so sensitive about it that I can't stand spelling or saying someone elses name wrong. For a few years I was spelling my neices name wrong before someone finally brought it to my attention, I was mortified. It's just not my style. Sorry Haley.

So if you want to call me or email me or send me flowers, that would be great, but for my sake please keep the -is.


wesley's mom said...

It would never occur to me to shorten Alexis to Alex.

Besides, I thought your name was Electra.

James said...

I can relate. My name is James. Always has been, always will be. Yet 75% of the new people I meet will call me Jim. I can literally say, "Hi, I'm James," and the person will respond "Nice to meet you, Jim."

WTF... It drives me crazy. (Though maybe not as much as when you're called Alex.)

I've never understood how I could tell someone my name was "James" and they could immediately decide that no, my name is not "James."

Anyway, for this reason I NEVER call anyone by a name other than the one they introduced themselves as, is written on their nametag, was signed in a letter, etc. If they want me to call them by some shortened name or a nickname, they can let me know.

Cheryle said...

I think there are a bunch of us out there who are name freaks! I didn't know that you aren't really June (but I'm pretty gullible, even at my age!).

I, like James, am always careful about people's names. Why? Because I want them to be careful of mine! My name is spelled a little differently (with an "e" on the end) and pronounced a little differently (the "Ch" is pronounced as in "chair" NOT as in "share"). So I pay attention, and I will never again call you anything but "Alexis."

It's hard to come out sometimes, isn't it?