I decided to write this post after a woman at work left me a message earlier this week which said; ‘Hi, its —– here, no I’m no relation, I’m not your mum, but everyone thinks you’re my daughter cause my daughter’s name is Rhiannon Davies!!! Hahaaaaaaa!!!”. Talk about an unexpected phonecall. Well, I actually thought it was pretty funny until she ended our phone call by calling me “Ree-un”. Then, 2 hours later, somebody called me Rhina in an email. MY NAME IS ON MY EMAIL SIGNATURE. I SAY MY NAME ON MY VOICEMAIL MESSAGE.
My first name is Rhiân, pronounced “ree-anne”. To you, it might look a relatively normal name, easy to say, easy to remember. But despite that, my life has been full of mispronunciations, misspellings, and pure disappointment at gift shops the world over. My name, quite frankly, gets butchered. My second name is Davies, pronounced “dave-is”. Again, very common, but it still gets its (un)fair share of butchering.
I’ve tried to make things easier – sometimes I just introduce myself as ‘Rhi’, but of course, that leads to further questions about my ‘full’ name.
WHY, mam? Why did you name me this? She said I was going to be Kris if I had been a boy.
I thought I’d compile a quick list of the kinds of things the Sophies, the Sarahs and the Johns will never understand.
1. After 24 years of existing, you’re still not convinced that your Nan knows how to spell your name. But it’s still fun to count the amount of failed attempts at the spelling on birthday cards before she gave up.
2. You tensed up at your graduation ceremony when they got close to calling out your name. Nope, pretty sure ‘Ryan Daveys’ did NOT graduate today.
3. “Ohh, short for Rhiannon? Like Fleetwood Mac?”. No. No no no no no no no. It’s just a name, worthy of its own existence…
4. Never being able to introduce yourself to someone new anywhere that isn’t deadly silent. Not a bar, party, club or even those bustling work conferences. Not unless you want to endure having to repeat your name around 6 times per person. “Leanne? Hey, Leanne!!!”. Nope.
5. Those people who take it upon themselves to tell you how your name *should* be pronounced. “It’s Dave-eeees, though, isn’t it?”. Yeah, thanks for that.
6. It’s not Ree-un, it’s not Raina, it’s not Rhina, it’s not Rhianna, it’s not Rhiannon and it certainly isn’t RYAN.
7. Having to be on super high alert at the doctors, dentists etc in case you completely miss your name. Because that name they’ve called is definitely not your name, but they mean you.
8. You hold grudges against the people who say your name wrong after a maximum of three times, even after you’ve corrected them.
9. The people who say “Woah, alright! Someone’s defensive!”, when you correct them for the twentieth time on their pronunciation.
10. No, you’re not gonna get a coke bottle with your name on. Not even close. (Rhiannon isn’t close).
11. Don’t even bother at Starbucks. Be Jane.
12. The relief you feel when a stranger pronounces your name correctly, first time. You feel you really could get on with this person.
And if you have any kind of accent on your name, then that’s a whole new world of despair (prepare to be okay with being Rhi????n on all letters).