What’s in a Name?

Marla Sarris Malibu Beach California-2

Your name is provided to you when you’re born.

You don’t get a choice in the process. You could be the third Michael in your class if that was the name that was popular during the year you were born. Although, you can go by a nickname or legally change your name later.

My name has always been Marla.

My parents named me after a little girl they met before my mom ever got pregnant. She was cute and they liked the name, so they kept it for their first born (that’s me!). :)

As I was growing up I would look for my name on those named magnets when we would vacation in Wisconsin Dells, or really any store that had personalized souvenirs. Of course, my name was never there. It made me a little sad because I would always spot all the names of my friends and family, but mine was just not a common enough name to print a product and wait for the 1 Marla to show and maybe buy it.

It wasn’t until I got a little older that I truly appreciated having a unique name. People tend to remember the obscure ones…names that is. ;) And meeting other Marlas is always fun! I can remember where and when I’ve met each one, and there’s only been a handful.

Another situation I used to come in contact with while growing up (and this happened quite frequently actually) came about with the spelling of my name. All through grade school you would think I had a twin sister named Maria for all the duplicate certificates I received. First they’d spell my name as ‘Maria’ and if I pointed it out that my name was spelled wrong then I’d receive my ‘Marla’ certificate shortly after.

It’s funny because this continues to happen, to this day. Every once in a while I’ll receive an email or Facebook message addressed to Maria and wonder…were you just not looking close enough? Did you think your eyes were playing with you and mistake the l for an i without the dot? What made you not double or triple check the name of the person you were writing to, for the first time, before hitting send?

I used to cynically say to myself Why would I throw a capital i in the middle of a word where all other letters are lower case and the first letter is capitalized for a name? But I realize it can be something people easily overlook.

Learning From The Mistakes of Others

While I was teaching, I made it a point to learn all my students names in an appropriate amount of time after I first met them. I would always have them say their name out loud first, so I knew I was pronouncing it correctly in my head while I was learning and identifying the 100+ students I encountered each year.

Part of everyone’s identity is their name and it was one thing I knew from past experience, that would mean a lot to get right the first time around.

Moral of the Story

All this to say that if you’re meeting someone for the first time or writing a message to someone, make it a point to try and say or spell their name correctly.

Oh! and my name is Marla, nice to meet’cha! What’s yours?