It is quite strange how some of the things we take for granted have such a significant impact on who we are. A week ago I had a very bizarre epiphany while having a conversation with a certain lady in an elevator. This conversation has actually had such an impact on me as a person and how I choose to address myself, or not. The conversation was as follows , for privacy purposes I will call her Mellissa –
Mellissa – I’ve seen you quite often at the brackenfell gym. Do you stay that side?
Me – Yes, but I alternate depending on which side I am closer to, with work and all coz I work in Town.
Mellissa – Oh that’s nice! Sorry I didn’t even introduce myself, I’m Mellissa, you are?
Me : Haha no problem, it happens. Very nice to meet you Mellissa, my name is Sibahle.
Mellissa : Si? What? Oh gosh that’s too hard. I will call you cc *Laughs*
Me : *Joins in the laughter* No, not cc, just Sibahle.
My response is not something I planned, but in that moment it just hit me, I have a choice!! My name means “We are beautiful”, my parents gave me that name and it is how I choose to identify myself, it is a big part of me and who I am. When I first met Collins he asked me what my name meant, I told him and he said he thought it was a beautiful name (Excuse the pun!), as we became friends he always chose to call me by my full name regardless of the fact that we speak different languages. It is only when we became closer and fonder that he called me by pet names, (I thought it was cute), at that time it didn’t actually matter to me what he chose to call me, because we had known each other for a while.
A nickname is not forced upon someone, well, I mean 90% of the time our parents force nicknames on us which we grow to appreciate, but outside of your parents it is a CHOICE!! Someone should at least make an effort to pronounce your name and not impose some abbreviations on you and call it a name.
There is this post which went viral on facebook where people were informing others about correct name spelling –
Since I’ve started my new job people have been asking me about how everything is and what I like most, my top answer?
“I like the fact that since I have started working there, absolutely no one has asked me for a shorter version of my name. Not once! My head of development/mentor will introduce me to people and he will say my name in full, I absolutely love that. It’s thoughtful and respectful!”
I have been given nicknames such as Sibby, Sibs, Siba etc. and I have accepted these in the past but people are becoming lazy in name pronunciation hence I am exercising my choice of excepting or declining a nickname given to me.
Language barrier is never an excuse, say my name in full unless I state otherwise! It is my identity and should so be respected, and as people, we need to grant each other that courtesy.