What’s In A Name

Another great one from the people over at The Daily Post today: “Write about your first name”.

 

Self-Portrait

Me in a nutshell

“Rara teacher?”
“Lara.”
“Lala?”
“Lara.”
“Rala?”
“Close enough.”

I wasn’t one of those people who hated my name as a child, though my middle name* is another story entirely. I rather liked it. It was unusual, but not in a way that led to humiliation, also unlike my middle name*. I didn’t know any other Lara’s, though I knew a lot of Laura’s and Lauren’s, and that made me feel special. I would come home and listen to Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago and I would imagine that it was written just for me.

But then I went to Korea, where I was confronted with multitudes of people who found it impossible to pronounce my name. And I’m not just talking about the Koreans either. I was constantly referred to as Laura by my American friends because, for the life of them, they could just not pronounce the first syllable correctly.

“Lara.”
“Laura.”
“Lara, like Croft.”
“Yeah, Laura Croft.”
“Oh, I give up.”

And yet, Korea was also the year when I came to terms with the nickname that I inevitably got labeled with as a child thanks, in a large part, to the Teletubbies. It was the one thing that I hated about my name – it was almost impossible to come up with a nickname for it that wasn’t Lala. I hated the yellow costumed alien with a vengeance, and I detested being referred to as Lala because it made me feel small, childish and insignificant. Yet, in Korea, their reference to me as Lala was not one of mockery, but one of fun and pride. I would walk into classrooms and my kids would start singing K-Pop song that was popular at the time, fondly known as the Butt-Song thanks to the elegant dance moves that accompanied it (see the first 20 seconds of this video to see and hear what I am talking about). It felt like my own personal anthem, and listening to it now brings a huge smile to my face.

So, years later, I hear the nickname Lala and still smile. I have learned to hate the name for other reasons (namely that people can still never seem to get it right, particularly when speaking over the phone, and I spend a large amount of time on the phone), but I love it for the most part.

Love it or hate it though, it’s me in a nutshell.

(*On a side note, I have also come to accept and love Aislinn as a middle name despite the problems and mockery that it caused me growing up and the endless problem of no one being able to pronounce it.)

 

Here are some other names being shared today:

They call me The Nameless One | The Nameless One
Daily prompt name | myguiltypleasures
Bob Dylan or just Dylan? | Eyes Through The Glass – A Blog About Asperger’s
daily prompt name, thea maria viveka | myguiltypleasures
“Nanuschka” is not my real name | Nanuschka’s Blog

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