Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What's in a Name

Hi. My name is Lindsay. 

It's spelled with an a instead of an e, an i instead of a y, an s instead of a z. There are so many ways to spell it. Lyndsy, Linzi, Lindsey, Lindsay. Only fellow Lindsays probably are aware of the multiple ways to spell it though; it's like initiation into the name club. 

I like to think my way is the correct way of spelling it, but obviously I am bias. My name has given me problems over the years,  a lot of  "No, it's with an A, not an E" comments that make me feel rude and the other person who is taking my name for an appointment, writing my name out on a name tag or a coffee to-go cup,  feel awkward.

I remember the first time I realized my name was going to be difficult was when I was five-years-old, standing in line for kindergarten registration. It was held in the elementary school gym, and I was to tell the teacher what my name was so she could write it out on my name tag. The name tag itself was a Mexican-sombrero cutout hanging on a string we were to place around our neck, then go stand next to a cardboard cutout of a donkey; apparently kindergarten registration had a Mexican theme that year. A polaroid picture would be taken of me with my name tag and an official kindergartner I would become. Ole!

I remember approaching the woman filling out the name tags. "My name is Lindsay," I told her.  She wrote it down. 


I looked at it and knew that was not how my name was spelled. Feeling embarrassed, I did not want to correct her, so I took the sombrero, stood in front of the donkey, and said cheese as Lindsey instead of Lindsay. My first day as a kindergarten student and I am a girl with the wrong name, standing next to a donkey. Aye caremba.

Now a twenty-four year old, I am pretty blunt about how my name is spelled. Plus it's a good way at figuring out if a potential dateable guy is worth it and paying attention. If he spells my name with an e, forget it. No date for you. Okay, I am not that harsh, but I definitely notice if they spell it wrong. Alas, even the ones who do spell my name right often end up being...well....douchebags. Or douchebag-like. Or just not right for me.  I need to work on my filtering system. But anyway, Lindsay is my name. 

I used to dance. Tap dance, ballet, jazz, I did it all. The only thing I didn't do was gymnastics, and that was because I got headaches every time the teacher told us to bend backwards. I loved the attention of being on the stage, loved the sequins, loved the moves. The only thing I did not love was the instructor, who, coincidentally, was not only unable to spell my name, she didn't even KNOW my name.  Add this to the fact that she was quite vocal and not shy at giving criticism, and you got a recipe for an awkward situation. One afternoon in beginner's ballet when I was eight-years-old was especially horrible:

"Stacey! Stacey! STACEY! POINT. YOUR. TOE!!!!"

I continued to perform my plie at the barre.


I bent my knees further into the position. I felt bad for this Stacey girl who was getting criticized in front of the entire class.  I continued to dance, feeling grateful it wasn't me she was yelling at.

I looked up as I noticed other girls glancing towards me. "Nope," I wanted to tell them. "Not me. My name's Lindsay." 

I noticed the instructor was looking in my general direction, but because she was wearing dark glasses--the kind with the almost black unpractical-- I couldn't tell if she was looking at me, a girl in front of me or behind me. I kept bending my legs, trying to look graceful, not meeting eye contact. Ignore her, it's not you she's yelling at, I thought. Your name is Lindsay.


The instructor was now standing in front of me. She bent down, grabbed my pink, ballet-slippered foot, bending it into a pointing direction.

"Stacey, make sure you are listening when I am talking to you," she said as she walked back to her stool in the corner.

So it was me. I was Stacey. 

I spent the rest of the class charading as Stacey the Sucky Dancer. Every time I made a mistake, it was a "Stacey!" remark. I was not sure what was more embarassing: getting yelled at or getting yelled at by the wrong name. 

After class, I decided enough was enough. Though my instructor was quite the intimidating woman, with those black lensed glasses and her all-black outfit, I decided I could not go the entire year with her calling me by the wrong name. Let her yell at me, but I'll be damned if I will be yelled at as Stacey.  Stacey, for God's sakes? It does not even sound like Lindsay.

I approached her stool where she sat, swearing at the cassette player that seemed to be eating the cassette tape.

"Um..." I was off to a great start.

The instructor turned from the cassette player and looked down at me.

"Yes, what is it?" the instructor asked.

"My name isn't Stacey," I replied feebly.


"My name isn't Stacey," I said, louder this time.

"It isn't?" she said. She looked surprised. "What is it?" I could tell she felt bad; her tone had softened.


"Oh, okay. I'm sorry, Lindsay."

I think that was the first time I had stood up for myself. I still have problems with that now, ironically, but every now and then,  I will think back to that time and how I corrected that intimidating teacher. It gives me a bit more self-confidence in myself. If my eight-year-old self can stand up to someone intimidating,  my 24-year-old self should be able to. 

So this is my blog. My name is Lindsay. With an A. 


  1. A. I miss you
    B. I LOVE your blog :)
    C. I really, really miss u wifey!!

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting, Laura :) Miss you too!