Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I grew up with a unique name, at least in the 90’s it was, and at this point I’ll respond to almost anything that remotely sounds like my name. It’s short and sweet, but people have always had a hard time with it. Growing up people somehow heard Karen, Sarah, Carol, and others. Now that I’m older and unique names are “in”, people are almost desperate to make it harder than it is. They want my name to have at least 3 additional letters, or if I could just be reasonable, an extra syllable. I kid you not, one person called me “Cherry” because they insisted that’s how I introduced myself. I never dreamed when naming my own daughter, Hallie, that she would face similar difficulties.

I think people are lazy sometimes. They hear what they want to hear, or they simply can’t be bothered to handle all these “ridiculous” new names. At this point in my life, I couldn’t care less what people call me, but I want my daughter to confidently inform others who exactly she is. With her father being from England, Hallie is pronounced like “Sally” but with an “H”. However, I found out after that she was born that the common pronunciation in the U.S. sounds like “Bailey”. Fair enough, but even after I tell people her name they still resort to the hard “a” sound that I specifically did not choose.

So why can’t people pronounce my child’s name, even after multiple reminders? Many people actually struggle to say it, as if the vowel doesn’t want to roll off their tongues the way Hallie has been named. Others simply don’t care enough, and refer to her as they please. The former I can forgive, but the latter is downright rude.

With the current trend of names, I will admit that it can be hard to tell how someone’s name is pronounced. It sometimes takes me several tries to pronounce people’s names, especially if they are from other countries, but I really try. I make a genuine effort, and I’ll even go home and practice if I will be seeing this person regularly. I never want to make someone feel as if their name is a burden to me, or just not worth the effort. What does this say about how I feel about them as an individual?

I suppose this is why I am adamant that my daughter’s name be pronounced correctly. Hallie is important, and she will be recognized for the unique individual that she is. Hallie’s name is a reflection of where her father is from, and where she will eventually have citizenship. It is a piece of her, and the very first thing that defined her. So yes, I will insist that you say my child’s name right, because it shows that you have respect for her. As for my own, maybe I should start insisting on the same.