I love getting gifts. I love to give them even more, but that isn’t the point of this post.
At the top of my list of Things I’d Like to Receive is a priceless gift that everyone I speak to can give me. It’s so simple, you may not believe it. Better yet? It doesn’t cost you a dime!
I’d really just like everyone to call me by name: Linda Lee.
You see, for the first half of my life, I was called by my first name—Linda.
It’s a fine name. I have a friend named Linda. I’ve known many people named Linda.
The thing is... I've never really liked it for me. I never felt it suited me.
Growing up, I often considered changing my name altogether. I always wanted my name to be Elizabeth. I would use the name Elizabeth anytime I wrote a novel. (Yes, I wrote novels in elementary school. One of them even got up to 11 or 12 chapters before I abandoned it.) Even in some of my writings today, I often revert to the name Elizabeth, whether or not I'm in the story. At this point it's just habit.
But back to my first name: Linda. When I left home for college, I considered adding my middle name, Lee.
Over time, I integrated the use of my first and middle name, Linda Lee, into my life—first, through work, then through friends, then through acquaintances, etc.
Finally, I told my family that I'd started using my middle name.
Oddly enough, my sister had also started using her full name. Her name is Wendilyn. Actually, it's Jill Wendilyn, following a naming pattern for the women in my family. She's always gone by Wendy... but within the past several years she's started using her full name, Wendilyn.
I wonder if we both felt like we grew into our names.
Now, of course, I go by Linda Lee exclusively—except for a few errant doctor’s offices and some members of my family, on whom I’ve given up the prospect of ever being called by the name I’d like to hear. (Especially regarding family—it’s about picking your battles, and some battles aren’t worth fighting, ya know?)
I feel that Linda Lee suits me perfectly. Many people shorten it to “LL”, and I've also been called "Double L" Or "Luhluh" or other endearing shortenings of my name.
I think that going by Linda Lee serves several purposes.
Not only does it speak to me tonally, and "fit" who I am, but it fits who I've become as a woman, and who I will be, throughout the years of my hopefully long and healthy life.
Linda Lee signifies the changes I've already worked so hard to make, and the development I have yet to traverse.
(For example, my name gives me permission to be playful and light-hearted, which is a personality trait that’s natural to me, and yet—it’s one I’m working on developing. I’ve kept my inner Entertainer under wraps for far too long, and now she’s coming out to have some fun! See that little girl? That's me... she lives inside me every day, but now she likes to come out to play relatively often.)
I am proud of my name.
Now, most conversations with someone new start off with me introducing myself, and correcting the other person when they call me Linda. I don’t mind, but I do wish people wouldn’t assume that because Linda is a common name, that the “Lee” part doesn’t matter and can be left by the wayside.
Oddly enough (to me), many folks assume that Lee is my last name.
And about 90% of those folks assume I’m Chinese! Until they see me in person, that is. And then—well, there’s absolutely no way anyone could possibly mistake this pasty-white-freckled-green-eyed-blond-haired-big-boned-in-addition-to-overweight-British/Irish chick as Chinese.
Still more people assume that after they call me Linda Lee a few times, they can call me Linda and that’s okay.
It’s not okay, y’all.
That’s like… meeting someone named Robert and assuming he goes by Bob.
Or Richard is Dick.
Or Samantha is Sam.
Or Mary Jane is Mary, or Jane.
(This horse is dead, and yet I’m still beating him…)
I’ve started doing various things to help people understand that I really, truly, do go by Linda Lee. On Facebook and a few other places, I’ve started typing my name as one word: Lindalee. Sometimes it’s LindaLee, sometimes it’s lindalee… in reality, it’s Linda Lee, but that so often trips people up, so I figured writing it as one word offers clarity.
My name is more than just a moniker. It’s a significant part of the identity I present to the world.
So, I ask you—what's in a name?
Do you like your name?
Have you ever considered changing your name?
Any other thoughts you'd like to share?