Thursday, February 28, 2008

Just call me Erin Hussein

This blog post is to show support for something the MOMocrats are doing. They are making today Just Call Me Hussein Day. My name, Erin, was not popular at all when I was growing up. I think there was only one girl who had the same name but she was a bit older. I didn't like my name because it was so unique. People in my neighborhood would often pronounce it like this, "Aaron" and ask me why I had a boy's name. It also bugged me because my name doesn't really lend itself to creating a nick-name. No Jen or Liz or Terri. In fact, the only nick-names that I remember from my childhood are "Air" and "Ernie" (that one was from my Dad).

My name actually means Ireland in Gaelic which I always thought was pretty cool. However, around St. Patrick's Day someone would dredge up the saying "Erin Go Bragh" which means Ireland Forever. Again, a nice sentiment. Until someone made it into "Erin Go Bragh-less". Ouch.

I think the worst name related snafu I experienced was when the new 8th grade teacher called roll for the first time and pronounced my name "Erwin". Just think about that for a moment. I don't know what your 8th grade experience was like but I'll paint you a picture - I was descended upon by piranhas and mocked mercilessly. I hated that.

I like my name now. It is not as unique as it was when I was a child but it is mine. My children also have unique names (or at least unique spellings) and I hope that they aren't made to feel bad because of the loving name choices we made. I remember a saying from my childhood, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me." But it's not true; you can hurt someone by making fun of their name.

P.s. There was one Erin who made me proud of my name. I must have watched her on Buck Rogers.


Julie Pippert said...

I loved Wilma on Buck Rogers. I thought Wilma and Erin were beautiful names because of that. :)

It's so true...we've all dealt with people mocking or making assumptions about us from our names, due to connotations or ignorance or something else altogether.

That's why it's so clear to me we all simply have to reject this name business totally out of hand.

Glad you did too. :)

ering said...

I read an enjoyed your story on your website. It is incredible to me that they could even get away with such petty nonsense. In grade school you can almost see it but as adults - that ain't flying. Thanks for your comment.