This summer will be eight years since I first arrived in the Deep South, and since I’m all about ranting this week, I think it’s about time I made something clear.
My name is Tanya. Pronounced Taahn-ya. Not Tan-ya. Not Tone-ya. Not Ta…um… Tanya.
My parents wanted me to excel at reading, writing, and spelling, so my real name is actually Tatiana Laryssa Twerdowsky. Yes. When I first explain to people that my real name is Tatiana, I always get the same response. “Oh, that’s so pretty! Why don’t you go by that instead?” Listen, I tried that once. Recently. It now makes me cringe when I hear my name around town.
But sure, you can call me Tatiana if Tanya is too confusing for you. As long as we get a few things straight. Yes, that’s my real name. No, my parents have never used it. Yes, it’s Russian/Ukrainian. No, I will not tell you if I am a dancer, gymnast, or figure skater. And no, I will most certainly not tell you if I am flexible. In fact, I may go all Tanya Harding on you just for asking.
But for argument’s sake, let’s just focus on Tanya. I know I live in a geographical area where saying Tan-ya is the norm and double names are a dime a dozen, so I allow people some leeway. Three strikes, to be exact. I meet you, tell you my name, correct your pronunciation. We meet again, you get it wrong, NBD. But if our paths cross one more time and you’re still butchering it, you’re on my shit list.
I get that I don’t have the easiest name in the world. Hell, look at how bad I am with names and faces—I have no room to speak. But I thought I’d go ahead anyway and put this out there. And if you’ve known me for a while and are still saying it wrong (you know who you are), for shame.
Think I’m just a tad bit sensitive? “Is it her time of the month?” you’re wondering in your head. No! This is a real thing! I came across this Buzzfeed article the other day that perfectly nailed what foreign name-life is like. And the author’s name? Tanya. Boom.
Do you have an unusual name? Do people butcher it? Do you correct people, let it go, or stare daggers at them until they get it right?