I still remember a time in the seventh grade, sitting in class, while a substitute teacher took roll, a process which I despise to this day. She rolled right through the list — past the names of students with last names beginning with A, then L, and then she got to S and slowed down. For someone with a name as obscure as mine, though, this was pretty much routine. I figured she saw my name coming up and was at a loss on how to say it. Instead of stopping to ask for clarification, though, she paused briefly then went right ahead and gave it her best shot, I guess.
“Andre?” she called.
Little awkward seventh grade me was mortified. I’d had people say my name wrong before. I’d heard Audrey, Aubrie, Adrian and Avery, but never had anyone mutilated it like that before. As if middle school wasn’t embarrassing enough.
Since the time I can remember, I’ve been called Adri as opposed to my significantly less obscure birth name, Adrianna. For this reason, I envied the Katies, Emilys and Sarahs of the world for a big portion of my life. However, with time, I’ve come to terms with my unique name.
Meeting new people — substitute teacher or otherwise — is a challenge. Simply introducing myself is a struggle. I have to carefully enunciate, and even still I normally have to clarify that it’s Adri — not Audrey, and not Adrian — at least a half a dozen times. This results in me explaining that it’s short for Adrianna, which results in the other person asking where I’m from and the significance of my name, which results in me wishing I had a simpler name. No one would ever pester a Katie about the significance of her name.
The common mispronunciations of my name have actually conditioned me to respond to other names, though. Like, when I hear the name Audrey, I naturally assume people are talking to me, and I’ll even turn around and respond as if I’m being addressed.
All of these challenges aside, I’ve come to love my name. Sure, I can never find my name on any of those tacky little souvenir keychains or on those Mickey Mouse ears from Disney World, but there’s something special about having a name so few others do.
Also, I feel like if, somehow, hypothetically, I learned how to sing, “Adri” would make for a killer mononym, like Rihanna or Beyonce. That’s totally a plus, and would make up for the name-butchering subs I’ve encountered in my lifetime.