Say my name. Say my name!
"That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet." - Shakespeare
Brigg-eet. Bridge-eta. Brig-eata., Bridget. These are the names of which I am often called.
My name is Brigitte (Bri-j-eet). It's not the easiest name to pronounce I'll admit, but I find it interesting that when I introduce myself as Brigitte people automatically respond back with Bridget.
We all have something about ourselves that we've altered to some degree in order to help us fit in a little better; for me, it was my name.
During my childhood everyone outside of my family called me Bridget. In school, the teachers would take one look at my name and immediately say, Bridget. At first I tried to correct them, but I had to keep doing it and as a child it was very embarrassing. So I went with Bridget. I even started introducing myself as Bridget; completely ignoring the true pronunciation of my name. It never felt right, but it felt better than correcting an adult or even worse, correcting a potential friend.
When I was eighteen, I worked for a man who is French. He asked me why I was referring to myself as Bridget rather than Brigitte. I explained how people often had a hard time pronouncing my name and to make it easier for them I go with Bridget.
He didn't say much at that he just gave me a suspicious, almost disappointing stare. It was at that moment I realized I was changing a part of who I am to make it easy for no one other than me. I was too cowardly to stand up for a part of myself. Rather than accept every part of me, I conformed to what I thought others would better accept me as.
Since then I no longer go by Bridget. I go by my real name, Brigitte. I finally mustered up the courage to correct anyone who mispronounces my name, which happens a lot; it can be my boss, a relative, a stranger or even a family member. And, when an childhood friend calls me Brig or Bridget out of habit, I’m O.K. with it because much like the rose, I finally feel 100% like Brigitte.
So you see, it wasn't just about honoring the beautiful name given to me by my parents. It was about honoring myself.
If you find yourself altering a part of who you are in order to fit in with others - DON'T! Don't just agree with the group when you have a different opinion. Don't pretend to like something because all your friends do. Definitely don't say you like football if you don't! Don't be afraid to stake your claim in this world. Don't feel ashamed about any part of who you are or where you came from; most importantly, don't be anything less than 100% you! The thing that makes you unique and special is EVERYTHING about you.