Monday, September 16, 2013

My Name and Its History

So, I have a confession to make.

Rohan has been telling me for years now that I need to write this post and let everyone know The Truth. But I've been putting it off. Partly because, well . . . I'm kind of shy. I'm also a little too empathetic for my own good, and every time I contemplate writing a post like this, I always think, "But what if other people feel bad as a result?"

So here's my apology in advance if any of you feel bad about the revelation I'm about to make. Because seriously, please don't! It's not your fault. I should have corrected you much sooner, and if it wasn't for that bizarre conflict of shyness/empathy in me, I would have.

Okay, here it is:

I go by Anne Elisabeth.

That's right. Not Anne. And not Annie! I was Annie for all my growing-up years, and my family and oldest friends still to this day call me Annie, despite my preference for a more grown-up title.

The thing is, Annie makes me think of little redheaded orphans belting out, "TOMORROW!" with great vim . . . which just isn't me.

And Anne, I'm afraid, makes me think . . . bland.

No offence to any Anne's out there, please! When the man who is now my husband took me out on our first non-date (it wasn't official . . . but it kind of was . . . you know how that goes), I explained to him why I choose to go by a mouthful honorific. Anne just always struck me as boring. When people called me "Anne," I felt like they were seeing me as an "Anne." Like they were seeing me as one-syllable, when I felt like I was many syllables!

Rohan listened with great sympathy, then went home from our date and did a little research. The next morning, he emailed me a list:

Queen Anne of Britain,
Anne of Green Gables,
Anne Frank
Anne Boleyn (yikes!)
Anne Sexton (Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet)
Anne Sullivan (companion to Helen Keller)
Saint Anne
Anne Elliot (Persuasion)

And he said, "So really, you're in pretty good company!"

It was very sweet of him. Anne, as a name, has a rich and noble history.

But it's still not me.

Unlike the famous Anne of Green Gables, however, I did not ask anyone to call me Cordelia. You see, I really like the sound of my first and middle name together! "Anne Elisabeth" has an elegant cadence. And when I was in middle school I read a book (the name of which COMPLETELY  escapes me, but it included a St. Bernard dog and a bunch of kids, so if you happen to know it, do tell!) in which one of the major characters went by Anne Elisabeth.

And I started to think: Why not me?

My first attempts at making the switch didn't go so well. My family and friends were utterly against the notion. But when I started my first job in high school, I decided to give Anne Elisabeth a test run.

Nope. None of my coworkers could be convinced to even try it. They immediately shortening me down to Anne. And I was too shy (do you notice a trend here?) to correct them. So I went from being just Annie, to being Annie at home and Anne at work. Neither of which was what I wanted!

But then came college. Against my family's protests, I determined once more to go by my full and chosen designation! I introduced myself to classmates and professors alike as "Anne Elisabeth," and if any of them shortened it to "Anne," I made a point to correct them.

Which went something like this . . . .

"Well, Anne--"

"It's Anne Elisabeth, actually."

"What, both names?"

"Yes."

"That's too long."

"It's my name."

"I can't call you that every time."

"Yes, you can."

*Considering pause*

"Well, AE . . ."

Yeah, that's right. I went from Annie, to Anne, to AE in quick succession. But there were a preciously-valued few who went the extra syllabic mile to call me the full Anne Elisabeth as I wished. And eventually, it did catch on.

The fact is, my husband calls me Anne Elisabeth (when he's not calling me Sweetieheartpiekins, that is). My best friend calls me Anne Elisabeth. My associates at work call me Anne Elisabeth. My own mother even gave in and calls me Anne Elisabeth (though my brothers and father still staunchly refuse).

And Minerva calls me "Wretched Anne Elisabeth," and not "Wretched Anne" you will notice.

One way or the other, Anne Elisabeth--with all its glorious mouthful of syllables--is just so much more me. But please, don't feel bad. If you've been calling me "Anne," and I haven't corrected you, how were you to know? You weren't, and I haven't been offended in the least. And I always figured, "Hey! As long as I know you mean me, is it really a big deal?"

But I guess it kind of is. And, at Rohan's urging, here I am making my public statement. My confession of The Truth as it were.

I am Anne Elisabeth . . . and I am proud of it!

18 comments:

Most obviously Kathleen said...

Lol :) I believe Anne Elisebeth suites you just right :) when I was little, like 5, everyone called me Kathy. I decided that I didn't like it and I made a point of it by shouting at them! My name I mean which is most obviously Kathleen, only allowed to be shorted to Kat :) lol. It's funny how important your name is to us.

Rina S said...

Completely understand! I've got a long name (but went with my childhood nickname in the blogging word) that people mispronounce a lot. I really don't like it when folks just assume a nickname, if they ask I'll let them call me what they want, but otherwise - my name is my name!
P.S. Since I love your blog so much, you're on my list for the liebster award.

Clara Darling said...

I've been a bit confused about this! Some people would just call you Anne, and I always wondered if I was right in calling you Anne Elisabeth. Glad to know for sure now! :D

Allison Ruvidich said...

That's funny! And very meaningful and very important to all of us, of course. People called me Allie when I was little, but I wouldn't put up with it unless they spelled it Alley, like Alley Cat. (Even when they set it out loud...)

Bookishqueen said...

I understand. My name is Rebekah, and I have to get at people to stop calling me Becky. I hate it. It is Rebekah or Bekah, not Becky.

Also, I think the movie you mean is Beethoven.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

No, it wasn't Beethoven . . . it was a series of books about a family, and they happened to have a St. Bernard--so similar, but the focus was on the kids, not the dog. But man, I cannot remember the name of the series! :P

Rebeka B. said...

Glad I had it right, lol! I completely understand--people would always pronounce my name wrong in elementary school, putting too much emphasis on the 'e' sound and making it sound weird, so it'd be Ree-beka, instead of "Ruh-beka, which is how I prefer it. It reminded me too much of the "Ricola" commercials when people said it the other way. XD A very little thing, but it definitely makes all the difference to me.

Meredith said...

Anne Elisabeth is a beautiful name! I'd always wondered what you preferred to be called. "Anne Elisabeth" does have a wonderful cadence and flows smoothly when spoken. This was a wonderful post, although I must admit to being a little nervous when my computer started reading. Didn't quite know what you were going to reveal! LOL!

My name is Meredith, though my nieces have always called me Mermer, (pronounced MareMare). I haven't corrected them yet since it is quite a mouthful for a two and four-year-old. Everyone else in my family has started saying MerMer too, so I think it's a name that's here to stay! Ha! I like putting my first and middle name, (Meredith Leigh), on my books, even though I don't quite know why.

Thanks for the correction. God bless.

Rae said...

Lol, I can see why you would like "Anne Elisabeth" more than just "Anne." I have the opposite problem, though. I love nicknames-- the kind that show you're really comfortable around someone-- but my name is so short anyway that hardly anyone bothers to shorten it further. If I meet another Rachel, she usually gets nicknamed (Rae or Rach) and I end up with my last initial. It really made me feel left out when I was younger. I'm much more easy-going about it now. :P

Emma said...

Growing up people would just assume that my full name was Emily and they would call me that. I am 27, so when my parents picked the name "Emma" it was not popular at all. And apparently, that made people think that because it wasn't popular, no one could actually have it as a real name, unless they were 80. With its rise in popularity, people have stopped. They now think I am a five year old girl. I can't seem to win! And I feel your pain!

Jenelle Leanne said...

Thank you for this post! (Being one who is very shy myself, I completely understand).

Is it weird that, though I don't really know you at all, I felt weird referring to you simply as "Anne" when I told people that my interview was up on your site, or in my emails to you about the interview and giveaway? It just felt "wrong" somehow. Of course, I laughed it off as me being odd... but it is quite a relief to read this post and know that this weird niggling idea that just calling you "Anne" was somehow incorrect was not just my own imagination. :)

Julieann Couture said...

Honestly, I always assumed you were called Anne Elisabeth, because it is written out that way on your blog and all your books. Seemed intentional.

I understand frustration with name mix ups and preferences. Because of the unusual way my first name is spelled it is rarely spelled right. I even received a piece of mail recently in which it was spelled Julienann... *facedesk*

I disliked having my name shortened to Julie as a kid, because I was a major tomboy and I though it sounded way too 'girly'. Which I find funny now, thinking back to some of the nicknames that I did respond to. It never helped that my maiden name was something I could never pronounce right when I was younger and I dreaded that 'how do you pronounce that?' question. Talk about humiliating.

I've gotten rather laid back about nicknames and such, but for a while I had a sister in law calling me JuJu. Too me it sounded like something you'd name a poodle... I've since broken her of it :P

Now most people I know call me Brianna because when I came up with my pen name I considered changing my name altogether.

Rebecca Stanford said...

Anne Elisabeth, it's so pretty and so you! I like the ring :)

Anonymous said...

Anne Elisabeth definitely has an elegant ring to it... very beautiful, :). And to be honest, I always felt kind of strange just calling you 'Anne'... it felt like I should say 'Anne Elisabeth'; so I'm glad to know the truth now! Lol, :)
And I know what you mean!! I'm Shantelle... but my friends and family like to shorten it to Shan or Tellie. I've given up on trying to make them change... but I always feel warm inside when someone uses my full name, :). So yes, I know how that goes. Glad to know what you prefer!

God's blessings! -Shantelle

Rachel6 said...

When you said you found "Anne" plain, the first thing that came to mind was "Anne of Green Gables"...who insisted on Anne with an e!

My mother is Elizabeth. Not Liz. Not Lizzie. Elizabeth. Also, I'm hugely fond of long names. I even added one to my niece's name. "Caroline Angelica Joy." Angelica is not one of her names.

Anne Elisabeth. I can go with that. :)

Hannah Scheele said...

Anne Elizabeth is fancier than just plain Anne. I like it better.

Hannah said...

Oh, ha ha! I always wondered if you preferred one over the other. :) All right then, Anne Elisabeth it is! I will not call you AE! Uh! How horrible!

Becky said...

We should definitely call you by your beautiful and elegant name, Anne Elisabeth! I should have been more aware, but I always wondered what you preferred. My name is Becky, and after I became a Christian at age 27 many called me Rebekah, which is beautiful, but it wasn't my name.