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 Boleyn (yikes!)
Anne Sexton (Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet)
Anne Sullivan (companion to Helen Keller)
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 . . . .
"It's Anne Elisabeth, actually."
"What, both names?"
"That's too long."
"It's my name."
"I can't call you that every time."
"Yes, you can."
"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!