I have been thinking of my name. A student told me that he looked up his name on Google. This made me think about what could be found with my formal names. I looked up my most current official name. I looked up my maiden name. But then, I looked up the name that I am known as. My nick name is Elle and it is pronounced like the letter L.
I had not gone by a nickname, really, until high school. I was in Miss Kelly's homeroom class as she attempted to pronounce my name. In my head, my thought was, "Really!!! You can't say my name!" She looked at me, "Do you have a nickname?" I remembered Brenda, my cousin, occasionally calling me Ellie so this is the name that I told her to call me. Throughout my four years of high school I was known as that name. I was sitting next to David Diaz during high school graduation and when they called out my formal name with middle name included, he turned to me and asked, "Who is that?" Who is that indeed!!! Jessica, my friend in high school one day was in class and she turned to me and she said something that I don't think will ever forget. She said, "You're not really an "Ellie." I don't think I like this name for you." Interested in this line of thought, I think I asked her, "What am I more of?" She gave it a moment and pronounced me an "Elle." This is where my current name comes from. Thank you, Jessica.
In college, I was known by my given name. Now, you should know that I love my name. I was named after my aunt, Elvia. There is an actress by the name of Elvia Allman in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Initially the name was Anglo Saxon. It meant "Elfin or Friend of Elf." It also has Spanish influences and it's meaning becomes "of color yellow." I find it interesting that my Spanish speaking friends are the ones that speak to me with that name.
I had a brief stint with an employer who had trouble with my given name and I became Ellie for a brief period of time when Elle was not amenable to him. He was not my favorite boss. Even as I write this I can hear him call my name as a pig squeals, "Ellie, Ellie, Ellie." Ugh! I don't like this association.
I think I have written about my late husband calling me Elle. This was before he gave me the last name with the double ll to make it visually appealing. I told him about Jessica telling me that I was more of an Elle and I think he agreed with this. It was he that suggested the name like the magazine. He said that this suited me. I was fashionable and fresh. He would sometimes call me by my given name. It's not a name that rolls off of the tongue easily for an English tongue. I am very specific in its pronunciation and would rather you use my nickname if it does not come easy to you. More often than not, he would call me Elle. He would introduce me as Elle as well and very easily, it became my name.
As I looked at the screen with all the other people who share my name, I realize that my moniker has been anglicized. There is every possibility that I have anglicized myself. This realization makes me ask, "What does this mean?" I love being Latina. I think I have influenced my children with my mixture of Latina culture. I am very proud of who I am and my languages. I am proud to be a Latina and yet, my name doesn't show even a hint. Not only this, I think of the names that I have given my children, they also have names that can be said in Spanish or English without changing the spelling of their name. Has this been deliberate? I don't know.
Despite my names and what I am called, I think I am me beyond my name. I think you would know of me even without the benefit of a name. The glorious thought is that when I go home, I am given a new name, a name just for me. Does my name here even matter? I can change it a few more times and hopefully I will continue to be who I am. I will think about this whole anglicisation and the implications for me and my family. Until then, praise the Lord!
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