That's Not My Name

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Squeezing the hands of the girls next to me, we wait for the names to be called. There are hundreds of girls sitting in the auditorium at the 2005 National Dance Championship in Minnesota. I am only one of the many dancers with hair slicked back and as much make-up on as a clown. It’s been three hours since I performed my solo to “Rock Your Body” and the suspense is making me squeamish. My team waits and supports me as I listen to the announcer. “And third place junior soloist is… Lanie Z!” Well, that is my last name, but not my first name.

Having my name spelled differently has these kinds of consequences. There are still people who can’t read my name correctly. Even though it is spelled with an i it is pronounced like it would be if spelled with an e. The name may not be very common, but it isn’t unheard of. My parents spelled it how it is for a reason. They didn’t want people calling me Lee or Lea. That’s not the name they chose. But spelling it L-i-a-n-n-e makes it my name. Personal.

Lianne, spelled with an i, is unexpected. Fits me perfectly. I’ve been dancing all my life so it would be expected that I am graceful and have balance like a tight rope walker. But I’m not any of those things. I stumble, run into people and trip daily. Then there are people who couldn’t see me as being one to like country music. I’ve been to more country concerts than I have been to the dentist. Being unpredictable is what Lianne means. The i is the most important part of the name, even though it doesn’t sound like how it’s spelled. Being called Lanie isn’t the first time someone’s butchered my name, and it’s surely not the last.





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