“What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it’s not. And a lot of the time, it’s what makes you great.”Emma Stone
We identify each other through our names. It’s typically one of the first things we learn about another person.
My name was always mispronounced, misspelled, and at times I was even questioned if Betzy was really my name. Apparently, I didn’t “look” like a Betzy. As silly as it sounds, all this made me feel insecure. Over the years I have learned (and still continue to do so) to embrace and be proud of my name, of who I am, and where I come from.
My full maiden name is Betzy Lizeth Sánchez Flores. I was born and raised in Mexico until the age of 9. It’s pretty typical for Mexican names (not ALL) to include two given names and two surnames, like mine. The father’s first surname and the mother’s first surname are passed down to their children.
In 1997, my family moved to the United States and both my sister and I quickly enrolled in school. I soon realized how different my name was compared to American names (the spelling and the length of my full maiden name) and I remember thinking to myself: Why is my name so long? Why can’t I have a shorter, easier name like the rest of the kids?
I was called Pepsi, Bexi, Bessi, etc. I hated it! It made me dislike my name. I constantly wished for a name that wouldn’t be questioned, mispronounced, or misspelled. I hated getting odd looks because my name somehow didn’t make sense (Betzy sounded a bit more American and didn’t quite “fit” my last names).
As immigrants, my family and I aspired to fit in and be accepted into American society. Personally, all I wanted was to belong, to be accepted, and to be liked by my peers. I didn’t want to be judged and seen as less than. I began to pronounce my name in a more “American” way, attempting to somehow lose my Spanish accent. Even years later once I married, I continued to unconsciously accept this, the mispronunciation and misspelling of my name.
I didn’t realize that every time I would attempt to “Americanize” my name or my ways, I would lose a part of myself. I was failing me in order to make others feel comfortable, to like and accept me. Why was that necessary and why would I allow it? Yes, it was important to adapt and learn the ways of this country but never at the cost of forgetting and dismissing who I am at my core and where I come from.
My name may be different – it doesn’t fit in a specific box and that is okay! I tried so hard for so long to fit a mold that was not made for me. It has been a learning experience but I can say I am proud of the fullness and uniqueness of my name.
Your Name is Your Asset – Embrace it!
Stand tall and proud, fully embrace and speak your name with strength and power. NEVER change it in order to accommodate others to make them feel comfortable. Your name is what you will always have and no one can take that from you unless you give up that power. Our unique names are an asset and we should be proud of them. They have meaning behind them, they have cultural significance, and they represent who we are.
Be UNAPOLOGETIC about your name, embrace it, and fully speak it with strength and power.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.