Tuesday, December 20, 2011

L My Name is Lara

An open letter to the world,

It has taken me 41 years to work up the courage to say this to you.  I didn't want to have to.  I hoped you would figure it out for yourself.  And sometimes you did.  But then you forgot.  And it made me feel bad every time.  Here goes—My name is Lara.  It's not Laura.  It really isn't.  I'm sorry.  I know it's inconvenient for you to remember that I'm not Laura.  I understand your frustration.  I know you're "bad at names." 

My parents liked the name Lara (yes, from Dr. Zhivago).  They didn't like Laura.  Or Lauren. Or Clara.  Or my personal favorite (and this is a phonetic spelling) Lahhra.  Is that even a name?

My entire life, people have been screwing up my 4 letter name.  People in passing and also people I respect.  And I let it pass, because I'm inherently shy (seriously) and I don't like to make people feel uncomfortable.  I figure that eventually, someone will correct you, or you will hear it pronounced correctly and you'll adjust your speech.  No problem.  Except that uncountable amount of times, you straighten it out, and then call me Laura or Lahhra the next time we meet.  As a grown woman, I can now say this to you—Every time you forget my name, I assume you've forgotten me.  Or don't value me as a person.  I'm a big girl and get past it almost immediately, but each time, it connects to my heart in a kinda yucky way and it makes the distance between you and me farther.

I have to thank a certain 15 year old I know for giving me the strength to tell you this.  I can't stand this kid.  He's really awful and grates on my nerves even more than you could imagine.  For over 2 years, he's called me Lahhra.  I let it go for about a year and a half.  And finally, I couldn't take it anymore.  I began correcting him.  For over 6 months, I correct him every time he says it.  And he forgets every time. So I'll keep correcting him.  As a person with an unusual name, it becomes my responsibility to be sure I am considered correctly in the relationships I have. It's part of growing up. I guess I'm growing up.  I ask for the respect of naming me properly.  You're all on notice.


  1. Consider it done. And here I was thinking I was making you happy with my Israel-borne phonetic pronunciation, while your fellow Americans clearly were too captivated with their own non-phonetic ways. Alright then, my friend - Lara it is :)

  2. Oh, accents change the whole thing. Nothing better than my name with an accent. You're excused.

  3. Doesn't matter how your name is pronounced. After all, how many folks say Harela correctly (ok Lidor, u do). Lara, I hear your voice when I do yoga on the beach here

  4. Awesome. love M my name is Marjorie, not Marge or Margie xox