Unable To Identify The Issue Is Not About Identity

, , , | Healthy | May 22, 2019

(I am at a therapist’s office for my first appointment with her. She is not my first therapist, so I have a fairly good idea of what to look for. My name has a very common nickname — I’ll pretend it’s Katelyn and Kate — and people will often start using the nickname without thinking. I am called back to meet with her.)

Therapist: “So, Katelyn, do you prefer Katelyn or Kate?”

Me: “I don’t care; either is fine.”

Therapist: “But which one do you prefer?”

Me: “I mean, when I’m in a situation where there’s someone whose actual name is Kate, I prefer to use Katelyn so people don’t get confused. But other than that, I really don’t care.”

Therapist: “Your name is an important part of your self-identity. I want to respect that. Which name do you want me to use?”

Me: *quite frustrated by now* “I don’t care! Either one is fine! You can call me Kate, you can call me Katelyn, or you can switch back and forth; it doesn’t matter!

(She still didn’t get it. Somehow I made it through the rest of the appointment, but I never went back there. As a therapist, listening is a hugely important part of your job. If you won’t listen to me about something as simple as my name, I’m not going to trust you to listen to me at all.)

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Let’s Hope His Brother Isn’t A Doctor

, , , , | Healthy | May 20, 2019

(My nana takes me to my doctor for the first time in a couple of years. The doctor is Indian, with an Indian accent and an Indian surname that starts with “Mu.”)

Nana: “Thank you, Dr. Mufasa! Oh…”

(Luckily, the doctor thought it was hilarious, and we joked that she must get that a lot from kids since she’s also a pediatrician.)

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Going Back To Knight School

, , , , , , | Related | May 18, 2019

(When I’m in junior high school, my mother cannot, by any stretch, get my Language Arts teacher’s name right. For the sake of exemplifying how she butchers it, we’re going to say my teacher’s name is Ms. Knightly, and she always says, “Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly.” The hyphens are just for show; she says it at a normal pace. After the first report cards and the subsequent Parent-Teacher night to discuss students’ progress, this conversation follows.)

Mom: “Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly had nothing but praise for you.”

Me: “Knightly, Mom. Her name is Ms. Knightly.”

Mom: “Oh, okay. Yeah…” *goes on about my other teachers* “…but Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly adores you.”

(Different versions of this story play out almost daily following this meeting, with no change ever being made. I figure the inevitable reality is she is never going to get it right, so I stop caring so much once she realizes she should never address my teacher by name if she sees her. Later that same year, my grandmother dies. We make funeral arrangements, and this happens:)

Mom: “The closest funeral home to her church and the cemetery would be Knightly Funeral Parlor.”

Me: “Where?”

Mom: “Knightly Funeral Parlor.”

Me: “What’s my teacher’s name again?”

Mom: “Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly.”

Me: “Mom, it’s the same as the funeral parlor, down to the spelling. You just pronounced that perfectly.”

Mom: “Really? Huh.”

Me: “So, what’s my Language Arts teacher’s name?”

Mom: “Kin-ig-hit-ly.”

(No, she wasn’t screwing with me. So, some form of the first conversation continued until I transferred schools and no longer had Ms. Knightly. And it continues to this day when my mother decides to reminisce about my school life and comes to my year with Ms. Knightly.)

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Someone Has To Be Princess Peach

, , , , , , | Learning | May 13, 2019

(I’m beginning a Spanish class for first- and second-graders. I give them a list of Spanish first names for them to choose from, typical for a foreign language class. Two minutes later:)

Me: “No, you can’t all be called Mario!”

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Saying, “Heidi Ho!” At Work

, , , , , , | Working | May 11, 2019

(My first job out of college is working as a front desk/helpdesk engineer for a third-party IT company. For some reason, my boss can’t remember my name.)

Boss: “Heidi, can you come in here for a minute?”

(My name is not Heidi or anything close to it. In fact, my name starts with a C. I am the only female who works at the company at the moment, so I get up and walk into his office with a frown.)

Me: “Um, were you looking for me?”

Boss: “Of course. I called for you.”

Me: “Yeah, but, uh… My name isn’t Heidi.”

Boss: *hesitates* “Are you sure?”

Me: “Well, if it is, then the last twenty-some-odd years I’ve been using the wrong one.”

Boss: *laughs* “Right, makes sense. So—“

(He went into what he’d wanted to ask me. Afterward, he still called me Heidi and I corrected him a few times, and then I realized he was doing it on purpose because he thought he was being funny. I’d mostly yell back, “Not Heidi!” while doing whatever he’d asked. It would be funny when we got new techs because they’d always get these really confused looks on their faces as I’d get up, and they’d lean over and ask, “Who the f*** is Heidi?”)

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