The Name Game

I have a first name that you will never find on a key chain or a coffee mug.

Once though, I found it on a nail polish label. I hated the color, but I bought it anyway. Just so I could have something with my name printed on it.

As a child, my sister always found her name on everything. Karen is an easy name to locate. I was a little jealous. I always had to settle for Lisa and then draw a big E in front of it to spell it right.

It took my rabbi three times to spell my name correctly in the prayer book I was given at my bat mitzvah. Somewhere out there are two prayer books that have the inscriptions Mazel tov Alisa and Mazel tov Elissa.

Collectors items, right?  I’m sure of it.

I also have the kind of first name that is hard to pronounce. One person will say Alyssa, with a short i. Another says Elisha with an h. Still others say Eliza. That one is where I draw the line. There is no z in my name and when I’ve been going to the same doctor for 20 years, you would think he would get it right.

I’m extremely appreciative of the people who ask me how to pronounce it or if they got it right. I think it is a kindness to do this. Sometimes, I get so tired of correcting people and, let’s face it, there are worse things in the world so I just let it go. Call me whatever you want, I think. But then, someone called me on that too. A friend pointed out the right way to another friend and that person was mortified that she was saying it wrong all this time. And she was upset that I never corrected her.

I can’t win. Honestly, I never could figure out the proper etiquette for this kind of thing.

For all of high school, I went by Lisa and I didn’t mind. It helped me fit in with my fellow classmates. But after college, I gained a lot more self-confidence and realized my name was pretty and different and I embraced it whole-heartedly. From day 1 of my career, I introduced myself as Elisa and never went back. Now, I no longer care if I ever find it on a key chain or a coffee mug again (although I’m happy when I do 🙂 ).
So thanks Mom & Dad for giving me a beautiful name.

And for the record, it’s pronounced Eh-Lisa or Uh-Lisa. But, its okay. I still love you if you get it wrong.

5 comments on The Name Game

  1. Martha
    April 4, 2019 at 10:54 pm (2 months ago)

    You have a beautiful name! I don’t find Martha too often on things either but sometimes it’s cool to have a unique name, it makes us special. My 3 great granddaughters will probably never find theirs either..I have an Ayva, Lia and Aynslé.

    • Elisa Heisman
      April 5, 2019 at 5:38 pm (2 months ago)

      Maybe your great granddaughters will get a nail polish named after them! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Fran
    April 5, 2019 at 4:48 pm (2 months ago)

    Elisa, that was a great story. And while it’s personal to you, it’s global as many of us have some ‘name’ issue.

    Either no one can say it correctly, or they give you a nickname you don’t want.

    I find having to spell my name over the phone a challenge. I often wish my last name was Jones – They were always getting it wrong even after I spelled it. So, I began spelling it MUCH slower. Taking a break between the two parts everyone got wrong. Originally I would say A-S-A-R-O and they would repeat S-A-R-O? or some version of that. So now I say A-S and take a break and then I say A-R-O and everyone gets it right. That little tweak must save me a 1/2 hour per month! LOL

    I have a friend who decided to hyphenate her name so that people wouldn’t call her a portion of her name. I have another friend who helps by saying ODay, like Today without the T. LOL I think when we bring humor into it, it eases things for everyone.

    Thanks for sharing this and for the record, I think you have a topic that can turn into a fun yet poignant eBook (LOL that’s what I do for a living.. help people find digital products they would never think of)

    Enjoy your day (I’m a UBC’er as well)

    • Elisa Heisman
      April 5, 2019 at 5:34 pm (2 months ago)

      Thanks for your comments! Interesting idea to do an ebook. Each one of these is its own story. Great suggestion.

  3. Mary Owens
    April 10, 2019 at 6:25 pm (2 months ago)

    My daughter has the same problem so she understands.


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