So, I decided that I was going to do one of the weekly challenges last week and it became this humungous task as I decided to write about vampires, which then led me to start an analysis of Bram Stoker’s Dracula as compared to a more contemporary and well known series, The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. I started writing and wrote and wrote and then realized that I needed to edit… It became way too involved, so I put it to the side for a moment to answer this week’s challenge about names.
Names in and of themselves are very powerful – they identify who we are to the rest of the world and impact us in many different ways. Certain names can trigger emotions or powerful memories in others. Some names are reminiscent of literary characters. Still others get the raised eyebrows – “You named your child that?” In a lot of cases, having a certain name can predispose others to think of you in a certain way. Other times, the name you´re blessed with can leave you in quite ambiguous territory.
My name is pretty uncommon, so being somewhat unique kind of comes to me naturally. I have struggled with people mispronouncing my name pretty much my whole life – it’s pronounced “Share-uh” and spelt Sharrah. But many people pronounce it with a short a as opposed to the long a, which can be annoying. This brings up memories of a substitute I had a few times for my Spanish class in high school. She would always pronounce my name like the Sahara desert, “Sahara?”, and I would have to correct her. Each time she would amazingly exclaim, “Like qué será será” to which I said “No, it´s an sh sound at the beginning…” I guess some of this could have led to an idea that I am, by and large, misunderstood. I´m always very thankful to those who pronounce my name correctly and am very careful to make sure that I pronounce other´s names correctly. Having to remind people of how my name is pronounced ALL THE TIME has helped me be a bit more conscientious in those regards. Even after I tell people – “It´s like Sarah, with an sh at the beginning.” they continue to insist that their pronunciation is better – “This is Shar-uh”. “No, it´s not. I´m Sharrah, who´s this Shar-uh person you´re speaking of? Don´t know her!”
For a long time, I was the only person I knew with my name – I felt somehow special that I didn´t have to share it with anybody else. I was unique, different. I created my own identity around my name because nobody else had it – I could be identified however I wanted to be instead of being tossed into a crowd of Ashleys and Marys. I stood out, which isn´t necessarily something I wanted, but I worked it in my favor. When I discovered another person with my name, it was an odd experience. I can imagine that having a name that is relatively common must feel like you´re sharing part of your identity with someone else – and I kind of felt this too. Who are these people who share my name? What are they like?
I have fun with my name, especially when people ask me where I got it from. I´m not 100% sure myself, so I´ve made up my own story. I always say it´s like the casino “Harrah´s” backwards and that my mom liked to gamble – looks like she won the lottery!