PSA: My name is Isabelle, not Elizabeth

March 2, 2016 — by Isabelle Yang

    I have a bucket list with quite a few eclectic items — learning all of Korean pop phenomenon Bangtan Boys’ dances, having a walk-in closet with high heels of every color and, finally, hearing my neighbor call me “Isabelle” and not “Elizabeth” just once.

    I don’t know why I continue to put up with people calling me Elizabeth when my name is most definitely Isabelle. For some undecipherable reason, no one seems to want to say my real name, Isabelle.

To be fair, Elizabeth and Isabelle may have five letters in common. However, it’s pretty clear that they are still two different names.

I don’t want to insult those who haven’t learned the difference between them, but don’t expect me to be understanding when people say that the names sound the same.

I can’t help but remember kindergarten, when teachers preached the differences between “Beth” and “Belle” or “Eliza” and “Isa” — were they even listening?

Every time someone calls me Elizabeth, whether it is an acquaintance or a neighbor, my eyes start twitching.  I have the overwhelming urge to curl up in a fetal position and cry while forever proclaiming people who call me Elizabeth to be my sworn enemy.

If my dramatic mnemonics aren’t good enough, maybe some historical information about these two names will help. Isabelle is derived from the French name Isabel and means “Beauty is abundant” in Latin, while Elizabeth is a Latin name  meaning “My God is an oath.”

If that’s not good enough, I’ve also written a poem:  Roses are red, violets are blue, my name is Isabelle and it’s really not that hard.  

Unfortunately, despite my strenuous efforts, some people  seem unable to remember my name. I still have to cringe whenever I have to wave and smile to my neighbor who has yet to call me Isabelle in the 15 years I’ve known her. And I still cry inside whenever a certain teacher, who checks my name off in the attendance every morning, still calls me Elizabeth.  

For those of you who still insist on calling me Elizabeth, please stop. If “Isabelle” is too difficult to pronounce, please be my saving grace and just call me “Girl 1” or “that Asian girl” — almost anything but Elizabeth.