My name is…

So, here I was trying to be a good girl and work (in spite the fact that Mr. G is on sick leave, and thus we do not have a “bantay”, hence today is inde-f@cking-pendence day in the department) when I received this email from our branch in Cebu:

Hi Mel,
Please see pix of xxxxxx employees in cebu.

Mel??? Mel???? MEL??? Seriously, who the eff is MEL?!?
Last I checked, my name’s Melanie. For purposes of making it shorter and thus sound a bit cooler, you may call me “Lani”, or “lans/lance” which is the name I’m using for my current company–but MEL?

mah name is....!

My apologies over this melodramatic post courtesy of being addressed the wrong name. But don’t you just hate it when people get your name wrong? I mean, your name is an extension given to you by your parents. It’s your identifier. And while it doesn’t define who you are and your identity — it answers the basic question of em all: What is your name? Anong pangalan mo? Irumum muoshimnikka?

Namae wa nan desu ka? Anata no onamae wa?

In spite it nuances and apparent plain-ness, I love my name. When I was younger, I looked up its meaning and found out it means “black” –since then, I have come to love it more. In my mind, here’s a name destined for a girl who revel in everything dark and black.

My name has weird beginnings. Apparently, when she was still pregnant with me, my mom found a small baby doll in the bus seat next to where she was sitting. She was on her way to her monthly Baclaran devotion. So, she picked up the doll and looked at it–on the doll’s tummy was my name, “Melanie” written in black ink. So when she gave birth and they were processing my birth certificate and I still don’t have my name, my mom remembered the old doll. So, if you will see my birth certificate, you’ll notice that every bit of information was typewritten, except for my first name, “Melanie” which was crudely written in shaky all caps handwriting.

When I was growing up and trying to be cool, I spelled my nickname as “Lhanie” — notice the Filipino’s penchant for putting the letter “h” in a misguided and uninformed attempt to make a certain name sound cute? That’s the reason why Pinoys have “Jhun”, “Ahnie”, “Jhon-Jhon”, “Lhisa” and “Bhoy”. I even saw this weird spelling on a belly of the Lambingin Bridge in Mandaluyong while aboard a Starcraft Ferry: “Aphril loves Nhestor”. After graduating from high school and deciding that “Lhanie” is “jologs”, I shortened it to “Lani” and the name stuck ever since. Well, that is before I was hired to where I was working now.

Apparently, the name “Melanie” and “Lani” takes the cake in this organization–and upon my entry into the org, there was already a “Melai”, “Annie” and “Lani”. In this situation, the name “lans/lance” was born. So, I became Lans and until now, has been subjected to embarrassing phone calls that usually goes like this:

Caller: Good afternoon, may I please speak to Sir Lance?
Me: There is no Lance here, what department are you calling?
Caller: Wala pong Lance (Surname)…?
Me: Oh, that would be me…(after realizing that I go by the name Lans here)
Caller: Ay babae po pala kayo…sorry po…

I really don’t care about the spelling–write it as Lans or Lance, I don’t care–as long as it’s not “Lhanzzz” cos then, it would really be freaky and cheap. So, it would never be “Mel” ever. I am tempted to respond to the writer as to who he was pertaining to: Mel Gibson, Mel Tiangco, Mel & Jay??? I don’t know, Mel seems a bit — too grown up? to old of a name for someone like me who refused to grow up. A look in the mirror confirms that I will never be “Mel” but I will always be “Lani”.

As simple as that: 4 letters and 2 syllables.

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