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Call Me Gail

Monday, April 27, 2015
My name isn't really Gail. That's just my nickname, and it confuses people who know my real name. They can't understand why my real name would shorten to Gail, but guess what? Neither do I. But somehow, Gabrielle turned into Gail, and the only explanation I have to why it became that is because the letters B, R, E, L, and E were slashed off. You'd expect Gabrielle to turn into Gab or Elle, but nope. My "case" is different. 

But that doesn't mean I don't like my nickname. In all honestly, I have never been comfortable with the name Gabrielle. It might have been because people constantly mispronounced it, or because people associated it with a boy, and maybe because I just got tired of correcting people each time they raised an eyebrow when they read my name. I never felt an attachment to the name, unlike what I've found with Gail

From first grade to sixth, people referred to me as Gabrielle in various ways. Gayb-reel, Gab-relle, and even a hard, like-my-jaw-can-barely-move-and-I'm-also-constipated pronunciation of Gab-ri-yell. It came to the point where I just shrugged and replied, "Doesn't matter," when they asked me how to say it right. It really didn't matter because no one would remember, anyway.

I also had to live with years of being put into the list of Male students. I get it, Gabrielle can be a unisex name, and I can forgive that mistake, but what this little error caused really affected me. Let's just say people can find the smallest thing that they find "wrong" about you, and then shove it in your face. It might have been in grade school, but at that time, little remarks meant so much more. 

I think that the negativity that I associated my name with eventually led me to putting my name down. My name reminded me of the awkward and anxiety-filled time. It reminded me of the girl that I was, shy and unable to swim against the current. 

It wasn't until high school that I decided to tell people on the first day of school to call me Gail. It was a simple task -- get in front of the class, say your name, tell everyone something about yourself. But I decided to give a bit more: my nickname. I don't know why - maybe it was because I wanted to start completely fresh, with a new name and a new outlook - but it was liberating.

For years it felt like Gail was my "comfort" name, the name that made me feel free to do whatever I wanted, to be who I wanted to be. I had kept that nickname within the walls of my home. I don't know why it took me so long to share that name with the world. When I finally did, I felt like I wasn't living as two very different people. I felt like I was Gail and I was finally being myself and sharing my personality to the world.

I still find it odd that one simple thing can inspire things, how a name can suddenly make something inside of you change. I have no clue on how this works, but I do feel like something in a name is special. Gabrielle is still me, and it will always be, but so is Gail. 

So to everyone who has asked me, "Why Gail?" and to everyone who has said, "It doesn't make sense," here's my defense. It might make sense, or it might not at all.
4 comments on "Call Me Gail"
  1. Love this post! It's different from most of the blog posts I read, but still really insightful and interesting. Actually, I love both the names Gail and Elle, they sound so pretty :) As for me, I mostly get called by my original name but occasionally it gets shortened to just 'j'. Hope you're doing well!

    Justine x
    teenfolk

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    1. Hi Justine! Thanks for the lovely comment. I'm doing great, how are you? (Also, I just followed you back! Sorry for the delay, hee!) xo

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  2. I love this! I find myself relating to it. My real name's Joseph but I always want people to call me Joey. It even got to the point where people get surprised when they find out my real name. I don't know, Joey just seems more...me.

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    1. I KNEW your name sounded familiar! We featured your work once, didn't we? Hope you're doing great and writing, Joey! :)

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