Welcome to The World Of “Dee”
Last summer, I changed my name — not legally but temporarily to accommodate my co-workers. In retrospect, I’m disappointed in myself. I grew weary of defending my name and surrendered to the pressure to conform to put others at ease.
I was so eager to start work, but when the introductions began, I was met with confusing looks, sudden hearing loss, and ignorant remarks. I let my co-workers decide that they were going to be comfortable and they nicknamed me “Dee”.
I was shocked at how easy it was for them to disregard my full name and create a new one. So I stuck with “Dee.” Though I laughed it off in the beginning, I began to harbor a strong dislike for it. Who was this “Dee” and where did she come from? What are her interests and skills? I co-signed on creating a new woman and felt lost every time I was addressed. What caused their laziness and why didn’t they want to know me?
How the Teasing Began
I’ve been teased about my first name since kindergarten. It’s so easy for children to create jokes with a name like mine. I dealt with it by ignoring them and occasionally giving attitude to whomever. Though I always felt hurt by some of these people I considered my friends, I saved my tears for my pillow at home. Growing up, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t have a regular name like my sisters (Grace and Caroline). My mom always responded with, “Why should we have to change your name? Dorcas is in the bible; people should learn how to say and spell it.” I’d sigh and walk away, thinking of all the names I should have been given: the Nicoles, Jessicas and Brittneys.
The Dorcas in the Bible
Dorcas is a Greek name meaning “Gazelle.” In Acts 9:36-42, Dorcas was a charitable woman that worked out her love for the poor. Dorcas was celebrated in her community, but unfortunately she became ill and died. The Christians wept and heard the Apostle Peter was in the community. When he arrived, they showed him evidence of all her good works. Peter sent everyone out from the room and resurrected Dorcas. God used this act to cause many to believe in the gospel, and Dorcas would continue providing aid to the widows in the city.
When I first heard, and read this story in middle school as an unbeliever, I didn’t care much because of the distress the name caused me. But after I became a believer, I wanted to be proud and keep honoring that name. It was my God given name, one God delighted in.
My Name Is Dorcas
The job was seasonal, and though I never had a chance to tell my co-workers to pronounce my name properly, I left with two conclusions.
People don’t usually want to pronounce names outside of the norm because it requires effort and time. When someone doesn’t want to articulate my name, this implies you don’t care about my identity or anything associated with me.
As I grew tired of being called “Dee,” I realized I was sinning by allowing co-workers to not address me properly and hiding my God-Given name. I repented by praying and asking for forgiveness for my temporary disregard of the joyful name I was given. The journey hasn’t been easy from being teased to finally embracing my name. I will draw strength from the Lord to continue to respond to people that have no regard with grace and love.
To anyone who has a hard name to pronounce, who feel they must shorten or mispronounce it to benefit the lazy or ignorant, I extend my sincere apology on their behalf. Please wear your name proudly; the exquisite character you embody is clothed in that name. You’re beautiful and deserve respect because you are an image bearer of a loving God.
*This article was featured on "The Witness".