What’s in a name?

30 Apr

I’ve just had a conversation with someone about my unusual name – for about the millionth time in my lifetime!

My name is MARLEISA (Mar/leisa).


The name is German and it means Mary Magdalene (well so I have been told).

At the time my mum was pregnant with me my Uncle was dating a German girl and it was her name.  She suggested to my parents to  alter the original spelling (I am unsure as to what the original spelling was) as she had found people in Australia had trouble pronouncing her name.

This did not work!

People still can not pronounce or spell it! My hairdresser of 4 years honestly thinks my name is Melissa.  Now when she calls me that I just smile back to her (we are past the point of correction).

Although there is an aura of coolness over having a name that is not all that common. People always comment about it and ask about its origin (well if it’s not my name they ask about it will be my red hair – it seems I have lots of questionable qualities)

So here is my pro/con list on having an unusual name.

PRO – so so easy to get an uncomplicated email address (marleisa@hotmail). No underscore or year of birth needed for me. This is also applicable for twitter/instagram/facebook/blog etc.

CON – I’ve never ever been able to find anything with my name on it (when I was a kid I would of given anything to have a pen with my name on it!)

PRO – I am unique – I can’t be mixed up with the other Marleisas around the place.

CON – People never know how to say it.  I think people look at the first and last letter and predict the middle.  I often get Melissa or Melinda.  I ordered a hot chocolate at a café one day (a place where you give your name and they call it out when it’s ready). The lady was calling out “Melinda, Melinda”. I was standing there waiting until a friend nudged me and said I think that’s you!

PRO – It’s a good conversation starter.  People always want to know the story behind the name.

CON – It is always spelt incorrectly. People seem to like to double the L and S or forget the E (Marlleisa/Marleissa/Marlisa).

So what do you think………is having an unusual name worth it?




18 Responses to “What’s in a name?”

  1. Yvette @ Little Bento Blog 30/04/2013 at 11:13 AM #

    My name has always been pronounced funny and written wrong. it is E-Vet – Yvette.
    Pronounced wrong: Ivet, yavet y-vet…
    Spelt wrong: evet, evette, yevette, ivet

  2. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions 30/04/2013 at 1:47 PM #

    I think it depends on just how unique it is. My Mum has a unique name and absolutely hates it for all the reasons you’ve listed as cons above.

    I think unique names are beautiful and don’t have a problem with them, the only thing I do have a problem with is common names with ‘unique’ spellings. I reckon that’s just lazy and silly.

  3. Zita 30/04/2013 at 1:57 PM #

    Oh I could have written this blog post myself!!!! I definitely agree with all the Pros and Cons! I remember when I was younger all my sisters got stickers and things with their names on it (Jody, Linda, Kathy, Renee) and I got “Special girl”…hated it!!!!

    Versions of my name have been…zeeta, zeetah, zeda, xeda and more commonly zeta (I think because it is usually spelt this way)

    I was even asked one day if it was short for something….??

    I hated it as a child and remember having several arguments with my folks for giving me a “stupid” name declaring that they must have hated me and that when I was old enough I was changing it to something normal!

    Throughout Highschool it was a hard name to have, especially the way it was spelt…often being called Zit-head! 😦 kids can be so mean!

    • marleisa 30/04/2013 at 4:56 PM #

      Yes, I feel your pain Zita.
      Although I wonder if my name was Jane ii I would be writing a blog post about how I want to be different.
      The grass is always greener…………

      and I’m with you on the sticker things. I remember we went to Dream World and everyone else got a cup with their name on it (Bianca, Ryan, Jacinta) and I had to get some general one – not happy!

  4. Jo @ Countrylifeexperiment 30/04/2013 at 7:39 PM #

    I am a teacher and tried to go with names that are not so common that there are 10 in every class, but not so unusual that people have no idea how to pronounce it. Hannah and Toby are easy, but Meghann (Meg-in) gets called Megan (Mee-gan)all the time. I swear it is a proper name (it is Welsh) but people who haven’t heard it pronounced seem to have problems with it. We mostly call her Meg which solves some issues.

  5. Bonnie Rae 30/04/2013 at 8:23 PM #

    Yes I know exactly what you mean! Bonita is not exactly your common name. I had the same problems with stickers, cups,pens too – so desperately wanted one with my name on it as a kid. I also get lots of questions about my origin, where my family are from etc. Which I guess is good for conversation starters? I actually used to get called ‘Benita’ a lot because of Benita from Playschool 🙂 Everyone just ended up calling me by my short name Bon which turned into Bonnie and I only ever refer to myself as Bonnie now. A lot of my friends don’t even know my real name.
    It’s funny though, I appreciate my unique name more now as an adult though. So have given my kids not so common names. And being a teacher also I wanted to name my kids different names so they didn’t have to share their name with 2 or 3 others in the class. Funnily though my daughter Mika (pronounced Mee-ka) gets called Mi-cah all the time! Drives me nuts! And she’ll have the same problems i had as a child – hopefully she will eventually appreciate her different name??

    • marleisa 30/04/2013 at 8:30 PM #

      Thanks Bonnie,
      I agree I appreciate my name more now that I am older.
      Isn’t it funny how as kids we all just wanted a ‘normal’ name just for the sake of a pen or cup!
      Good Luck to Mika!

  6. Martine@themodernparent 30/04/2013 at 9:02 PM #

    Whilst not overly unusual I still never found any pens, cups or paraphernalia with Martine on it. I do however get called Martin, marteeny, marine and just last week Maureen! By the way I think your name is really pretty…so there a pro!

  7. Rita Azar 01/05/2013 at 12:02 AM #

    I just love this post! I think your name is beautiful. Seriously how easy is my name: Rita and people still call me Lita, Dita…

    • marleisa 01/05/2013 at 6:52 PM #

      Thanks Rita, that was so lovely of you!

  8. I love your name! Growing up in country NSW, Francesca wasn’t well known. I’d get Fran or Franchesca, Franchessca, Jessica, you name it. I was so excited when I went to Italy to find things in shops with my name on them!

    I like having a name that’s a bit different. Having said that, I’ve spared my daughters the pain by giving them fairly common / easy names.

  9. Me 02/05/2013 at 4:27 PM #

    I read K’s name in a book when I was pregnant and thought it was lovely (although it took us about 10 days to settle on it after she was born !!) and we tried to stay away from the unusual for all your reasons. Seems like we didn’t do a great job because we could never find cups/pens/shirts etc with her name spelt correctly !
    Strange spellings just to be different make me laugh – if you want to be different – choose a different name, don’t take a normal name and mess up the spelling !!!!
    Have the best day !
    #IBOT visitor

  10. mummywifeme 02/02/2014 at 2:49 PM #

    That cracked me up about your hairdresser. Don’t you hate it when things just go too far beyond telling the truth?! Maybe now she’ll know if she reads your blog. I think it’s a lovely name and interesting story behind it 🙂

  11. Alicia 02/02/2014 at 3:50 PM #

    I got all sorts Leesa, Alise, Alisia, it’s not that hard. I am glad I have been saying your name right all this time 🙂

  12. Zanni Arnot 02/02/2014 at 8:21 PM #

    Yep, definitely pros and cons. Suzannah (my actual name) was never ever spelt right, because my parents wanted something a bit different. It had it’s quirks. Like you, I like having an unusual name for things like blog addresses and emails, though I was surprised Zanniarnot was already taken. Can’t believe there is another Zanni Arnot out there! One of the main reasons I haven’t taken my husband’s name is because it is impossible to spell and pronounce in Australia, so no-one bothers. If I want to be a writer, I don’t think this is a good idea 😉 Thanks so much for linking up to Sunshine Sundays. x

  13. Tegan Churchill 03/02/2014 at 1:15 AM #

    I always get excited when I see someone explain how to say their name and find out that I was saying it right lol!

    I have a pretty common name and yet people always spell it wrong or call me Megan. One memory I have is that my mums boss could never remember my name but a lady that she used to care for who had dementia always remembered who I was and what my name was.

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