Growing Up With A Unisex Name Is Harder Than You'd Think
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Growing Up With A Unisex Name Is Harder Than You'd Think

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger... eventually.

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Growing Up With A Unisex Name Is Harder Than You'd Think
Franki Gibiser

Growing up can be hard enough with every other challenge we meet, but having to do it with a unisex name can make it feel a heck of a lot more annoying. Sometimes you curse your parents because it feels like they cursed you. Other times, you curse those around you because strangers always seem to have something to say about your name and they, for whatever reason, just have to give their opinion. Even though you spend most of your life whining about your name and even consider getting it changed, you eventually grow to realize that it shapes you in ways that you might not have realized.

My name is Franki (not Frankie) and, no, my parents did not want a boy. For some people, that's the immediate thought that pops into their head and somehow makes it out of their mouth when they meet me. Although I am named after my dad, I have an older brother and his name isn't Frank! Also, if my parents really wanted a boy, I think they would have come to terms enough by the time that I was born to know that naming me something masculine isn't going to turn me into a little boy.

On the rare instance in which someone doesn't grill me for having a name that they think was meant for a boy, I am met by those who want to express how much they like my name. I didn't realize how polarizing unisex names were until I grew older. I started to notice that if someone wasn't asking if my parents wanted a boy, they were raving about how much they loved my name and how much I "own it." Don't get me wrong, I prefer this type of interaction much more than the former; however, I can't help but wish that people would just stop acknowledging that my name is slightly non-traditional. I crave those times when I can just casually meet someone and introduce myself just as passively as the next guy.

My name also made it difficult to get through the first day of every school year, where the teachers would always call out for Frank when taking attendance. Everyone in the class giggled, my face would turn red, and I would just slowly raise my hand without even correcting them. It got a little better as I got older, and sometimes my friends would just correct them for me. It's something that I knew to prepare for and to not let bother me, but the occasional substitute teacher would always manage to pull those memories right back out of me.

There is a positive that came about the torment of having a unisex name. The little playground digs that my classmates would make eventually led me to have thicker skin. I was so used to getting made fun of for my name that I eventually stopped letting it bother me.

I don't think that anyone should be afraid to give their child a unisex name because, after all of the years of having to explain myself and my name to most everyone that I met, I learned to just stop caring. My name is Franki and that's fine. I didn't spend all that time defending myself and ignoring stupid comments to just up and change my name to Ashley, for the sake of convenience. My parents agreed to give me a unisex name, despite the torment that can come with it, because it was really important to my dad. I like being named after my dad because it's also his dad's name and so on. My name gives me a stronger connection to my family, even if we all get confused on whose name is really being called.

To be honest, growing up is going to be annoying even if you have the most standard name in the book. Sure, I would have liked for my teachers to get my name right on the first try, but they remembered me because they didn't.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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