I don’t know where my mother got the idea she should name me “Lesley” because no one in my family has that name, but she created for me a lifetime of issues by choosing the spelling she did and deciding that it was appropriate for a girl. I’ve encountered many woes because of it.
My fifth grade teacher sent me home with a note to my mother indicating she had misspelled my name and suggesting it be corrected.
I was put in the boys’ gym class in seventh grade (the guys didn’t like it any better than I did).
I was assigned a roommate in the men’s dorm in college (I was kind of delighted, and then they yanked me out of there).
And then there are the continuing difficulties associated with both spelling and questions about my gender. It’s interesting, but mostly annoying, that people see my name written but spell it incorrectly. I find myself having to point out to them the correct spelling. Sometimes it works. Most times they continue to spell it as they like. People continue to assume I’m a male, not a female. Recently I was incorrectly written to as “Mr. Diehl” and the first name was, you guessed it, spelled wrong. I had to correct that twice.
Many people still comment on my having a “guy’s name.”
Then there’s the matter of how it’s pronounced. Mom wanted it to be “lez lee.” Only one family member got that. Everyone else except for my father’s mother and mine pronounced it, “les lee.” I have always used the “les lee” pronunciation when introducing myself, but few people call me that. Some just shorten it to “Les,” which I hate.
Yet I have always liked my name because it is unique—spelling, gender and pronunciation confusions aside—and I think I it fits me far better than my mother’s second choice, Beverly. Or is that Beverley?
It’s great to be a part of a group where the members share the name, if not the spelling, and have probably shared some of the same issues as I.