S-a-y-a. Pronounced S-i-g-h-a. Spelled S-a-y-a.

I’ve written about my name before.   An email received recently, from the Editor in Chief of a major Chicago web publication, in response to my topic suggestion, spurs another post on the topic – Thanks, April.  We’ll get that up there soon.

When you get an email from me, it says from Saya April Hillman.  When I sign emails, my standard sign-off is Cheers, Saya.  Yet countless times, a responder has begun their email to me with April.  Sometimes Sara.  The latter I can understand.  You just thought I misspelled my own name and helpfully corrected it.  But when you skip my first name all together, that’s a bit more puzzling.

When you meet someone in person and you have an unusual name, by the time you reach age seventeen, you usually have a method to facilitate the process.

Hi, I’m Bill.

Hi, Saya.

[quizzical look by Bill]

Like Maya, but with an S.  My mom liked Maya Angelou but didn’t like the name Maya — take out the M and put in an S.

Ohhhhh!  Great.  Nice to meet you Saya. [look of relief by Bill]

When you write me an email, are you worried about mispronouncing my name via text and thus decide to spare yourself the embarrassment and me the hurt feelings and skip straight to my stress-free middle name?  Or perhaps you think Saya is some crazy new slang the kids are using these days, inserted before someone’s moniker, like a What’s up, Bill?!?  Saya, Bill! And you’re above crazy new slang and thus refuse to stoop to its level.

I’ve never had someone I know do this to me.  In the past year, it’s usually been Mingler guests, signing up to attend an event or asking me what they should wear.  It doesn’t bother me (much), I’m just curious as to why.  Next time someone April’s me, I’m going to ask.