Life Lessons

Apologetic Introduction

Every time I give my name I feel apologetic that it’s so long and awkward. I’m conscious that no one can ever spell either my first name and/or my surname. “It’s Siobhan, yes it’s Irish, S-i-o-b… Yeah, the ‘bh’ is a ‘v’ in Irish… Then it’s Kangataran, yeah that’s K-a-n….” And so on.

Growing up in Ireland, my first name was usually pretty straightforward, although I’d end up with errant ‘i’ or an extra ‘h’ every now and then, but people would just stop dead when they saw my surname, and wouldn’t even hazard a guess! Too long, too complicated, not worth the embarrassment. We might not pronounce it the right way but we say it phonetically – Kanga-ta-ran. I’ve had many many versions of spelling and pronunciation both names, (usually involving a Starbucks barista ).


So my name is different. So what. Why do I feel like I have to apologise every time I say it? What impression does that give? In meetings, networking events, or visiting new offices, I hear confident people owning their (“normal”) more easily understandable names, and I hear myself asking for permission to be there. Apologising for existing.

Even in setting up this blog I didn’t want it to be about me. I wanted it to be somewhere for women to be able to have access to practical information, and connect with other women to discuss anything relating to work. But if the blog is about me, to begin with at least, then I need to take more ownership of this, and stop hiding and apologising for existing.

So. Hi, My name is Siobhan Kangataran. It’s nice to meet you. What’s your name?  


6 thoughts on “Apologetic Introduction”

  1. Hi Siobhan Kangataran, I’m Elizabeth John, which is about as straightforward as you can get. However, it seems there are too many abbreviations, I’ve been called, (amongst other things!) Wib, Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Liz-John and Libby. Beth has dropped out, (that was just a maths teacher who loved the name so decided that was it for me) but the other five are in regular circulation. It becomes confusing when I have to remember who I am introducing myself to, and therefore what my name should be to them, also I would have no idea how to refer to myself in the 3rd person!

    So please don’t feel alone with your name struggles!

    Thank you for your fantastic blog, I’ve moved forwards with your support for my business in ways I could have only hoped for.

    Please keep doing what you’re doing and I look forward to reading and sharing more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked my name. Vicky Johns. A nice solid balanced name. (Obviously I’ve had to deal with the various ways of spelling ‘Vicky’ again Starbucks step right up in this respect!). Then I got married and took the surname of my husband and his family. What a strange feeling! No longer a Johns and not really a Greenwood. (I now use both, which is fun) It’s made me realise how important our name is (well, to me anyway) I always wished I had a spectacularly unusual name, but reading this, I’m probably glad that I’m just Vick…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Siobhan
    Firstly I am so proud to have you for my niece I too have / still do say my name apologetically hesitantly and wait for it to be mangled in the way it’s pronounced I have to repeat it and spell it and when I say ” it’s Banu ” it’s pronounced like it’s spelt I get any number of variations of spelling and pronounciations. Apart from looking somewhat skeptical when I say my last name is ‘Moloney’ it also gets any number of variations in spelling which I gather is par for the course even in Ireland Although I’ve wished in my younger days I had a simpler easier name to spell and pronounce I’ve never changed it and I’m proud of both my Indian Sanscrit name and my Irish name
    You too can be proud of your gorgeous Irish and Sanscrit name xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw!! Thank you Auntie Banu!! Isn’t it strange that even when it should be simple, people complicate it, and then we’re the ones who are self conscious?!? I’m trying to not take that on, to be proud of my heritage, and let others either ask for the spelling or let them be embarrassed for getting it wrong. Either way, I’m taking ownership of my name. 😊 xx


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