I'm on the phone with the receptionist at my doctor's office, because I just need to quickly reschedule my upcoming appointment. After a moment or two of dead air, the young woman on the line says, "Marissa? I can't seem to find you in the system." Without missing a beat, I reply, "Oh. No, it's Maressa. M-A-R-E-S-S-A." Thankfully, that did the trick.
My name is always confused with its more popular counterpart. In cases like this, spelling it out usually helps. Ensuring that a stranger nails the correct pronunciation is a whole different ballgame. Sometimes, when introducing myself, I'll have to say it several times before a new acquaintance will say it back correctly. Even then, over the course of more than three decades with my name, I've learned to live with the fact that teachers, colleagues, neighbors, doctors, group fitness instructors, maybe even old classmates, are simply going to call me Marissa. And don't even get me started with Starbucks' baristas.
If it sounds like it's enough to give me an identity crisis, or at least make me contemplate throwing in the towel and embracing an easier nickname, it is. But let me tell you:
If you love a traditional baby name but also like the idea of naming your child something a little different, one of these unique spellings just may be the right mix of hip and wholesome. Happy name-hunting!