A Crazy Name Like Fadra

I can’t believe I’ve never done this post. More importantly, I can’t believe I’ve never really gotten the question on here. Where the heck did I get a name like Fadra? So I’m going to write all about me today. Yes, it’s self-centered but it’s actually a little interesting too.

I am #4 on Google. Eclipsed only by the Florida Auto Dismantlers & Recyclers Association

When I meet people in person and introduce myself, I have lots of problems and questions with my name. I get the standard mispronunciations like “FAH-dra.” Even after I correct people, they’ll say it correctly a few times and then slip right back into “FAH-dra.” It’s actually pronounced “FAY-dra.” I used to be too shy to correct people but now I will let you know if you are saying it wrong.

RIP Sarah 'Fadra' Marlow. I never knew it was a nickname for Sarah.

I also gets lots of people that think my name is Fay. I introduce myself as “Fadra Nally” and they think I’ve said “Fay Dranally.” They hear the only part of my name that they recognize and say “Hi, Fay. Nice to meet you.” I politely correct them and then they ask me to repeat myself. Or they disregard my name entirely and call me “Nally.” I’ll never understand that one.

And then there’s the question of where my name came from. What they are really asking is where did I come from. I’m used to it by now. I don’t mind the question. In fact, I help people out when they’re trying to figure out the most politically correct way to ask me.

“So, Fadra. Is that, I mean, are you… is that an American name?”

I launch into my standard spiel:

“The name is Greek but I’m not. I’m as American as they come. In fact, I’m my own melting pot, a mixture of tons of ethnicities. The name is ordinarily spelled Phaedra and has its roots in Greek mythology. No, that’s not where my mom got it from. She got it from a really bad song in the 60s. No, she wasn’t a hippie and never did drugs. She just likes unusual names and out of four kids in the family, I got the brunt of it.”

I can solve your garbage problems too.

Every once in a while, I’ll meet someone who knows someone who knows someone named Fadra or Phaedra. It’s always spelled different. I’ve always been unique. Sounds cool, right? But think back to your adolescent days. What did you want? To fit in.

My son is a bit "unique"

My son is a bit "unique"

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree

When I was little, I wanted to be Sheila or Crystal. Then I would have been happy with Kelly or Jennifer. Anything but Fadra. My name seemed to define me. I felt isolated. Different. I had a music teacher once tell me that “Fadra” sounded like a name for a model or an actress. Wishful thinking.

I did venture into the theater space. I was a high school drama nerd (although I’ve never watched  single episode of Glee). I minored in Theater in college and my name was sort of worshipped by the theater types. It still never grew on me.

And then I started to try to embrace my name. Or try to anyway. I started a group on Facebook. It’s called “Growing Up Fadra.” I created it as a group for the select few that grew up with the name Fadra. I had never met another Fadra and knew there were more out there.

It turns out, there are 15 of us (in the group anyway). We have a few additional members who joined maybe because they like someone named Fadra (my husband is a member). We’re not an active group. We don’t have much in common except for the fact that we all have the name Fadra. But it is an international group. We have members across the U.S., England,  and Indonesia.

An Etsy bunny named Fadra. I wish I owned this bunny.

We traded a few stories about how we got our name (a lot of similar circumstances) and if we liked the name growing up and if it had any impact on the naming of our children (if we had any). I think the most exciting thing for me was becoming friends with other Fadras and seeing their names appear on my wall. It was so bizarre to see another Fadra, that wasn’t me, posting things about their life. And seeing people respond to them with the name Fadra and they weren’t talking to me.

I guess you have to have a name as unique as mine to understand.

As it turns out, I created a blog in my name. I didn’t put much thought into it. I just thought it would be my ramblings. My friends would know it was me. And it is sort of unique in a world where it’s easy to get buried on Google. Now, it turns out, my name has become a bit of a brand. My brand. So, like it or not, it’s with me for the long haul.

  • http://www.stayathomebabe.com Stay At Home Babe

    Oh my god, I totally understand everything you’re saying here. I joined a group on Facebook called Lerners Round the World… turns out I was the only one with Lerner for a first name :(. Everything you said, everything, must be why you’re my doppleganger-opposite :).

    • Anonymous

      I was wondering if you suffered the same fate. At least you had a popular clothing store with your name back in the 90s. I have the the Florida Auto Dismantlers & Recyclers Association for my namesake.

      • http://www.stayathomebabe.com Stay At Home Babe

        I was actually named after the daughter of the family that started that store. My mother was her camp counselor and it was her last name. Damn hippie :).

  • http://www.thesnyder5.com/ Molly

    Not self-centered at all. Really, really interesting actually. And funny and, what do you know, I was totally mispronouncing it in my head too.

    • Anonymous

      I have that problem. I develop relationships with people online and we feel like we know each other and then we meet and they’ve been having a relationship FAH-dra all along ;)

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  • miss tejota

    I fully understand. My birth name was too difficult for my own family to understand that my parents changed the pronunciation of it. I’m still annoyed by this today.

    And somewhat randomly, there is a Phaedra on the “Real Housewives of Atlanta” that has the twitter world abuzz because she is either lying about her due date or actually trying to induce her labor at 7 months for some interesting reasons. The whole thing would be comical if a child wasn’t involved.

    As always I loved the post.

    • Anonymous

      Is Tejota your name? I didn’t know for sure but now you have me totally intrigued about a name to difficult to even understand.

      And yes, I have heard of the infamous Phaedra. I want nothing to do with that hussy.

  • http://www.kellyology.net/ Kellyology

    As a Kelly I always wanted my name to be more unique. I don’t think I made it through a school year, pre-k through college, where I didn’t have another Kelly at least in one of my classes. I went through a phase where I changed the spelling of my name trying to be different, but finally I just gave up. It’s funny how we all seem to want what we don’t have isn’t it?

    • Anonymous

      Oh yes. That’s exactly true. And we straight-haired people have always envied the curly locks and vice versa. Bottom line is that it’s the name I have. I’m stuck with it.

      But now I want to know… what was the spelling, Kelli? With a heart over the eye? ;)

      • http://www.kellyology.net/ Kellyology

        You so called it only add all signatures must be written in purple ink with no capital letters. What can I say? It was junior high.

  • Anonymous

    Very cool *story* about how you’re you. :) I always hated that there were never any stickers with the name Andrea on them, I’d imagine you had it much worse, as I could at least – on the rarest of moments – find a pencil or SOMEthing. I was saying it wrong until someone said your name to me (Mel, I think it was) and I was like, oh! That’s how it’s pronounced! :>

    • Anonymous

      I always thought Andrea was kind of common. I never would have know that you struggled the way I did with personalized items. Oh, what I would have given to have had a personalized license plate for my bike :)

  • http://amberherself.wordpress.com/ amberherself

    I’d rather have a difficult to pronounce and unique name over “Amber.” Have you ever noticed how the dumb and slutty girls on TV & in movies are always named Amber? I can tell you I have certainly noticed. I’m glad you’ve embraced your awesome name.

    • Anonymous

      I had to totally laugh at your comment because Amber is most certainly a stripper name (or dumb/slutty girls, if you prefer). Tori Amos has an awesome song called “Amber Waves” though :)

  • http://www.mommywords.com Brittany at Mommy Words

    Being a theater geek myself I loved your name from the first time I heard it outside the elevators at BlogHer! I guess I didn;t have to think abgout how it was spelled because it was on your badge! Good thing it was BlogHer and we both had badges unlike at Type A where we had to make our own huh? Anyway, I think both you and your name are gorgeous babe.

    It’s cool and unique like you.

    • Anonymous

      Love you! Best comment today :) Come back any time. Although I’m sure you’ve had you’re share of name issues what with Britney Spears. But I know the difference, Brittany!!

  • http://www.mommyneedsavacation.com Rachel- Mommy Needs a Vacation

    I have to admit- I totally thought you were FAH-dra at first. But now I got it down. Sue set me straight! :-)
    PS- I dig FAY-dra

    • Anonymous

      You better have it straight or I’ll start calling you Ra-CHELLE ;)

  • http://www.mommyneedsavacation.com Rachel- Mommy Needs a Vacation

    I have to admit- I totally thought you were FAH-dra at first. But now I got it down. Sue set me straight! :-)
    PS- I dig FAY-dra

  • http://twitter.com/nlj Nathania Johnson

    I hear ya, girl. I once got a library card in the mail with my name spelled Nathaniania (that’s an extra nia).

    I’ve been called Nathan-ia – as in the name Nathan with an ia on the end.

    I’ve been called Natalie and Natalia.

    And of course, Nathanial. It doesn’t help that my middle initial was L. So it was just sitting there waiting for my teacher to screw up growing up.

    In the end it’s just Nathanial without the “L” but that doesn’t prevent people from turning the second a into a short “o” or emphasizing the i at the end.

    As my late father would say, “as long as you don’t call me late for dinner….”

    • Anonymous

      You know what? I almost think you have it worse. Because you’re name looks like it is supposed to be a boys’ name and it’s just missing (or added) a few letters. I think the Nathaniania comment is hilarious. I had to really focus on that to imagine how I would even pronounce it. My favorite is when I get mail addressed to Mr. Fadra Nally. Or when I had a substitute teacher call me Fedora. Really?

  • http://mommythisandthat.com Melisa

    I spell my name with one s and that’s considered weird. The reason I do? Because when you say my name with a Spanish accent it comes out meh-lisa. I like it but for a long time when someone spelled it with 2, I didn’t correct them.

    I have to admit when I started reading your blog I always said “Fay-dra” in my head. Then I remember perusing a few comments and I could swear I saw you say you pronounced it “Fah-dra”. When we came to meet you in October I was beside myself with pronunciation fear. I didn’t want to seem like a complete moron! Thankfully when you met my husband you said your name first…

    • Anonymous

      Ahh, you know how to play the name game with your spouse. How wise. It’s ALWAYS okay to ask how to pronounce my name. I’m worse. I simply say “What was your name again?” because I forget all the time. When Melissa (adventuroo) and I have mentioned you, we always refer to you as Melisa with one S ;)

  • http://www.adventuroo.com Adventuroo

    I agree with Molly— it’s super interesting! It’s funny how as kids the things we hate we now love (well, not EVERYTHING but you know what I mean). I always wanted to be a Heidi when I was younger. My parents ALMOST named me Nadia, but in Spanish (I’m half) it’s too close to Nadie (i.e. no one) so they let that one go. I definitely couldn’t see myself as a Nadia, could you?!

    • Anonymous

      Oh I love the name Heidi! But I don’t think it would suit you. Likewise, my mom almost named me Keisha. That wouldn’t have really suited me either. But Nadia? I could maybe see that.

  • Erica

    I’ve always wanted to know how you got your name! I love saying it over and over again, lovely how it rolls off the tongue.

    Great post!

    • Anonymous

      Oh you like my name? You love it even? Well, you can have it. I’ll be Erica for a while. It will be a relief. But I’ll spell it like this “Erika” ;)

  • http://www.comagirl.net/ Coma Girl

    I have been curious about your name – and wondered if it came from Phaedra.

    And yes, I too wanted to be a Jennifer or Melissa. Genevieve is more popular now (thanks to TLC and Choo Choo Soul!), but when I was young it wasn’t. Everyone called me Genovese (like the drug store).

    • Anonymous

      I love your name SO much but I can imagine growing up with it. I didn’t even venture into the “kids made fun of me” territory because I think it was assumed. (It was for me anyway).

      So glad you stopped by. I’ve missed your comments!

  • Anonymous

    I love your name! My name is so common. At least, it was when I was in school. There were four Laurens in my grade (including me) and three of us were in the same orchestra. AWESOME.

    • Anonymous

      You are the only Lauren I know and you are CERTAINLY one of a kind. Love. You.

  • http://www.greeningsamandavery.typepad.com Greeningsamandavery

    Love your name! What a fun post to read for my first time to stop by.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      Well, you picked a good post to read then. It properly sets the stage for you.

      So glad you stopped by!!

  • Fadraharter

    My name too is Fadra. I have only heard of one other person spelling it the same as me. I hated it when I was in school – all I did was pronounce it for the teachers, especially in high school. Even some of my in-law relatives can’t pronounce it properly. I just correct every pronounciation I am called that is not right.
    Thanks for sharing your info.

    • Anonymous

      FADRA!!! Yes! So glad you stopped by. Everything that you feel? I totally get and understand. Like nobody else could. Except for another person named Fadra ;)

  • Kellnkids13

    I never knew you wished to be a Kelly!!! LOL ! I always loved you name and it fit your great personality! A boring, old run of the mill name such as mine would not have fit you:)

    • Anonymous

      Did my name fit my personality or did my personality evolve because of my name? Tough to say but life might have been a lot easier for me as a Kelly.

      You make a great Kelly though :)

  • http://liveandloveoutloud.com/ Kristi

    I love your name and I’m so glad you pointed me to this post. You know, every time you popped up in my Twitter stream I’d try out the two different versions of your name. I’d say Fah-dra with a dramatic accent, while saying Fay-dra in a more demure tone of voice. lol At least I know which one to use now. :)
    And by the way, I would have loved to have had a unique name while growing up. There were so many Kristis at my high school, it was ridiculous.

    • Anonymous

      Just now reading this! I love that you imagined distinct accents with my name. You, and you alone, could call me Fah-dra if you want just so I can hear that accent!

  • http://www.thecharlottemoms.com Jennifer Bullock

    The grass is always greener, growing up a Jennifer I hated my name, there was nothing unique about it….had to be set apart by my last initial, and whenever anyone called my name I had to triple check that they meant me. I love your name, even though now there’s another Phaedra in the world you’re still my #1!

    • Anonymous

      Awww, you’re so sweet! I would have killed for Jennifer at a time when all you want to do is fit in. Now, I don’t love my name but at least I’ve learned to embrace it!

  • http://coolandhipiamnot.blogspot.com Heather

    When I first saw this post, I thought I was wrong on how to pronounce your name. Thankfully I was RIGHT. WHOOT! I love your name and how it flows…
    Also, Fay Dranally? I would love to borrow this name…;)

    • Anonymous

      You can use Fay Dranally in your novel. Make her the antagonist just for fun ;)

  • http://twitter.com/themorrisbunch Gena Morris

    Fadra I loved learning how to properly say your name. But I also learned more about you. Thank you! You are definitely the kind of gal I want to hang out with more!

    • Anonymous

      I hope we can do it! Type A and BlogHer are on my agenda this year!

  • http://twitter.com/KatjaPresnal Katja Presnal

    I love that you wrote this! The funny thing is that I have experienced both – being “Katja R.” the entire school years, because “Katja” wasn’t enough because there were 3 other Katjas in my class in Finland – and now being here in the US where most people never meet anyone else named Katja, or at least it’s Katya and it’s a Russian spy in a Hollywood movie… I have to say, I like the latter better. I like being unique.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, you could totally be the Russian spy femme fatale. That’s funny that that was such a common name for you. You are definitely the first Katja I’ve met!

  • Alexandra

    This was so sweet.

    I always thought you were named after Phaedras.

  • Christina

    I had a good friend named Phaedra (pronounced the same) when I was growing up.  I was so envious of her unique name.  I loved it!  

    • Anonymous

      And if she was anything like me, she was envious of a “regular” name like Christina. You really can’t ever win!

  • http://lostinaseaofblogs.wordpress.com/ Broot

    My daughter will identify with you when she’s older, I’m sure. Hers is a perfectly normal Eastern European name but since it doesn’t appear in Canadian or New Zealand society she is constantly having to pronounce it properly and spell it for people. That said, once they’ve heard it and seen it, people love it. ;)

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure if I lived in Greece, I’d never get asked twice. People actually tell me they love my name but if i had my way, I probably would have picked something else for myself.

  • http://thefamilymath.wordpress.com Misty

    I like your name, and I actually was pronouncing it right in my head all along. :)

    • Anonymous

      You get a gold star! I’m always so pleased when people get it right!

  • http://kallaydoscope.com/ Kallay

    I have a hard to spell/pronounce name for the general public as well. SO much (no) fun! I always wanted to be a Crystal or a Danielle growing up, but alas. If this makes you feel any better, at least when you Google your name, you get websites that are in English. Mine? Hungarian. I do love my name, now, though. I no longer want to be a Crystal or a Danielle. 

    • Anonymous

      Believe it or not, Fadra seems to be a popular last name in either the Muslim community or Indonesia (not sure which). Now that I’m all over the internet, I strive to be #1 on Google for FADRA.

  • Anonymous

    Now I am curious what your son’s name is? Hubby and I have a very popular last name and very popular first names of our generation (Michelle and Nathan). We both like unique names for our kids for this reason.

    • Anonymous

      My son’s name is Evan. I picked it because I thought it wasn’t entirely common but not ridiculously unusual. Turns out Evan is a pretty popular name but I still like it.

  • Becki

    I read an article just yesterday that mentioned a woman named Phaedra. I think, however it’s spelled, that it’s a lovely name.

  • http://twitter.com/JendisJournal Jendi

    Most of my life I enjoyed having the unusual name of “Jendi.” Most. My parents got it from a lady golfer’s picture in a newspaper. LOL I like to embellish it with “they liked Jennifer, but everybody was using the name Jennifer so when they saw Jendi they thought I’d still get the nickname Jenny [never did] and they liked it.

    It has been extremely nice to have a different name in a social media world, and most people say, “Oh that’s pretty. I never heard that before.” I never thought of starting a Facebook group, but that might be fun. I’ve never met another “Jendi” in real life – just some contacts through the internet.

  • http://www.thedestinymanifest.com Heather O.

    The grass is always greener on the other side, I think. Growing up in the 80’s, I was always one of many Heathers in my classes. I longed for a more interesting name… so I gave my daughters interesting names.

    My oldest is Lakin (which is my middle name, always wanted it to be my first) – pronounced Lay-ken – and my second daughter is Addah – pronounced Ay-dah. They tell me they wish they had “normal” names, because they always have to correct pronunciation and spelling.

    Ah well… can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    Oh and I’m pleased to learn that I was pronouncing your name properly all along, in my head. :D

  • Scotty

    I went to college with a girl named Phaedra (in Georgia). She may even be a part of your FB group. She was really smart and went to work for the CDC. By college she’d learned to lead with the name, explaining on first meeting its origin in Greek mythology. Like many girls with unusual names, I always wanted a more mainstream, girly name, like Laura or Jessica. By fifth grade I was already tired of comments like “Did your parents want a boy?” or “Beam me up, Scotty!” I learned to respond with a polite smile or a try at humor; I’m sure people don’t mean to be rude with their reactions to my name, nor do they try to insinuate their idiocy, but people can be awkward.

    • FadraN

      I didn’t confess this but I actually thought when you first contacted me that you were a man!!!

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  • BJ

    Hi Fadra! That is my grandmother’s toombstone you have on this site! I was just searching the name because I wanted to try and convince my daughter to give it to a baby girl when she has one! She refuses… I noticed your blog and there it is!!! Fadra was the 5th wife (long story) of my grandfather, William David Marlow. They married in 1917 and she gave birth to my dad Sep 26 1919. Sadly, she died one week later from complications of giving birth. My grandfather and his 7th wife adopted a homeless child and named her Fadra or “Fada” as they always called her. Although my dad had brothers and sisters from the 1st and 2nd wives, he was closest to Aunt Fadra. I love the name!!

    • FadraN

      BJ – I love that you found my blog! As you can tell, I wrote the post several years ago when I didn’t really know much about intellectual property and using other people’s photos on the internet. I hope it’s okay that I have the picture on my blog. This is one of my most popular posts!

      I love reading the history behind poor Fadra (the first one AND the second one!). It’s definitely a unique name and whenever I connect with someone with the same name and spelling (usually online) it feels so odd. I’m used to being the only one! While I never loved the name for myself, I get compliments on it all the time. I consider myself a bit unusual and so is the name so I think in the end, I’m quite suited for it. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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