I’m 30 years old. My name is Mustafa. Until before 1994 and the release of The Lion King, few people got my name wrong. Now, everyone calls me “Mufasa” before finally getting my name right. It’s fine, it doesn’t bother me. Not like my name existed over 1,400 years ago before the release of that children’s film.
Some of the responses to my name aren’t as innocuous. Years ago, while waiting in Port Authority watching a movie on my phone, someone tapped me on my shoulder. I took my headphones out because it was a pleasant looking young woman with a smile on her face. She asked me what I was watching, how I was able to watch movies on a phone (this was when the Netflix beta app was still a relatively new thing) and when it got to the bit where she asked me my name and I told her, her face completely changed. She got belligerent, asked me where my parents were from, and when I told her Albania, she said with a challenge, “Well I’m Serbian.” Which didn’t really bother me, but she was horrified and got up and left.
In case you don’t know the bad blood between the two countries, here’s a photograph from their Eurocup 2016 qualifier match.
I’m not the only person with a “weird” name, though, so I can’t act like no one else in the world has experienced some unusual social situations for a decision their parents made.
Now, with Twitter sharing their own #GrowingUpWithMyName stories, I can feel like less of a freak.
Roll call was a nightmare.
Teacher: ok guys I’m going to take role, sorry if say your name wrong
Teacher: Is it hajfjdkdhcjzks?
Me: it’s kwaku
— kwaku ® (@kwakuQadu11) June 28, 2016
Celebrities ruin everything.
Until Shaun of the Dead came out.
— Simon Pegg (@Simon_Pegg) June 28, 2016
This is why I drink Pepsi.
— The weekday (@behlul_official) June 28, 2016
Pretty much my life in a nutshell.
Never pronounced right
Never spelled right
You wont find it on a Coca Cola bottle
You wont find it on a key chain
— kiwi ☁ (@larryftjustin_) June 28, 2016
Never, ever, ever, ever finding souvenirs saying ‘Rishma’. #GrowingUpWithMyName
— Rishma Dosani (@Rishma_Dosani) June 28, 2016
A for effort.
— Americo Capodagli (@americocap) June 28, 2016
Y’ALL RLLY THOUGHT I DIDN’T KNOW pic.twitter.com/y7ASuj3gpA
— Pat Rollom (@NeedASandwich) June 28, 2016
being asked if I want to build a snowman at any given opportunity #GrowingUpWithMyName
— Elsa (@Heartbeat_elss) June 28, 2016
— Luke Waskowski (@LukeWaskowski) June 28, 2016
His music isn’t all that anyway, bro.
— Becky Sheeran (@TalkBeckyTalk) June 28, 2016
— тнıa (@flawlesslawrnce) June 28, 2016
Don’t feel too bad, they f*ck up “John” half the time too.
— rainrain (@ainroble) June 28, 2016
“Hi, I’m Aries.”
“No my name is-“
“Shut up Cancer”
— aries (@seventhdemigod) June 28, 2016
School was the worst.
That awkward silence when the substitute teacher tries to pronounce something & u already know its your name
— tahoora (@1DizzleftBizzle) June 28, 2016
Person: What’s your name?
Person: OHHHH like the lion king?
Me: Just call me Mufasa ???#GrowingUpWithMyName
— Mostafa (@SolerMostafa) June 28, 2016
But there’s always a shining star.
— ｘ (@XlMENAX) June 28, 2016
And that just makes your day that, much, better.