Monday, 1 October 2012

Identity Crisis

"Grande latté for Uby?"

"Grande latté for Uby?"

I looked around the crowded Starbuck's. A line of suits jostled for their morning dose of caffeine like siblings fighting over a Christmas present 'to share'. But no one was responding to this coffee order.

"Uby? Latté for Uby?" repeated the barista, looking around for a hint of recognition in the queue.

"Do you mean Libby?"

When the barista at Starbuck's asks for my name to write on my coffee cup I am always tempted to give a joke answer like 'Beauty' or 'Awesome' just to hear them call it out. I had used my real name, but that morning I was given both a coffee and a name change.

The reality is it wouldn't be the first time that my name has been under dispute. My birth certificate says Elisabeth, but I have been Libby for as long as I can remember, or more accurately for as long as I stopped responding to Elisabeth. My passport may disagree, but I am not an Elisabeth. I am Libby, and my name has come to be an important part of who I am.

But it makes me wonder: in a world where a coffee giant wants to know our names, how well do we really know ourselves?

This is me:

My name is Elisabeth Ann Page, but I am Libby.

I love colour (and think it is underrated in our wardrobes).
I love rabbits and novelty knitwear (and clothes that make me smile).
I love food (and the role food plays in our relationships and lives).
I love working (when I love my work).
I love pink (but I'm not a Barbie-bimbo).

I smile (and believe you can get where you want without changing who you are).
I write (because I love it and because it is 'like thinking on paper').
I love love (but despite the romantic inside me there is also someone realistic).
I love clothes (and think they make an important statement about who you are).

I love cake, and I love to bake (but I can still be a strong and independent woman with my apron on).

And I love drinking strong black coffee in independent coffee shops, but sometimes I buy a milky latté from Starbuck's. No one is just one thing, but I guess that's what makes us who we are.



  1. Don't Starbucks have managed to spell my name right once!

    I see it as an opportunity to be whoever I want to be: I could be Veronica (the HR whizz), Zelda (the hypnotherapist), Holly (the flight attendent)... The possibilities are endless.

    The best one I ever heard was when a customer was asked by the barista for their name and someone at the back of the queue shouted "Don't tell him, Pike!"

  2. My name is Joana Gomes (I'm Portuguese) and the last time I was in London I had to say my name at the magazine I was doing work experience and the receptionist (who was very nice) thought I said Jeremy. I really cannot see how Joana can sound like 'Jeremy', but oh well...there are worse things in life.