Some things just sound better in Spanish. My middle name is not one of them. “Erin,” a solid Irish name, sounds more like “ED-een” off the tongue of a Spanish speaker. After several failed attempts to teach my Spanish-speaking coworkers how to pronounce “Erin” correctly, I decided to try my first name instead. Enter my alter ego: Steffani.
I’ve known for some time that Steffani comes from a root word meaning “crown.” My coworkers seem to agree with the idea; when I tell them my name is Steffani, they inevitably react with a smile and favorable comment (as opposed to the furrowed brow when I tell them I normally go by Erin). Apparently in Spanish, Steffani becomes Estefania. Not only can my coworkers say it, they like to say it. Among the old men I work with, I’m princesa Estefania. Princess Steffani – now, that’s a title I can live with. But Steffani isn’t the real me.
“Erin” cannot be sung like Estefania can. You can’t say it with a lilt, and it’s not particularly frilly or feminine. Erin means peace. It’s more me than Steffani is, whether I like it or not. Erin works in a food processing plant. I’m pretty sure Steffani/Estefania is somewhere having her nails done and sipping a latte while Erin is in the real world making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. And that’s probably how it should be.