My name is Neroli Oakley.
My name is both a blessing and a curse. Yes its unique… as an Education Welfare Officer signing in and out of places I was a bit like The Artist formally known as Prince: I only needed one name. I have never ever met another Neroli. Face-to-face that is, thanks to Twitter and Facebook I am aware that there are many other Nerolis out there.
Apparently I am an Italian Princess and an aromatherapy oil; also a flower, which appears on my business materials – not to use it would be a shame!
My name is a reliable if somewhat repetitive (for me that is) ice breaker at social events.
Unfortunately though having an unusual name does have its drawbacks… in doctors and dentists, receptionists often opt to announce my surname rather than risk my first name. On my Graduation Day in 1998, my name was mispronounced much to my chagrin then and now. The student before had a multi-syllable, very difficult to spell and pronounce name and the announcer must have exhausted themselves as they mangled Neroli.
Another drawback is that my counselling clients often build up an internal mental picture of what I should look like, and in fact I often turn out to be nothing like that. I am me, a girl from Crewe, Cheshire with a slightly northern slightly Stokie accent… quite tall for a girl, a bit plump who has a lot of dark hair, pale skin and wears a lot of purple (all descriptions that clients have been known to say).
Clients often forget my name, it’s ok I am used to it… I am often described to colleagues as above or quite simply that girl with a weird name….
Don’t even get me started on the spelling or mis-spellings of it I’ve seen Narolee, Nerolie, Nurolee, Niroly, Norolee, Nerily, Neroni, Narrowly, Nerolly, Nerroli, Nirolly, Nerolly, Nirali, Niarobi… I could go on and on…My Japanese tutor used to say Nerori due to the language difference.
Basically, don’t worry if you can’t pronounce, remember or spell my name… I am honestly used to it. I can give you a business card and I can help you remember, its said Ner/roll/ee … or you can shorten it to Roly if you’d prefer. Main thing is I don’t want you to fret!