There was a time, when I was very young, when I hated my own name. Amanda. So boring. It was not beautiful, like Christiana, or exotic, like Serena. I used to wish all the time that somehow I could change my name to Serena, or Brooke, or Tina or anything.
One memory that protrudes vividly on the surface of my mind occurred on a boring Tuesday afternoon. I remember it being Tuesday because that was the day I had religion class after school. I remember it being boring for the same reason. At the age of five, I had become certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that the name Amanda was too un-extraordinary for someone like me. To remedy this, I strutted into my classroom on the bottom floor of the church school and declared that my first name was so horribly unsuitable to me that I would respond only to my middle name, Elizabeth. Granted it wasn't exactly Serena, but according to my pre-elementary school logic it was infinitely better than my last name.
Over the years I have come to realize that there are too many Elizabeths in this world to become one myself, and that no other name could possibly suit me as well as the one I have grown up with, my own. My own. As if my name is a tangible object over which I claim ownership. This acceptance came gradually, but solidified in the fourth grade when I found my name in a book of baby names.
Amanda: Fit to be loved. Beloved.
With the advent of that knowledge, I began to fully accept my name and discovered what it meant to me. Eventually, acceptance evolved into love and understanding, and I could not see myself matching up with any other name. Too simple to be a Veronica or Vanessa, to sophisticated to be an Ann or Cindy, Amanda just seems to fit all around. It sounds natural. Simple and easy going, yet with an aesthetic appreciation and a thirst to satisfy artistic and expressive needs. Amanda. It feels like a good pair of old jeans, broken in and comfortable. Names are funny like that. At first, they seem awkward and stiff; but as time passes they grow to be natural and perfect. As I have matured I have grown to appreciate its beauty. It carries a subtleness that, through the enunciation of three effortless syllables, achieves absolute grace. Amanda just is, becoming in its own simplicity and ease. It feels natural. Like breathing.
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