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This essay is about my name and how I feel about it. I was named after a lady I know nothing about, except her name of course. My dad named me after his mentor, much to the disapproval of my mother who wanted my first name to represent my other nationality. Samantha means “a great listener”, “a flower”, and “God heard” in numerous languages. I like my first name a lot more than my middle name, why wouldn’t I, it’s a beautiful and meaningful name, my name is like cherry blossoms blooming in spring, it takes time to pronounce but the result is satisfying. Despite these various reasons to love my name, I still feel guilty about preferring Samantha to my middle name.
I have some theories as to why I prefer Samantha to my middle name, Chinemerem, the most reasonable one being that Samantha is easier to pronounce. I have a hard time admitting this because I feel that it could imply that I resent my origin. Don’t get me wrong though, I like my middle name too, it’s just that, here, in America, I’m relieved to have a first name that is familiar to people and is easily pronounced.
At times, I feel like I’m two different people, and that the person that I am depends on what name I’m called. While Chinemerem represents a teenager that is more comfortable in her skin, Samantha represents my American nationality and my reserved side. In searching up my name, I was surprised to find out that the meaning of my name represented my personality. Samantha means a great listener and I would rather listen than speak, it means God heard because I’m religious and I pray often. I would not change my name because it fits me too well.
Growing up around two cultures I got used to two different pronunciations of my name. Some people would call me SA-MA-TA, and it sounds like someone abruptly dropping a stainless water bottle on a concrete floor. Other people call me SE-MAN-THA, and it sounds like a breathy mezzo-piano piece being played on a piano. The funny thing is that I spend all this time worrying about the pronunciation of my name while almost everyone just abbreviates it because it’s a mouth full. A lot of people call me Sam and Sammy is reserved for those closest to me, like my parents.
I’m grateful to have a name that represents my personality well, a name that doesn’t make people hesitate when trying to pronounce it, a name that is generally accepted where I live. Some of these reasons may be shallow, but I hope that one day I’ll be able to love both my names equally and become more comfortable in my skin. My name represents an introverted and observant person that isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, and I hope that I still have these great attributes as I grow older.
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