A Name for Eternity
Today’s blog was inspired by the Daily Post prompt, Say My Name.
My first name has always been of interest to people. No, it’s not Kayllisti. My real first name is Amara. I know other people do have the name Amara, but I have never met another Amara in-person. This always made me feel special when I was in grade school. While classrooms were filled with Amanda’s and Kate’s, I had a name that felt unique, and I took great pride in it. I have never minded that when I say my name over the phone, I always have to spell it. I don’t mind when people read my name and mispronounce it. Once I’ve corrected them, though, my name better not continue to rhyme with “mare”.
I run into a lot of fictional Amara’s. As a gamer, I see other players who choose to name their avatars “Amara” just because they like the sound. I see in-game characters with my name, usually some sort of magical elf. On the show Supernatural, Amara is some sort of dark goddess. My sister gave me a book once titled “Amara” about a princess of Egypt. I’ve been told Amara is also a character on Vampire Diaries, and that it is also the English name for Sailor Uranus. Apparently, a lot of people seem to think “Amara” sounds fantastical.
Amara is an old name. It’s ancient Greek for “eternal”. This is where the plant the “Amaranthus” gets its name. Because it blooms year round, it was associated with eternity. In Latin, my name has a less pretty meaning, “bitter”, coming from “amer”. In Arabic, my name means “the moon”, and this fact has been a favorite pick-up line of Arab men who approach me. In parts of east Africa, my name is associated with both paradise and Christian missionaries. In Hindi, the name means “immortal”, which isn’t really that different from the Greek, the linguist in me would like to explain why, but I can guarantee that you would be asleep by the end of it.
It was my father who named me. He chose it from a New Mutants comic book, wherein the character, Magma, was commonly known as “Amara”. He thought that it was a pretty name, and sold it to my mother under its Greek origins. According to the story, my mother didn’t know it was from a comic book until after I was born. Whenever people ask me where my name comes from, I happily tell them it’s from a comic book.
I have to admit, there were times when I wasn’t happy with my name. Kids in school thought it was funny to call me Miss Amarika, and like most children, I was sensitive to even the gentlest jab at my name. In 3rd grade, when I changed schools, I told my teacher that I preferred to go by my middle name. For once, I wanted to see what it was like to have a “normal” name. When my mother later came for parent-teacher conferences and noticed my work under my middle name, I was told to change it back immediately. She told me to be proud of my name. She was right, and I never tried to go by another name again.
My name may never be on a Coke bottle, but I am proud to carry the name of superheroes, priestesses, and fantasy elves.