Say Your Name THE DAILY PROMPT by THE DAILY POST 2/8/16
Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?
My name is quite an interesting one… My “real” name is JAMIA, but I go by the nickname MIA.
Now, before I tell you how to pronounce these five little letters put into a sequence, I’d like to tell you how many different ways I heard it pronounced throughout my childhood days… “Jay-me-uh,” “Jay-me” (like Jamie), “Jay-muh,” “Juh-may-uh,” “Juh-may-e,” “Juh-my-uh,” “Jam-me-uh,” “Jam-me-ay,” and “Jam-uh.” There were kids who teased me by calling me, “Jamaica,” and in fourth and fifth grade, I had a so-called friend (I was mad at him then, but we’re now Facebook friends. ha!) who teased me by calling me, “Aunt Jemima.” In fourth grade, I was classmates with a girl named Jamilla (pronounced “Juh-mill-uh”), and many teachers started out the year simply copying her pronunciation for my name; even though, it’s spelled totally different! Then, when I was in seventh grade, after my mom remarried, one of my stepfather’s aunts called me up to her church pulpit by calling me “Jeremiah!” I even had quite a few friends who would come back from a conversation from another friend or relative, where my name had been mentioned, and they would ask what color my skin tone was, assuming I must be of a more ethic origin rather than my white Caucasian self! haha.
Have you taken a guess at how to pronounce this interesting arrangement of letters yet? Well, I’ll keep you in suspense no longer… My name is pronounced, “Juh-me-uh,” as if you took the very common name, “Mia,” and put “Juh” at the beginning of it. It is avery unique name; however, as a very shy and easily intimidated teen, I so wished my parents had named me differently!
Needless to say, when I got to college, I made the decision I didn’t want to continue my life having to explain how to pronounce this jumble of letters every single time I was introduced or called upon; so, I simply chose to go by “Mia.” This was even before the days of the now-famous soccer player, Mia Hamm; so, there were still a few mispronunciations from time to time, but it worked pretty well for me in my new college life.
To this day, I have never ever (can I say N-E-V-E-R??) heard of anyone having this same name. Just last year, I ran into a girl whose name was spelled very similar: Jamea. However, she pronounced it, “Jay-me-uh.” I have met a few Mias, and a couple of Jamillas or Jaymillas, depending on how they spell it, and plenty of Jamies and James’. I think it would be very interesting to ever be introduced to an actual “Jamia,” especially if the spelling and pronunciation were the same.
You may, now, be wondering how in the world I received such a name. Well, that’s another very interesting part of this story… Now, my biological dad’s name is Jamie; however, this is not where my name was derived. My aunt and uncle created my name, because of their love for Mia Farrow, in that year of 1971, and they wanted to have a little girl with the first letter “J.” For, their names were Jim, Norma Jean, and they had two little boys named Jarrod and Jeremy. They never were able to have that little girl for whom they so longed, and late in the following year, my mother got pregnant with me. With her name being Terri, the name “T… Jamia” just seemed to fit. (I’d like to leave my full name anonymous for now. 😉 )
As an adult, I am, now, very thankful for my name, and I do love the uniqueness of it. I still go by Mia, but I use the full name and pronunciation as a “cool thing you might not know about me” point when playing ice breaker names, or when I’m wanting to share with a new friend. People seem to always be surprised or impressed by it, and I have to forewarn my church members when my family is around, because my family easily switches back and forth between both names. I wouldn’t change this part about me, and I, sometimes, wish I had just kept to the originality of Jamia; however, the only thing I do wish I could do is go back to those early years and tell that sweet, timid little girl that her unique name made her who she is, to never be sad or embarrassed when someone didn’t correctly pronounce it, and to always hold her head up high with admiration for the name with which God blessed her! … Hind sight is always 20/20, I suppose. It has all created me into the person I am today, and I am a better woman for it. 😉
Thanks, Daily Post, for creating this Daily Prompt. This has been fun, and I hope you, as a reader, have enjoyed my little story.