My humble submission in response to The Daily Prompt, Say My Name.
Miranda Annette Smith, an extremely long and rather extraordinary given name for the runt of a common truck driver with an even more common Surname. As a child, I hated my first name; it was just about the most annoying word I had ever heard, but becomes only slightly more tolerable with the addition of my middle name. I also felt it was too lengthy, it took forever to write, especially since my dyslexic self had a tendency to form the a’s and d backward in my own name until I was eight.
My mom pulled my name out of a trashy paper back novel. She doesn’t like that I refer to them as such, yet I have little respect for literature that doesn’t cause me learn something new, think something different, or laugh my ass off. How many times can you read about two people who don’t even exist meeting, hating each other, and then realize they love each other and live happily ever after? She and her family members and friends who also indulge in this addiction to love trade paper grocery sacks full of those stories prized from garage sales and thrift stores then burn through them like crack in a few weeks’ time.
Had I been named after Prospero’s daughter properly, it might explain my disdain for literary junk food. As it stands, my genetic donors and immediate environment offer little explanation for my predisposition to peruse the ancient college text books and encyclopedias I found in boxes in a dark corner of the basement. (Thank you Uncle Jr.<3) As those tomes were my chosen companions throughout my childhood and most of my adult life, I could truly relate to my namesake’s most famous quote when I first ventured into the world on my own a few years back.
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
Unfortunately, after being snatched up and entangled by a man akin to Caliban, I’ve become rather jaded. I too have delivered many speeches with this tone and intent.
Which any print of goodness wilt not take,
Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage,
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like
A thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes
With words that made them known. But thy vile race,
Though thou didst learn, had that in’t which
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou
Deservedly confined into this rock,
Who hadst deserved more than a prison.
I used the “F” word a lot though. Since I was not properly indoctrinated by the cracker-jack romance novels promising girls happily ever after if only they find a man to love; I’m not expecting a prince to roll in on the next storm to save me. People have been perpetuating that myth for far too long. It didn’t start with Shakespeare, either. He did let us know back side of that coin called love. Pain. It’s not all sunshine and flowers, it’s far more storms and thorns, or cataclysms and poison ivy in the case of Juliette and myself.
When I was a little child, toting my full-size name, all the old ladies would say, “What a lovely name!”
To which I would dutifully reply “Thank you.” I understood that my name was pretty to old ladies, for some reason, but that fact did not entice me to like it any more. Do you know what rhymes with Miranda?
Which are completely adorable creatures until you are a slightly pudgy child whose name rhymes with said creature and you are often teased for being fat.
Veranda also rhymes, and I’ll give you bonus points for that one because the Decemberist used it in the only song I know of that contains my name. I would love this song even if it didn’t pay such endearing tribute to my namesake because it is badass in a sweet back-handed sort of way. Dropping in my name makes it extra cool because for the first twenty years of my life it appeared that no one had ever heard it before. It’s a local celestial body, the largest moon orbiting Uranus, people; get to know your solar system, for heaven’s sake. My name was so obscure when I was young, it was never, ever included on the racks of personalized mementos displayed in gift shops. I find it occasionally now and wonder what name it replaced, maybe Patricia or Shirley.
The early ‘90’s brought a rash of baby girls named Miranda. At first it was shocking to hear people shouting my name followed by commands to, “Sit down! Come Here!” Or, “Don’t eat the sand!” while at the park with the kids. I suspect the sudden wide-spread epidemic of the name was due to its use as a main character on a popular cable show which I’ve never actually viewed and therefore have no opinion on what-so-ever beyond: television is a colossal waste of a person’s precious life.
My siblings have equally ridiculous names, I wonder if they are also treated with suspicion after introducing themselves. I have actually been accused on more than one occasion of making up my name which is a little offensive if you think about it and rather disconcerting to be caught in that spotlight after putting on your nicest smile and offering a warm handshake. This sort of reaction has caused me to become even more uncomfortable with my designation. I can’t decide if they don’t like the “Miranda” part or the “Smith” part, but for many, the two coupled together could certainly only represent a fictional character to the extent that they would feel justified out rightly accusing a perfect stranger of lying.
I think I’ve mostly made peace with my name. I claimed it, owned it, diced it up and used it as the name of my blog… It was a happy accident I discovered one day. I like anagrams, and am in the habit of mixing up words in my head to keep it occupied. An alliteration addict, the more assonance and consonance sprinkled in a turn of phrase, the happier I am; I was delighted with the resultant repetition as well as the graceful poke at the stuttering that interrupts my speech when I am nervous as I recover from PTSD. When I process rhyme in my mind I feel like when I eat fresh sushi but it starts in my ears instead of my palate. The runner-up was Mirannette, a nick-name created by a childhood best friend who spliced together the first and middle names of each of the girls in our click then bestowed on us our “new name” to which we happily answered for the rest of our association. The only thing I didn’t particularly like about it was it slight suggestion of a Marionette. I want no strings to hold me down, or up as the case may be.
Mira was another early Renaissance literary genius from a different culture. You’ve likely never heard of her. Princess turned poet, and a total God-chaser of a different faith, she was often disparaged and persecuted for having her own spiritual pursuits and understanding, I can relate to this woman for a lot of reasons.
Ananda means bliss. I am all about bliss. Word smithing is bliss in my reality. (except when there is a deadline BLECK!)
It has the added bonus of pissing off the yogi wanna-bes. I have yet to meet one that does not need his or her ego radically adjusted to conform with the reality that we are each perfect manifestations of God’s love. But that is a subject that deserves a post all to itself.
I probably do not need to mention The Miranda Rights, I am not sure that they have not been superseded by the Federal Governments other agenda at this point. You probably know them; I used to have them memorized actually because far too many stupid drunken men have challenged me too many times to not pull that trick out of my hat. It always has the same, desired effect.
They shut up and go away.
If it is due to their own post traumatic stress being triggered by me reading them their rights, or possibly they are intimidated by a woman who has the ability to memorize something more complicated than some Taylor Swift lyrics; I do not know. The antics of men on the prowl probably deserve its own post as well. I wonder if there is anyone on this earth who knows how entirely I would love to exercise my right to remain silent 90% of the time. Why all the talky people? Silence is so much nicer, I understand and accept if you feel like you need so much attention, but I prefer to give my headspace to my own thoughts… Can you at least let me be quiet?
My name still seems like an enormous, ambiguous, disembodied blob that could not possibly represent the being in this body. This possibly explains why I’ve signed as just “m” for years. It is a much smaller, more appropriately sized blob. I still often cringe a little when I hear people say my name, but I’ve grown to accept it in my own detached way.