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What’s in a name?

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“Say-my-ha”

“Sah-ma-ha”

“Somalia”

All of the above have been incorrect pronunciations of my name. And no, I’m not kidding about the last one. For as far back as I can remember, both strangers and acquaintances have butchered my name. I grew to think my name was ugly and, consequently, hated it. Instead, I longed to have one that was simple enough for a Starbucks employee to spell out.

As I grew older, though, I learned to appreciate the odd jumble of letters that comprise my name. The name “Samiha” is a pretty uncommon one. In fact, I bet you a [fake] hundred dollars that I am the only Samiha you have heard of. I think that it is actually pretty neat to have a name that not many others do because, from my own experience, it has been easier to remember people who had more unique names.

I also like the fact that there is a meaning behind my name. My mom named me after her favorite aunt, so I am happy to have the same name as a woman my mom describes as inspiring. From Arabic, the name “Samiha” translates to “generous.” According to Urban Dictionary, the name Samiha stands for “a really beautiful pretty girl who can tell the future.” Both are pretty sick.

I’m not saying my name is proof that I am any of the qualities I mentioned above, but I take comfort in knowing that there is more to my name than meets the eye (or tongue)? So despite the butchering and mispronunciations, I’m always proud to say, “Hi, my name is Samiha.”

Sincerely,

Samiha Ali

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What’s in a name?