What’s in a Name?

This October I had the opportunity to have a witchy photoshoot with some beautiful, wonderful, and a couple new-to-me women. It was one of the most empowering experiences I’ve ever had. Yes, because I was with four other fierce women…but mostly because no one called me Amanda. Ever. And that felt…SO GOOD. My new friends didn’t know my “real name”, so they called me Jamma. And for my gal-pals that do know, they honor me by calling me by my chosen name. I hadn’t yet been in a situation where everyone I was around called me by my preferred name. And it struck me so hard during that photoshoot….SO hard that I will never forget how good it felt. I felt more like me than I have in a long time. Just the sound of my chosen name. So sweet to my ears.

Photo: Kristin Hoofman
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

When One Name Dies, Another is Born

Amanda is, in a sense, dead. She was good at many things. Those things still live within me…however, there’s a part that is gone. The part where I let people walk all over my heart. I’ve let those people…

…take advantage of it.

…crush it.

…repeat.

Makes me feel nauseous thinking about it.

Getting Uncomfortable to be Comfortable with My Name

It’s uncomfortable to correct people! Or simply ask them to use my preferred name. I suppose this is how people feel when correcting peoples use of their preferred pronouns. You can be whoever you want in this world. So, there’s no need to be upset when someone changes who they are. Growth is beautiful. I believe in believing in people. ESPECIALLY when they tell you who they are, what they want to be called, what gender they identify with (or don’t identify with), please listen. It’s not up to you to UNDERSTAND. It’s up to you to support and love. Above all else, LOVE.

For example: A dear friend of mine changed her name years ago…and at first I had the same thought as everyone else, “I’m not calling her that.” Then, when I really thought about it. SHE died. The old her died. She had grown into a whole new person. Why would I call her by the name of someone that is long gone? I can’t do that to her. So, I don’t and I won’t. When we deny others the sweetness of their own name. We deny THEM.

So, the next time you call me Amanda, Manda, Manders, etc. Don’t be surprised when I correct you. I’m Jamma. I’ve changed. The old me… she’s dead. (This is still a work in progress for me. Sometimes I feel that fear of rejection; even if I know certain people would never reject me.)

Photo: Kristin Hoofman

Becoming Unburdened With My Chosen Name

Amanda let people take advantage of her. Especially those closest to her. She gave and gave and gave and never asked for what she deserved. She worked at the same place for 8 1/2 years because of the love she had for the people she served and the co-workers she grew close to. Then, watched as others realized their worth, walking away from the same job. Yet she stayed…comfortable not taking steps, not asking for more, letting people walk all over her. Comfortable in her uncomfortableness. Complacent. Stagnant. Frail. Too afraid to say what she needs. Too afraid to speak. Too afraid to confront friends about the way they treat her. Too afraid to tell people how she wants to be treated. Too afraid to take it! Too afraid to open her throat chakra and become.

Become what?

Whole.

Free.

Unburdened by what others think or feel about me. Unburdened by the fear of speaking my mind and being okay with receiving the ever after (consequences of my voice being heard.)

Photo cred: Kristin Hoofman

In September Kay, our beautiful friend Gia and I went to Kay’s family cabin for the weekend. We did tarot readings. And so, in my reading, I had a journey laid out before me. A journey to release my throat chakra from the death grip I’ve had on it for most of my life. The only time the grip wasn’t there was when I had held in the fire so long I would explode.

Enter Jamma. Upon looking up the definition of my new name, I found it means “she who supplants(replaces)”. How perfect! Jamma replaces Amanda. Groovy!

Control Over My Voice, My Name

Jamma is in control of her throat chakra (voice). Firstly, she knows when to speak and she knows when to be silent and observe. Secondly, Jamma invites her tribe to help her through struggles instead of trying to do everything on her own (Amanda). In addition, she knows that in order to do something right- you must have the support of your tribe. (Instead of the saying, “if you want something done right do it yourself”). Lastly, she knows that friendships change. People change. People move on. Jamma knows that receiving the ever after is good. It’s FREEDOM.

I was constantly in a spiritual war with myself. Never letting myself become who I truly want to be. Amanda kept me from that.

Jamma exists BECAUSE OF Amanda, not in spite of her.

All of Amanda’s love, compassion, heart, soul, comfort and earthiness remains. And underneath that is fire: steady and calm, yet ready to burn those who dare try to take the core down. Jamma is freedom. This is where I choose to be.

Fierce.

Unapologetically me.

Free.

Whole.

May you hear the sweetness of your name and may others respect it,

Jamma

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