"’Tis but thy name that is my enemy... What's in a name?"
Posted Jul 01 2013 6:40pm
Well first of all, I should explain that I made the
decision the day I started this blog to not keep my identity a
secret. Doing so seemed ridiculous to me. Frankly, as a publicist, I am always
hesitant to work with bloggers who do that so why would I? You're blogging. On
the internet. It doesn't get much more public than this. Long ago I had a blog
wherein I used code names and blurry photos (don't worry, you weren't on it)
but it was a short-lived creative writing experiment that died quickly since I simultaneously
wished for it to be popular and a secret.
So yeah, all that said, I don't think it's a secret that
my name is AJ. And that is stands for Amanda Joy. It's not a hyphenate or
anything -- that is my first name and my middle name.
For most of my life, I've been Amanda. My father may have
called me Mandy from time to time when I was little but I put a stop to that as
soon as I was strong-willed enough to do so (no offense to any Mandies out
there, it just didn't suit me though I allowed one former boyfriend the
"perk" of calling me that since I wanted to get in his pants). In
college, in a sophomore year media class, a sassy red headed gal I befriended
started calling me AJ. I don't remember why. But I really liked it and started
to introduce myself to people that way, but it wouldn't stick. Too many friends
in Tucson, where I was at the time, knew me as Amanda already and couldn't make
My junior year, I transferred to NYU. And there was
another AJ (a guy). So I went back to Amanda full-time. But at the top of my
senior year, I met the people who would become my best friends and one night,
one of them was listening to my drunken name rant as I've just similarly
explained it out to you here, and determined that AJ suited me better and he
was on a mission to make it stick.
And so he did. Thanks, James, for naming me. ;)
When I moved back to Los Angeles post-college, I kept it
socially. Professionally, I was still using Amanda, though, as I did not want
anyone to be surprised when a woman showed up to an interview (I find most
people think AJ is a man's name). However eventually, I just stopped caring.
And I started to let people at work call me AJ. Even people I didn't like (I
used to say it was a name "reserved for friends only").
People often ask me which name I prefer. And for a while,
I did prefer AJ. It was more about who I'd become through and after college. I
felt like the person I was at 25 was hugely different than who I was at 16. I
guess now at 34 there's still a grain of truth to that, too.
But on Saturday night, I spent some time with a big group
of high school friends. These friends all met me and knew me as Amanda. And for
the duration of our evening, I was only Amanda. And suddenly my "old"
name gave me a tinge of nostalgia and felt more like an old, familiar hat than
a smelly sock.
And it suddenly ocurred to me that any negative feelings
tied to my being Amanda exist because I regret some of the things I did in high
school. And at 34 I didn't care about those things anymore. I guess at 16, 17
and 18 we all fantasize about being someone else and I actually was able to
achieve that in a way. But now, that doesn't seem like such an appealing idea
any longer. And it's not about regretting what I did when I was young (I mean,
whodoesn't regret something stupid they did when they were young?!), it's
more about what I do with what I learned from those experiences. And that if it
were not for "Amanda," I certainly wouldn't be this version of
So... yeah. There's that. I guess that's a really wordy
version of "I had so much fun on Saturday night!" I'm sure you all
enjoyed this prophetic dip into my id. You're welcome.