Ancient royalty draped themselves in rich purples, the rarest
color dyed for the crowned ones. Greek in origin, Stephanie embodies
nobility with its length, meaning, and sound: Stefanos, Stefani, Stefania.
Stephanie de Beauharnais wore velvet violets in 1814, waving
to patrons with a flourish. I strive to wear this name on
poised shoulders like a duchess, but the seams do not hold.

Noelle is spelled pompously, like the French who say my first name
in a smooth tongue. Emilie, after a grandmother, means
to excel in whatever one does, though I stumble over my
name quite often. Noelle and Emilie sit like freight
cars between the engine and the caboose, adding nothing but an extra
gesture my mother wished would bring me elegance.

Seaneta is found across the ocean as Sennrecht,
strangers asking for the pronunciation and are met with a shrug. Funny
is hidden within my name, the reminder that I am not that graceful
duchess, but clownish. Seaneta is stolen from distant languages,
Americanized; its meaning a placeholder until I become a Mrs.

My mother insisted on others using the entirety of my name, but she
confided to an older me that she “always felt bad with it being so long.”
My name is not elegant, it’s not classy or refined like those histories told her.
It is the scientific name for graceless.
My initials, SNES, sounding like a rejected sidekick of the ThunderCats.

I do not give a duchess’ name its traditional
value, but I do wear it like an ostrich-feathered hat,
as a new trend is set.



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