In 2006, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who as far back as I can remember has referred to herself as The Maya. If she modifies something to better suit her purpose, she announces, “This has been Mayafied.” When she sneaks up behind you, she squeals, “Unexpected Maya!”
If her brother does or says something she disagrees with we hear, “The Maya doesn’t like that Nicholas” coupled with a disapproving look only The Maya can give. If she is extremely proud of an accomplishment, she boasts, “The Maya is doing her thang!” complete with interpretive dance moves for emphasis.
We aren’t sure where it came from. She doesn’t watch reruns of Seinfeld, so I know it wasn’t inspired by Jimmy who made referring to oneself in the 3rd person hilariously famous. I’m guessing she, like many others who encounter this creative, spirited, 8 year old, redheaded diva, is simply aware there are some forces of nature that must be introduced and announced–even those within ourselves.
When I was pregnant, I tortured myself trying to choose the perfect names for my children. Perhaps it resulted from my love of reading, including the history of various cultures and the power associated with names. Add a desire to honor my grandparents and you have a woman obsessed; I was carefully mixing a verbal naming potion designed to signify the importance of these newly arrived, yet very old, souls.
For my firstborn, we eventually chose Nicholas. By “we” I mean “I” as his father graciously humored me while I struggled with a list of choices. I had River, Justice, Malachi, Elijah and Nicholas. I think “Justice” is what inspired his Dad to say, “How about Ndugu Anitah then since clearly anything goes?” That suggestion became a nickname that would stick for a long time and Nicholas loves hearing that story. He has inherited the sarcasm gene his father and I passed along in excess.
His middle name was easier–James, after my Papa. In the interest of full disclosure, Nicholas first appeared as a choice because of my crush on Nicolas Cage at the time. Ultimately, it was chosen because Google assured me it meant victory of the people and the patron saint of children. If it was good enough for five popes and two Russian czars, I figured it was worthy of consideration. The day I met him, I knew it was a perfect match. My amazing, brilliant, hilarious baby boy has been my own personal Saint Nick for almost a decade now. The privilege of being his mommy is a daily gift.
As to The Maya, the middle name was also an easy choice—Kathleen after my Nannie who passed away when I was 5 months pregnant with my son. She assured everyone before she crossed over she was coming back as my baby. I now know she meant as the next one because her spirit shines through The Maya like a guiding star in my life.
I don’t remember having any other choices in mind for Maya’s first name. Even before I began researching the meaning, I had selected it in honor of my favorite writer Maya Angelou. Her words, charismatic presence and the power of her life’s message had inspired me for many years. It was a natural fit for the baby girl who would grace my life and arrive in a fury.
One meaning of Maya, also called Mahamaya, is a goddess personifying the power that creates phenomena. Yep, that’s her without a doubt—a phenomenal little girl who will evolve into a phenomenal woman. When she works her mojo, nothing stands in her way. She may be a child, but she is the person I strive to become.
There are 3 great loves in my life—my son Nicholas who is my heart; my daughter The Maya who is my soul; and writing which helps ease what is left of my mind. The Maya Mojo is the synchronized spirit of those things in a platform that allows me to share what inspires me, makes me laugh, warms my heart, fries my rice (irritates me) and forces me to evolve.
One of my favorite quotes from my daughter’s namesake Maya Angelou is this: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Always tell your story. Say it. Write it. Sing it. Play it. Paint it. Dance it. You never know whose soul needs to hear it and quietly whisper back “Me too” or “I get it.”
Find your own Maya Mojo and unleash it. Our new mantra around here is you have to see it to be it. You are the only one who has the power to limit your imagination of who you want to be. It’s the first step in becoming who you really are.
Imagine it. Name it. Claim it. See it. Be it. Get your Maya on. Mayafy your life. Be unexpected Maya. Rule your universe like a Maya–or rather like THE Maya.
Peace and love, The Mommy.