By Any Other Name

I have a fairly uncommon last name. I have yet to meet someone who shares my last name that I am not related to by blood or by marriage. Growing up, there may have been one other ‘Miranda’ in the whole grade each year or even the whole school. Up until college, I could count the other ‘Mirandas’ I had met previously on two hands. There just weren’t many of them.

It was penned by William Shakespeare and first appears in The Tempest as the main protagonist and one of the few female leads The Bard ever created. It stems from Latin mirari and means “worthy of admiration” (a meaning I’m hoping to grow into) with various nods to be “astonished at, marvel at, admire, am amazed at, wonder at,” and lends its origins to the common word “mirror”. The Oxford English Dictionary even lists “Mirandous” as a synonym to miraculous. Latin lesson aside, you would think I would never have met another ‘Miranda Crowell’ in my life. And you would be half correct.

However, on two occasions, and I wish I had saved the evidence, I have been mistaken for a ‘Miranda Crowell’ who works as a deputy editor at Sunset Magazine and have received inquiries about the status of articles being written and publication deadlines. Once happened in the 8th grade and the other my junior year of high school.

Well, as a freshman in college, running in the pre-business circles, you are given a lot of flexibility to create and recreate yourself as you begin to lay the foundation for the rest of your professional life. Sometime around the end of my junior year of high school, I began easing my middle name into a lot of things. School assignments and the like were kept first/last but anything related to creativity was always tagged ‘Miranda Grace Crowell’ and that continued through until graduation. My first and last name helped me stand out. Especially since countless educators and adults stumbled around my last name and its pronunciation, leaving me to correct substitute after substitute and answering questions about origin.

My first ‘real’ business venture was running a music venue (I paid hourly rent for one night a month so it’s not that cool, but still pretty cool) that focused on underage musicians in my bar scene heavy 21+ centric hometown. One show a month, every month for a year. I had bands come from several counties out and all the way from Seattle and Kelso, Washington to play my stage. It was a great first run at managing a budget, paying rent, coordinating volunteer staff, and working with kids not more than a few years younger than me to pull together something that to this day, over a year after the project shut down, I get asked if it is ever coming back. That was the first ‘big’ project I associated with my full name.

Well, a couple of days ago I was going through old emails from this past academic year and I found one about an opportunity to answer a few questions about a class I was taking for the Daily Barometer, the student paper on campus. I never actually saw the article so I went the Barometer’s website and did a name search to find the piece. Sure enough I was quoted, word for word, in the write up. And I started wondering what other things I had ended up in that I had forgotten about or never really thought to investigate.

So enter a small, healthy dose of ego surfacing.

Being over 7,000 miles away from home is great in one respect for this little endeavour: I have access to unbiased searches because I am not in Oregon and because I was not using my personal computer which is fined tuned to all of my social media accounts and various other things that I log into every day. Even my phone has adapted to pointing to myself with all the apps and shortcuts I have.

My search results included the pdf of my graduating class’s commencement, an article the Statesman Journal (the main printed paper in my hometown) ran after my music project ended, and my name listed with a small-scale record label I worked with. These I all knew about and one of my social media accounts came up which was spiffy. I did, however, get mixed results for Miranda Lambert and Rodney Crowell, each musician who is Googled much more often than I am. The surprising find was a mention for the College of Business’s Shark Tank event that I participated in as an impromptu speaker and I didn’t know anything had been written up and published on the web.

So Miranda Crowell, San Francisco based Sunset Magazine is a writer on the West Coast, and I am Miranda Grace Crowell, West Coast based the next state north, that does a lot of writing and is slowly starting to get ‘tagged’ in all of these projects and things I just show up to. After all, 90% of success is just showing up.

Some people spend their childhoods and teen years dodging full first names like shortening McKenzie to Kenzie or Mack, or Samantha to Sam or Sammie. Meanwhile, I’m the reverse and I’ve never shortened Miranda to any of the strange derivatives of ‘Mandy’, ‘Randa’, ‘Andy’ or any other possible butchering and re-assemblies and wince when people try to make a nickname happen. However, one of the few nicknames that stuck came to light during this past year and it was Miranduran given to me by my best friend’s roommate much like the band Duran Duran, which is one of my favourite bands and I’ve embraced it.

I love my name. My parents chose really well. If nothing else, the 7/5/7 letter balance of my first, middle, and last name looks really great at the center of a resume or other document. It really is perplexing to think about what goes into a name. Alexander the Great built an empire around his name throughout Greece and the Western world. Catherine the Great was the longest reigning monarch of the Russian Empire despite being a German aristocrat by birth. There was a children’s short novel I found when I was little that told of Miranda the Great, a cat that saved her kittens while Rome burned. The book was written by Eleanor Estes, who is perhaps best known for her novels The Moffats and Ginger Pye about the Jack Russell Terrier. I’m just set on doing great and admirable things and making my own name great, with all the grace I can.

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