The curse of the common name


Maia Weissman, staff writer

“Maia!” My head pops straight up, eyes searching the room for whoever just yelled my name. My head then falls back down and I refocus my gaze. They weren’t talking to me but instead, to the sea of other people with my name. While my name itself is painfully common, I don’t get to enjoy the perks that come with having a common first name. 

One of the worst parts about having such a common name is my unconventional spelling. I have a whole childhood’s worth of experiences where my brothers, Jacob and Liam, found their names carved into random keychain souvenirs, and my having to settle for ones that spell my name as the more conventional “Maya.” 

Another thing that comes with the unconventional spelling is the years of butchering my name has gone through. The spelling M-A-I-A isn’t that rare, but it still causes me a fair share of issues when meeting new people. 

I still answer the name “Mia” because of how often people would call me that when reading my name for the first time. I have a lifetime of teachers mispronouncing my first name, then mixing me up with other students with the same name when they finally get it right. People I’ve known since kindergarten still hesitate when writing my name down. 

Outside of writing, my name is still the same as any other Maya, so I still find myself dealing with some problems that come with having a common name. My friends with uncommon names are known simply by their first names, but when you get to more common names like mine, you have to sort through every person that’s more well-known than you are before getting to your own name. Are you talking about Maya K? Maya M? Maya C? Maya G? The list goes on. 

Everywhere I go, people have tried to come up with nicknames for me to try to differentiate me from the inevitable other “Maya’s” that were already there. Going by Maia W. my whole life has been nothing short of exhausting. 

I’ve always longed for a more unique name. One that I wouldn’t have to chunk my last initial onto in order to differentiate myself from others. One that is unique enough for me to be the only person I know who has it, but still common enough to be made into a keychain. But who would I be if I wasn’t Maia? 

Every time I think about changing my name, I remember all of the memories I have attached to it and how it is essential to the person I am today.