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I Am.

In English my name means born at night. In the language that it originates, an African one, my name is pronounced in three syllables: Lah-eee-lah. My parents got my name from an African name book but apparently saw no relevance in looking at the correct pronunciations. By the time they’d realized their mistake, it was too late. My name was the two syllabled Layla.
It was sung by Eric Clapton-Laaaylahhh-Ironically, my mom had no idea what Mr. Clapton was saying. Therefore, despite initial assumptions, I was not named after Eric Clapton’s rock and roll love ballad. It is common that whenever a middle-aged person hears or see’s my name for the first time, they sing it. Surprisingly, this phenomenon never really gets old to me, or at least it hasn’t yet.
My mother went through a plethora of names before deciding upon my actual one. At first I was going to be Jannah, like Hannah with a ‘J’. I’m not sure why that name was ruled out, but I’m sure it had to have something to do with the fact that it sounds stupid and hill-billy-ish. I was also going to be called Jade, a name that I sometimes like more than my own. My mother, however, did not want me to be ‘love-jaded’, so that would not do.

The culture in which my name comes from is a strong, beautiful one, despite the mispronunciation. I like it, even when it is sung by older while males. I have inherited a relationship with two very different societies: a traditional African one and a middle aged, Caucasian-American one.
At school they call me Layla, Lola, Lila or Leela. How they get all of those pronunciations from L-a-y-l-a is beyond me. I don’t mind correcting them, though. Mispronunciation makes me feel like my name is uncommon. In Baltimore my name is Lay-ya-lah. I like this pronunciation too. The drawl almost makes my name three syllables.
I would like to preserve the amount of rarity associated with my name. I know of one other Layla in my school, and she just enrolled my senior year. I have never been enrolled with another Layla and have only known one personally. Let’s keep it that way.





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