July 18 2023
Monday Night Poetry was amazing last night. From the time I arrived to the time I stepped in my door at home, it was a perfect night. The entire night felt freeing. 🖤💋🖤
The theme was, “Speaking Our Names”
What I shared, written yesterday afternoon:
Say My Name
Or as my sharecropper grandmother pronounced it, Camiller, ah Camiller.
Let me count the ways my name has been mis-pronounced.
The many times a man has asked are you sure?
After I pronounced my own name?
What the fuck? You’re asking me if I’m pronouncing my name correctly?
It was 1969 as my parents
Sat watching the Johnny Carson show.
A stunning Swedish actress, popular in the 60’s and 70’s
Was a guest.
Her name, Camilla Sparv.
My parents must have liked the name
As that’s the name they chose for me.
Hearing my name as a child, and as a teen,
Brought shame and embarrassment.
You see, it was never pronounced correctly,
Causing me to have to speak up, letting teachers, adults
Know how to pronounce it.
This brought attention to me, and I did not want attention.
Up until recently,
When I saw my name
I would only see a whisper of myself.
Not really knowing who this person was.
However, these days when I see my name.
I see all that I have accomplished
I see tenacity, strength
I see a parent who has raised two amazing & authentic humans.
I see childhood and adult trauma that is being undone
Spun into a gold thread of power
A thread I use to weave
This new life I am creating
That shines and attracts those who have
As I got older, I grew to adore my name.
It was different, unlike anyone else’s name.
And I loved that.
With each passing year, I grow and blossom
Into this unique name.
With each passing year, I love it even more.
I love that in my desire to stand out, not conform, and be my unique, neurospicy, weird, pisces self, it is the strong and stable root that supports me and bears the fruit of these desires.
Most of my life I have wanted to fade into the crowd.
This is no longer the case.
My name tastes like honeysuckle,
Smells like magnolia
Feels like silk
I see my name as a blessing, a gift
A springboard to the chaos and magic that is ME.
Thank you to my mom and dad for giving me this name.
Camilla. It’s pronounced Camilla. Like Pamela, but with a C.
Say my name, say my name, say my name.
Camilla, Camilla, Camilla
July 2023 Camilla Downs