“Anna-What?” My Name, Explained

Anna-what? The story of my name.

I get a lot of questions about my name: its origin, pronunciation, and more. 

First up, my name Annamieka is pronounced Anamika, or "Aww-na-MEE-ka."  Or you can call me "Meeka" for short.    

Annamieka is a Dutch name that my mother chose, and it is a Dutch version of Anne-Marie. Annamieka incorporates a version of both my maternal and paternal grandmothers’ names, Anne and Mary. 

Someone familiar with Sanskrit once told me that the name Annamieka (Anamika) means “the one who has no name” and that it is given to a child so that they will not be limited by their name; it is the name of evolution and infinite possibilities. 

I find that to be spot-on for me, because my name has evolved throughout my life. My name was Kristy Annamieka Hopps as a child, and I went by “Kristy” until I was 8 years old.  

At age 8, I decided to go by my middle name, Annamieka.  I stood up in front of my 3rd grade class, and made my announcement. My family and friends began to call me by the nickname, “Mieka.”  For years afterwards, I had to explain that no, I didn’t go by my first name, “Kristy” but to please call me by my middle name, “Annamieka” or nickname, “Mieka”.

  Removing the name "Kristy" from my stocking, circa 1993. Photo by my mom, Nancy Hopps

Removing the name "Kristy" from my stocking, circa 1993. Photo by my mom, Nancy Hopps

By age 18, I was tired of explaining this, so I legally changed my name. I became simply: Annamieka Hopps.  I started my adult life as Annamieka.  Later, when I married Peter Davidson, I legally changed my name once more, to Annamieka Hopps Davidson.  I think I’m done changing my name now!

Those of you with unusual names know that it can be a challenge. It can also be a gift: it can teach you to be more assertive as you explain how your name is pronounced (my name sounds like AWE-na-meeka, not ANN-na-meeka). You can learn who knows you best by who knows the pronunciation.

You can also learn some patience and humor, such as when placing a takeout order:
“Name?”
“Annamieka.”
“Shawna Lisa?”
“Hmm...OK, yeah!  As long as you’ll give me my food, that will work.”

The most amazing coincidence I ever had with my name was when I taught my Wild Wonder online course for the first time. A student named Annemieke (same pronunciation) enrolled from the Netherlands. That alone is cool, but we later discovered that we had more than a first name in common: we both have husbands named Peter! What are the chances of that?—what an amazing synchronicity!

I’d love to hear about your name stories: its evolution, pronunciation challenges, commonalities or unique features, and your feelings about it.

Annamieka Davidson