Parents like to tell their children what they almost named them when they were born, and sometimes we have to thank our lucky stars our parents came to the conclusion they did.
Other names my parents considered for me were Erika, Astrida and...Ursula. It’s not that anything in particular is wrong with these names, but something out of my parent’s control would have been VERY wrong if they had named me Ursula.
I was in third grade when one of the most beloved Disney movies of my generation came out: The Little Mermaid. I remember watching the movie over and over, signing “Part of Your World” in class with my girlfriends, and daydreaming about smooching a prince in a lagoon.
When I was older and my parents told me I was almost an “Ursula,” I realized I had dodged a serious name bullet! At a pivotal point in the development of my self-confidence I had almost shared the same name as the ultimate villain to third-graders across America—a fat, ugly, purple Octopus-woman—Ursula would have been the end of me, I’m sure of it. Kids would have been relentless. To make matters worse, a pretty little girl with long blonde hair moved to our town that same year. Her name was Ariel. She became one of my good friends, but if I was Ursula I am convinced she would have been my nemesis just like in the movie. It would have been a self-fulfilling prophecy—I’d blow up like a blimp, my skin turning a pale shade of lavender, and who knows, I’d probably even grow an extra leg or two. I am eternally thankful to my parents for choosing “Amber.” This could have been me.