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The Portents of a Name

May 28, 2013

Daily Prompt: Say Your Name

Cassandra. That name is a burden and a portent if there ever was one. In Greek mythology, Cassandra is a princess of Troy, her beauty rivaled only by her sister-in-law, Helen, and Aphrodite herself.

Beauty is so often a curse; Cassandra’s incited Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. When she spurned the god’s advances, Apollo added a nasty footnote to his gift: none of Cassandra’s predictions would be believed.

She foresaw the fall of Troy; warned Priam & Co. about the giant wooden horse that appeared at their doorstep; saw the inevitability of her own violent death.

I think about my namesake and I shudder. Relegated to the dark corner of tragic mythological tradition. Cautionary feminist allegory. These are truths I know, courtesy of the Cassandra that came before:

The cost of beauty. The reality of speaking the truth. What it’s like to call and cry to blank stares and deaf ears.

My name is a name saturated with the weight of the past. I have always gone by Cassi.

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