“Becoming Amaya and shedding Serena like a lovely cashmere coat and folding it away, for now I live in summertime always.”

During our date, my friend was very intrigued: he pressed Why Amaya? I could tell he was very attached to ‘Serena Woo’, and indeed, of course: it was whom he had built our relationship with, the identity that was known, and the very name that grounded the woman in front of him as he knew her. Moreover, there was the more practical and calculating business consideration I could see ticking through his mind: Serena Woo meant something to certain people –and certainly in Auckland, New Zealand – and Amaya is a stranger in both Australia and New Zealand.


What is in a name? I acknowledge and believe names are important and sacred; yet at the same time construct-like things: a fire given to our own making that we forge our shapes with. And yet also the fire that casts its own shadow and shades our being….A name is truly a fickle thing. It is the person that gives the name its distinction, but the name also comes to shape the person….

But let me not ruminate too deeply here, because frankly there is no great meaning or grand gesture in my name change. It is simply a reflection of my experiencing change itself, through a consideration of who I am now. I want to make Amaya more palpable, human and connected. I needed a change, and I wanted to see where Amaya Shen takes me, how she will turn me, and also whom I can make of her.


This is not reinvention as much as renewal. Not as much as a “fresh start” but re-potting of a plant into a bigger pot….I want to grow. This is about growth in a way. I know this can be hard to understand, but I felt suffocated in a way by Serena….I wanted -needed – something different.

To those whom knew me first as Serena, I know it is an adjustment: feel free to keep calling me by that name, for it is near, dear, and turns my head still. Or call me Amaya –I hope she makes you feel something familiar but also the thrill of the unknown.


I feel I have explained this poorly, but, well –some of my best decisions where those given by intuition, and here I felt it guiding the impetus of change. I have a feeling Miss Shen will be staying for the long-haul….


That being said, this year I plan to be committed to more trans-Tasman visits, and maybe even some other exciting and new places…? I look forward to 2020; familiar faces, new faces, the cultivation of relationships and the nurturing of passion. The commitment to renewal and growth; to make deep roots and strong leaves to shelter. Everything and all at once: remember a name is only a lid that hides an infinity of things.

Yours mysteriously,

Amaya x

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