Fun Fact: I was onÂ Law & Order:SVU this week.
I really wasn’t, not really. But my name was. Apparently, an actress named Lisa JoyceÂ played a character namedâ€”wait for itâ€”Ali Martell.
I know I said that I wanted to be famous when I grew up, but, well, this wassn’t exactly what I had meant.
I often think about this, though, my name. My birth certificate reads Alicia Anne Mintz. That’s the name I was given at birth. Alicia. I was named after a great-grandfather I never knew, a great-grandfather who died when the Nazis took over Eastern Europe. It was undoubtedly a noble namesake, proving to Hitler that his mission was unsuccessful. Even though 6 million lovely Jewish names were wiped from Europe, the names lived on. The names were given to children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. The only problem was that I never felt like an Alicia. I felt MISNAMED. It was a misnomer, if you will.
It’s a perfectly lovely name and I work with a lovely person named Alicia who edits the crap out of my blog posts, who has taught me how to drink tea, and knows the internet by heart. Her name suits her in a way that mine never did. Hers fits like a glove, while mine fit like a too-big pair of granny pantyhose that left ugly wrinkles at the ankles and knees. In fact, at one point I wanted to change my name to Alexandra. I loved the way it rolled off the tongue in its long form, and I loved the sporty gender-neutrality of its nickname, Alex.Â I even tried to investigate how one goes about changing a name. I call tell you right now, as 8-year-old, in a time before Al Gore invented the internet, name changing was a lot harder than it seemed.
So, Alicia it was. Alicia is had to be.
Until a boy bullied me into believing that Alicia was a BOY’S name. That was bullying at its finest. I toyed with the idea of using my Hebrew name, Eliana, and in some of my social circles, the name stuck. In some, of course, it didn’t.
I was Alicia to some people.
I was Eliana to some people.
This does wonders to the adolescent identity. I probably don’t need to delve into this; it goes without saying. Growing up is difficult enough as it is, having two names doesn’t make it any easier. Alicia in school. Eliana on the playground. Alicia in Atlanta. Eliana in Milwaukee. Alicia at work. Eliana at play.
The problem was that even though I answered to both, I never felt that either one of them was ME. Neither one was a glove-fit.
And then in a moment of possible AOL identity commotion, after being told that the usernames I had selected had already been taken, I tossed an ALI back at the screen. And I had an “aha” moment right then and there, sitting in front of my computer screen, back in the days when the internet was the new frontier and I just wanted to get online and have the computer shout YOU’VE GOT MAIL at me.
It was a name that worked. It could be used for those people who called me Alicia. It could even be used for those people who called me Eliana. It was a name I loved,
It fit like a glove.
And now it has been
stolen borrowed by an acronym show. Funny, that.