October 21 11

Fun Fact: I was on Law & Order:SVU this week.

I really wasn’t, not really. But my name was. Apparently, an actress named Lisa Joyce played a character named—wait for it—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. 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.


  1. You make a great Ali, for real. And I think Ali Martell sounds very nice.
    I also love Alexandra for you! I just love that name.

    I endured a lot of making fun of with my name, Loukia. In Greek, sausage is called Loukaniko. So there was that… and Greek deep fried honey balls are called Loukoumades. I wanted a “normal” name for the longest time. Now, I’m okay with Loukia. :)


    ali replied on

    Your name is perfect for you, I think! I love that it’s different—it totally makes you stand out.


    Comment by Loukia on October 21, 2011
  2. Even though I don’t know you at all, to me you definitely seem like an Ali. Also, weird about SVU. Hopefully Ali Martell wasn’t the name of a homicide victim, yikes!


    Comment by Jen on October 21, 2011
  3. When I was about 8, I decided that my name was the most horrible thing ever and I wanted to change it. I got my hands on a baby name book and pored over it, trying to find one that meant something I liked. I tried to get people to call me my middle name. No nicknames every stuck. 20 years later, I’m still boring old Jessica.

    Although my youngest would tell you that that is indeed not my name, because someone took it, and now I’m just “Mommy”.


    Comment by Jessica on October 21, 2011
  4. I had no idea that you didn’t use Ali your whole life. You’re SO an Ali. It fits you like a glove!

    I never hated my name. I always, and still do, hate that people spell it wrong.


    Comment by Kristabella on October 21, 2011
  5. Wait your given name is Alicia? I would have NEVER guessed that! You are very much an Ali, although Alicia is a pretty name too.


    Comment by Daisy on October 21, 2011
  6. Yep, Ali fits you perfectly. I had just assumed you were an Alison, but you know what happens when you assume, right?

    I never had much problem with my name, in and of itself, but the fact that half of all 70s/early 80s babies were named Jennifer is quite annoying.


    Comment by Mrs. Wilson on October 21, 2011
  7. I didn’t know that you were an Alicia!

    I hear you on the two names thing, though it was my last name. Friends from elementary school new me as a Moran and when I started high school, I went by my step-dad’s last name of Tipper. Very confusing.


    Comment by Angella on October 21, 2011
  8. I wanted to be an Ali sooo badly and was quite jealous when my younger sister came along and her nickname was Ali. It’s a good thing I like her.


    Comment by Scarlet on October 21, 2011

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