My name should be Andrea. That’s the name my parents picked for me except my dad changed his mind at the last minute and named me Alicia, pronounced ah-lee-see-ah. He named me after an ex- girlfriend who he thought was beautiful and sophisticated. I have no idea how he convinced my mom to name me after an ex-girlfriend. My guess is that she was high on pain-killers when they filled out the paperwork.
My dad wanted those same qualities of sophistication and beauty in me. Talk about pressure! It always seemed like he wanted a daughter who was tall, thin and beautiful; a delicate girl whose hair always stayed in place, wore skirts every day and could walk in pumps.
I am none of those things. My hair is defiant and bi-polar. It tends to be straight at the top and wavy at the bottom which gives me the perpetual look of having a grown-out perm. It also never stays in place, even with poisonous amounts of Aqua Net.
I am not tall but I don’t see how I can blamed me for that. I would like to point out that I’m far from short; I can reach the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets, thank you very much. You could say I’m the opposite of thin. When I was little, I had a friend who was very tall and skinny and people called us “the ten” because when we stood next to each other we looked like the number ten. She was tall and thin, I was short and round.
I’m still round. I’m trying to find a word more eloquent than “fat”. “Overweight” doesn’t do me justice, “heavy set” sounds too masculine, “obese” sounds too clinical and “pleasantly plump” just sounds stupid. I guess “round” will have to do.
I don’t like skirts and I’d rather pull my toenails out with a pair of rusty pliers than wear high heels. I guess you can say that I never lived up to my first name, at least in my father’s eyes.
When I was 14, I started using a nickname. It’s common for Mexican girls named Alicia to go by the name “Licha.” I liked it and hoped that it would give me a new identity. Licha (pronounced Lee-sha) would be cooler than Alicia. Licha would sign her name with a little heart over the “i”. Licha would be more grown up.
It confused all of my teachers. For months they couldn’t figure out my new identity. “Well, you may want to call yourself that but your name is still Alicia in my class.” I couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t embrace the new me. I was the same person, only better! I’m sure that Prince felt the same way when he changed his name to that weird symbol. I’m sure people still called him “Prince” for months afterwards! “You can refer to me as ‘the student formerly known as Alicia’,” I suggested. But they just rolled their eyes at me.