I feel like most people have a pretty straight-forward reason for their name. My mom is named after her grandmother. My uncle is named after his father. My dad’s first name was because of a singer. Some people’s parents just liked a particular name.
My name is Alisha Dyanna. There are no other Alishas, or Dyannas, of any spelling, on either side of my family – at least that I know of. Growing up, I knew Elishas and Alicias, but it wasn’t until the late nineties that I encountered anybody else named Alisha. And that person pronounced Ah-lish-ah, not Ah-leash-ah. There are plenty of Dianas, but even a google of Dyanna only comes up with an actress with a very pornstar-ish name.
If I’d been born a boy, I’d have had perfectly explainable name – a terrible one, but perfectly explainable. Apparently I was going to named after my paternal grandfather’s grandfather: Grover Elijah. Just thinking of it makes me glad I have tits instead of testicles. Being named Grover in the eighties would have just meant endless jokes about living in a trash can.
Instead, of course, I popped out with girl parts, and thus began the trouble. Why wasn’t there a girl’s name picked out? Maybe my mom can enlighten us all. She did want to name me Rhiannon – which I’d have been totally okay with. Being named after an awesome Fleetwood Mac song and a Welsh enchantress would be badass. Alas, it was not to be, as my father thought it sounded like rhubarb.
He wanted to name me Linda Sue, so my initials would be LSD. I’m … I’m just going to leave that right there. He also suggested Diana Dean, so he could call me Deedee. I’m glad my nickname isn’t the same as my bra size. I’m just not a Linda or a DD. But maybe I would have been. Would my name have changed who I am?
Next, someone floated the name Alicia, pronounced Ah-leash-ah – but my grandmother said it couldn’t be spelled as Alicia, because then people would call me Ah-lease-ee-ah, and that sounds “snooty.” So Alisha it was, and then it was on to the middle name.
(Edit: My mom apparently wanted it to be Ah-lish-uh, but my grandma said it sounded like I had a lisp!)
I don’t think there was much debate about that, strangely – Diana obviously came back in to the picture, but my mom wanted it spelled as Dyanna. Which I think is beautiful and unique, and not unique in the crazy way. It’s also a street, near where my aunt lived at the time. My father once claimed I was conceived in his Buick on that street, but I never had the heart to ask if he was serious.
So there you have it – Alisha Dyanna. Oh, but wait, we aren’t done! No, no, it couldn’t be that easy. You see, somebody at the hospital screwed up and wrote my name down wrong – or somebody couldn’t read their handwriting, or something. So, for the first six months of my life, my legal name was …. Alisue. Not even Ali Sue, like Sue was a middle name. All one word, Alisue. People have accused me of making that up. Well, take a gander at this:
Thank god it got changed. Alisue? Seriously? I hate it. It makes my blood boil. My mom used to tease me that she’d never had it changed and that was my real name, and it literally made me cry once. I’d rather be Grover.
Which, by the way, my aunties thought it was hilarious to call me anyway, which is why I answered to fucking “Grover” until I was about three. At least that wore off – my parents, and most of my family on both sides, will still call me “Alisue” sometimes.
I bet if someone else called me that casually, I’d answer. FML.