Alexia, Alex, Lex, Lexi. Each permutation of my name signifies a different time of my life. I was born Alexia. No middle name, which has always irked me since my younger sister has one. My parents called me Pooh. Thankfully a moniker I have not retained. I hope it was from Winnie The Pooh, so let’s just go with that, ok? The rest of my family would call me Lexi or Lex. My grandfather once gave me a t-shirt that said Lexy. Don’t know how that happened, but it never happened again.
And so, I happily carried on being Alexia, despite the fact that I was at a Greek school (another blog post on that) and there were a bunch of other girls named Alexia. A bunch. And of course the other Alexia at my next school, was an A student and the best behaved kid ever, which didn’t really help a slacker like me.
Early into high school, I realized I didn’t want to be Alexia anymore. In fact, I tried to persuade my parents that like Prince, I wanted just one name. Alabama. Please understand that I had no idea of how not cool that was, but, Alabama. They told me that I could start calling myself Alabama, and if it all worked out, we could talk about legal action. Lasted all of about 4 days. Apparently my parents did know best. Hahaha.
With a move back to Johannesburg, I started my new school calling myself Alex. And so, if you went to high school with me at the Arts school, you know me as Alex. As do you if you went to advertising college with me, or worked in the ad industry with me. And every time someone called me Alex, I had no idea who they were talking to.
But then something started to happen. I started getting mail, and phone calls asking for MR Alex Bregman (or Milner as I was at the time). And I took great offense to this. So eventually I started introducing myself as Alexia. And then every time someone called me Alexia, I felt like I was going to get into trouble, because that’s what my parents would call me if I was naughty.
When I had kids, I didn’t want to be called Alex or Alexia, and so one vacation decided only to introduce myself as Lexi. But that made me feel like a 3 year old. And so I moved on to Lex. To this day when I order coffee and they ask what my name is, I say “Lex” because of all the time I spent in coffee shops with my infant children and other mommies! If they question me, I say “like Luther”
Today? I introduce myself as Alexia. Still feels weird. When I get an email from a friend, I always notice what they call me based on how they know me, and so in a funny way, I get great comfort out of being able to trace the phases of my life through my name.
My husband? He calls me Bingie, and my kids call me Mama. I don’t know why not Mom or Mommy.
Maybe I should just go back to Alabama.