Why do I use the name Lilee on my blog? Why do I use the name AshLilee on other sites? Why do I do this when my name is Ashley? I get those questions a lot. (Not really…but for the sake of the intro to this post just go with it. Thanks.)
Allow me to explain…
I used to have a friend named Charlie. He was the BEST! He was friendly and hilarious and kind-hearted and intelligent and loyal and adventurous and the best friend anyone could have ever wanted. He was also gay which was awesome because there was never any concern about sexual tension. We were just straight-up homies. I loved that guy.
So why do I talk about Charlie in the past tense? It’s because he died.
He died in a car accident after he was hit by a drunk driver in Southern California Memorial Day weekend in 2010. He had moved away from Florida to live in California one month earlier due to their more accepting culture of the homosexual community. I missed him like crazy when he moved away but I understood his need for tolerance and civil rights (no, I’m not going to be ranting about the need for gay rights right now). I knew he would be back to FL to visit me and I was looking forward to one day visiting him out in California. He had even promised that he would come and visit me in Alabama (he knew I would be moving there for my now-husband. He could see my crazy love for Brandon even then). When his boyfriend called to tell me that Charlie had been killed I was inconsolable. Just like that, my best friend, gone. My heart was shattered in a way I can’t explain, in a way I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain, and it hurts me even to this day to think about him. He was good friend. He helped me through some tough times.
So what does that have to do with my internet nickname?
As cool as Charlie was he had one little quirk. He stuttered.
He had the most impossible time trying to say “Ashley.” You would have thought I was asking him to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious but I wasn’t…I wanted him to say “Ashley” but he couldn’t. I knew Charlie for nearly 20 years before he died and he was never able to say “Ashley.” It always came out like “Ash-Li-Lee.” He just couldn’t make the SH to LEY transition. He got hung up and would always stutter “Ash-Li-Lee.” The Li-Lee became a joke between us and so Li-Lee became my name. He would sometimes call me “Ash” but it was usually Li-Lee. I’ve been very sensitive to people calling me “Ash” ever since Charlie. It’s painful to hear sometimes. There are a few good friends (and my husband of course) who can call me that without me minding, it’s usually a right I give to those people in my life that remind me of Charlie in one way or another.
Prior to Charlie passing on Memorial Weekend in 2010 my internet aliases were usually pretty boring. I wasn’t that creative and I didn’t really think about it too much. I wasn’t one of those people that needed the “perfect” internet alias. After Charlie passed I wanted a way to think about him and a way to remember this angel that God had lent me to help me through some rough spots in my life. Two weeks after he passed away I was online and I changed a screen name to “AshLilee.” I loved it. It made me smile to think of my friend. After that I went to every website I was on and updated my alias to “AshLilee” or “LiLee.” That name is a part of how I became the person I am and it’s a piece of the friend that will always be with me.
RIP Charlie. I still love you homie.