My name is Felicia, pronounced “Phylicia.” Not” Felisha.”
Yes, I know. It's mind blowing right? My name is spelled "F-E-L-I-C-I-A" but is actually pronounced, "Phylicia." It's the pronunciation that my parents used to introduce me to the world. Now you're probably thinking, "BYE FELICIA! And why am I reading this fooleywangle about your name anyway?" Well, it's honestly my way of sharing a quick lesson about self accountability, how I learned to finally value myself and to officially introduce myself to you...because I'm sincerely a dope ass person to know.
"Man, Eff The Keychain Fairy!"
The truth is when I was in kindergarten I hated my name because back then it was less common and very inconvenient for my little 5 year old persona to handle. Picture yourself at 5 yrs old, going into pretty, eye catching stores like, "Pier One Imports", "Michael's" or "The World Market" with all of their colorful wonder! You look at all of the little knick-knacks and cutesy things, trying your best to convince Mommy that you really DO need her to buy you about half of the stuff in the kids section and why you really can't live without it.... I mean you don't win that round of "shoot your shot" but you tried it. Lol! As you head to the cashier you spot it, the infamous key chain section! You see all of the shiny, sparkly, glittery key chain names just blinged out like sugar plums dancing in your head. You go over to the stack of names and start down the list alphabetically...
Okay so this is where it went completely left for me. You see this was the 80's so F-E-L-I-C-I-A" was usually NEVER EVER there...like EVER in the entire history of EVER except maybe like 2 times. I would spin that stupid rack around 4 or 5 times hoping that the key chain fairy would magically appear and point it out like it was just placed in the wrong spot. Well that heifer never showed up and I'd usually walk away defeated. I remember one day asking my dad why he and my mom didn't just name me "Rachel" or something. Since The Lord of the Key Chain Makers didn’t have my name on display too often, it just confirmed in my mind that my name had little value. It made me feel like I wasn't important because it wasn't popular enough. Unpopular equated to un-pretty, unwanted and too different.
Now here's the kicker. I grew up with another Felicia who actually pronounced her name, "Fe-lee-sha." We were the same age, both with light skin and long hair. She was shorter than me, and I was skinnier than her, so people always used our physical features to differentiate us. My hair would grow down past the middle of my back, but hers grew down past her butt, so in my eyes, her hair was LONG. Not mine. She also had hazel eyes. Ironically enough, my dad has hazel eyes but I took after my mom and got her almond eyes. So in my mind, SHE had pretty eyes. Mine were only magical in the sunlight. To me, she was different in a good way. Even though we shared the same name (and the same key chain dilemma,) in my mind she was exotic and important so she didn't have to worry about being different the way I did. To me, SHE was beautiful. Her "different" held waaaayyyy more value than mine.
So as I got older and people would address me as "Felicia or "Phylicia" and I had no real feelings about it. I honestly never really cared to correct them. When they would ask how to pronounce it, it was usually a result of them hearing me introduce myself to someone else, or answering the phone. Some did however ask me upon our initial introduction (Now is it pronounced Fe-lee-sha or Phylicia ?), but the answer was always the same. “Well, my parents pronounce it ‘Phylicia’, but it doesn't really matter as long as you spell it correctly when it's time to write those checks!" Yes, I would even joke about it. It didn't occur to me that I was teaching people that it was only important to properly address me when there money was involved. It aligned perfectly with the, "little ole me" mentality that I developed as a direct result of my own discernment for my name at such a young age.
"Everyone But Me."
As if that wasn't bad enough, I had this horrible attitude that being in the beauty industry didn't mean that I had to live up to the standard of beauty that I was trying to sell. To put it in lamer terms, I am a brow & lash artist that also offers makeup and skin care services, but ask me how long it took me to realize WHY it was so important that I looked the part. I would go to work with little black village people chillin on my chin, no makeup, zero lashes (with visibly tired eyes) and my brows were done depending on the amount of time that passed since the last time I felt like waxing them. I was overweight so I’d throw on anything that was clean and would fit; gather my strength because I was tired from inadequate sleep, kids, bills, stress, etc and go. I would walk in to the salon looking more like a client’s before picture then a brow & lash slayer. The truth is that I manifested my love for creating a nurturing experience into a career, but the problem was that I was nurturing everyone but me.
I remember participating in a photo shoot featuring the stylists at the salon where I was working at the time. I had my hair curled up and pinned to the side, big bold lashes and my ruby red lips were EVERYTHING! The shoot was amazing! A guy walked into the salon one day and saw one of the pictures on the front desk. He immediately started raving about the, “Redbone” (side note: that’s a nickname for light skinned women of color, kind of like how the term, “Toe Head” is in relation to natural blondes.) He then asked the salon owner where, “she” was. She pointed in my direction and he immediately reacted in disbelief. When she assured him that we were in fact the same person, he pointed to the picture and responded, “Well she needs to look like THAT from now on!” When the conversation was finally brought to my attention, I was horrified and extremely embarrassed. During her critique the salon owner said to me, “You do makeup but nobody knows it because you never wear any.”
The sad part is that on the inside I secretly desired to be that girl in the picture every single day of my life! I wished that I had the time and energy to morph into a sex pot before I left for work, but I was too tired, too stressed, too broke, too fat and too insecure to think that I could pull it off everyday. It didn’t matter how awesome, sexy and accomplished that dressing my best made me feel. It didn’t matter that I received endless compliments and smiles whenever I did. People even said my name with an abundance of admiration and respect, but that still didn’t matter. Taking more time out of my day to create a beauty regimen so that I would feel good about me just wasn’t worth it and the world would just have to accept that.
"Beauty, Branding & The Bottom Line."
Now that I am building my own beauty business, branding myself has been crazy challenging. That lil ole me mentality that I thought I let die a long time ago resurfaced with a vengeance. You see one of the most important steps in brand building is exposing your name to the world and making sure people never forget it. I spent my childhood loathing it and most of my adult life half ass caring about it. Now my name is the very thing that I depend on for my livelihood. I mean, I legit spent my whole life convincing myself and the world that my name wasn't important. What I didn't realize was how deep that self loathing actually went.
Now don't get me wrong, I’ve always loved myself. I just felt like when it came down to me or you, I didn't hesitate to use my resources to make sure you were good FIRST, because it was easier for me to nurture the potential in you than it was to acknowledge the shine within me. I was also afraid to follow my dreams. I was often unprepared and sometimes too lazy to try. The bottom line was that I was afraid of success. Success meant that I would have to finally face all of the years of ugly feelings that I associated with my name. Feelings that I manifested into my truth.
This, Dear Beauties, brings me to the reason behind why I do what I do. One day I woke up and decided that my fear of never living my dreams was far more terrifying than failing while trying to achieve them. One of my mentors told me, “In order to have the life that you want, the woman that you currently are has to die. Mourn her, say your goodbyes, then allow the woman that you want to be take the lead from here on out.” I promised myself that I would start to invest more of my time, energy and love back into me. Once I started it became 2nd nature and before I knew it I began loving me again effortlessly. Believe it or not, the extra effort that I put back into pampering me left me feeling fulfilled and rejuvenated! This in turn made it easier to be especially empathetic to the needs of my clients. I know what it’s like to have the world on my shoulders. Careers, kids, significant others, house hold management, bills, dreams and responsibilities all piled up into one big ass ball is enough to have me visualizing throat punching people all day…and on top of that you mean I have to look cute too?!
My client’s monthly pamper sessions are sometimes the only time they can take time just for themselves. Whether its 15 minutes or 2 hours, “me time” always saves the day and the experience means different things to different clients. So my goal with Femme Jolie Eye Design Studio is to create a relaxing, girly, sexy and fun escape for women to truly enjoy their “me time.” We laugh, we cry, we imagine egging the cars of no good exes, praise awesome spouses, clown about crazy family members, discuss the latest trends, celebrate our accomplishments, network within our circle of entrepreneurs, speak life, love and light into our endeavors, gossip about great sex, and rejoice about our babies but most of all we genuinely enjoy just being girls. Which means that we all walk away feeling vibrant, refreshed, energized, fulfilled and we look fabulous af!!!
We can do this because we have one amazing thing in common: “Felicia.” My name actually means, “happy or happiness” but it doesn’t stop there. Now my name is also synonymous with, “relaxing, fun, sexy, supportive, warm, professional, funny, smart, outlandish, family friendly, sisterhood, girly, educated, truthful, sparkly, knowledgeable, loud, insanely beautiful inside out and absolutely worthy of proper pronunciation.
My hope is that we will one day have the pleasure of meeting each other. You are always welcome to stop by for some bonafide me time, pampering or just pop in for a quick dose of some girl power served with a tall glass of happy. This is standard for how my clients feel when they leave my studio. I only ask that you remember one thing when you step through the door; my name is Felicia, pronounced “Phylicia.” Not” Felisha.”