Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's Who I Am

“Our Name is Our Virtue” – from I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

I’m pretty sure my name is a virtue. At the very least, it’s a moral value. If I leave a comment somewhere in blog land, if a reader checks out my profile, my name is left as Chas. To friends and family I am known as Chas. Short for Chasity, not Charles, because well, Charles would be a bit strange for a little girl name. Chasity’s weird enough thank you.

I have to come forth and be completely honest here. As a little girl, I hated my name with all that I am. It’s rarely pronounced correctly, and spelling it correctly is about as common as a blue moon. Not to mention the whole Chastity Belt similarity. (Sorry, I'm not linking to that one. Feel free to Google it for yourself if you really need to.) As it turns out, Chastity belt was actually a little too sophisticated for elementary school boys. They zoned in on ChasTITy instead.

My friends and family have always just called me Chas. I never told them to call me that, it just happened. At the beginning of each school year my teachers always asked each one of us if there was a particular name we’d like to be called instead of our given name- Brad instead of Bradley and so on. I decided to just make things easier in 5th grade, and asked my teacher to “just call me Chas.” He couldn’t say it right. He kept calling me Chaz, and no matter how many times I tried to correct him, it would still come out ChaZ. I swear by the end of the year every time he said my name all I heard was the z. Each time my name was said, the z got louder. In my head it sounded like a bumble bee the size of a 747 was coming in for a landing. I was close to 30 before I asked anyone else to “just call me Chas.”

I swore the day I turned 18 I was going to legally have my name changed. I didn’t even have a new name picked out because I really didn’t care. I was just going to pick a name people could pronounce, and spell, and it would clear off all of my problems like a magic eraser.

Here’s the kicker, though. By the time my 18th birthday arrived, I had grown rather attached to my name. It’s different. It’s unusual. When someone yelled out, “Hey Chasity!” I never had to look around to see if they actually meant me or someone else in the room.

By that age I had realized my name is a massive part of the person I have become.
I take teasing in stride, and learned a long time ago if I took it personally, I would be miserable for all but a nanosecond of my lifetime.

I am patient, and that skill is further developed each time I try to introduce myself.

I generally know how to pick my battles, a skill that was learned in junior high at my dentist’s office when I couldn’t convince the receptionist my name was NOT Christy. I think I told her 4 or 5 times what my name was and thought she finally got it- until she called Christy to the back.

I am a great listener, for I never know if anyone is going to call me Chas, Chasity, Christy, Charity, Cathy, or something completely new.

I believe that there are many factors in our lives that shape who we are as individuals, and that our name is a large one. That’s why I love that line so much from the song I’m Yours. It brought it all home for me. Our Name is Our Virtue.


Manager Mom said...

As one of the eight bazillion "Jennifers" in the world, I think your unique name is great.

Johnny said...

Hey, you never mentioned what we used to call you in high school!

for a different kind of girl said...

I think your name sounds lovely! I went to school, from kindergarten to high school graduation, with a girl who had the very same name. We were polar opposites, and it was so annoying. When my husband and I had our children, we wanted to name them something unique, but not off the charts. Out of the blue, a friend suggested my maiden name as our oldest son's first name, and it was perfect. So far, he's the only one out there we've bumped into.

Chas said...

I agree. It is nice to have a semi-unique name. Although I didn't completely appreciate it growing up, I wouldn't change it for the world now.

We, too, tried to give our children unique but not over the top names. Unfortunately, our oldest son's name got pretty popular after we named him, but I don't think he'll have a ton of kids in his class with the same name even so. It's still yet to be seen if our choice for our younger son will stay semi-unique...

Although I love the uniqueness of my name, I still wonder sometimes what it would be like to have a name in common with someone I know.

Mom said...
Chasity is a very popular female first name and a very rare surname (source: 1990 U.S. Census). Displayed below is the baby name popularity trend for the girl's name Chasity. Click here to compare Chasity with related baby names.
Chasity - Name Meaning and Origin
Love Mom

Mom said...
You might not like this one to much but some comments are interesting.

Chas said...

Thanks Mom. I did enjoy both the posting and the comments. I even left a comment myself.