My Name Is

I’m not entirely certain I’ve ever mentioned my fascination with the origin of my name. Or at least the origin according to my mother. Years ago, I asked my mom how she came to name me. I’ve watched several friends and family members over the years name their children and I think the process is quite interesting.

For instance, my niece’s name was heavily influenced by me. My sister fell in love with the name of a character in one of my early short-stories. She also wanted to use my middle name. I can’t recall my actual thought process as to why I felt the short-story name wouldn’t be suitable, but I remember the feeling. I suggested some alternatives. Names I hadn’t used in short-stories. Jean liked one in particular and when the birth certificate was filled out Jean put all three names down. The one I suggested, the character name and my middle name. Add to that her last name and you certainly have a mouthful to say when you want to call my niece to task.

Going back to my mom; she told me that she picked the name out of a baby name book and said that the definition given was Cheryl is the German feminine form of Charlie. Which I think is actually really neat. So much so that when I was a teenager I tried to get folks to call me Charlie. It didn’t stick for a multiple of reasons. Primarily because I wasn’t consistent.

I remember the year one of my friends changed her name. It was the simplest of things. She just added the letter E to the end of her name. She went from Vivian to Viviane without any fuss. Because the primary change in her name was spelling.

My attempts at transitioning to Charlie weren’t that simple and in the end failed. It didn’t even get picked up as a nickname.

In the last year and a half I have been giving some more thought to the idea of again trying to go by Charlie. I started asking friends to call me Charlie. (I haven’t been correcting them when they don’t. I should start doing that, shouldn’t I.) I’ve started to add the name to various social media sites, like my personal fb page and bio descriptions on twitter, pintrest and such; and I even added it to my new business cards. So you’ll see the name Charlie popping up more and more. Now if I can just remember to actually introduce myself as Charlie to new folks. Because no matter how much I say I want to go by the name, if I don’t make that first introduction as Charlie, then it will likely mean that the name never gets picked up or associated with me.

So hello. ย My name is Charlie. What’s yours?


  1. Stu

    I think I’d have trouble seeing you as a Charlie… I like Cheryl… It’s my Auntie’s name, and I love my auntie, though I have never once in my life called her auntie Cheryl… always just Auntie. She hates her name…. mostly because people used to always try to call her Cherry…. some people still do.
    I really missed it when I moved to the UK and people stopped calling me Stu.. but I got used to it… some people still do and it’s like a warm blanket.
    My parents both told me conflicting stories about the origins of my name. My mother said I was named for some distant aunt that she had absolutely no relationship with and my father said I wasn’t named for anyone, my mother just liked the name “Sarah” (like a zillion other people in the early 80’s) and made up a story…. as she often did… I tend to believe his version…
    I love my daughter’s name…. When she was on the way I discovered that naming a child is no small feat…. Now I’m having to do it again and I’m finding inspiration in the oddest places. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Charlie

      Of course you would have trouble Stu, I introduced myself to you as Cheryl. And we’ve known each other for neigh on 13 years. (Did you realize that?) I’m thrilled to hear that you have such happy feelings with the name even if you don’t call your aunt by her actual name and that I can make you smile by proxy.

      I still refer to you as Stu. It takes Matt a moment to parse, but he always gets it in the end and he smiles too.

      I have always thought that your daughter’s name was brilliant. Even without the context of how you chose it. I’m looking forward to learning what you are going to be naming the new little one.

      1. Stu

        I do realize ๐Ÿ™‚ in fact, today I was going through some shoeboxes of old cards looking for samples of my grandmother’s handwriting and I found my invitation to your wedding. Even though I wasn’t able to make it, another long and happy marriage came of my absence! In fact… at this other wedding there was even a ring bearer named Charlie.

  2. Rissa

    names? I have more names than I can keep up with ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was lucky and changed from Marissa to Rissa when I started college, it also helped that a majority of my family had called me Ree-Ree or Ree which was what the toddler of the family said when she tried to say my name, so going to an R helped. I was also over being called Melissa, Marsha, Mary and any other M name besides Marissa. I was pretty insistent and I would correct people. I mean you have to catch yourself like 30 times before its a new habit and sometimes you have to let one aspect or group of your life adjust and use it first and it slowly filters over.

    Now I go by or accept (by those who the name matches) Rissa/Ris/RissaRex/Rissasaurus, Cera, Aunt Rissa, Aunt Dissa, Aunt Sissa Ree/Ree-Ree, & Marissa. And I’m sure I’ll have more.

    I introduce myself as Rissa, I do not get mad if people use my legal name as I do use it professionally. I more have a list that I won’t answer to Melissa, dino girl, Paleo girl, etc

  3. J.C

    I can call you Charlie! I’ve had several friends change names now, as well as my mother, so I’m well practiced at it ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you manage to get others calling you by it soon enough!
    For months in several different years, eldest has been Esmeralda. If I can remember to call her by a different name, I guess anything is possible ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Charlie

      Aw Cassie! I just read your most recent blog. I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures at the NZ Book Festival.
      I remember you writing once or twice about your eldest and the name she wanted to go by.
      Your mother decided to change her name? That must be an interesting story. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. J.C

        She did it after my parents split, and, she only has ONE name. At the time she was one of only seven people in the country. I think it was easier for me, because I still called her Mum ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol

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