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Let's have a chat about....MY NAME: Charis


Names. We all have one. Some of us love our given name and some people choose to go by a title other than the one our parents decided to grace us with at our birth. My name has always been a conundrum to those who have to learn to pronounce it. Those of you who don't know me go ahead and try. To make it easier I'll give you some of the pronunciations that I have heard over the years.

  • Share-iss would be the most common. I mean, I don't blame them. We were taught to sound out our words as young children and that definitely looks right if you're using this method. If I were seeing my name for the first time this is the one I would go with.

  • Share-ese with a long e. Sorry! I'm not trying to get to grammery [not a word according to spellcheck. Oh well. I'm sticking with it anyway] on you but it's hard to communicate the sound over the computer. This would be the second most popular pronunciation used when seeing Charis spelled and not heard.

  • Chair-iss. So..... I believe we switched some letters here. I mean, I love chairs as much as the next person, just not in my name. It's "chARI" not "chAIR" which I guess can be confusing for some people. {??????} Just remember I'm not air or a chair but rather ari or char although that may be even more confusing. I don't know. At this point I've given up trying to make sense of how my name is mispronounced.

  • Caress: the body bar with bath oil. {If you catch this reference from a commercial in the 80's, you are my people}. My senior english teacher in high school claimed my name was too hard to say, so she decided she would just call me Caress. Seriously everyone! I couldn't make this stuff up. She was one of the smartest people I knew but she couldn't pronounce my name. That's just lazy! This title stuck throughout my senior year and one friend even addressed his note in my yearbook to Caress:the body bar with bath oil. Yep friends. It's immortalized in writing so if you don't believe me I can prove it.

  • Charles. Yes! You read that right. This is my least favorite. My high school typing {yes kids, typing. I was a teenager in the 80's} teacher would call role every day and EVERY DAY she would say Charles when she got to my name. I mean, come on! I got so tired of correcting her EVERY DAY only to be called Charles again and again that I just started answering, "HERE" when she called out my not name. At least she wasn't as lazy as my english teacher although I don't really know how hard she tried since she just yelled out CHARLES every day. Maybe she was just lazy too. Wow! There were a bunch of lazy teachers at my high school. [Side note: don't tell friends or family about these mispronunciations or outright wrong names you are called because they think it's so funny they begin to call you by said name instead of your real name, which is annoying, by the way, since they know how to say it properly and you're secretly trying to increase the number of people in your sphere who can correctly pronounce your name and they are ruining your total. Also, others who don't know you hear them calling you by the wrong name and will therefore call you by the same wrong name, which is also annoying.]

  • Some weird French pronunciation that I couldn't regurgitate even if I wanted to try, which I don't because..... why. I was in my gynecologist's office for a follow up appointment and she had an intern who was supposed to come in prior to seeing her and ask some questions. I'm sure he took one look at my name and thought, how in the hell do I pronounce this mess of a name? In an effort to impress me, which must have taken a lot of guts, he floats into the room and says my name in this smooth, accented lilt. I was stunned into silence. I couldn't decide if he was attempting to say my name or he was introducing himself, in which case I would just call him Doc because I could never mimic that sound. The silence must have made him lose some of those guts he called up before entering the room and he says, "well isn't your name French?" No buddy. No, it's not. It's Greek and please DO NOT attempt the accent. I think I killed his mojo for the day.

  • Charis rhymes with Paris. This is my husband's trick to help people understand how to say it verbally. I guess said people think it's funny to then go on to address me as Charis rhymes with Paris. It's not. Funny, that is.

  • Karen. Go ahead and laugh. I'll give you a moment........ You good? Okay. When I say my name verbally apparently the only sound heard is the Char that sounds like Kar and so they just go with Karen. Whatever! I'm over it. I feel sorry for all the Karens out there. You are welcome to borrow my name and pronounce it however you like.

  • Char pronounced like care. This is my favorite because it's only used by those who are closest to me and know me the best. It's more a term of endearment than just something to get my attention and I love to hear it being spoken by dear friends and family.

Now that you've gotten a chance to have a hearty laugh at the improper ways to pronounce my crazy name, I'm sure you're wondering how it's really pronounced. I usually tell anyone who looks at my name like "what, the what" to imagine the CH is a K and the the rest is pronounced phonetically. Then I add in that I know it's weird and offer an apology for being so difficult because that's who I am. Not difficult, just apologetic. The response I get most often is that, yes, my name is different but that it is also a beautiful name. Sometimes they say, "that's an unusual name," but it's always spoken as if it is a compliment. Thank you for being so kind. I do really appreciate the sentiment. After all, I was given a Greek name to honor my ancestors. I'm proud of my weird name and am often remembered in places and by people because it's so memorable. Once you learn to pronounce it you will never forget it and hopefully you'll remember the person behind the name too.

I know some might get offended when their names are mispronounced. I am not one of those people. After all this time I will answer to just about anything except some weird French pronunciation. {Sorry to that poor intern at my gynecologist's office.} I do really feel your pain friends because I was an elementary school teacher and a dance teacher and I know the panic that comes from staring at a name and knowing you're going to butcher that poor kids moniker. It builds character to not only be the one who has to say the difficult name but also to be the one who has to correct a teacher, doctor, friend, or random person in the grocery store how to say it correctly without being unkind. My name in Greek means grace and I strive to make sure that shines through in my interactions with others.

So thank you parents for my unusual name. It has helped to shape who I am today and I will continue to cherish it's uniqueness, no matter how it's pronounced. So as Destiny's Child says, "say my name" and I'll accept any mispronunciations.


Here are some upcoming topics for future chats:

  1. Dogs {you get to see pics of my adorable pug}

  2. Coffee {it keeps me awake and alive}

  3. Book Club {I just joined my first one in October}

  4. Trips to the gyno {ugh!}

  5. Living in a small town

If there are any topics you are interested in hearing about or stories you want to share you can contact me on social media.

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I love your name. My best name is Yaya. Greek for grandmother. The spelling is incorrect but the spelling of my childhood.

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