Listening to Jason Mraz’s song “I’m Yours”, I always get choked up and want to cry over that line. “Your name is your virtue.”
Google shows the definition of virtue as the following:
behavior showing high moral standards.
“paragons of virtue”
(in traditional Christian angelology) the seventh highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.
Those are all wonderful words. I believe those are elements that most people would strive to embody. I think as humans, most of us feel an innate need to “be good”. I know I certainly feel like I do.
It’s hard though, especially when life throws you challenges that would otherwise make it easy to swing the other way.
I didn’t ask for my husband to have health problems. I didn’t ask for my Gallbladder to fail. I didn’t ask for all the medical bills, or having to become the provider for my family. I didn’t ask for all of the resulting financial woes, and certainty didn’t want to default on my student loans. But once it had happened its nearly impossible to undo it all. I will never be able to get credit again, unless I can magically pay back my student loans which are now 3 times their original amount because of all the penalties.
Anything’s possible, but that is not probable in my current state of affairs.
So what’s a person to do? I’ll admit I’ve had to steal a couple of times to be able to make ends meet. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not going to let my children starve either. Anya is not my biological child and before her mom died they wouldn’t let me count her as being in our household. I still had to feed her, and food banks here only allow you 3 trips per year unless you are homeless. I wouldn’t let that, combined with my inability to compensate for losing my husband’s income, prevent us from eating and having a home. So when rent was due it got paid, and I found other ways to feed us. I gathered as much as I could from our environment. It’s interesting to eat salads made with wild violets, field greens, and wild strawberries, but we did. I found wild fruits, mulberries, and all kinds of wild edibles, but that’s not a loaf of bread or muffin that a 3 year old wants to eat. I had to feed her too. When our food became bare, I did what I had to.
Yet I had scruples. I wouldn’t steal from a local person. I wouldn’t steal from someone that might not be any better off than we were. I only took from big stores that I knew were budgeting for theft and still making profits. Does that make my past thefts ok? Not really, I should never have been in that place to begin with, and even though it was a last resort, it was still theft. I’ll always have to live with the fact that I was unable to find another way to ensure my daughter from another mother was fed.
So obviously, even though I aim for being virtuous, I haven’t always been.
But why is my name as my virtue so intense for me? Well, this is where I divulge myself.
My birth name: plain old Teresa Smith
Treasa means Reaper.
Smith is a craft worker that uses metal and flame, most people think of iron workers.
I’ve never felt that I’ve been a reaper of anything, but I wish I were. I am an artist, and I do use metal and flame on occasion, but I would not call myself a smith in the sense of iron worker.
Perhaps, that is why changing my name wasn’t too painful. When Nathan and I were planning on getting married I’d had so many instances of getting things for other Teresa Smiths’ that I decided I wanted to change and be unique. One of a kind.
So I did.
Now I have a Married name.
Treasa- I wanted to keep the essence of my birth name, but be unique. So I opted to take the Treasa of my heritage. It’s Irish Gaelic, and originally meant strength.
I took a middle name too. I’d never had one before and hated that most people had middle names and I didn’t.
I stayed with the Gaelic theme and chose Darinne, which supposedly meant prosperous. I liked the sound of the name, and again I wish I were prosperous.
Finally, last name: Cailleach. It is Gaelic, but not technically a name, more of a title. The Cailleach of a community was the wise woman/medicine woman, often a shaman or witch, and would get called a hag in jest. Again, with exception to the hag reference, that’s something that I aim to embody.
So again, why does that make me want to cry?
I think it’s because I doubt myself. Having been through such hard times, having been so far down, having done things I would rather not have, and finally talking this new journey just to feel like I have a real home for once. It’s like I am that bad person that nobody wants to be around. I’m the bad egg of society, broke, destitute, and having to use government assistance just to make it through life, even my own family no longer talks to me. And it’s all so far from where I wanted to be. It’s all seemingly so impossible to reach for, that I’ve relegated to only being able to attain those qualities under some sort of miracle intervention.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to keep trying, keep doing my best, and even though the trailer is taking 3 times longer than I hoped, it’s still progressing- which means that eventually I will have a home similar to what I’ve always wanted. It might just take me longer than I prefer. It’s just not the virtuous life that I’ve dreamed of. It’s not the beautiful dome home, farm, and successful business combination that I dreamed of creating completely off the grid and utility free. That dream may or may not ever come true in my lifetime. C’est la vie.
I can only hope, and keep meditating, and praying, and maybe one day it might.
For now I’ll just do with what I have, my hands and time. And if the shit hits the fan again, I’ll just have another screaming match with the universe about how it could help fix things. It does usually get a little temporary relief at least. It seems that my angry fury is like no other, and even the universe responds like “alright already, I get it – you’re upset, I’ll help you”.
Just wish I didn’t have to get that kind of angry to get some help.