A new name

She regarded the Simonnets with a double “n” as inferior not only to the Simonets with a single “n” but to everyone in the world. That someone else should bear the same name as yourself without belonging to your family is an excellent reason for despising him.

Guermantes Way, Proust, transl. Moncrieff and Klimartin, revised by Enright

I feel this way sometimes. I used to have a rare last name–all of us were directly related to each other, in a trace-able fashion (I practiced the old-man art of geneaology when I was in middle school). But now, not so rare. I now share a last name with deranged reality TV stars. But I also share it with my sweet husband and his family. I get asked sometimes why I changed my last name. Because I wanted to. I don’t feel “owned,” or marked as his property; I wanted to join him with my name. And so I did, with my old name wedged in between. So it’s not as if I’ve been entirely assimilated. But I do still balk at seeing that other people share my new name. Albertine was right: How dare them.

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