The following is an excerpt from my new book, an essay collection called Things You Can’t Un-see, which releases this week! Pre-order your copy here.
My husband makes fun of me for my obsession with monograms. After he caught me looking at a rotating display case of silver letter charms at a local boutique, I told him, “If you had the opportunity to name yourself, you’d be obsessed with them, too.”
First day of fourth grade, circa 1997: the teacher takes attendance with strict efficiency. Since my last name begins with C, I am the fifth student called. “Sarah Caplin?” she calls. I raise my hand. By the time she gets to the end of the list, it is apparent that “Sarah” is the female name of choice: there are four Sarahs in our class of a dozen students, which Mrs. F thinks is hilarious. She places us all at the same table: Sarah K, Sarah M, Sarah W, and myself. It was not the first time I had to be differentiated by my last initial, and it wouldn’t be the last.
I was nine; I was already tired of it.