My Last Name
For those not in the know, Luna is Spanish for Moon. I’m quite happy with it. People often ask me if it’s my real name, or some sort of stage name I’ve fashioned for myself. I can confirm it is real.
It is also, of course, my father’s last name.
It’s been a name I have proudly scribbled since the day I could hold a pencil. It’s sat in the corners of assignments and essays, donned the pages of journal introductions, flourished onto parchments and medals I have been honoured to receive, and on occasion, been printed prior to my first name when someone is feeling extra formal.
But above all else it has been printed over and over by my father’s family. A group of musicians and writers with a scientist thrown in between. They are a mix of humour, callousness and unwavering kindness. My surname has appeared on birth certificates in three different countries since the 1920’s and it hasn't changed. It has been hyphened, caught between parentheses, mispronounced and misspelled, but it is forever the same.
When my father talks about great moments and achievements, he punches his fist in the air when he speaks his last name, because it is his symbol of his family. And his family represents where he comes from.
My mother tells me to stand tall and proud, because of my heritage, my ancestors and the previous bearers of my last name. They were not wealthy people, nor people of status. They were labourers, market people, street sellers. But they were all workers. And each worker when asked their name would firmly state those two syllables.
And that is no different to what I am now. I sit in front of technology unseen by the majority of my family. I travel to places never reached by them and speak in a tongue too foreign for them to imagine. But I carry my last name the same way I carry them all with me.
Because that’s what a surname should be. It should carry pride and heft to everything you do in life. It should make you well up with pride when someone announces it for a great achievement. Because that achievement adds to the pride your name carries.
I take it with me every day, in every moment I share with others or just with myself. My last name is everything that I am; the embodiment of generations past brought forward into the now.