I am very happy today, because it is my birthday. Well, technically it was yesterday, but it was so late that this is the first new day.
When I was in Mexico, at least six months ago, I was thinking about changing my name, and to River. I can’t remember exactly why, but I think it was because I was talking to someone about the importance of words and sounds. I was interested in seeing if a change in name would change how people saw me, and treated me, and how I acted and felt about myself.
I forgot about this idea while I was travelling, but was reminded of it again In Panama where I met someone who had given herself a hippie name and encouraged me to use my new name. I started to do so, in earnest, when I got on the boat to Colombia. I crossed the water and entered a new continent with a new name.
I only used it with new people though. I still wasn’t totally sure whether to completely change it. I knew I wanted to, but I thought I should check whether this was the right name - maybe there is a better one - and what people think about it. I asked a few people, but I really didn’t consider any other names. I think I came up with the name when I was thinking about flowing, and the idea of the bike and I flowing through the world. Now though it felt like there was not really a choice - this was just meant to be.
Someone sent me a song about a río. I went to sleep with the sound of the river outside my window. I changed my name.
It felt like a relief. I no longer had this pressure of thinking about who I was. I feel freed of the past. I was not particularly happy for most of the nearly three decades past. I am happier now, and don’t need to carry this any more.
I am already finding things I like about this name. I think of rivers differently - now they are brothers and sisters. :) I say hello to the river when I walk past, and to the bamboo, and the bananas, and the other plants that grow around it.
I went to one of the organic hipster veggie restaurants around here, to celebrate my birthday. I’m writing here now. After I sat down, I noticed that I can hear the river and see the bamboo from my table. The water dispenser has stones in the bottom.
I'm River MacLeod, a nomadic hacker.