on the way to River

She walked through her life feeling just off, like nothing really fit. She knew she was “gay”, that was the only word she had for what she was until she found some education about her own people. She learned about people like her that felt in between, neither here nor there, and others that felt the opposite of how they were raised.

They continued to learn about their community, recognizing activists, paying very close attention to the way people spoke about them. The way people spoke about seeing anything different than what their eyes tell them. They spent a lot of time making other people okay about messing up, because anything new and queer comes with a risk. They still have a hard time correcting people because it is instinct to protect ourselves even if it’s someone we love dearly and we know that person would take it to heart with no malice.

They did the easiest thing, shortening their given name so that the adjustment was easier for the people around them. I mean switch names and pronouns at the same time it would be too hard for people right? And how could I hold them accountable for messing up I had always been this one thing, and now I was something different.

Looking back, the people who really cared tried. Hard.

Then there was a moment about three years ago when they thought about how important a name is. In all mythology knowing the name of something gives you power over it. Knowing a persons name gives you a look into who they are, not because of the knowledge but with the trust it gives as you reveal that about yourselves. They’ve always thought how important names are, even as a younger person who would write stories would read hours of names. They still do that.

So they thought for a long time and thought about things that balance the masculine and the feminine, that means a force of nature carving it own path, but still reveling in chaos it creates. What means something that cannot be stopped because it will go through or go around. Something that is also nurturing, and kind, and gives life. They needed a name that not only would suit them moving forward, but one that honored their past, they’re long and old path. One that recognized carving things into the ground in order to get to where it needed to be. They decided that name would be River.

And they were happy, and it was natural.

with love
-river

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