I share a name with a real person

Published on 2024-01-20

Every morning, they wake up at 6AM--or at least, they try their best to. Usually, they cook an egg, a hash brown, or some kind of homemade bean burger, and they make a sandwich with which to drink their coffee. They stare out the window somewhat absentmindedly, watching the snow fall, or the early-risers walk their dogs, or the cars drive by. And once they're done, they move to the couch, open their laptop, and they start to write.

This is their 22nd day doing this. 22nd of 100.

They're a pretty cool person, I think. They try their best. They can be a bit self-reflexive when writing about things that matter to them, and they're sure everyone but them can tell that their self-reflexivity says a lot more about them than any hypothetical person they imagine reading their work critically. But they like it, and so they continue.

I share a name with this person--a real person.

For anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour a day--however long they feel they have the energy to write, the real person ceases to exist momentarily as they embody me: the person speaking to you through this gemlog. Every day, I come into existence to speak from my virtual podium to an unknown audience. Possibly a small handful of people, maybe nobody.

There's a unique property of our relationship: everything I say, they've said to.

I started this being online thing pretty young. I've taken on and abandoned more names on the internet than I can count. But one day, a very long time ago, I wanted to create an identity for myself that represented my work, and at the time, I thought it'd be right to portray myself with the name I used in the Real World.

Over the years, I've found myself regretting that decision more and less. More recently, I've made a very concerted effort to separate Nat the professional computer person from the Nat who writes about spirituality and nature on the smallnet, but in the end I found that I just couldn't do it. I bought a new domain, I set up a new, smaller website and email, but beyond that, it felt wrong to sever the connection between the two. Perhaps there is no Nat the professional computer person without their weird, artsy cousin.

Identity is a network

For all I've insisted that I am not what I am to you, that I am what I am to me, that the me who exists in my head is meaningfully different from the one that gets transmitted through this gemlog, I'm starting to wonder if this version of me is not who I am, but rather who I want to become. A more honest version of myself; someone who speaks when not spoken to, because they think the things they have to say matter enough to be said on their own.

Ageless, sexless, omnipresent

If that's the case, I don't want to live in a world where I have to spend the rest of my life pretending. Maybe in the future I'll regret it, but I'm sure I won't think I was being naive. I know it won't be easy, but if I even have a shot at being a real person, then I'll regret it even more if I don't try.

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