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Who am I?

May 7, 2011

When I told my mother I wanted to start a blog, she looked at me with that parade-raining, patient look of hers and said “I don’t know – isn’t that putting way too much of yourself out for others to see?”.

Well, I started it anyway, but faced with the challenge of describing myself, I resolved to give nothing away. No describing of my distinguishing marks or references to childhood hangouts. No oblique mentions of the place in which I live. No clues as to my gender or nationality. But when you strip me of all these things – the pieces of information that could be used to find and hurt me – is there anything left to discuss?

Am I indistinct and formless, or is there something beyond the external constructs of my identity, that can’t be removed or disguised? Who am I without the stock examples, dry facts and worn phrases I use to describe myself?

To be more specific, I have to generalize. Talking in abstract is the only way I can explain myself, lest I, on Mother’s Day eve, betray the woman who raised me.

So, I am a horizon and I am the shore. You’d think I was the same in all locations. And I am endless. But as you walk you get lost. Things start to change. The shells hurt your feet.

I am a structure on a table in a darkroom. You have a flashlight. All you can see is an angle there, an edge here. If you stay still, I never change. From one perspective, in one environment, I am static. But move, and you would be disoriented. Move, and you would hardly recognize the shapes in the haze. (The darkroom, of course, is full of smoke, like all respectably dangerous darkrooms should be.)

I am the intersection of multiple identities, some kind of crude resonance structure. Freeze me and you would find that none of your measurements are correct, but merge them into an unholy union and somehow, I emerge. My sense of self is delocalized, shared between the parts and pieces, people and places that make me up.

I am a happy accident and, accordingly, often accidentally happy.

I am also, apparently, a person who finds it difficult to think in full paragraphs, at least at this stage in my summer authorial development. I hope you’ll forgive me.

But you’d have to know me to do that. And happily, I am sure you do not.

Yet you don’t have to know me to understand me. And I hope that you’ve come away with at least a better grasp of that. Because yes, there are variations among individuals but a lot of me is also you. We have probably breathed the same air, drank water molecules that were once inside dinosaurs and pulled our hands away from hot stoves. And you, like me, are complex and endless. You are your own world and your sense of self, like mine, is a loose and all encompassing term.

So who am I? I am an infinite universe unto myself, expanding and contracting. Every single point is my centre, so none of them are. I am located everywhere, and therefore impossible to find.

See Mom, I did it! I partially charted my unchartable self without revealing any specific coordinates. And so, dear mother-who-will-never-be-informed-about-this-blog’s-existence, happy early Mother’s Day.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2011 9:13 pm

    poetic.

  2. May 14, 2011 6:23 pm

    unpoetic.

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