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The Sum of My Parts

For the Identity Challenge

By Hannah MoorePublished 3 months ago 5 min read
Top Story - December 2023
50
The Sum of My Parts
Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

I’m going to tell you something in confidence. I mean, we know each other a bit now, right? We can be honest, yes? This will stay just between us?

Well then.

I don’t like myself very much.

And I don't think I am very good at much, either.

There, I said it. I heard you gasp, I see you recoil a little, this revelatory concept you can have no experience of whatsoever triggering some innate xenophobic disgust, so foreign is such a sentiment. But stay with me a moment, please, this is not all I want to say. Don’t worry, this is not going to be about my hyper-critical parents, or my perpetual school yard bullying, or even the thing that still stings when you touch it; the invisibility, the broad daylight oversight. No, I have said all I need to say about those things. I want to tell you about something else, and I hope you will like that better.

Okay. I told a little white lie. It’s a bit about my hyper-critical parents. It’s a bit about my ostracising peers. But only a very little bit. You see, I don’t really exist. Oh, here are my arms, and here are my legs. Here is my corporeal heft, yes. But imagine this. Imagine that everyone you know goes away. Vanishes. Not like you move to a country where you know no one. More like you move to a parallel universe, where you know no one. And there is no going back. Who are you? Who are you if the parts of you that belong in the space between you and another are stripped away? I am a mother to my children, a partner to my significant other. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a professional, both junior and senior, depending on which way you look. I am a granddaughter, a customer, a patient. I am a daughter-in-law, a service user and an aunt. I am a white woman in a white majority nation in 2023. I am a reader and a watcher and a listener. And that is how I know myself.

For me, my identity is suffused with the reflected light of a hundred mirrors. I know myself through others. Let me take the simplest possible example. There are two people in my life who like to tell me I am selfish, and I know this to be true. How? Let me just leave that there for you, let it percolate. The bitterness gets deeper the longer you let it sit.

Now, let me take another example. Earlier this year, a question was raised. Do you call yourself a writer? My guffaw was sufficient to obfuscate my denial. Ha! Well no, of course not, I mean, no, not a writer, I mean I write, a little, a dabble, but no, ha, no, not a, well a bit rubbish really, no. Ha. I suppose I just like to write, but, you know, not, you know, I mean, I wouldn’t really, ha, um, read it, you know? If you don’t want to?

Now I come to the point I want to make. Let me show you something.

You're just one of my favourite writers, Hannah and another fine Top Story, makes me smile!

The images you have painted with your beautiful poetry Hannah … sublime! I can only dream of performing such alchemy

This is writing to be envied.

Amazing narration, wonderful interwoven rhymes, and out of this world imagery! I am in awe.

You write so beautifully, Hannah. It's a gift, talent, skill, hard work, whatever you want to attribute to it. You have such a unique way of bringing emotions through, of making us think.

Wow I am reading something special here.

I'm so grateful you wrote this! Thank you so much!

Have I ever told you how much I love your writing? You made me cry, you sod.

Always love how genuine and authentic you are, you are just you and a great writer and seem to a great person too!

This felt like a warm hug to read…. It feels like such a genuine extension of and for connection

Thank you so much for writing this.

Wow... such a tender and patient story. I'm at a loss for words

not trying to be weird but email me…. Or not. Just think you're super cool

I'm so glad you're here, reclaiming your creativity, Hannah. You are a brilliant writer! Thank you for sharing these pieces of your life.

I’m so happy that you found your way here

Oh, how inspiring this is!

It was incredibly captivating and like I said, INSANELY CLEVER. I can't even explain how good it was.

I could go on, but I need to grab a tissue. Am I a writer? Yes. I am. You told me I am. And that mattered. Perhaps in my own writing, the pieces that matter most have very small readerships. You want to see?

I am thoughtful, supportive, uplifting! And in good company. Is it possible I am, at times, an okay person?

Elsewhere, a recent leaving card from my last job, people who know me in real life:

“I don’t think you realise just how much you inspire others and how much you change people.”

“Your measured reflections, warmth and humour stand out”

“You have brought so much knowledge, fun and humanness”

“I love your sense of humour and the fun that you bring”

Again, I could go on. Again, it matters. It counts. If I give it space. If I let myself hear it, it becomes a part who I understand myself to be.

So this is my point. Our identities, I think, are like our stories. Yes, there are constraints - the language we have at our disposal, the ways all the stories of our histories shape how we tell stories now, and our co-authors. Most of all, our co-authors. Some we choose, some we don’t, some we pay more attention to than others. Some we have never even met. So I want to recognise this. There is a good chance, if you are reading this, that you are a co-author in my identity today. Like our stories, our identities may never seem exactly how we want them to be, but today, I think a little bit better of myself than I have done in the past. I hope I have earned a little co-author credit in places of light in someone else’s identity.

Words count. Use them with love, and receive them with love, too. Thank you, for giving me yours.

Humanity
50

About the Creator

Hannah Moore

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (40)

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  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    A well deserved Top Story, sorry I only just saw it!

  • Kristen Balyeat2 months ago

    Wow, this piece just made me sit in silence for at least five minutes when I was finished reading. You are an incredible writer, Hannah! You weave magic with your words. You now have me thinking so deeply on: “ my identity is suffused with the reflected light of a hundred mirrors. I know myself through others.” what a profound thought. Gorgeous piece—perfect entry to the challenge! 💫💞

  • Real Poetic3 months ago

    I’m so glad you were able to find a little love for yourself here on Vocal. You are a writer and you are damn good at it! Thanks for sharing and best of luck in the challenge!

  • Jay Kantor3 months ago

    Hi-H ~ aka; a significant other. So nice to get to know you a "BiT" ~ So r/u the 'bully' or the bully~ee You're fun - Congratulations ~ I picked this up on the Leaderboard - So sorry I missed it before...you always give me a giggle. 'J' Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Author Community -

  • Syeda Umama3 months ago

    nice

  • The Dani Writer3 months ago

    Woooooooooo... ... ... ...That... ...was something ELSE! Huge fan of this piece! Top story congratulations!

  • Scott Christenson3 months ago

    You have a great way with words! And I would like to thank you for often supporting my stories. From your essay, I sense a fellow people pleaser, we so often excessively judge ourselves based on others reactions. I'm still learning not to overthink things myself. You are one of the best writers here, hope to see what writing you can challenge yourself with in 2024!

  • Mubashira Kachhot3 months ago

    wow

  • Tiffany Gordon 3 months ago

    Beautiful work Hannah!!

  • Yayyyyy so happy this got a Top Story! Congratulations!

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Well done! Keep pushing forward with your excellent work—congrats!

  • Melissa Ingoldsby3 months ago

    I agree that you have a welcoming energy that's hard to ignore, keep up your journey writing wise you are great

  • Brin J.3 months ago

    You have a welcoming energy in your writing and I don't know how to clarify that in better words, I'm sorry. Maybe this will help: You have written a beautiful piece about identity that captures the complexities and nuances of the topic. I got anxious just looking at the new Challenge and decided it wasn't for me. Reading your story has given me a sense of calm. The same way you'd invite a friend into your life and share a significant part. It's clear that you put a lot of effort and thought into what you wanted to contribute and it turned out to be relatable to everyone. Thank you for sharing such an important and personal subject. Side note: Regrettably, I've only read a few pieces by you, but that just opens an opportunity for me to read more (and I love reading!).

  • Stephanie Hoogstad3 months ago

    You have captured how our identities are built so perfectly, and I love that you turned it into a lesson about kindness through our words as well. I'm not going to lie, you have been a very supportive commenter on my works, and I don't say it enough, but I really appreciate reading your thoughtful remarks. Congrats on the Top Story!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)3 months ago

    This was everything! I love seeing the outpouring of love you receive, it brings a smile to my face to see your support! (Even if you struggle to accept it) I love the way you narrated this, the way you really inserted a genuine and authentic voice for this story! It's inspiring and such a great touch for this challenge, good luck!!

  • Gerald Holmes3 months ago

    This is excellent work, Hannah, and your work is always something special! Congrats on Top Story.

  • Teresa Renton3 months ago

    OMG it’s like my ghostwriter just appeared. This resonates with me so much. Yet I can’t believe how someone as talented as you could feel this. You are an awesome writer and could easily be published over and over again. I’m quietly chuffed you included my quote …. I feel like i’ve won a competition! 😂 xx Oh and congratulations for TS 🥳

  • JBaz3 months ago

    Well done Hannah, Not an easy thing to write or express but you did it exceptionally and in style. Congratulations from someone who knows you are a writer

  • Matthew Fromm3 months ago

    back to say congrats on a well-deserved top story!

  • Shirley Belk3 months ago

    Outstanding piece! Loved it, Hannah!!! I have to admit, that I also like writing here on vocal better since the comments have been allowed. And the friends we have made along the way are so welcome.

  • Dana Crandell3 months ago

    There it is. Congratulations!

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    Congrats on the TS.

  • Donna Renee3 months ago

    That self doubt and imposter syndrome combo suck. You, however, do not. You are amazing and I’m glad you are here! ❤️❤️❤️

  • Annie jutt 3 months ago

    Reality in logical way, Invincible content

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Back to say, "congratulations on Top Story!!!❤️❤️💕

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