Henry Handel Richardson by Rupert Bunny

I am

It’s August 1908, and Henry Handel Richardson’s high quality manuscript, Maurice Guest, is published without a second thought. Would Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson’s manuscript of this great novel have made it to print? This points to Ethel Richardson’s motivations for taking the nom de plume ‘Henry’, removing external judgement of worth and value. Removing barriers to creating important work and to one’s unrealised potential.

In Richardson’s day there was no social media, no Google. The world could not easily discover who she was. No search return of thousands of images, stories and opinions about her or him. The anonymity that allowed such deception for the sake of equality does not exist in our digital age. Yet does such transparency uncover truth?

A Google search of my own name returns over 8 thousand results in 0.8 seconds. These are 8 thousand perspectives of who I am. And yet they are not. They are written by others, for others, about others. They reflect, represent, retell. They capture, pose, project and highlight. Yet they are not me — the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. They are only part of what I have done, what I thought, what I felt, and who I may be — yesterday, today and tomorrow.

As I enter yet another phase of change and reinvention, like we all do through life, it prompts me to once again look to this question: who am I? I do not entirely know, but I’m keen to navigate this exciting expedition that started over 47 years ago and will continue until my last breath.

I am the being that exists between all those breaths.

And this space is not defined by others.

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