The Sum of My Parts

The last book that I fully read from start to finish was “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. I read this while I was training for the Big Sur Marathon because I needed a hobby other than running to keep me busy since I swore off alcohol during that time period.

I hate to admit this as a writer, but I seldom read books for recreation. I know that I should in order to inspire different writing styles and learn from other great authors, but I continuously make excuses that I don’t have enough time (which is not true)

This book, however, inspired me a great deal in terms of thinking outside of the box as a writer. One quote, in particular, resonated with me throughout the duration of my marathon training and still resonates with me now.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

Since I’ve been home, I’ve made it a point to see old friends that I’ve grown up with from high school and college. I like to check up on people to see how they are doing. Fortunately, I’ve been able to hang out with various groups of friends from different parts of my life. These are the people who still really matter to me; who have been with me through significant points of growth in my life up until this day. I’m grateful to have them in my life and glad that we still reconnect when we can.

It’s interesting, the conversations that I have with my different groups of friends. They all know me from different time periods, but somehow I’ve always been the same person throughout

As I continue my journey of “self-discovery” in New York City, I constantly as myself, Who am I? What makes me original?

I try to think of all of the things that make me separate my from the pack. However, I always come to the conclusion that there is someone out there who is doing the exact same thing as me, except better. There’s always a faster runner, a better singer, a stronger writer. But then I stop myself and ask why I’m even comparing to other people. Regardless of whether there are people who can do things better than I can, they can never do it with my style, my passion, my enthusiasm. And for that, I can only really thank the people who have me made me the way I am. My friends. My family. My teachers. My coaches. My co-workers. All of the people who have entered and exited my life. All of the people who I’ve encountered for brief periods of time or extended periods of time.

I remind myself of Chuck Palahniuk’s quote, but in a way that uplifts me. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If we didn’t have other people to inspire us, we wouldn’t get very far.

The whole self that is me is more important than the things that I do, where I work, the music I like, the food I eat.

As Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.