Cover Photo: Detail of Jonathan Borofsky's 'Molecule Man' (1977–1978); photograph by Daniel Lonn/Unsplash
Detail of Jonathan Borofsky's 'Molecule Man' (1977–1978); photograph by Daniel Lonn/Unsplash

Organic Chemistry Taught Me to Fully Inhabit My Mixed Identities

I am not half of anything. I am only me, a single whole with multiple truths.

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Hhydrogen

The letter H for hydrogen with a small dot next to the upper right corner

H

Two letter H’s with two black dots in line between them

H

Two letter H’s with a horizontal line connecting them

Part Asian, 100% Hapa

The letter C with two parallel line vertical above it connected to the letter O. The C also has two lines connected to an H each, below on either side. The molecule is called formaldehyde.

A peptide bond pointed out as the bond between two amino acids. The bond is between a C and an N. The C is also connected to an O with two parallel lines.

(Left) The same peptide bond is drawn with two dots (blue) above the N with an arrow towards the peptide bond. One of the parallel lines between the C and O (red) now has an arrow pointing toward the O. There is an arrow pointing to the (Right) where the same structure is shown, but now the O has two pairs of black dots and one pair of red dots, there is one line to the C. That same C is now connected to the N with two parallel lines, one is blue.

The two resonance structures from the previous image are shown without arrows in all black. There is a purple arrow in between them that has a double head.

The pair of amino acids connected with a peptide bond is drawn once, except the O is connected to the C with one solid line and one dashed line. That same C is also connected to the N with one solid line and one dashed line.

Ariana Remmel is a science writer and journalist based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their work has appeared on the radio with stations KQED and KSQD, and in print with Nature and Chemical & Engineering News.