I’m From. An Autobiography.

I’m From – An Autobiography

I’m from the family of the golden rule, where all roads lead to ‘Treat Others as You’d be Treated.’  I’m from Germany and Italy, via grandparents of gritty, wonderful character.  I’m from grandpa’s early morning egg and cheese sandwiches, world-famous but made only for me and from getting fat on grandma’s cookies because we didn’t have much but she gave us everything she had.  I’m from adolescent loneliness and international pen pals and a discovery that people can be good even when things are bad.  I’m from video games that I could never play very well, youth sports and a book called The Giver that changed it all.  I’m from competition at my core and always being the best the best the best.

I’m from a sister and best friend to die for, from a sibling relationship of let’s do better, let’s be better, I respect you, I love you.  I’m from mourning and sacrificing and wishing I could do more.  I’m from doing more than I knew I had in me.  I’m from being a new Uncle and planning a future where nephews grow up with possibilities, safety, care.  I’m from finding the love of my life in a bookstore!  I’m from inner-demons that always threaten to ruin what is great and from a sword-and-shield fight to fend them off, ‘til death do us part.  I’m from Murder-Mystery Dinner Cruises, first dates at bad restaurants, cross-country road-trips and fantasy adventures in the Wisconsin Dells.

I’m from late-night walks with friends around circular blocks that lead to nowhere, but who cares?  I’m from indie folk music and mixed compilations to best friends twice per year for eight years.  I’m from mistakes, loads of them, from choices made and detours taken and from having no regrets.  I’m from falling out of windows, from adventures into the forest and from jogging along the beach until my legs give out.  I’m from passion-fueled existence and living out of my car until the dream was achieved or until things got better.  I’m from working hard and learning fast and never compromising integrity for monetary gain. I’m from dreams of the cosmos, of Star Trek nerdom and becoming one of the first civilians to visit outer space. 

I’m from The Movement of a Hand  and Neely O’Hara playing as a soundtrack to solitary car rides, destinations unknown, and from fourteen-year-old me driving mom home from the salon because her nails were wet.  I’m from dad’s bonfires, taller than the rooftops, and terribly unghoulish ghost stories about severed hands and haunted staircases around campfires with roasted s’mores, mosquitoes, and “Row-Row-Row  Your Boat.”  I’m from roller coaster screams, white water rafts, skydiving desires and thrills, thrills, thrills! I’m from first love’s deception, schizophrenia, sociopaths, pathological liars who fooled me, once.  I’m from looking to all the wrong things to help me feel better and from strength and courage and asking for help. 

I’m from that time when grandma thought she saw a pine tree in the middle of the lake and when her teeth fell out, sometimes accidentally.  I’m from Uncle Wally’s demolition derby days and from road rage and letting off steam.  I’m from vague memories of Cubs games with Aunt Priscilla and feeling wanted and, in retrospect, guilty for all the hot dogs.  I’m from large iced coffees and chocolate every day because life is for living, and from watching Almost Famous at the same time as a distant friend, just to feel near to each other again.  I’m from teaching Jesse to drive and teetering on the edge of life and death because of it.  Sort of. 

I’m from Elvis Presley and the Oldies, just like my mom.  I’m from loving that bright yellow car, even if dad thinks it’s a girl color.  I’m from racecar beds and waterbeds and motel beds where a man in the next room died without anyone knowing, but I still had to live there.  I’m from grandpa’s gentle nature and from his lion-like mien whenever the family was threatened.  I’m from The Godfather and The Sound of Music, somehow simultaneously.    

I’m from the pages of books that I’ve read and from the spirit of the books left unread.  I’m from the stories that surround the libraries of my room and my mind.  I’m from reading The Catcher in the Rye and not understanding why I felt so sad.  I’m from poker night with the guys and from small, misunderstood towns where people are kinder than they’d lead you to believe.  I’m from Mom’s hilarious temper and Dad’s sense of humor and from knowing that politics and religion do not make a family.  I’m from Road Runners, Wildcats, Mustangs, Huskies, and Dirt Bags and chanting for the home team during cold and snowy winter night football games. 

I’m from the yellow bird and the silver wreath and from the two people in the world who know what that means.  I’m from changing my mind.  I’m from a quiet physiognomy and a torrential soul – from believing in love and death and death for love.  I’m from Romance and heartache and to thine own self be true.  I’m from having a woman as my best man and from baking muffins at midnight just because. 

I’m from visions of that quirky old man in the future, looking back on all of this with pride and satisfaction, a smile on his face as he drifts off into that forever-long goodbye.  


The idea for this post came from Jillian’s “I’m From” over at A Room of One’s Own.  Jillian explains where she found it, and where the person from whom she found it, found it, etc.  It has been a few months since Jillian’s post went up, so I thought it was about time to get mine done and keep this beautiful idea spreading.

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19 thoughts on “I’m From. An Autobiography.

  1. Adam: Thanks for doing this and sharing where you’re from. It’s always nice to get to know a little be more about our blogging buddies! And to see how much we have in common….from the Oldies to Star Trek to the values we hold dear. You’ll be seeing where I’m from before too long….

    • Thanks for taking the time to read it! And comment. 🙂 I’m usually very hesitant about sharing personal things on here (though I’ve done it a few times) – exposing one’s self to public scrutiny is tough, but I found this idea to be rather beautiful, and it has suited my mood in recent months. I’ve been working on the post for weeks – finally decided I’d better get it done. Hope to look in on your “I’m From” soon, too!

      • I’ve got mine up…..I thought about taking more time on it, but I tend to overthink things (that’s another “place” that I’m from) so I thought I’d just put what I’ve got out there. Can always do something like this again some time.

  2. A beautiful way to show us who you are. Your writing impressed me, it has cadence and rhythm. You created a concrete image for us. This kind of post keeps readers interested and motivated. I’m considering writing an “I’m From” post in the near future.

    • Thanks very much – a friend of mine said it reads like music, which is probably the greatest praise, considering writing + music are my two passions. Maybe that’s why it works out that way. I’d love to read your “I’m From” story, sometime!

  3. Love it! I love what you wrote about me and your new nephew. I could never write about our past as well as you but I found myself smiling and nodding and grimacing as your words brought clear memories to mind. Thanks for posting this. “I’m from The Godfather and The Sound of Music, somehow simultaneously.” I know, right?

  4. Thank you for sharing this, Adam. So beautifully written, and wow, that last image gave me a shiver. I love that you incorporate the future you into where you are from. All time is a matter of perspective, eh?

    Thank you for passing this “I’m From” idea along. I know it takes courage to share who we are, and I love knowing your who a little better now. 🙂

    I’m from the yellow bird and the silver wreath and from the two people in the world who know what that means. I’m from changing my mind. I’m from a quiet physiognomy and a torrential soul – from believing in love and death and death for love. I’m from Romance and heartache and to thine own self be true. I’m from having a woman as my best man and from baking muffins at midnight just because.

    So poetic!

  5. I absolutely love this post, Adam. It’s beautiful, raw, rich, and above anything else, real. I’ve been a lazy reader of blogs in the past, but I’m enjoying getting to know some of you through posts like this. Thank you for sharing. I may try something similar one day. 🙂

  6. LOVE. I saw your ten posts that best represent you and wanted to read this one. I’m glad I did. I love it because it reveals more about you without ever giving away too much. I’m left with a sense of knowing more about you, yet wondering at the same time.

  7. This was great! Thanks for writing it, if saying that makes sense. (And /The Giver/ and /The Catcher in the Rye/ are two books that very much deserve a place in something like this.)

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