Versions of Adam

overlapping faces

Drawing by artist Angie H. Iver

I’ve been thinking about different versions of myself lately.

Our lives and memories are made up of so many moments, so many images of ourselves that stand out, so many versions of who we have been.

I’ve been thinking about a version of Adam pictured in a polaroid hanging on a wall in my parents’ basement. In it, Adam is four years old and he’s wearing a light blue hospital hat and mask. His parents brought them home from the hospital along with his new baby brother. Most of his face is covered but you can tell he is smiling. His large smile shows even behind the mask. He looks happy, safe and loved.

I’ve been thinking about a version of Adam right after his third round of chemo. In this time period it was a Monday and he had made plans to meet some college friends for dinner that Wednesday. It was to be a much needed escape from his cancer reality. But he found out that Monday morning that the reason his tailbone had been hurting so much was that he had developed some odd viral cyst back there. In a completely healthy 21-year-old the virus would have been easily warded off with no symptoms. But his white blood cell count was too low and the unlucky combination caused havoc. He was in pain. He didn’t know if his cancer was gone yet. And he had to cancel the Wednesday plans with his friends because he wasn’t healthy enough to be around germ-covered people. In this version of Adam in my memory he just finished slamming a kitchen utensil off the kitchen counter, nicking it in his rage, and was now laying in a sideways ball on the floor crying because his tailbone hurt too much to sit on the floor. He feels defeated and absolutely terrified.

I’ve been thinking about a version of Adam from yesterday. He is in the middle of a lunch rush at a busy family diner where he waiters. He has just walked into the dishwashing room to sort out several dirty dishes, spoons and cups before heading out to take his sixth table’s order. He is tired, his knees hurt, he feels frustrated and wants to go home. He can’t escape this hatred towards himself for leading his life in this direction. For making decisions that placed him here in this moment, when so many other moments could have been better. He feels like he failed. Like he is failing. He has to go back out there and see what the annoying lady in the red shirt and her awful husband want for lunch. And then he has to serve it to them, put up with their attitudes, and mix them milkshakes at the end for desert just so they can leave him a shitty $3.00 tip and he can feel like a failure. This version of Adam is sad.

many faces

Artwork by Felipe Fox

There is a version of Adam on his first day of college. The sun is shining on his face on this perfect day. He is so awake. So excited. So hopeful. So ready to meet new people. To make new friends.

There is a version of Adam in his boxers in the dorm room of his first boy hookup in college. He’s smiling. He just finished kissing the boy who has adorable brown hair and killer blue eyes. He is nervous and excited. His stomach has butterflies in it.

There is a version of Adam laughing so hard with friends in college that he has tears running down his face.

There is a version of Adam who feels so exhausted during a CrossFit workout, but proud of himself just for being there. For pushing himself.

There is a version of Adam at a 19-year-old fraternity brother’s funeral staring into the casket thinking how unfair this is, and how alive his friend’s body still looks, and that the funeral home styled his friend’s hair completely wrong.

There is a version of Adam playing Monopoly with a childhood friend.

And another version of Adam swinging so high on a playground swing that his stomach is flipping.

There is a version of Adam stepping off of a plane in London, England.

And another version of Adam holding his new puppy for the first time.

Then there is this version of Adam right now. At this very second typing this post with tears in his eyes.

I don’t know who this version of Adam is yet.

In some ways, I understand every version of Adam I listed, except this last one.

I’m not sure what to do with him next…

What version of Adam do I want to be tomorrow when I wake up?

mirror and faces


6 thoughts on “Versions of Adam

  1. Great article, man. I feel like we all deal with this daily. Lately, when it comes to making any decisions, I ask myself, “Which of these choices is the boldest?” That’s the one that I’ve been choosing.

    Keep your head up.

    • Andrew, thank you so much for your constant support and kind words. I love your suggestion about choosing the ‘boldest’ choice. It’s good advice. Life should be exciting and should involve us stepping out of our comfort zone sometimes. I will be sure to keep this in mind this year. I wish you all the best in 2015!

  2. The important thing in life, I am becoming convinced, is to create a story, a narrative. And then to fit that story into a bigger story, a metanarrative. Our stories have a beginning and an end – that is a fact of life. In between, we write the story, decide the plot – or we let others write it for us. The different Adams are just chapters in the story. How the story goes is up to you. It is up to you to make yourself the hero of your own story, slay the dragon, defeat the wicked witch and rescue the beautiful prince.

    • Charley, Bravo! Beautifully said! I could not agree more. I admit that I do not always feel like the hero of my own story, but now a days, I don’t feel like the evil villain either. I’m learning to allow myself to be the hero. It’s a process. But, I do love myself – past, present and future. My versions are all me and I am unique. Thank you for visiting my blog and for taking the time to share your brilliant thoughts. I am thrilled we were able to connect.

  3. This is really powerful. I definitely look over previous versions of Abbi regularly and have feelings of both joy and sadness. There are some versions of Abbi I just want to go and give a big hug to and explain that things are going to get so much better. Thinking of life in this way is a good way to remember that every stage of life whether terrible or wonderful is temporary.

    • Abbi, Thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed this post! Its words poured out of me easily. It felt important and very natural for me to write. I love what you said about ‘wanting to hug some of your previous versions of Abbi’. I have often imagined my present version hugging and comforting past versions. If only it were easier to remind ourselves that everything will be okay in the end and that life is not as scary as we fear. It all works out eventually and it is all ‘temporary’, as you pointed out. Take it all one second at a time. That is all we can do.

      I’m so proud that after all this time you still visit my blog and take the time to leave comments. I respect your writing and your blog so much. If I am able to hold your interest through my posts, it makes me realize I am doing something right! Thanks for your ongoing support!

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