This isn’t the sort of thing I will usually do, but it’s to help out a good friend who teaches people important stuff and thought this old meme might be useful as part of a lesson plan. Normal service will resume shortly.
I Am From
I am from books about all sorts of things, from Dyson and Twinings Tea. I am from the small and crowded, the unpainted wooden things and the polished stones which fit neatly in the palm of your hand. I am from the quiet place with a beautiful view, the dock leaf.
I am from making up and singing loudly new words to our father’s favourite folk songs on St. Patrick’s Day and nurturing, hidden under torrents of mock abuse and windings up; from Lillian and Isabel and Emmas – the Matriarchy.
I am from the struggle between the desire to control everything versus the knowledge that you can’t. I am from dropping whatever you’re doing to be there if you’re needed. From “earwigs like to sleep in the ends of oven gloves for warmth” and “if the wind changes you’ll stay like that”.
I am from Cultural Christianity, from comfort in old words and tradition, from questioning and rejection. From evolution, from Dawkins and Hitchens and Sagan. I am from science and learning and a curious brain. I am from kindness, from empathy and The Water Babies. I am made from starstuff.
I’m from nowhere: Northern Ireland by way of Portsmouth and the Second World War, from the peripatetic children of peripatetic parents. From noisy roast chicken dinners with compulsory Yorkshire puddings, from occasional culinary disasters that we all eat anyway and add to our arsenals of ammunition for future mocking while praising the successes to the skies.
From the stories of growing up in far-away places with names that aren’t called that any more, told to me by Mum: which made me want to learn things. From the Kipling that Dad read to me as bedtime stories because it was more fun for both of us that way, and the records he played for me of Peter and The Wolf, Holst’s The Planets and the soundtrack to Fantasia, which gave me a love of reading and music. And I am from Granny who always sent everyone knitted jumpers at Christmas: always knitted to the size she remembered us as being as opposed to the size we actually were.
I am from crumpled packets in cardboard boxes in lofts and under-stairs cupboards, from the Cloud and from albums in piles underneath beds. I am from the book of photographs that tells my story from birth to seven, complete with captions written by my father. From mobile phone pictures and saved e-mails.
I am from the jewellery given to me by others: each piece with a history; from the locket depicting my great-grandmother, given to me by Nan and the fake pearls my mother gave me from her velvet-lined lacquered chest of treasures. I am from the sketches my paternal grandfather drew, which gave me precious insights into a man who died before I was born. From shared experience and memory, from anecdotes, teasing and from my child, who made me.
From family tradition and from knowing that at least 5 other people understand why I wince when someone mentions Pavlova or why it’s funny when we have flan for dessert on Mother’s Day.
I am from all sorts of things.