I AM WHAT I AM
I am what I am. I am Michael Pollis (and there’s no middle name, thanks for asking).
I am a son. I am my father’ work ethic, his values of seeing a job through. Slowly, I am becoming his attention to detail. I am my father’s lack of concern about fashion (sometimes to my wife’s frustration). But hey, I am what I am. I am my mother’s energy, an inability to sit still. I am my mother’s faith, rock solid and steadfast. Though sometimes, my faith wavers, I am what I am.
I am a brother. I once was an agitator, an instigator, a divider. Man, I guess I was what I was. Now I am a confider, a listener, a uniter. I am Christine’s energy, Kathleen’s toughness, and Daniel’s sense of humor. I am making new bonds with two brothers-In-Law. I am what I am.
I am a husband. Bonded by this covenant, I find meaning. I am a friend, a listener, a comforter, a provider and a partner. The laughter and memories we’ve shared are the foundation of my very being. Whether we are traveling to different countries or simply struggling together through a crossword, our connection is a constant reminder of how important others are. Building a life, a home, a family, I find strength. I am what I am.
I am a cousin. Coming from a huge family, I value loyalty; I value the traditions that have been passed down; I value the lessons I can learn from those who have come before me; I value the magical times: the weddings, the sporting events, the Wildwood days. I am what I am.
I am a friend. To some, I’ve been close since high school; others I’ve gained as an adult. Strengthened by their loyalty, their laughter, their kindness; challenged by their wisdom, their insights, their weaknesses; completed by their humanity and their honesty. I am hiking trips, pool parties, concerts, Turkey Bowls, training sessions, sporting events. Most of all, I am diverse all because of them. I am what I am.
I am a Catholic (and yes I am very much a Christian). Praising my God, believing in his promises, observing sacred traditions, uniting with others, seeking forgiveness. I struggle daily to live out the morals and values my faith professes even as the world around me casts shadows of false gods. I do my best to keep an open mind, valuing the beliefs of others even as some might ridicule mine.
I am a language lover. Books, music, movies, I dwell on the magic of the written word. I am collector of quotes, a dweller on the deeper meaning of stories. I am what I am. I traveled with Frodo, sympathized with Atticus, related to Holden, faced evil with Harry, and cried with all of Mitch’s creations. The authors and the characters they create have become a part of me, shaping my view of the world and of humanity. Lyrics speak to me. I love Bruce’s simple truths, Dave’s deep reflections, The Crows’ metaphorical imagery, Billy’s nostalgia. The musicAnd movies, ah movies. I remember great lines, eloquent, timeless, and universal (or sometimes just downright hilarious). I hear Forrest’s lessons, Rocky’s courage, Sam’s loyalty, Simba’s growth, and of course, Ace’s absolute ridiculousness. I am what I am.
I am a writer. Sometimes the words flow. Sometime the blank page taunts me. I want to write more, yet allow life (and laziness) to stop me. But, when I do write, I feel alive. I write of my experiences: of hikes, of trips, of family and friends and lessons learned along the way. I write of lost loved ones: of grandpop, who inspired me so, of Mike, who was way too young to go, of Gabriel, whose laughter I never even got to know. I write poetry, sports articles, narratives; I write for myself and I write for others. I write novels (well, I should say I am slowly writing a novel whose end is finally in sight). I am what I am.
I am Irish. (yeah, yeah, no short leprechaun jokes) My family’s native land, I had always held a reverence for the Emerald Isle. I’ve always known the music, but now I’ve tasted the magic. You see, I’ve walked the ancient streets of Dublin, kissed the Blarney stone, and circled the Ring of Kerry; I’ve soaked in the majesty of the cliffs of Mohr, listened to the tears atop the walls of Derry, and danced jigs in Donegal. I am what I am.
I am a workoutaholic I am a runner. No, I’m not fast, but the countless miles on my feet could tell a multitude of stories. Stories of aches and pains, yes, but also stories of accomplishments, of finishing 26.2, of fighting through the pain and fatigue, of always trudging onward. Of exploring the farmlands of Lancaster by foot, of following in Rocky’s footsteps down Broad Street, of escaping to another world
I am a lifter. Battling iron and steel, I show my true mettle. Push-up, pull-ups, and a swiss ball: I can pour out sweat in my basement and come up each time a stronger person, not only physically, but also emotionally, and spiritually. Working out is my escape! I am a competitor. Not always the strongest or fastest, but I’ll fight till the end. I am what I am.
I am a Struggler. The last two-and-a-half years have been the toughest of my life as I’ve suffered from a debilitating, agonizing foot condition that has not only put my running on hold, but has literally brought me to my knees. Countless doctors visits, a surgery, and numerous physical therapy sessions have brought no answers. On many days, the pain has traveled straight from my foot into my soul. It has cause me to cry; to feel sorry for myself; to question God; to shout out in anger; even to give up. Still, this experience has helped to shape me. No matter how bad it gets, I must keep my faith, and continue the journey. Though this pain is a part of me, I refuse to allow it to define me.
I am a mountain man. Whether I’m hiking, fishing, or camping, the mountains restore my soul. I’ve walked in the shadows of the Incas with Michelle, fished creeks with my dad, cousins, and uncles, summitted Washington with my boys, conquered Clingman’s with Chris, and peaked Algonquin with my bro. No cell phones, email, TV—just awe-inspiring reminders of God’s grand creations. I am what I am.
I am a sports fan. NFL Sundays, March Madness, October baseball, overtime NHL playoff hockey—I love it all. Watching my Birds, (2008 world champion) Phils, Flyers, and Fighting Irish, I cheer like a child. I am what I am.
I am a bleeder of green (and this one goes a little beyond the simple statement ‘I am a sports fan’—just ask my wife). The green blood is very real. Yes, it’s true; you can check. It’s actually a genetic disease, one that truly shows its symptoms on Sundays in the fall. Some ask: why root for a team that never wins the championship or why care so darn much. But, it’s more than a game. It’s a tradition of family, friends and a common thread that unites us all as we root for our Birds and shout exuberant cheers of “E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles! I am what I am.
I am not always truly what I am. I am sometimes a cynic. I am sometimes a pessimest. I am sometimes a doubter. I am sometimes a complainer. We all are what we are. But then I’m a dreamer, a hoper, a believer, all because of a simple act, a beautiful sunset, a friend’s gesture, a student’s growth. I am what I am.
I am a teacher. I am a motivator, a coach, an inspirer, a counselor, an instructor, a creator, a continuing learner. Traveling with my students, I embark upon the world of language and literature to learn more about my world and myself. Though I’m sometimes overwhelmed or doubting my profession, I know I’m shaping a positive future. More than a job, it is what I am.
I am a link in a chain. Created by God and forged by grandparents, mom and dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends, I am but a product they’ve all helped me become.
I am a GodFather– To my nephew Miles, and Baby Genna, I have been entrusted to be a role model of God’s love. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. Yet, I know I will learn as much from them as they do from me. I am what I am.
I am a father. No longer living for myself, I am now a guardian of the future. Over two years, I have seen the transformation from a tiny being completely dependent on me for everything to a young boy with an inquisitive mind and strong personality. What a reminder of the beauty of life. In Ryan’s smile, I see innocence, I see happiness, I see hope.
I am what I am