Welcome to my little corner of the universe. The one place I am not constrained to the format of a social media post, a one-page resume, or a 150-character profile on a dating app. But even with all this space, what should I write about myself? I can never even decide what title I should put under my name let alone the exact words to describe myself to complete strangers. And indeed, I considered (like many others) skipping a personal description altogether, simply opting to use the space as an index for social media and networking. But even if I posted regularly to social media, I feel like that wouldn't paint a clear picture of me. The random snapshots of the best/coolest parts of one's life without any of the trials and challenges reflects only part of us, and perhaps the least important part, for it is latter — I would argue — which most profoundly shapes us into who we are. Of course, not everyone cares to tell the world about themselves in the first place, or perhaps they only want to share the happy moments even if it doesn't reflect who they truly are deep inside — and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you are here, reading this, I can only assume that either you're about to stop reading imminently because you have no clue how you got here and why you are reading about this random guy on the internet... or, perhaps, there is some small chance you are curious to find out more about me. And for that — to get the most complete sense of who I am — we have to start at the beginning.
For me, it all begins with one of the earliest memories I have: I'm six years old, sitting in a chair in the corner of a dark hospital room and my brother (a year older) is standing next to me. Near the center of the room my mother is quietly sleeping in bed with fluids going into her arm. The lights are off but the door is slightly ajar, allowing a sharp ray of light from the hallway to pierce the room. At some point a nurse comes in and asks if we want something to eat — I remember I was starving, but for some reason I said no. Perhaps I thought it might get my mom in trouble, because I knew we didn't have any money. My brother said 'yes' though, and got a tuna fish sandwich. And in an act of selflessness I would always remember my brother by, he gave me half.
That was the last time I remember seeing my mother. I was always told she abandoned us, involuntarily surrendering her parental rights to us when she didn't show up to meetings with the social worker, but that could just be hearsay — as far as I know it could have been the single greatest act of selflessness she displayed in her entire life, allowing us to be placed in a home that she knew would provide us more than she ever could. Whatever her motivations, because my dad had already long been out of the picture my brother and I were placed into a foster home. This particular sequence of events may seem to you at first like an unfortunate turn of fate, but for me it was the opposite — in fact, I don't even remember greiving about the loss of my mother to be honest. All I remember is that in my new home, my brother and I each got our own twin beds; I had an unending supply of toys and other kids around to play with; and perhaps best of all, we never had to worry about whether we'd get to eat a decent meal. Sure, I had lost my mother, but I was finally in a place that could satiate my growing intellectual curiosity about the world, a curiosity that — until then — had never had any real opportunity to be kindled. I dove into my new life with eagerness and curiosity. Right away, it was Power Rangers and Pogs. It was The Simpsons. It was playing street hockey with actual equipment and running around in the woods next to our house. It was being on a sports team (baseball) for the first time. It was trips up to a lake in New Hampshire, learning to swim and catching catfish with my hands. And it was also the first time I got lost in the world of video games: Who knows how many hours I sunk into my Sega Genesis and the original giant gray Game Boy?
I had always assumed that I would stay in foster home for the rest of my childhood, and my foster parents gave us no illusions about this. In fact, at some point they even started asking us to start calling them mom and dad, instead of their first names as we had always called them since we moved in. The truth is, the thought of never being adopted didn't really bother me since I felt like I had everything I wanted already. But one day after three years in foster home, my brother and I were approached by a couple who were interested in possibly adopting us. It all happened so fast — they took us to the zoo and some other places and before I knew it they had brought us into their home permanently. Adopted at 9 years old — what great fortune, I was told. At the time however, I honestly don't recall being particularly ecstatic... I wasn't sad, and it wasn't that I didn't want to be adopted; I had just been so inured to the constant change of homes and parents in my life that when I got my supposed "final" parents it just wasn't a big deal to me. In fact, in many ways I would soon come to believe that my new home wasn't as good as my foster one, and it would take me years to truly appreciate what I was given that day when we left foster home for good.