“I am from … “

  • Anthropologist and psychologist Mary Pipher gets credit for this exercise:   These “I am from” poems are an identity exercise.  They are poems that includes something about place, religion, and food that trace back to where/how you are “from.”  I chose to do this for my birthday this year, in honor of my mother whom I buried last year and all of the women and men I am from.  Also in honor of the midwest, particularly Wisconsin where I lived my first 30 years.  I am a woman who did not easily fit the land and people I am from.  I loved them but my latin soul, was a bit too expressive and wild for the natural vibe of Wisconsin.  I moved to Texas.  Now, at a distance I can truly see what I left behind in Wisconsin.  In Texas I could realize the positive side of the things that made me a “out of place”.  My exuberant soul and affinity for loud, joyful laughter.  My tendency to always go for  “more” and for the “fun” option no matter the cost, liked Texas a bit better.  But in truth, I am both of these cultures.  Writing this poem made me so grateful for all of me, for all of my roots, Wisconsin and Texan.  I, like the skies of a Dallas sunset over Stevens Park Golf Course, dream big and believe anything is truly possible.  God Bless all of America and all aspects of our unique and wondrous selves.  

    The Exercise:

    Start each sentence with I am from…and write whatever comes to mind.  You might want to consider, place, food and religion…anything really that makes your roots distinct.

    I am from army blankets …as forts…as  July 4th picnic blankets …as warmth in Wisconsin winters.

    I am from Bob Wonders and Mary Skotske who recycled, resused and “made due”.

    I am from prevent, control and tame.

    I am from Friday night lake perch tavern fish fries.

    I am from sheepshead, bar dice and bingo.

    I am from meat and potatoes … chuck stew and mashed potatoes.

    I am from the place where ordinary and predictable are good and where wild and random are bad.

    I am from brooms, dust pans and carpet sweepers  in motion everyday but Sundays.

    I am from gray, low skies, gray homes, gray buildings and steel colored lakes and rivers.


    I am from where miracles are believed to be real.  As real as daily rosaries.

    I am from damped down; cards held close the the vest.

    I am from ready help, if you ask for it.  Sometimes even when you don’t but it is obvious you need it, and we wouldn’t offend by the offering.

    I am from people who stop for strangers.

    I am from regular or whatever is the opposite of distinct and particular.

    I am from next door to Prairie Home Companion, which is a little too flashy for my people.

    I am from navy blue, gray and tan as colors not as neutrals.

    I am from “people are assumed to be good and decent until they prove otherwise”.

    I am from the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation…WISCONSIN!

    I am from a place where progress is slow on small things and fast on human rights … on the things that endure.

    I am from love whispered not shouted.  Loyalty ever present but not on display.  And where prayer and religion were private affairs.

    I am from a land where people are trusted until proven otherwise.


    This poem is offered In honor of Bob and Mary Wonders and the family they created, the good they did and the values they passed on to their children.

    Nancy Claire Wonders



    April 30th, 2014 | admin | Comments Off on “I am from … “ | Tags: , , , ,

About Nancy


Nancy C. Wonders is an interior designer. The “interiors” she designs are psychological, not physical, space -- a client’s personal interior landscape, or the emotional barometer of a team, or an entire organization. Nancy’s office includes a “design bar” where clients have a chance to re-invent how they see themselves and/or their organizations. These re-structurings result in discovering what is fresh, new and alive. This discovery prompts profound, immediate change, on both the inside and in interactions with others. Read more»

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