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Adam's Song

“Adam's Song”
A dangerously ambitious artist descends a self-destructive spiral as he prepares for the release of his next album.
My father came to the United States as an immigrant when he was 18 years old with nothing but two suitcases, a Chinese-to-English dictionary, and a couple of hundred dollars to his name. He worked as a busboy, handyman, and intern to put himself through college then graduated at the top of his class despite knowing little English. Yet, when I was 18 years old, I had a drinking problem, a terrible report card, and what my psychiatrist referred to as “insubordination with authority.” Oh, how the apple fell far from the tree. Basking in the purgatory of my own insecurities and failures, I thought back to the words he instilled within me as a child: “Nothing in this life is given,” he said. “If you want something, work for it.” From these words, I found my intentions and discovered my quest. I was going to make something of myself and prove to the world - especially to him, my father - that I was someone. For the next four years, I worked unapologetically and relentlessly, at times compromising my physical and mental health, desperate to attain the answer to my woes. My grades got better, my films improved, and I was becoming the accomplished man I sought to be. Unhappiness, however, still plagued my daily life. In 2022, I graduated from college and descended into the existential abyss many recent graduates experienced. I had realized, despite the past few years, I still felt just as lost as I did before my ‘revelation.’ Finding myself descending once again, I returned to San Diego and sought refuge in my childhood home. For a time, I wasted the days away, feeling sorry for myself. Then, finally, my father decided enough was enough. He sat me down for what I thought would be the scolding of a lifetime. Instead, at that moment, he voiced the last thing I would have ever expected my father to say. My father told me he was proud of me. Whether I succeeded or failed, he said he would always be proud of me, no matter what. Who knew only a few words could heal a lifetime of insecurity? Nothing in this life is given and if you want something, work for it. You can work for approval, validation, and gratification, but you can never truly earn the love of others. True love is unconditional and the pursuit of it can be self-destructive, as we see with Adam’s journey in this film. I hope 'Adam's Song' will help close the imminent barrier between immigrant parents and their children, further breeding compassion and empathy.
17 Minutes
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Nathan Xia


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