I don't know what spawned this, but I'm trying to catalog things about myself that people might not know about me. I like to maintain a human atmosphere here so you all know that I'm a real person living a normal life. I like to douse my tomatoes in salt, eat cold apple crisp, organize my clothes in my closet by color, and I prefer black pens over any other color (except red when I'm editing). So here are some other, perhaps more deeply meaningful, things you might not know about me.
That's me, yes. On the right. With my Momma Brady haircut, circa my senior year of highschool 2001-2002. On the left is one of my oldest friends, Christina, and the guy in the middle? I forgot his name. He went to Norris High School, which is there in the background, and actually was mostly destroyed during Tornadoes in 2007. We're all supporting LNE quiz bowl team shirts, since we were at a quiz bowl tournament! I was a geek. I still am. I was the "random knowledge" guru.
In high school, I gave one of three graduation speeches while standing before my class of 525 students in Lincoln, Nebraska. My school was gigantic, but luckily only 20 some students tried out for the graduation speech spots. If I remember correctly, the dual validictorians got speeches, and the other went to a lucky winner. I tried my temporary speech out in a classroom one day after school and was lucky enough to get chosen. I wish I could remember where my speech is, as I know it's on a computer somewhere in the Edwards family home. It might also be in one of my high school boxes with all the random homework and papers I'd kept. I should find it. It was written in poem form and touched on everyone in the class, from jocks to choir nerds to academic decathalon nerds to the drama geeks. Why? Because during high school I was privileged to run in all of those crowds. You see, I played volleyball my freshman year and was the team manager my sophomore year. I was in choir every year of high school, and I managed the Math Club as secretary for two or three years. I served on Academic Decathalon and Quiz Bowl for three years, and I also found my way into the Model UN and about a half-dozen other clubs. Contrary to a lot of people, I loved high school. So standing up, before all of my friends and people I'd never even seen in school before, I told about my experiences. As a surprise ending, I closed with something my father always says to me -- and he had no idea it was in the speech, which left him speechless. The quote: "Life is not a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."
Also, during that same graduation, I had the leading off solo for Concert Choir. We were singing R. Kelly's "The World's Greatest," and after years of just singing in the choir, I finally stood out senior year with my belting voice. You see, I can't sing good quietly, but if you give me enough room and volume, and I could rock your world. I guess I just have that kind of a voice -- sing loud, sing proud. So I landed the opening verses: "I am a mountain, I am a tall tree, ohhhh, I am a swift wind, sweepin' the country." Now, that's just a few small verses, but the soul I got to punch into them empowered me. I guess, if anything, R. Kelly's craziness aside, those verses sort of expressed who I wanted to be and who I saw myself as. But singing those words, jamming with friends, and having people -- years later remind me of that solo -- makes me feel good.
I've started about seven different versions of a book on my life. They're all really cheesy and ridiculous. I watch friend-bloggers nab book deals about their life, about their conversion stories, and I feel like my story is just lame. I feel like it's weak. I didn't grow up in an abusive household, I'm not a minority, I'm not the product of some kind of oppressive family that forced Christianity or Islam or something else down my throat. Then again, I also had no inspiration from people or experiences to choose Judaism. Someday I'll write my story. Someday. I just want to inspire others.
I love to drink pickle juice. Yes, you heard me right. My mom used to pack me a Tupperware with pickles for lunch when I was a kid and she'd always pour in a bunch of extra juice and I'd drink it while making my tiny classmates gag. We're talking first grade here, folks. I still do this, however. I think I make Tuvia gag!