Just a few weird things that make me, me.
1. I dislike wearing earrings. They make my ears feel heavy. If I could wear only diamond studs the rest of my life, I would be thrilled.
2. I know almost all the words to every song I’ve ever heard. It’s a blessing and a curse.
3. I don’t like the color red.
4. I’m an adventurer. I learned this only a few years ago when David and I hiked the Na Pali Coast of the northwest shore of Kauai. It’s a fifteen miles of stretch of rugged, dangerous terrain. Many of the cliffs drop straight down, thousands of feet into the ocean. It was one of the scariest yet most beautiful hikes we’ve done.
5. The first fish I ever caught was a thirty pound Bull Dolfin in Key West. I refused to let anyone help me reel it in, so for thirty minutes the fish and I went to battle. I won, and I still feel bad about it.
6. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was ten. My mom taught me one summer evening in our backyard that sloped downhill. I remember it like it was yesterday. Lightening bugs lit my path. The Mid-western air smelled of grass and charcoal. My face hurt from smiling.
7. I went to a creative writing camp when I was about ten. I graduated each camp a “published” author because the camp counselor printed our poems and stories on the mimeograph machine. Ah, I miss that smell.
8. I know the first ten lines of the Canterbury Tales in Old English – it was a 7th grade homework assignment. “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote.”
9. While in college, I interned in Washington D.C. at the National Organization for Women.
10. Growing up, my best friends were boys. Two of my closest friends today are two of those boys.
11. My college boyfriend went to the University of Notre Dame, while I was still in Ohio. There were no cell phones then, only old fashioned land lines. Because talking on the phone long distance was expensive, my mom wouldn’t let me talk to him on the phone much. So we wrote letters to each other. I still have every letter he sent me. David knows I have them. I even read him a few of them. I don’t keep them out of love for the old boyfriend, I keep them because they remind me that written letters are still the best way to tell someone how you feel.
12. My mom died when I was 24. I adopted my then 9 year old brother and raised him. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. But no matter what else I do in my lifetime, raising him will always be the best thing I’ve ever done. He’s now an amazing 25 year old young man who I’m honored to know.
13. The book Many Lives, Many Masters changed my life.
14. Love is my religion. I was raised as a Catholic, married a Jew, and then married a Methodist. The practice of religion makes no difference to me. God is in me, he’s in all of us. How one chooses to praise God shouldn’t tear us apart. As Ziggy Marley says, “I don’t condemn. I don’t convert.”
15. Growing up I didn’t like fast food. I still don’t. I don’t crave it. I don’t want it. I am thankful for this every day.
16. I have a green belt in karate. My dad signed me up when I was six years old because he thought I needed to be more assertive. I didn’t understand it then, and I’m not sure I understand it now, but I sure gained a lot from it. I was the only girl in the class, and I had to spar with boys. So I had to learn to talk to boys, make friends with boys, and kick boys’ asses. All things that come in handy, even today. I also learned discipline, focus, and determination. So thanks, Dad. I only wish I would have stayed long enough to get the black belt. But, I guess I can kick enough ass with the brown one.
17. I have my mom’s face and my dad’s body. My mom was Ukrainian and northern Italian. My dad was German. When I travel to Europe, people assume that I’m eastern European because of my high cheek bones, but then I open my mouth, and they say (disappointment in their tone), “Oh, you’re American.”
18. I paid my way through college by managing political campaigns. My favorite was a grassroots campaign to oust the supposedly “Boss Tweedish” Democratic Party Chairman. It still amazes me what a bunch of young, smart college students could do when they stayed up all hours of the night plotting and planning. It was one of the best times of my life.
19. Bill Clinton was the first president I ever voted for. I’m still proud of my vote, Monica Lewinsky and all.
20. I love bold style choices. I got this from my mom who always encouraged my creativity, whether it was in writing, or painting, or picking an outfit. She would go without to make sure I had the most stylish back to school outfits.
21. The first time I saw David I knew that I was going to marry him. I don’t know how. Maybe it was the book. See #13.
22. I’m a perfectionist. Again, a blessing and a curse. I want the best of the best. (Not monetarily.) I want everything I touch to be the very best it can be. I struggle with making everything amazing. I’m trying to relax that one a little bit.
23. I didn’t feel comfortable in the water until David forced me to. All kidding aside, he held my hand while we snorkeled, taught me to relax in the water, marvel at the fish, and not to be afraid of sharks. I can’t lie. I’m still afraid of sharks, just ask my friends who have been island hopping with me. I’m from Ohio, people. Sharks are a big deal to Midwesterners.
24. I’m a firm believer in pristine oral hygiene. I get my teeth cleaned every three months and use a water pic every chance I get. Fresh breath is a priority in my life. (That’s one of my favorite lines from one of my very favorite movies, Sixteen Candles. Farmer Ted said it. If you don’t know who Farmer Ted is, there’s a gap in your personal pop culture library.)
25. The older I get, the more I feel like myself. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. All those wonderful, quirky things from my past added up to fuel my current sense of self. The more we embrace these quirks, the more we feel at home with ourselves.
So get started on your list of 25 things people don’t know about you. You’ll be surprised what comes to the surface with a little soul searching. Some memories you haven’t thought about in years. Some realizations that come to light. Pride in things that used to embarrass you. Embracing it all with love will leave you feeling more comfortable in your own skin.
And maybe in the process, you’ll get to know yourself a little better. Something tells me you’ll be glad you did.