Being Outgoing Online

I went from being a painfully shy child, to an awkward teen hiding behind sarcasm. At some point, when I needed to get a job, I decided to just fake confidence. I pretended to be someone else, kind of. It was all me, it was just a side of myself I didn’t usually use. I’ve pretty much been riding the “fake it ’til you make it” train ever since.

I like saying nice things when I think them. I compliment strangers in line. I say hello when I pass people in my building. I smile.

But, somehow, none of that carried over to the internet.

I click the hearts and the thumbs up on things, but I almost never left comments. I had this idea that it was somehow bothersome. They already know they’re funny, or their art is amazing, or that their books are delightful. I had the gut-feeling that if I commented it would somehow be intrusive or annoying.

Well, that was nonsense. So, over the last half year or so, I’ve tried to be interactive on social media.

I try to comment on twitter and instagram. I actually use my youtube rather than just lurking on it. And I send messages to authors to tell them they’re amazing–even though I’m 95% sure they know it already. And it’s great! It feels good and, of course, people like when you tell them the nice things you think about them. Why wouldn’t they?

I get so much more out of my social media now. They’ve become communities and I really enjoy getting to know so many people.

Artists and authors are all looking for a rainstorm. They’re farmers, desperate to grow a crop and share it with the world, but they need the rain. It’s okay to be a drop. It’s okay to be a little voice in the world saying you like something–screaming it even. Because maybe one drop will become a thousand and an artist will get that monsoon they’re looking for, and at the very least, they’ll know someone somewhere enjoyed their work.

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Extreme Editing

The emotional roller coaster of extreme editing! One week to get through my edits for Detox in Letters. I jotted these down last month when I was knee deep in edits and pretty much been caught in the whirlwind of work and editing until now.

Day One: Everything is amazing! I’m on fire. My edits are a breeze, my plan is solid, this is going to be a piece of cake.

Day Two: Okay. Things aren’t quite as easy as I expected. My energy levels have waned. Why is there no food in my house? Didn’t go to the gym. But I did make it through 90 pages of edits.

Day Three: I have never read this slow in my life. No gym. I’m running out of milk for the coffees. This is getting serious. Couldn’t see straight by the end of the day, but I made it to page 207! We’re 2/3rds through this thing.

Day Four: I’m doubting everything. What happened to Day One feelings!?

Day Five: My brain is SO tired! But there’s a dragon and it’s AMAZING!

Day Six: A last run through of my comments to myself and then searching the words I overuse. It’s not good for the self-confidence levels…

Day Seven: The required hour of staring blankly at the screen repeating “It’s done. We’re done. Just let it go.” before finally sending it to my editor.

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Semlas!

It was recently semla day here in Sweden, so lets talk about semlas!

These are one of Phong’s favorite treats. Classically it’s just a bun, gutted, and filled with almond paste and cream. Over the last few years there have been a few twists made each year. Last year they made semla wraps and this year the bakeries tried a nutella semla and a vanilla semla.

We bought the classic, the vanilla, and the nutella to give them all a try. Phong still favors the classic.

I actually really liked the nutella one. I’d like a more chocolaty try next year, maybe with some kind of gooey chocolate inside.

The vanilla was nice too. I pretty much like every version of the semla more than the original. Sweden has Semla Day on the 13th of February. Other times of the year can be really hard to get semlas. Phong often wants them for his birthday in July and I have quite a time trying to find a bakery to make them in the summer.

These are a classic though, so if you’re around when they’re in season you should give the semla a try!

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You were right. -An open letter to my mother-

Dear Mom,

You were right.

The things I thought were so important in my teens, were completely forgotten by my mid-twenties.

You were right.

I am beautiful. And you weren’t saying it in that annoying, all mom’s think their kids are beautiful way. You meant it and it was something deeper. I am beautiful and it has nothing to do with my hair or my skin or the way a dress fits.

You were right.

Some things are wrong even if no one knows about it, because I’d know about it and that’s enough.

You were right.

Vegetables are amazing and I was missing out as a child.

 

But you were wrong about Buffy. That show is awesome.

Love, Cheryl

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From California to Sweden~What I miss and what I don’t

-Things I miss about California-

Halloween. It’s not really a thing in Sweden and I miss it. Growing up, we went to the pumpkin patch every year to pick out our own. My mom’s rule was that we could get any pumpkin we wanted, so long as we could carry it back on our own. I miss the haunted houses and adorable kids trying to remember what to say after getting up the nerve to ring the doorbell of a stranger.

Thunderstorms and downpours. I miss walking in it, garbage cans being swept down the street and getting soaked to the bone in a minute.

Cereal. I know that sounds silly. Of course, there’s cereal in Sweden but it’s healthy. They seem to think breakfast isn’t supposed to be dessert. Nonsense.

The smell of rain on hot asphalt.

Taco Bell. Don’t judge me.

Thanksgiving. Not actual Thanksgiving—just that week we get off from work/school. I miss that week…

Conversations with strangers. Yes, I’m one of those people that have a one-time interaction with someone in a line for coffee. It turns out that might be an American thing. Swedes look at me like I’m crazy sometimes if I try to talk to them in line. Even if I’m just giving them a compliment!

Target. It’s a recent infatuation but oh how I long for her. My desire is real, and it is red.

Roadside strawberries.

-Things I don’t miss about California-

The sun. I don’t tan, I just burn, and that’s hard living if you’re in California.

Apples that look perfect but taste like nothing. I’ll take the ugly little apples in Sweden any day.

It feels like all the cafes are Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong, I like Starbucks just fine, but Sweden is busting with privately owned cafes with their own bakeries and it’s amazing.

Public transportation. Outside big cities, it gets real sketchy real fast. Everyone has to have a car. My home town didn’t even always have sidewalks or crosswalks. You just had to get a ride to the other side or try making a run for it.

Did I mention the sun? I once burned my eyelids standing on a beach for five minutes talking to my aunt. Eyelids. Burned. Madness.

The spiders. Have you seen a wolf spider before? Google it if you want nightmares.

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