Breathe and Believe

Yesterday I got an email that an article I submitted for publication was denied. Initially, I was disappointed, believing the editor didn’t understand what I was conveying. However, in reading the message again, I conceded to their decision. The piece, which I’d previously written in another style, had been hastily redone to build up my portfolio. But beforehand, I didn’t walk myself through the reason why it needed to be written. I didn’t clarify what I hoped to impart on the reader. Most importantly, I didn’t stop to first breathe and believe in what I was doing.


Today marks 32 days that I’ve been in London, England. In this time, I’ve become somewhat acclimated to things that are uniquely British. For example, today was the first time it felt more natural for me to look right for oncoming traffic before crossing the street. That being said, it still feels weird to hear a car come behind me on my right. I keep imagining that masked men are rolling up on me, to grab and toss me into the back of a white van. In case you’re wondering, I am not a top-level spy in possession of secret government codes. Just a slightly neurotic individual still shedding the paranoia of my sometimes overprotective mother.


All joking aside (sort of), I’m enjoying the experience of being an American in London. But with England being the mother country of my native tongue, I’m much more aware of my accent here than I was in Stockholm, Sweden. And I sometimes fret about words and phrases I don’t always understand. Like the other day, the friendly cashier at the Tesco Superstore said to me, “You here for a few bits and bobs, are you?”. Not knowing how to respond, I smiled politely and scurried away, hoping she hadn’t instructed me to run because the building was on fire. I speak English, but I don’t always understand English.


Two weeks ago I made it back to a vegan bakery that I stumbled upon when I was here two years ago. Located in north London, Cookies and Scream has a delectable selection of vegan and gluten-free treats. I treated myself to a vegan brownie that was to die for. And I had a peanut butter cookie that delighted my taste buds.


Earlier this week I got an amazing haircut from Adae at Open Barbers in Hackney. They cater to all genders and sexualities, and to all hair lengths and textures too. Adae was friendly and patient and understood exactly what I wanted. I’m happy with the style and that I have no more split ends!


Getting back to the writing, I’ve spent most of my time this past month writing and researching how to be a freelance writer. I found Elna Cain, a writer who shares her professional experience and resources. She makes it believable and achievable to earn a living in the profession. I definitely recommend checking her out. I’ve also been learning more about SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. Search Engine Land defines it as “the process of improving your site to increase its visibility for relevant searches.”


Yes, things are continuing to move forward for me. But what is still at the forefront of it all is remembering to stay spiritually connected, remain in contact with family and friends, and to pause and say out loud that it’s okay to believe in myself. As a dear friend used to say, “I’m the only me I’ve got. So I better start learning how to love him.” Stay safe, be supportive, and remain hopeful.

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