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I have few words today.
I remember at university, every time I was writing essays I always felt like I didn't use big enough words, but then every time I got it back I was told I used words so well. The professor even used me as a good example of how to write so that it’s easily understandable while still being proper. I’m not saying this to brag. I’m telling you this because Every Single Time after this when I turned in a paper I thought “THIS time they are going to realize that I’m out of words.” Like I had used up all of them and everybody was going to understand that soon enough.
It never happened though. They kept thinking it was great, and I kept being surprised. After a while (we’re talking years) I had to make friends with the idea that I might actually be good with words.
Now I write in a different language than my own, and that struggle comes back tenfold. I mean, I literally have less words in English than I do in Swedish.
So here I am, sitting at cafe’s writing things every day, hoping that the words will feel like a perfect amount soon.
I know it’s all in my head (I’m a little bit of a word perfectionist) and that it’s me creating the fear. No one else is doing it for me.
The fact that I’m writing this is probably a good sign. I’m telling myself it is.
It’s called imposter syndrome, by the way. “They are going to realize I’m not good at this”. I like the name because Imposter is a big word and I understand that word, and maybe that means I’m not an imposter.

Sometimes I read about successful and famous people struggling with imposter syndrome, and I imagine us being in the same club. Imposters Unite. We could have t-shirts. But nobody would wear them because we would all be thinking “some day they will realize I’m not a real imposter”.

/Lotta
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One week into Toronto, and I start to realize things I’ve missed.
Living in a city where I can walk everywhere.
Feeling my cheeks turn rosy the moment I step inside after being outdoors for more than ten minutes.
Breathing smoke into the air.
Eating soup and feeling the hot broth warm me up from inside.
Passing by houses with history and trees that lose leaves.

I’m reminded of the things I used to love back in Sweden, and it makes me feel nostalgic and more than a bit sentimental.
I smile to myself a lot.
At the same time this is a lonely time for me.
LA was lonely too, but slowly and surely I got to know people, surroundings, day to day routines.
Here all is new again.
I feel much stronger than I did back then when I had to conquer loneliness in Los Angeles, and it’s in those realizations that I feel myself growing. Or, I’m strong enough to realize that I’ve grown. I can’t say in what order things happen, but sometimes I do get struck by it all.
It might look like I’ve done a lot these past few years, while I could feel that I have done nothing, and the truth is probably somewhere in between.
My best work has been done inside my brain.
My professor at university told me my favorite words of wisdom one day when I complained to her about not getting enough words on the paper, feeling like I got nothing done. She said “Your brain is working on this around the clock, one day it will be ready to be written down and then you will realize you have done all of it already, in your head.”
And it happened.
Now I live by that; I’m not doing nothing, my brain is working.

/Lotta
I’m back at the French cafe where I used to sit every day two autumn’s ago. The waitress with the sad eyes cheers up when she sees me, and I’m happy she’s working today because it’s like meeting an old friend- even though I don't even know her name.
But I know her dad died that autumn. She told a customer once when she had been off work for a while. Her voice wobbled as she struggled not to cry.
It’s strange the things we learn about strangers.

I think about that sometimes. How everything we do affects people, without us even knowing it. A random comment online, a friendly smile on the bus, an overheard conversation between strangers, a song, a laughter, can be remembered for years and years, and change us a little.
Or a lot.
I wonder why we pretend that things don't stick. Why we tell ourselves that what we do doesn't matter to anyone else. Everything matters and people are puzzles with no edges, spreading further and further, adding pieces in no particular order.
The day we die we will be an intricate web of strangers we looked into the eye.

And I’m not saying we should go around and look every stranger in the eye because, ugh, that would be exhausting.
Just that I have a follower on instagram who doesn't like oatmeal and now I think about that every morning when I make my oatmeal.

/Lotta
One day I’m wearing knitted over the knee socks in fall shoes, and the next it’s back to bare feet and sandals again. I have a new playlist that I’m premiering when I walk to the coffee shop to write. It’s mostly bouncy, happy and mysterious songs, because that’s what fit my step.
One song ends and Tous les mêmes by Stromae begins. I had forgotten I had added that one.
I wait for the light to turn green and the refrain comes on and my knees give out. They pulse to the rhythm, back and forth, and the beat carries me up on my tippy toes before taking off on a journey up through my legs, around my torso, my neck and into a huge smile on my lips. I bob my head and the light switches to green and I kinda skip across the street and who fucking cares because “Rendez-vous, rendez vous, rendez-vous….” and I don't even know French but you better believe I’m singing along.
I wish I could put this on speaker for the entire world because I want everybody to bounce their way forward with smiles that won't accept to stay hidden inside.

I order my iced coffee and with it in hand I go in search for a seat on the full patio. A new song comes on and it’s Tomboy by Princess Nokia, and two girls get up from their table and I snatch a chair in semi shadow while I lip sync the words “with my little titties and my phat belly” and I laugh because I wish I had sung them aloud.
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