The Cost of Selling Yourself Short

Guess what?  I’ve written a book.  It’s 128,932 words long, it took four years to write (four long years of backache, breakdowns and bawling on Sunny’s shoulder), it’s hands-down the best thing I’ve ever written and I’ve got two agents who are kind of interested.

…But, I don’t like to talk about it.  In fact, I hate talking about it.  I won’t talk about it.

When someone asks, I clam up.  I get embarrassed and then do everything in my power to swiftly change the subject, like, “Uh yeah, but it’s nothing, it’s early days, it’s not published or anything… But hey!  Are you watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend/Nashville/Vikings?  You should, you totally should!”  The truth is that I’m so damn terrified of the other person thinking that I’m braggy or arrogant that I won’t ever talk about this massive part of who I am; something that’s probably by far my greatest ever achievement.

And it’s not just the book; I’m constantly selling myself short in all areas of my life.  I’ll bake something that took hours, but when someone says it tastes good?  “Meh.  It’s okay… it’s a bit too sweet/burnt/dense really.”  On days where my winged eyeliner looks almost even (it’s never actually even, I mean come on) and I’ve managed to wrestle down those wisps of hair that always stick up, if someone throws a compliment my way, my first response is usually, “…Really?”  

I’m still weird about taking pictures of myself because, ugh, awkward, bum-chin and big nose.  I won’t post outfit shots in my weirdest shirt because – despite what I might think – heaven forbid someone out there thinks I’m being vain or self-centered.  And yeah that picture I took is nice, but y’know I can’t take credit, the camera did most of the work.

…Dude, stop.

Growing up we’re told not to brag, not to be big-headed or cocky in case we offend someone with our own unique brand of awesome.  But there’s a cost to that.  The danger is that we become humble to the extreme, to our detriment.  Not self-deprecating, but self-sabotaging.  We become blunter, duller versions of ourselves to please others, and instead of roaring our talents from the rooftops, we whisper them.  As if they’re a secret that’s too much to share with the world.

Turning the volume down on your talents just in case a complete stranger or otherwise gets offended or thinks badly of you is stupid.  If they don’t like your noise, that’s their problem, not yours.  It’s not about becoming big-headed, it’s about accepting and acknowledging those times when you nailed it and giving yourself credit.

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow, and instead of buying into the mush (…Sunny and I don’t really celebrate beyond a card each) I’m using it as a day where I promise to stop selling myself short from now on.  Next time someone asks about my book, I’ll tell them about it.  I worked fucking hard on it and should be proud.  I might even get up the courage to post a selfie, bum chin and all.  And yeah, I did bake that cake and you know what?  It’s pretty damn good.  🙂

Ring Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

In case you didn’t know, next week it’s St Dwynwen’s Day (25th of January) – our very own Welsh version of Valentines Day, where we exchange cards, flowers and love spoons – if we remember to!  And if we do, it’s kind of nice to quietly celebrate Valentines Day before everyone else jumps on the band wagon in February.

The story goes that Princess Dwynwen – the fairest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s twenty four daughters – went and did what all fairytale princesses do best; she fell in love with a boy that her father didn’t approve of.  For whatever reason, Maelon Dafodrill just wasn’t marriage material.  Tamping to tears, Dwynwen ran off into the woods and begged God to make her forget he ever existed.  An angel appeared, turned Maelon into a block of ice, and offered to grant Dwynwen three wishes.  First, she wished that Maelon be thawed; second, she wished never to marry; and third, she asked God to grant the wishes of all true lovers.  So the story goes.

Anyway, Sunny (my bearded beloved, in case you didn’t know) knows all too well that my heart mostly wishes for doughnuts.  And luckily for me (but not so much for my waistline…) they’re so easy to make!  Once you’ve cracked the dough, anything’s possible, not to mention the fact that you’re suddenly everyone’s best friend.  🙂  Back in November I made a bag of doughnut holes for bonfire night, and – this time around – I made these miniature ring doughnuts.  Blood oranges are in season at the moment and the juice makes the perfect pink glaze – no food colouring necessary!

Ring Doughnuts with Blood Orange Glaze

Ingredients

  • 250g strong white flour (and a little extra for dusting)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 150ml of lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp of softened butter
  • 1 sachet of instant dried yeast
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 or 2 blood oranges (depending on the size and juicyness!)
  • powdered sugar (again, use your noddle and add whatever you need to make a thick glaze)
  1. If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re all sorted; put the water in first, then the dried ingredients and hit the dough program.  Easy!  If you’re a hand baker, then you’ll need to sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and then add the water, butter and yeast – gradually bringing the dough together.  Knead for 5 minutes, then cover with cling film and leave to prove somewhere warm.  Within about an hour the dough should have doubled in size.
  2. Knock back the dough and roll it out on a floured surface.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out your doughnut shape, and a smaller one to cut out the hole in the middle.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep pan.  You can use one of the doughnut holes to test whether it’s hot enough; if it goes golden brown (“texture like sun… la la”) in under two minutes then you’re good to go.
  4. With a spoon, dip each doughnut into the oil for about five minutes each – tipping  them over half way.  Dry them off on a plate with a paper towel and leave to cool.
  5. Make the glaze by mixing the blood orange juice and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the cooled doughnuts.
  6. Diet?  What diet?  🙂

Happy St Dwynwen’s Day!