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I’m an American who’s been in Europe since October 2019 as a digital nomad, mainly in Stockholm, Sweden. This is after years of employment in a corporate environment as a graphic designer. Now as a freelance designer, writer, and podcast producer, I look for ways to promote international awareness.

One question I get is, “How is it dating in Europe?” My experience so far, at least with dating apps, is that I don’t really notice a difference. As an introvert, someone who’s most comfortable “spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds (WebMD, 2020),”…


An American expatriate shares his love of his home country in conjunction with the changes he hopes will come with a new president.

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On a cross-country train in Sweden, heading to Malmö from Stockholm, I watched the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. As I watched the country’s first female vice president get sworn in, enjoyed Lady Gaga’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and listened to Jennifer Lopez sing “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful”, I felt something loosen in my chest. Although I’d like to become a resident of Sweden, I am a proud American. Living outside of the United States for over a year, I can stand up straight and say this. …


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Midnight on Christmas morning 1979 in Phoenix, Arizona was not like the ones before, when it was just me and mama. I didn’t dream of the presents I’d open later in the day. I wasn’t thinking of toys like The Six Million Dollar Man or Pulsar action figures that Santa brought me when I was seven and eight. No, I was scared, staring up at the ceiling as my stepfather screamed terrible words at mama in their small bedroom. Mama wasn’t the crying type before she married him a few months before in June. My heart thumped hard against my…


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The pale yellow brightness of the Los Angeles sun poured in through the floor to ceiling glass windows as I sat across from the bank manager, whose face was faintly illuminated by her computer monitor. I looked left to check the large analog clock on the wall behind the row of smartly dressed bank tellers. I hoped the update to my account would be quick, giving me time for the 10-minute walk back to the office from my lunch break.

“To verify your account, Mr. Braxton, what is your mother’s maiden name?”

“Braxton,” I replied. Her left eyelid fluttered ever…


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Turning away from the heavy sound of the car door closing on our 1969 moss green Pontiac LeMans, I scanned the full parking lot at Chris-Town Mall. It was a mid-December afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona, on an uncharacteristically warm day. Winter 1977 was underway, yet I still wore my Six Million Dollar Man t-shirt.

“Leave your jacket.” Mama hoisted Bryan onto her hip as she repositioned her purse strap. “You sure you don’t want to take a picture with Santa?”

“Mama,” I sighed. “I’m seven.” We never lived anywhere with a chimney. …


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“You don’t have to keep talking like that. There are no white people around.” Laughter erupted in the cramped copy room, as the cluster of African-American work colleagues congratulated the accounting clerk on what she said to me. As a shy 23-year-old, a newly hired employee at the Los Angeles investment banking firm, I said no more as I quietly backed out of the space.

Emboldened by his discovery of being a more learned student of hip-hop culture, a white male acquaintance once exclaimed to me, “Wow, Erick! I’m pretty sure I’m blacker than you are.” …


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Despite never being celebrated within mainstream black and LGBT media outlets like Ebony, Jet, and The Advocate magazines, black gay men throughout the 1980s utilized their creative talents to promote, celebrate and challenge others’ perceptions of being black, male, and gay during the decade. Through their works, these men strove for equal rights and inclusivity within the black and gay communities.

…to promote images and perceptions of black men that washed out practices of ostracization, vilification, and fetishization.

Riding the waves of social and cultural activism that crashed through the 1970s, writer Joseph Beam, filmmaker Marlon Riggs, and poet Essex…


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Various shades of charcoal gray shadows surrounded me in the room’s morning darkness. My heart thudded in the center of my chest as I pinched the bridge of my nose, attempting to stave off the hot tears threatening to spill down the sides of my face. I rolled left, back into the fetal position, my oversized gray t-shirt bunching up behind me. Spooning my iPhone, as it lay beside me on the bed, I pressed my thumb against its smooth screen and swiped up. Squinting into the light, I saw that it was 8:27 a.m. on Friday, November 20.

That…


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As part of our intro, “the joys and challenges of being introverts” is what my co-host Jenny and I say at the beginning of each episode of the Wallflowers in Bloom podcast. Debuting on April 1, 2020, we encourage those who identify as introverts to live their best lives. Through our experiences and those of our guests, we believe it’s possible to thrive in a world dominated by extroverts.

Popularized by his 1921 book titled Psychological Types, Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that introverts “focus their energy inwards, towards more solitary, thoughtful activities (Psychologist World, 2020).” This differs from extroverts…


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In Episode 12 of the Wallflowers in Bloom podcast, our guest shared with me and my co-host her recent work experiences. As the seconds ticked forward on the recording, I worried she was putting too much out there. Later in the evening, as I began to edit the audio, I conceded to something. Our guest’s revelations hit a nerve with me, bringing to the surface events I had long denied affected me while employed at the same Los Angeles-based investment banking firm.

For anyone sauntering by, there was always an unrestricted view of what we were doing.

It’s time, I…

Erick Taylor Woodby

I’m a writer, sharing insights and experiences through memoir and personal narratives. I also blog about my expatriate adventures in Sweden.

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