The big surprise I talked about here...turned out to be a big surprise for me too!
At the tail end of August, I was contacted through my blog. A writer from the Seattle Times was working on a story about Care Packages. She saw my post and asked if I'd be willing to be interviewed.
Well, one thing lead to another....
After the interview, I submitted a few of my most requested recipes. A couple weeks later, I baked up a few goodies for a photo shoot. It was a bit surreal--especially since I'm used to orchestrating these kinds of things...but when the spotlight was on me? I was nervous as hell...talked endlessly...and tried to get the photographer to talk about his recent year of traveling in Mongolia (or was it Tibet?)
When the article finally came out in print...it was much larger than I anticipated. At nearly two full newspaper pages, even a dolt like me knows...that's a lot of real estate. And the funny thing? The only photos on the second page...are of me!
It's all very surreal.
But wait. There's more.
Five days after the article ran, I get a call from the receptionist in my office: "Mr. X is on the phone for you."
He says, "I don't know you, and you don't know me, but I saw your picture in the paper...and you're really cute."
The guys in my old office used to play jokes like that, so I kept talking to him. "What? How did you find me?"
A long story short...some stranger connected the dots and hunted me down at work. And if that wasn't a red flag, I started getting e-mails from him. "I'm married, but I'd love to have coffee...do you have a boyfriend?"
I hate to say it, but this is not the first time something like this has happened to me. Without going into too much detail, let's just say...I've had more than my share of ugly experiences, thank you.
The irony is not lost on me.
I have no fear of scuba diving with sharks, crossing a demilitarized zone in a border conflict (machine guns at the ready), climbing into the jungle tree top canopy to study howler monkeys, riding out hurricanes in the Caribbean, and on it goes....
But one creepy guy who crossed the line?
For a moment there, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
While being in the public eye has its benefits, trust me, it has plenty of negative aspects as well. Luckily I count among my friends some high-profile folks who have been down this road before. One food writer told me about receiving death threats from restaurant owners who didn't like her review. A few well-known bloggers receive malicious hate mail on a regular basis. And Gluten-free girl had to change the venue of her wedding at the last minute because readers invited themselves to her wedding!
So there it is.
I'm trying to strike a balance here.
I love being able to share my insight and experiences...and yet, I'm still a little freaked out. When you share your life with the public, you share it never knowing who's out there...the good, the bad, and the ugly.
But if it weren't for the blog, I would have never had the experience of that photo shoot. And maybe I would have never bonded with my dear friend Rachel. Standing in the back of a cooking class...drinking more than our share of wine, we talked about this and that. Suddenly something I said...who knows? But she stopped mid-sentence and blurted out, "Wait! Are you Seattle Tall Poppy?" Wow. It was fun to finally meet someone who reads my little ole' blog! Since then, Rachel and I have become good friends.
Now that Shauna is on her book tour, she can attest...the best part is meeting the people who share her blogging journey. I couldn't agree more. Often times when I'm at a dinner party, I wish I could just stop the whole thing and meet everyone. I think...at this time...this place...there's something that draws us all together. Even if it's just this one event, we all have a common bond. And I'd like to know you.
So for me, that's why I'm here. I love the experience...and the people I meet. Sure, there are a few setbacks along the way...but what journey doesn't have a setback or two? I'm still grappling with my face on a syndicated TV show that not only airs in multiple countries...but is re-run on a regular basis. Every time it airs, I get approached. "Didn't I see you on TV?" Yep. And now the paper...and a couple magazine blurbs. It's all very exciting.
Some days I wonder, "Why me?"
My friend retorted, "Because it's the Tall Poppy way!"
So I struck a deal with myself: I've decided to embrace the journey...and see where it goes. We'll chalk it up to a life well-lived.
As for being in the public eye? Well, if that brings me to you...all the better!