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Three Hundred Fifty Four.

Okay, guys, my Internet is down and I’m blogging from my phone, which isn’t easy. Had something else planned, but you know what? This is fitting.

Ladies, you’ll feel me on this one. You know when you’re doing your makeup and you sort of mess it up and you’re running late so there’s no turning back? Like maybe you made your eyeshadow too dark or – like me – your eyeliner way too thick?

It’s like Halloween came early and Amy Winehouse is visiting…
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SIDENOTE: I know it’s not insane, but it’s a lot more than the casual look I had planned for my day, okay?

It happened today and I thought hey, you know what? Go with the flow, Beça. Go with the flow.

Guys, this is where today’s post applies to you, too. (Shout out to guys who wear eyeliner – I love you hi okay cool!) Through the application of my DRAMATIC eyeliner this morning, I learned a lesson, and that’s that some days, life is gonna throw stuff at you, and on some of those days, you’ve got to just go with it.

How meta is it that my internet went down and I had to go with it and write this post today instead of what I had planned? Right? RIGHT?!

xA

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Three Hundred Forty Eight.

This weekend I did something I’ve been so curious and interested in doing for years. I went to a comic con!

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The biggest thing keeping me from ever going before is my social anxiety.

I know, it’s weird that I’m a fitness instructor and I have social anxiety, but I do. And it’s major. Like, if you invite me to an event and I say I’m going and then I bail last minute? That’s most likely because I had every intention of going and then while I was getting ready to go, I had an anxiety attack about all of the people who were going to be there (eek, crowds) or having to arrive by myself and find familiar faces (I have this weird thing about having to arrive at events by myself – I can rarely bring myself to do it).

This year I guess I just found the balls to finally go for it. Also, I invited my friend Caitlin to go with me and she’s one of the most extroverted, bubbly, outspoken people I know, so I knew she’d make a good partner to hold my hand and also just have fun with. Maybe even moreso because she’s not familiar with a lot of the nerdy stuff, so she was super open to going to see whatever I wanted. (Caitlin, you’re the best.)

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SIDENOTE: Ironically, when we took that photo, we were totally hiding out from the crowds. But here we are having an adventure!

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I have to say, it was a pretty crazy cool experience. I mean, I got to dress up a bit (I was too chicken to go all out – maybe next year):

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I got to people watch to my heart’s content (and then some). I got to see actors like Jon Heder and Ron Pearlman speak (among many others):

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I got to support friends who got their own panel on fan filmmaking (so cool):

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And I got to run into friends dressed up in adorable costumes!

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What it all boiled down to was a lot passion. People passionate about creating art, people passionate about acting, people passionate about their love for certain artists or comics or TV shows or movies or whatever it may be.

And also, like, no judgement. Everyone was really embracing the nerdiness. It didn’t matter whether you were wearing a Batman t-shirt or a full suit of armour, everyone was there for the same reasons.

Anyway, this may sound generalized and possibly scattered because I just got home from 48 hours of comic con and I’m completely exhausted and battling a horrendous cold, but the biggest lessons I learned this weekend were:

(A) I definitely need to find better coping mechanisms for social anxiety than hiding, holding hands with my friends, and hyperventilating.

(B) Passion is both inspiring and infectious.

(C) I HEART NERDS AND BEING A NERD.

(D) I need to push myself out of my comfort zones more often, because even when it’s stressful, I always take something away from it.

(E) I feel like I had an ‘E’ and then I forgot it because I’m flustered and also I feel really weird because my cold has left me with plugged ears and it’s distracting me to not be able to hear myself type or think.

Uhhhhh…woo!

xA

P.S. I remember one thing I was going to say and it was that after this weekend, I feel like I need to go to a deserted island for approximately one week to recover. Holy people overload, Batman!

Three Hundred Forty Seven.

A couple weeks ago, I went out to the movies with a friend of mine and then we grabbed a bite to eat.

Oh, actually, now that I think of it, it was this night, AKA the night I ATE ALL THE FOOD.

Anyway, when I got home at the end of the night, I went to wash my face and noticed I had a bunch of black pepper in my teeth. My first thought was, “Why the fuck didn’t he say something?!”

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he didn’t notice. I would have had to smile pretty darn big for it to be visible. But still.

You see, I’m a person who will ALWAYS tell you if you’ve got “something” going on – if you have food in your teeth, if you have a strand of hair sticking out the wrong way, if your hanger strap or clothing tag is hanging out. I’m your girl. It’s not because I’m critical or anything. I’m not. I’m like, the least judgemental person. It’s because I would want to know if any of that were going on with me.

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But as I was thinking about that, I was reminded of one of many hilarious moments I had as a teen.

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a goth when I was a teenager. A Marilyn Manson-obsessed, eyeliner-loving, eyebrow-shaving goth. So I wore a lot of makeup. I didn’t do anything too crazy – I didn’t like, wear black eyeliner tears dripping down my face or anything (no offense or judgement to anyone who did/does – you do your thing). But I was…creative?

There was one day that I was going out to run some errands with my mom and I was sporting some particularly interesting mascara and eyeliner. I had applied both as usual, but then I decided that I wanted like, eyeliner dots coming out from the corner of my eye toward the side of my face.

I really wish I had a photo to illustrate this. But I don’t. But imagine some cat eye eyeliner:

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Only imagine it much messier and comprised of dots.

SIDENOTE: I don’t know what I was thinking. I was 13. Who cares? I was “finding myself.”*

So anyway, I was out with my mom and I remember specifically that we were at Future Shop and we couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we found a sales associate to ask for help.

We had been chatting with him about our needs for a few minutes when a natural silence fell upon the conversation. It was at that point that the sales associate turned to me, and very quietly said, “Uh…I think you have a little something…” and pointed to his eye/eyebrow region.

Being the super self-conscious, nerdy kid that I was, I tried to laugh it off.

“Ha ha!” I giggled nervously, “No, it’s supposed to be there.”

“Oh, okay.” The sales guy cleared his throat anxiously.

And then we all felt awkward.

People wear a lot of crazy shit these days. Like, how many times a day are you walking behind a girl in leggings or yoga pants when you realize you can clearly see her bum/underwear/thong?

SIDENOTE: I work both on campus and as a fitness instructor, so maybe my percentages are higher. Okay, they definitely are. But like, a MILLION TIMES A DAY it happens.

Hell, just last night I was out and saw a dude wearing gold spandex pants and it was like, junk-central. He might as well have been pantsless. It was all out there.

SIDNEOTE: Pretty sure it’s the look he was going for, because shortly after I spotted him, he started doing lunges, so good on him.

Um. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand why some people would hesitate to point out if “something” is going on, but:

(A) If the person is your friend, POINT IT OUT ANYWAY. Be tactful. But just in case. Do it.

(B) If it’s something in someone’s teeth, no exceptions. TELL THEM.**

xA

*I’m nearly 27 and I feel like only NOW am I actually finding myself.

**Unless you hate the person. Then I guess do whatever.

Three Hundred Forty Two.

As you may have gleaned by now, I worked at a live theatre for a number of years. I met lots of characters and ghosts while I was there.

The characters who always perplexed me the most were the people who would come to see live theatre and not seem to understand that they were watching live theatre. They would sit in the front row and talk during the performance. Or answer their phones. Or they would come out of the auditorium halfway through the play and say things to me like, “I don’t understand what’s going on in the movie!”

SIDENOTE: Yes. That happened. Like, a lot.

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CONNECT THAT TO:

Lately, I’ve been having some strange experiences in my Zumba classes. Like, okay, I totally understand that sometimes, people are tired and they don’t want to give 100% in class. That’s completely fine. If I’m honest, a lot of the time, I don’t want to give 100% either because I teach 6+ classes a week and I’m tired. I don’t have the option, but I understand.

But there’s a difference – a HUGE difference – between not giving 100% and literally STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CLASS STARING AT ME.

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If you didn’t come to move, why are you in my Zumba class? Why do you look angry? Do you realize that I’m a real person standing in front of you trying to do my job – which I love – to the best of my ability? Do you not understand how standing and staring at me when the rest of the room is dancing and smiling might make me feel weird or uncomfortable or self-conscious?

No? Okay. Just checking.

SIDENOTE: if Christina Hendricks came to my Zumba class, I would DIE. She could stare at me all she wants.

BUT:

This weekend I went to a play. It’s been a long time. Like, a long time. For me, anyway. I think the last play I saw was some time in the spring. Maybe March.

SIDENOTE: It was Midsummer by David Greig, playing at Theatre Network, and you should check it out.

The play was great, but here’s what happened. I found myself a little disconnected. Like, it was jarring to me that real people were on stage, performing in the moment. It took me a while to adjust to that, and at one point – and trust me, I am ASHAMED to admit this – I almost reached for my phone just because I was curious what time it was.

WHAT THE FUCK, ANDREA?!

Shameful. I know.

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But after the play, as my friend-date Caitlin and I walked back to my car and talked about it, I realized yeah, we don’t disconnect much anymore, do we? It’s almost like we’ve gotten so used to the digital being “real” that REAL-real doesn’t seem real anymore. Like, I talk to my friends on Facebook and that’s real, but what would be more real is talking to them in person.

I don’t have any big answers or anything. All I’m saying is on the weekend, I felt the disconnect and I wasn’t happy with it. So the lesson I’ve learned is it’s time to reconnect with the human experience a little more and just be aware of being present.

xA

P.S. At least my phone didn’t ring during the show or something. (I’m just trying to make myself feel better. Don’t mind me.)

Three Hundred Forty One.

“But is it going to be like, OVER over? Like, completely over?!”

The number of times I have heard this in the last week has been both shocking and overwhelming (in a good way).

People read my blog.

I mean, I knew that people were reading my blog, because I’ve even blogged about it (whoa meta!), but the fact that people are reading my blog on a regular basis kind of blows me away.

Like, to everyone who reads my blog daily? I am in awe of you. I don’t know that I would read my blog every day if not for the fact that I have to write it every day. I am humbled and honoured to be included in your day. Even if you’re not reading every single day, I sincerely thank you for taking the time.

…But please don’t take me so seriously.

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It’s fascinating how once you put something down into words, some people will take it as the be all, end all, the absolute truth about you. It’s been pretty interesting to be able to actually see and hear people’s reactions to my blog, and how they vary depending on how well they know me. My friends who read my blog laugh off a lot of my dryness and sarcasm (and craziness), while others take it a little more to heart, I think.

Let’s just say that none of my closest friends have called me to say, “Don’t worry about your forehead wrinkles! They’re barely even there!” They’ve either been like, “Yeah, that’s shitty, hey? I have them, too.” or they’ve read the post, laughed at me, and moved on.

A lot happens in a year. A LOT. A lot happens in a week. Your feelings toward something may change daily. I love bananas, but that doesn’t mean I want to eat them all day every day. I had to do that while I was starving in Ireland and then I hated bananas and thought I didn’t want to eat them ever again. If I had been writing this blog at the time, there would be a post about how I hate bananas and never want to eat them again.

SIDENOTE: I wrote that very thing in my travel blog at the time, I am certain. Cashews, too. And just look at me now. I had a banana with my breakfast about 15 minutes ago.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: Right now, I’m on a break from beets. Because….well…that was just too much for me.

Just a small selection of other “things”:

– I actually don’t have a mega-crush on Adam Levine. Like, sure, he’s attractive, of course, but if you asked me to name five celebrity crushes (I don’t know why you would do that, since you’re not the latest issue of Tiger Beat, but you never know), he would not come up.

– I don’t actually hate cats. I love cats. I needed something to write about that day, and I was shocked by a cat bite story. I have bonded with many a cat, despite my allergies. (Shout outs to Nala, Fred, and Flora (RIP), just to name a few of my fave felines.) Sometimes you just think of a joke/story and run with it.

– I’m not panicking about my breasts. I was perplexed by them shrinking for about a week. Then I got used to it. Then I realized I love it. So to everyone who has been either making fun of me for it (yes, that happened), or trying to reassure me that it’s gonna be okay, my boobs and I are doing just fine.

– I would get into the ocean or a swimming pool. In fact, I’m trying to find a day to go try out Aqua Zumba. Yes, I’m terrified of the water. But what would life be if you never challenged yourself? Also, while I don’t swim, I LOVE being near the ocean. It’s peaceful and beautiful and wonderful.

– I don’t ALWAYS sing in my car. It’s a mood thing. So I apologize if you drove by me and I wasn’t wailing at the top of my lungs. I know I’m a huge disappointment. I apologize.

SIDENOTE: There’s some typical Andrea sarcasm.

Now, all of that being said, if you’ve ever read my blog and expressed concern for me, I think you are wonderful. (If you’ve made fun of me, you are less wonderful.) And I mean that genuinely and seriously. I so appreciate your concern. It feels really warm and fuzzy to know that you’ve read something here and it’s moved you – no matter in what direction – to want to say something. I think that’s super cool. In fact, sometimes your concern makes me feel like an asshole because I think, “Over exaggerated again, Beça.” But also, a lot of what I write is serious and it feels pretty incredible to know that other people feel the same way, share the same fears, love the same things, etc. I have lost count of the number of relationships that have either started or grown closer because of this blog. And that is pretty fucking cool.

Here’s another thing about me: sometimes I think I know where a blog post is going, and then I start to write it and it grows and grows until I feel like I am completely unable to properly encapsulate how I feel about something.

This is one of those moments.

What have I learned from this particular thing?

Um…

(A) I am humbled by everyone who reads this blog.

(B) Being a writer is a hilarious thing because everything you write is a little piece of you, but when you write that crazy-ass twisted disturbing horror story or a play about siblings who are in love, it’s awkward because everyone thinks you need therapy.

(C) I thought I had a “C,” but I got distracted and forgot it.

xA

P.S. Yes, this 365-day blog will be over on October 17. But I’ve got other projects in the works. You won’t get rid of me that easily.

Three Hundred Forty.

Since my birthday is coming up really soon, I started thinking back to birthday memories and remembered this little gem.

The Big 2-1.

I don’t know why it was “The Big 2-1,” because it’s not like 21 signifies anything in Canada. The drinking age is 18. But I don’t know, it still felt like a big deal.

Anyway, the plan was food, bowling (I love bowling – there’s a chance I may make anyone celebrating The Big 2-7 with me go bowling again), and then a party at my BFF Mandelle’s apartment.

That wasn’t really relevant. Either way, now you know a little bit about my 21st birthday. You’re welcome.

The thing you need to know is that when I walked into Mandelle’s apartment on my 21st birthday, I saw this:

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Yes. It’s a Birthday Tree.

Let me just zoom in on the angel for a second…

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Yes. That’s me. Dressed in a sailor hat.

Just days before my birthday party was my actual birthday, during which I hung out with Mandelle and her roommate and tried on a variety of costume pieces and took a variety of photos while we drank a lot of vodka.

And then she made me into a birthday angel.

I would go on to become the Halloween angel, and then the Christmas angel, for a few years in a row.

Lesson learned: I am an angel.

I mean…I have the greatest friends.

Yeah, that.

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xA

Three Hundred Thirty Seven.

Speaking of all of the super cool crafts I made when I was a kid, here’s a good story we can all learn from…

I wish I could remember just what it was that I was attempting to create, but I can assure you it was awesome. I was always up to something as a kid, whether it was running a private library or ringing doorbells.

I think it was some sort of hanging ornament, because the task that really tripped me up was punching a hole into the bottom dish from a box of chocolates. You know the ones – they have a number of small cups in them, one for each Pot of Gold chocolate or whatever. Yeah, that. I was trying to make a hole in the bottom of one of the small cups to that I could put a string through it. The plastic was really thick, though, so using a pen wasn’t working. I decided that scissors were the way to go.

But I wasn’t using Crayola scissors, folks. I had the real deal.

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Uh oh.

So, um, not only did the scissors go through the chocolate dish like a hot knife slicing through butter…they also went into my finger – well into my finger – which was holding the plastic tight and got in the way.

I could see the sharp metal threatening to come through the other side of my finger. So I did what any kid (or just me) would do: ripped the scissors out of my finger and started screaming.

My memory after that is a little sketchy, but when I think of this instance in my life, I always flash back to the white dish towel my mom held to my hand, which was completely soaked in blood.

I probably should have gotten stitches, but I didn’t. (In fact, I wouldn’t get stitches for the first time until like, 20 years later…) My mom managed to stop the bleeding, bandaged me up really well, and eventually it healed. I had the scar for a really long time, but now it’s mostly faded, so maybe I actually just made that whole story up. (I didn’t.)

Lesson learned: They make those shitty plastic scissors for kids for a reason. Don’t put scissors through your finger. It fucking sucks.

xA

P.S. What was your biggest childhood crafting disaster? (Preferably a disaster in the sense that you injured yourself. I could talk messy disasters for years without running out of stories!)

Three Hundred Thirty Six.

Wow. Well, here it is. This is the official one-month countdown. Exactly one month until my 27th birthday (October 17th, y’all. Buy me something nice.)…and the end of this 365-day blog. I cannot believe how quickly it’s gone by, but also, holy shit, writing a blog post every day of your life for a year is a lot of work. I’m going to miss it, but I’m also a bit relieved the end of the project is nigh.

SIDENOTE: I’m not going to vanish, though. Trust.

My mom reminded me of a funny story from my childhood yesterday.

One day, when I was still pretty little – older than five because we had my childhood dog, Legacy (the one I barfed on once), but under 10, I think – my mom bought a new vacuum.

I didn’t care much about the vacuum itself, of course. I mean whatever, I didn’t know how to use one and I remember at that point they still kind of scared me. (They’re loud.)

What I cared about was the box.

I remember my mom brought the new vacuum down to our laundry room, unpacked it, and then took it upstairs to give it a test run on our carpets. In the meantime, I was left in the laundry room with a giant box.

What more could a kid want?

I found a pair of large scissors, some felt pens, and I got to work.

I’d say it only took me 10-15 minutes to chop the hell out of the box and draw all over it until it was the perfect doghouse for Legacy. Maybe a little feminine – I had decorated it with pink and purple flowers, which were more my style than his – but it was the perfect size, at the very least. I was elated. I couldn’t wait to show Legacy the masterpiece I had created for him.

It looked like this, except totally not because I still sucked at scissors and I didn’t stay in the lines when I drew or coloured.

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So…more like this, but still uglier.

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I found Legacy and brought him over to see his new doggie mansion, which of course he hated.

He was terrified of boxes.

He wouldn’t go near it, never mind into it.

I was crushed. For about 30 seconds. Then I moved on, looking for something else to play with. (I was sort of a busy child.)

Meanwhile, in the real world, my mom had tried out the vacuum and she hated it. She brought it back downstairs to carefully re-pack it into its box and take it back to the store.

Except…

“WHAT THE FUCK?!”

SIDENOTE: My mom never said that. I mean, maybe in her head. Probably in her head. But my mom like, never swore ever. Even now, I think it’s super funny when she swears. Especially when she swears wrong. Or when she says, “That just blows me!” instead of, “That just blows my mind!” Because it sounds so dirty. Tee hee.

I had destroyed the box.

We were stuck with the shitty vacuum. For years.

Sorry, mom.

Lesson learned: I’ve always been (A) a creative type, (B) a dog lover, and (C) the type of person to act from the heart.

xA

IMPORTANT P.S. I know I have some insanely loyal readers out there, so I want to give you a chance to chime in. Is there anything you really want me to write about? Maybe a life experience you’re curious about? Or something I said I was going to write about in an older post that I never actually wrote? (I forget stuff all the time. Plus 365 days seems like an eternity until you hit the one-month countdown and realize holy shit, it’s not at all.) I’m not making any promises, but I’ll do the best I can! Seriously, let me know.

Three Hundred Thirty.

Blah blah blah, I had a shitty time in junior high blah.

Yes, it was serious. It was more than just getting picked on a couple times.

Here’s what you need to know: I had a BFF – let’s call her Shari – who one day decided to hate me and systematically destroy my life.

Sounds like some serious Mean Girls shit, hey?

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It was.

It literally happened halfway through a regular school day. One moment we were sitting in eighth grade science class having a perfectly normal BFF day, and then the next, I said her name to ask her something and it went a little something exactly like this:

“Shari?”

“FUCK YOU. I HATE YOU. DON’T EVER SPEAK TO ME AGAIN.”

I thought she was kidding at first, but she totally wasn’t.

I had always gotten picked on in school – from my first day of school ever onward – but from that point on, it got really bad. I went from having a small group of friends to having no one because Shari spread vicious rumours about me. Suddenly my friends were prank calling me and saying awful things to me 10-15 times a night. She told every guy in the junior high that I had a crush on them and who knows what else. So every guy in the whole school pointed at me in disgust and laughed at me as I walked down the halls. I got spat on, pushed around, and threatened. I got scream-taunted by the minute. It sucked.

I won’t delve into it any further because this story isn’t actually supposed to be sad.

In the height of sadness, Teenage Andrea sat in her room, trying to think of (non-confrontational, poetic) ways to get back at Shari.

Then she came across a school photo of Shari.

SIDENOTE: Back in the day, kids, we exchanged school photos – yeah, physical photos, like printed on photo paper – with our BFFs and boyfriends (not that I ever had a boyfriend – just a fake one) to show one another how much we cared. We’d even hand write little notes on the back. So retro, right?

Teenage Andrea knew what had to be done.

So Teenage Andrea found a lighter – used to light candles and incense to set the mood while she Goth-ed out to Marilyn Manson’s latest CD – and Teenage Andrea SET FIRE TO THE PHOTO.

Take that, Shari! I hate you, too! You’re mean and awful!

………..

And then the fire got a little out of control, burning Teenage Andrea’s hand, causing her to drop the photo onto her carpet OH SHIT.

I stomped out the (relatively small) flames as fast as I could, and then tried to mask the burnt fabric smell with perfume or something. What I could not mask was the dark brown/black patch in the middle of my blue carpet.

Oops.

I told my mom it was maybe some spilled candle wax. She might have said, “It looks like a burn” and I might have just shrugged and said I had no idea where it came from.

Lesson I learned at the time: DON’T PLAY WITH FIRE. (Duh!)

Lesson I learned now, looking back: Oh my god, I was a sweet kid. That was my “revenge”? Poor Teenage Andrea.

xA

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