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Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope. I still don’t have any answers. And I still don’t feel like a grown up. Maybe slightly closer, but I still don’t even want to have to take care of a houseplant.

SIDENOTE: Somehow I manage to keep my dogs alive and happy. I don’t know how that works. Life Math is weird.

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

My BFF Jo texted me yesterday and said, “It’s your last day as a 26 year old.”

At first I kind of panicked. Holy shitballs. 26. It’s over. I feel like it just started. I know it sounds like a super cliche, but in some ways, it really was like the blink of an eye.

I started this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself as a writer. Early in 2012, I kind of lost faith in myself. I hit a major rough patch and thought wow, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I don’t want to ever write again. Of course, I eventually came around and realized that writing is the thing I love the most. And in the same vein, I knew that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d have to write.

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

I wasn’t really expecting that forcing myself to write a blog post every day – a story that somehow led to me learning a life lesson, no matter how small – would help me be happy. I saw it as much more of an exercise than anything else. And an opportunity to maybe be funny. But I have to say, writing this blog has given me a completely different outlook on my entire life. It’s helped me understand how my past has made me who I am. It’s helped me work through a lot of difficult times and put a positive spin on things I would have never otherwise laughed at. It’s helped me approach life in a much more open, accepting way.

Like, happen to me, life: I’m ready to learn from you.

That was a disaster. Oh well, next time will be better!

I can’t believe that just happened. I am mortified. Also, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to tell people.

I did it! Someone pat me on the fucking back!

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

I am hurting. I need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

At the same time, I had come to a bit of a crossroads with myself. I had hit a self-love low. I was feeling depressed, defeated, discouraged, you name it. I decided enough was enough: it was time to make the active decision to be happy.

I also discovered that Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks. And my world was turned upside down. In a good way.

To quote myself (is that totally pretentious? I’m trying to recap, shut up.):

Jayne Mansfield, the American actress, singer, Playboy playmate, and all around drop-dead gorgeous bombshell, was flawed in a way that has been the root of much of my self-consciousness for all of my teenage and adult life.

So…all of that got me here.

SIDENOTE: It’s really hard writing the last post of a 365-day blog.

It’s going to be difficult to let this blog go. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and my first thought is going to be, “What can I write about today?” or, “Oh shit! I still have to blog today!”

But I’m looking forward to channelling my creative energy into a number of other projects that I’ve already either started or am about to. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m not going anywhere. Maybe there will be another blog. Maybe not. But I promise there will be something.

I was trying to think of a fun way to commemorate the end of this blog.

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

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And so do I.

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xA

P.S. It’s hilariously ironic that in the majority of the pin-up photos I took, my stretchmarks aren’t that visible. Because they’re everywhere.

But I guess there’s a life lesson in that, isn’t there?

I’m probably the only one who really notices them.

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P.P.S. Things I meant to write but forgot: Happy Birthday to me! Also, here’s to 27! I’m crazy excited for it!

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Three Hundred Sixty Five.

I know this is a 365-day blog, but this is technically the penultimate post, because it’s a birthday to birthday thing. And tomorrow’s my birthday!

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SIDENOTE: Have you bought me a birthday present yet? We can’t be friends if you didn’t because all I care about is material possessions.

Anyway, I thought what better way to spend the second-last day of my crazy year-long blog than looking back on some of its best moments?

SIDENOTE: Maybe that should say best/”best”…

Think of this, if you will, as a flashback episode of your favourite TV sitcom. With the help of a couple friends, I’ve compiled some categories I think you’ll enjoy.

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

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Oh boy. Where to even start with this one?! Well, okay…

1. Pressing buttons was (OKAY, STILL IS) a thing I loved doing. See examples A and B.

2. Of course, there was the time I electrocuted myself

3. The day I put scissors through my finger

4. Setting fire to things is never a good idea.

5. Neither is writing a hate letter to your childhood friend.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give honourable mention to the day I learned that “bastard” is a bad word. Oh, and also to the combination of shaving off my eyebrows and getting hair extensions.

And guess what?! It’s your lucky day. I found a photo of teenage Andrea with hair extensions and no eyebrows. And apparently I have no shame because I’m gonna post it on the Internet.

Extensions

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Moving on!

Top 5 Most Awkward Moments

If you haven’t deduced by now, I am the QUEEN OF AWKWARD. This is quite the random assortment, but I feel it encompasses who I am pretty well…

1. The day a goat ate my t-shirt. (Enough said.) (Stupid goats.) (Seriously, why would she do that to me?!) (Ugh.) (I fucking loved that t-shirt.) (SOB.)

2. The day I learned about orgasms in sex ed. (Is anyone else craving cake?!)

3. Barrel-chested. That is all.

4. The day the National Poet of Scotland called me stupid. Which I really should add to my resume.

5. My elementary school “boobies” moment.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

There are so, so many, but I feel like my Pilates FAIL and my Zumba BARF moments were pretty grand.

Top 5 “SRSLY?!” Moments

You know those moments. The ones that make you go, “what the fucking?!”

1. People and my tattoos. Why are people so weird about my tattoos?

2. That time a guy threw a book at my face. No big deal.

3. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAN.

4. Nothing says “what the fuck?” like getting pepper sprayed!

5. Also charming: when people tell you how to pronounce your own name

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give myself a shout out for fucking up my neck by making fun of someone on a Zumba DVD. Because who the fuck does that? This girl, right here.

But the greatest honourable mention in this category goes to Glasgow, Scotland, where I experienced so many WTF things, including…

Finding a tooth in an ATM.

Finding a used tampon on a bus.

And buses in general.

Among so many others. I fucking love you, Glasgow. I really do.

Top 5 Workplace Blunders

It’s a wonder I still have my job. It really is. It’s also a wonder I still have any self-confidence after all of the stupid humbling things that have happened to me at work…

1. My friends still bring up the day I parked on the sidewalk.

2. Also charming: locking yourself in a stairwell on your first day of work.

3. Or, you know, getting caught dancing in the bathroom.

4. Similarly, walking in on your coworkers in the bathroom.

5. Or traumatizing them with your hair colour.

BONUS PHOTO:

Getting caught taking a selfie at work.

Work selfie

At least I know my office mate loves me and doesn’t judge me.

Top 5 Relationship/Sex Fails

Look. I’d prefer we don’t dwell on how much I suck at relationships, okay? OKAY?!

1. I have been known to throw myself at guys I like.

2. I’ve learned the hard way that spin the bottle will only break your heart.

3. So will going after guys who don’t care that you exist. (But you can keep trying to shout “LOVE ME! LOOOOOVE MEEEE!” at them. Trust me. Guys SUPER love that.)

4. I’m good at ending up in awkward sex situations.

5. And awkward kissing situations, sometimes.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS AND A BONUS PHOTO:

Okay, well, first of all, heartbreak, right?

I think I also screwed it up with this guy, because he was clearly paying me a compliment.

Let’s not forget all of my failed marriages. Sigh.

And the time a MONSTER RASH ruined my potential Scottish boyfriend.

And hey, since I’ve already shown you how great I looked with hair extensions as an eyebrowless wonder, here’s a photo of me in the midst of the MONSTER RASH attack. This was after I managed to get my eyes open, because they were swollen shut.

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Good lord…

Top 5 Accomplishments

I didn’t screw up everything, though. I’ve done some stuff. Yeah. I do things! I TCB every once in a while!

1. I’ve gotten over a lot of fear to become a Zumba instructor.

2. Then I stuck with it for a year and changed my life.

3. I grew back my eyebrows, guys. I fucking did it!

4. I got over some serious “I can’t!” bullshit and also tried wall climbing.

5. Oh, hey, I also learned how to embrace myself sometimes. I think that’s pretty huge.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

I BLOGGED EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 365 FUCKING DAYS.

A year, guys. A YEAR.

I’m excited to celebrate my birthday with you all tomorrow.

xA

P.S. I know what you’re thinking. There totally should have been some sort of crazy travel category. But I just couldn’t narrow that shit down. So you’ll just have to re-read my entire blog to enjoy.

Three Hundred Sixty Three.

A lot of my friends say I have wicked fashion sense.

You know what I say?

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Clearly it’s just a God-given gift.

Lesson learned: When you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

xA

Three Hundred Sixty Two.

Well, it took over a year as a fitness instructor, but it finally happened.

I had to throw away my shoes because they STANK.

SIDENOTE: They also exploded – like, almost ripped in half – but still, they stank.

It technically only took about six months, because prior to that, I wore all sorts of unsupportive shoes and switched them up every day. But then I crashed hard and was forced to cave and buy expensive – but oh so comfortable – real sneakers for real activity.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, because I wear my workout shoes at least seven times a week, if not more on days I have more than one workout.

But still, yuck.

I know that everyone probably has an aversion to stinky shoes, but I feel like my aversion is also a paranoia.

You see, when I was in junior high and my brother was in high school, he had a girlfriend and she had the smelliest feet ever.

You’re probably thinking, “They couldn’t have been that bad.” But you’re so wrong.

If you’re all sitting around in the living room and you can smell someone’s feet from across the room, that’s too much.

If you flop onto the couch hours later and bury your face into a pillow only to recoil instantly from the horrendous, lingering stench and you recoil with such ferocity that you fall off the couch, that’s way too much.

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If as soon as someone leaves your house, you need to Febreeze the shit out of everything including your face because you feel like all you can smell is feet, that’s ridiculously too much. It’s so too much that it becomes nothing at all again.

SIDENOTE: That doesn’t make sense. I’m okay with that.

I feel bad saying all of this, because it was probably this girl’s awkward teenage “thing,” and I certainly dealt with lots of things myself, but still, it was kind of the worst.

What have I learned?

When you’re teaching Zumba and you can smell your own shoes, it’s time for new shoes.

(Thank goodness it’s just a one-pair-of-shoes issue.)

xA

P.S. I’m sorry for sounding like a judgemental twat about my brother’s high school girlfriend’s feet. It’s actually pretty hilarious when you think about it. Plus I was a kid. Plus it’s gross. And funny. And gross.

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P.P.S. I love American Horror Story. And I LOVE JESSICA LANGE.

Three Hundred Sixty.

All right.

So about a week ago, I put a poll into my blog asking you guys if I should “do something that may drive me a little crazy just for the experience to blog about” and you jerks said yes.

SIDENOTE: A couple of you said no, which I think is really sweet. Thanks for trying to protect me, you two people. Too bad everyone else I know is a horrible person.

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: < / sarcasm >

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: Like I’m ever going to be done with sarcasm.

Anyway, so I did it.

I put on fake nails.

“Girl Nails,” I sometimes call them.

SIDENOTE: Yes, I’m aware that’s a gender stereotype, because look at me.

I’ve always kept my nails short. Like, super short. Sometimes my friends say their nails are short and I look at them and I see talons.

Maybe it’s because I played violin as a kid and guitar and bass as a teen, but longer nails have always driven me crazy. I hate how they feel. I get weird about them when they get dirty. (Okay, fine, I’m a straight up germophobe.) They’re just a nuisance. But I’ve always thought they look really nice.

I think I’ve had long nails twice in my life. Once I grew mine out naturally, and I think I kept them about a week before I lost my mind and chopped them down.

SIDENOTE: My “long” natural nails were equal to when the friends above tell me theirs are “short.”

Then there was a day maybe five years ago when I decided to put on fake nails for a New Year’s Eve event I was working at the theatre. I think I lasted about a day and a half before freaking out and taking them off.

So I thought it was about time to try again. After all, I’m older, I’m more mature, I’m much cooler and calmer about life now.

SIDENOTE: Genuine LOL.

Okay, so really, I assumed they would drive me batshit crazy. But I thought it might make a good story.

Funny how that worked out!

I applied the nails at approximately 10pm last night. It was a bit of a trying process. Here are the life lessons I learned just from the application process, which will make next time (ha! next time) easier:

(A) Start with the “trickier” hand.

(B) Start with the smaller nails.

(C) Super glue is VERY sticky.

I have to say, the end result was actually pretty nice.

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I was like, “Well, HEY. Maybe I can be a girl with pretty fake nails!”

photo1…For approximately five minutes.

Then I tried to get on with my life.

“HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS?!” I texted my BFF Jolene, who rocks gorgeous gel nails all the time.

Oh, and it took me about 10 minutes to even text her because NAILS ON MY HANDS.

I sort of got the hang of using my iPhone, so I managed to calm down for a little while. I watched some American Horror Story: Asylum (OH MY GOD YOU GUYS I LOVE THIS SHOW WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO WATCH IT!?) and chilled, stopping to look at my nails every 32 seconds because (A) I was freaked out by them and (B) they looked so pretty!

I never really stopped to consider my bedtime routine…

Not that bedtime routine, you pervs.*

I got to my room and looked in the mirror.

Oh, right, I thought to myself, I wear contacts.

Oh, shit.

It took me approx. 15 minutes to get my contacts out of my eyes, and I scratched the shit out of one of them. It’s still sore.

Then I went to get changed for bed and OH MY FUCKING GOD OUCH scratched a huge cut down my side/bum when I took my pants off.

I limped to my bed and got under the covers, feeling scared and defeated and losing a lot of blood.

SIDENOTE: Okay, fine. There was no blood.

Once I was asleep, I was safe.

I didn’t have any nightmares about the Talons of Death. Not that I remember, anyway. Maybe they’re surface 10 years down the line and I’ll be traumatized all over again.

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I woke up this morning feeling pretty well rested. It went a little something like this:

ANDREA opens her eyes slowly, soaking in the morning sunshine coming through her bedroom window. She takes a deep breath in, exhaling with a happy sigh. That was a good sleep.

Then the dreaded memory hits her. Her face drops.

OH RIGHT I’M WEARING FAKE NAILS. I HATE MY LIFE.

Guys, I couldn’t do it.

I sacrificed a morning of productivity to soak my hands in a bowl of acetone nail polish remover to get the nails the hell off my hands.

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IT TOOK FUCKING FOREVER.

But I honestly felt trapped. I had to teach a Zumba class this morning. How was I going to get dressed? How was I going to put my contacts back in? How would I brush my teeth? Later, how would I shower? HOW? HOW? HOW?

So, let’s recap:

Time wearing nails: ~ 12 hours (6 of which I was asleep for)

Injuries sustained: a scratched eye, a scratched bum, and two bloody fingers/nails (from the removal process)

SEE ALSO: wounded pride

Sanity: wavering, but slowly returning since removal of nails

Lesson learned: I’m a short-short nails girl. I’m going to just have to admire my friends’ nails for the rest of my life.

xA

P.S. Next time I say I want to try fake nails again, SLAP ME. Or remind me that I wear contacts.

*Wouldn’t ever consider trying that on day 1 with fake nails. Ouch.

Three Hundred Fifty Nine.

If you read my blog often (bless your heart), you may remember me mentioning that I’ve had a really bad cold. Two weeks and one day after it hit me, I am finally starting to feel maybe partially normal again. Thank goodness.

As you know, colds come with lots of congestion, which is a huge drag. After about five days of not being able to breathe, I decided to try taking a bath with some eucalyptus oil infused in it, to clear up my sinuses.

Oh my god, you guys, it was amazing.

It was soothing and calming and yes, after I got out of the tub, I felt like I could take a deep breath. I mean sure, it only lasted about 15 minutes, but they were glorious minutes and that’s all that mattered.

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(Sigh while you can!)

Last week, when I realized the snot in my face was going nowhere (charming, I know), I decided it was time to relive the beauty of the eucalyptus bath. I ran the water, poured in some eucalyptus oil, and let the fragrant steam fill the room.

Deep breath in; deep breath out.

Wonderful.

I peeled off my clothes and sunk into the deliciously hot water.

Deep breath in; deep breath out.

Wonderful.

I lay back, closed my eyes, and soaked in the moment.

Deep breath in; deep breath out.

Wonderful.

Then I realized, hey, you know what? I should shave my legs.

Yeah, I’ll get all smooth and silky. That’ll make me feel better about the day and all the snot.

Perfect.

So I grabbed my and started doing my thing.

Deep breath in; deep breath out.

“OH MY FUCKING GOD.”

I guess shaving opened up all the pores in my legs. Because the eucalyptus oil started to fill them. And while the initial sensation was cool and refreshing, the 45-seconds-into-in sensation was FREEZER BURN.

“Ohmygodohmygodohmygodfuckshitohmygodfuckingcoldhell…

…fuckshitohmyfuckinggodgottagetoutfuckfuckohmygod…

…whatthefuckiswrongwithmeOFCOURSEANDREAwhatthefuckwereyouthinking…

…fuckingcoldohmygodwhatishappeningI’mdyingthisisthefucking…

…worstohmygodohmygodohmygod.”

So that was fun.

And then I shivered for the rest of the day.

Lesson learned: Don’t shave your legs in a bath with mint and/or eucalyptus oil.*

xA

*Good thing that’s all I decided to groom…

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P.S. Those of you asking, no, I didn’t forget about how I polled you on whether I should do something that will drive me crazy just to blog about it, and that blog post is coming soon (because you’re all jerks and you voted I should do it). Sometime in the next WEEK, since that’s all that’s left! WHAT!

 

 

Three Hundred Fifty Seven.

I realized yesterday that my most prominent scar has also been on my body the longest, and that’s kind of unusual.

Even the scar from the day I put scissors through my finger has faded, and I was around six or seven when that happened. And I’ve sustained many injuries I thought for sure would leave me with bad scars that never did.

One day, when I was just under two years old, I was chasing my brother around the house. This was not unusual, which you should know by now since my brother is the coolest and I like him a lot. Also, the apartment we lived in at the time was laid out in such a way that you could run a full loop between the living room and kitchen, so that was fun. Lots of opportunity to pick up speed with each lap.

SIDENOTE: Remember when you were a little kid and when you ran, you always felt like you were running THE FASTEST EVER? And it was amazing and magical? Almost like you were flying? I miss that feeling. I love that feeling.

Anyway.

I bite my lip a lot. I don’t really have an explanation aside from the fact that it’s there so I bite it, but it’s just something I do. I bite it when I’m thinking. I bite it when I laugh. I bite it when I’m listening. I bite it when sexy times are approaching. (Sorry, Mom.) I bite it subconsciously. And apparently, it’s something I’ve always done.

SIDENOTE: If I lived in 50 Shades of Grey, I’d be in soooooo much trouble.

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SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: If you haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey and therefore do not get that reference, GOOD FOR YOU. You think you’re better than me? I rage read the entire fucking trilogy just so that I could make educated (maybe not the best word choice considering the subject matter) judgements of it and yes, they’re one of the worst things my brain has ever had to experience. So CONGRATS for not giving in, because they’re as bad as you think. And then some. JERK.

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BARF.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: How was that for dramatic, right? I’m here all week. (Actually, just barely over a week! Wah!)

ANYWAY.

So there I was, chasing my brother around the apartment and biting my lip, I imagine because I was laughing and smiling really hard.

And then I fell.

And then my teeth went through my bottom lip.

Whenever I tell that story, people go, “OMG OUCH!” and I nod and agree with them, but also, I have no recollection of this moment in my life because I wasn’t even two, so I guess it’s no big deal.

Almost 25 years later, though, I still have the scar to show for it:

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(Can you see it? It’s hard to photograph scars, which is maybe a good thing for people who have scars and are worried about them.)

Other things I still have scars from:

The day I got run over by a bike.

The day I removed my own stitches.

Scars. You might not like them (I don’t mind any of mine, but I get it if you have a scar you hate), but hey, at least you’ve got stories to tell, right?

Kind of like when you think about if you were in Back to the Future, what would you change? And then you decide maybe you wouldn’t change anything, because even though you’ve been through some shit – and maybe you’ve gone through A LOT of shit – it’s all just a part of what makes you who you are today?

SIDENOTE: ……do you not think about that?

……me neither!

xA

P.S. Total FALSE ALARM on thinking I had Internet at home yesterday. It’s still down! It’s like living in the past! And it BLOWS.

P.P.S. So I blogged from work today. Don’t tell my boss.

 

Three Hundred Fifty Six.

Hey, guess what? I’m on a computer again!

SIDENOTE: I hope the Internet doesn’t crash before I can post this. It’s been a ridiculous two days of fighting with Shaw. (You’re ruining my life, Shaw!).

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: It totally did, but I think (!?) it’s back again…

One of my friends approached me the other day about helping her out with a photo shoot for a model search contest. She wanted my help with makeup and styling, but in the end, the friend she had planned on taking the photos themselves fell through, so she asked if I’d be up for that as well.

I said, “of course!” and then I tried to remember the last time I pulled out my camera.

Being that this is the future, I could look on my camera and figure it out.

A YEAR.

More than a year.

How insane is that?

This from the girl who used to go out and take photos like, every day while she was living abroad.

What happened to me?

For like, three days leading up to the shoot, I also panicked that I’d do it wrong. What if I was a horrible photographer? What if she hated every shot I took? What if I couldn’t remember how to use my camera? Why did I agree to take photos when I’m not what I’d call a pro at it?

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Then I got behind the camera and forgot what I was worried about.

I really love taking photos. I find it calming. It makes you stop and think about what you’re looking at, how you’re seeing it, how you feel about it, and how you want the world to see it later. It makes you think about all the stories people will see and feel when they look at the photos after the fact. I don’t know. I just love it.

SIDENOTE: It helped that I had a gorgeous, talkative, hilarious model to work with for the afternoon, I guess. (Hi, Rachel. <3)

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Anyway, I decided enough is enough – I have to make a point of taking photos more often again.

So I guess the lesson I learned is that it’s really important to feed all your passions. They’re all connected, anyway. Getting the little (or big) flicker of inspiration in your soul from one just pushes you to move forward with all the others.

It’s really important – even when your life is a fucking gong show (not that mine is*) – to take moments, however small, to do the things you love.

Maybe that’s a better way of putting it.

Look at this sass:

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xA

*IT IS.

Three Hundred Fifty Five.

You know what blows? Not having Internet when you have a 365-day blogging project that is coming to a close. I’ve told Shaw via Twitter that they’re ruining my life. Aside from that, not much to do but wait it out.

SIDENOTE: They didn’t acknowledge the whole “ruining my life” bit, but they insist they’re looking into it. Clearly they have no idea how important my blog is.

So here’s something that’s sort of been resonating with me since last week.

On Thursday, my office mate was asking me about the comic con I went to, so we started having an in-depth conversation about it. When he asked me if I dressed up, I said, “not really, but a lot if people did” and then I showed him the video my friends made of cosplayers at the Expo, which he loved.

Our conversation shifted to professional cosplayers, which we both agreed would be a crazy cool job.

“I wonder how you even start a career like that,” I mused.

“I think most of them are models, too. I think you just have to have really good costumes so people want to take photos of you. Maybe it snowballs from there.”

“I guess.”

“You should plan all the cons you want to go to and then try to network with photographers – non-creepy photographers* – but you probably need time to gather an arsenal of like, really good costumes first. When is the Calgary comic con? You could probably be ready by then.”

To which I replied with a blank stare, and since I’m blogging on my phone yet again, I’m working with the photos I’ve got on my phone, so….
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I’m not going to be a professional cosplayer. I just think it would be cool.”

“Oh. Well, you could totally do it!”

“You’re crazy, but thanks!”

I have to say, sort of like when my dad told me I should be a professional dancer (genuine LOL), there’s something so encouraging about someone you’re not very close with telling you that you could so something you’ve never dreamed you would be capable of. Or a person you wouldn’t expect to be the most concerned with how you’re sick and feeling miserable and need a reason to smile.

People are swell.

xA

*Good call.

P.S. I’m giving up this blog to become a professional Wonder Woman. Or Batgirl. Or Poison Ivy. Nice knowing you!

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