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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.

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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 Twenty Five.

When I was in Dublin in 2006, I would say I went on what was a bit of a book shopping binge. You see, a lot of my favourite writers are from Ireland and Scotland, and their books aren’t readily available in Canada, so when I started wandering the streets of Dublin and finding all sorts of amazing books at cute little used bookstores for WAY cheap, I nergasmed. And bought many.

On one particular day, I had just found a very cool first edition of Trainspotting, as well as a copy of an Enda Walsh play I hadn’t read before. I was stoked. So excited. I decided the obvious best thing to do would be start reading Trainspotting immediately. While I was walking back toward my guesthouse.

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Now, it was a summer afternoon in Dublin, and I was staying pretty close to O’Connell Street just north of the Liffey (A.K.A. right in the thick of things), so the side street I was walking down was FULL OF PEOPLE. And it was daylight. Sunny. Beautiful. Not the time you’d expect anything weird and/or scary to just happen.

But shit happens when you least expect it, I suppose.

I was weaving my way in and out of people when all of a sudden, I saw a man getting pushed to the ground just across the street from where I was. In fact, being that it was a pedestrian-only street, I think it’s impossible that anyone didn’t see him getting pushed to the ground. But nobody stopped walking.

I froze where I was, trying to figure out what was going on. The man on the ground, whose hands were both bandaged up as if he had been tossed a hot iron as a cruel prank (so let’s called him Bandages), started screaming and holding onto his head, sheltering himself from the man who had pushed him down, who was now kicking the shit out of him with giant combat boots (so let’s call him The Kicker).

“Hey!” I yelled – or “yelled” (because I was terrified).

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I had no idea what to do. No one around me seemed to care about what was going on. Tourists took note and sped up their pace, turning a blind eye. I was flabbergasted.

When The Kicker started stomping his boot down on Bandages’ face, I pulled out my cell phone and started trying to figure out if I had to dial a country code in order to dial 999 for the police.

STOMP.

“Arrrgh!” Bandages screamed.

STOMP.

I panicked.

Just as my concern shifted from “this guy’s getting hurt” to “this guy might get his skull smashed open on the pavement,” I heard it.

“Hey! Hey! Hey! Knock if off, you fuck!”

Two young women had inserted themselves smack dab into the middle of the confrontation.

Not only were they young women – maybe 25 or so – but they were each pushing a baby in a pram, and the one doing the yelling – a super cute, tiny blonde – was also holding hands with a tiny (maybe four-year-old) boy.

“Stop it! What’s wrong with you?! Get out of here, you!”

And The Kicker listened! He spat on Bandages and then ran away, quickly disappearing into the crowds of people.

The women let go of their prams and helped Bandages into a sitting position on the curb he had just been getting stomped against.

“You all right? Up you come.”

He looked like he had no idea where he was (and I can’t blame him), but he was still alive and in one piece (an accomplishment, given what I had just seen).

And just as quickly as they had intervened in Bandages potentially being killed in the middle of a beautiful summer afternoon in Dublin, the two women gathered their children and went on with their day. I looked up and down the street for The Kicker, but he was nowhere to be seen, so I decided to move on with my day, too. But not before looking at Bandages one last time to make sure he was awake.

He was wavering a bit, sitting on the curb and adjusting the bandages on his hands, but he was alert. I hoped he was figuring out the next step he had to take to never see The Kicker again. In reality, he was probably trying to process what had just happened, and he probably couldn’t even hear never mind think after all of the impact his skull had just suffered.

After a silent well wish for Bandages, I kept walking.

That was the day I learned that Irish mothers are not to be messed with.

And also that the scariest things in life often happen in the blink of an eye.

xA

Three Hundred Twenty One.

I’m reading a book called The Demonologist, which is about the career of Ed and Lorraine Warren. They’re the couple who inspired the film The Conjuring, and they’re also the couple who were called in to help the family who inspired The Amityville Horror.

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All of this reading and talking about the paranormal with friends has me remembering some of the crazy experiences I’ve had. I know I told you all about one of my weird moments down in the Edinburgh Vaults, but now I’m going to tell you about something that happened in Ireland.

When my mom came to visit me in Scotland, we took a trip together to Ireland. I know I’ve mentioned this before. When we were in Killarney, we went on a ghost tour that was probably one of the best I’ve ever been on. It was fun and campy, but it was also rooted in a lot of fact. Yes, we did horror movie trivia on the bus, but we also learned a lot about the city and its (sometimes very dark) history.

The last stop on our tour was Muckross Abbey. Here’s a short Wikipedia blurb:

Muckross Abbey is one of the major ecclesiastical sites found in the Killarney National Park, County Kerry, Ireland. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary for the Observantine Franciscans by Donal McCarthy Mor.

It has had a violent history and has been damaged and reconstructed many times. The friars were often subjected to raids by marauding groups and were persecuted by Cromwellian forces under Lord Ludlow.Today the abbey is largely roofless although, apart from this, is generally quite well preserved. Its most striking feature is a central courtyard, which contains a large yew tree and is surrounded by a vaulted cloister.

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In order to get to the abbey, we had to park on a street and walk through quite a bit of forest. As we made the trek over, the sun was starting to set. By the time we got into the abbey, it was pitch black – the only light we had was one flashlight, held by one of our guides.

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At first, I was a bit annoyed. The only other people on this tour with us were a group of teenage girls and their mom or aunt or whoever. So they were squealing at everything and being generally SUPER annoying. They were so loud and obnoxious that our guides had to ask them multiple times to calm down.

It was totally ruining the mood. While the building was really beautiful and certainly eerie in the darkness, we were mostly just trying to stay away from the teens to save our ear drums. I tried to focus on ignoring them and snapping photos – the flash from my camera was one of the only ways to see the actual building.

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And it was a super cool building.

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SIDENOTE: If you’re a believer in light orbs, my god, I caught so many on camera, it’s not even funny.

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So, while I was having a fascinating time in Muckross Abbey, I wouldn’t say I was having a creepy ghost tour time. Until we got into this one room.

“All right, everyone. This the the room in which we conduct an experiment.” our guide was getting down to business.

I assessed the surroundings. We were in a long, narrow room, somewhat like a hallway. One wall was solid stone, the other was an outside wall, with numerous slit-windows cut into the stone. It was so dark inside that the darkness of the yard outside seemed brighter, so the windows were very visible.

“In a moment, I’m going to turn off the torch [translation: flashlight]. I want you all to line up against that wall. Spread out so you can’t grab each other or scare each other, because this isn’t that kind of ghost tour. Once you’re ready, we’re going to turn out the lights and just take a moment to feel the room. All right?”

After much squealing from the teenagers, we got lined up. I looked at my mom and rolled my eyes. I wished they would just shut up.

And then our guide turned out the lights.

I stood there, staring out the slitted windows, wondering if this actually was one of those ghost tours and a guy in a gorilla mask was about to run in screaming at us (I went on a tour like that in Edinburgh – what a load of shit).

But then I saw something. And it wasn’t outside.

The light coming in from the slitted windows started to be blocked out, as if someone was walking by them. Then it happened again. And again. A row of shadows walked by me.

And then the row of shadows stopped.

Here’s the part where if you don’t already, you may think I’m totally nuts.

Although I didn’t see any faces turn and look at me – what I saw was shadows – I felt one of the men standing in front of me turn and look at me. And what I felt was a sense of judgement – a sort of shame on you – so strong that without even being to process it, I burst into tears. It was as though my heart was being squished by an iron weight. I couldn’t help myself. The sadness and shame and fear took over my entire body and my body panicked in response.

“Turn the lights on.” I started to say, “I need someone to turn the lights one. Turn the lights on!”

How did I get to be the one freaking out?

The guide complied and I promptly grabbed hold of my mom and told her what I saw and felt. She agreed about the shadows blocking out the windows. She had seen them, too.

After that, I couldn’t wait to get out of Muckross Abbey. It was unfortunate that we had to walk back through forest in total darkness (and in the rain) in order to get back to the bus with only one small flashlight for our whole group, because I spent that entire walk fearing that I was going to be attacked by whatever had been so angry at me in that room.

Oh, and if you were wondering, that room we were in was the room in which the Franciscan monks were imprisoned and led to their death. Often chained together.

Comforting.

That was one day (of a few I’ve had in my life) during which I learned that the history of a place is often 100% palpable, no matter how much time has passed.

It also solidified my belief in ghosts, or the paranormal, or whatever you want to call it.

xA

P.S. Tell me your ghost stories.

Three Hundred Fifteen.

So, I got my tarot cards read today.

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Yup.

It’s something I’ve always been curious about, and I figured hey, I’m feeling kind of lost and have felt like my life has been at a crossroads for like, over a year now, so I might as well just give it a go.

It was weird.

Here’s the thing: I consider myself a very intuitive person. On top of that, I’m a writer, so observing people is like, my favourite thing to do. As a result, I feel like I can read people very well, and I’m extra sensitive to how people speak, the subtext of what they say, and how they interact with me.

This woman was nervous around me. Maybe I’m hard to read – fair enough, I’ve been told that before. She seemed to be struggling very hard with figuring out who I am and what I do, and the “imagery” she kept calling upon had little to nothing to do with me.

She told me I should be a food blogger or a sculptor, and that I would have many opportunities for art openings in New York.

SIDENOTE: She told me I’d travel to New York with my red-headed sister, so Laura, if you’re reading this, pack your bags.

Then she told me I should research how to apply to be a food reviewer for blogs and travel the world doing that.

SIDENOTE: Vegan, gluten-free food blogger. I’d be lynched a week into my new career.

She then told me I should consider getting my Master’s degree (I have one), and that it should be in photography.

SIDENOTE: You know what? I fucking love photography. I wish I did more of it. I am always saying that. And I’m a huge camera nerd. So there’s that.

Between asking me questions and making statements about me that I had to constantly reply, “no” to, she cleared her throat, giggled anxiously, and said things like, “Oh, yeah, that felt wrong,” or, “Oh gosh, that was totally off – let’s scrap that.”

To be honest, everything else she said about me was very…general. That I need to focus on loving myself (I know, I really do), and that I should write down three qualities I love about myself every day for 21 days straight (that’s cool, I actually should, and I actually am going to be blogging about something similar very soon). She told me that I should focus on reconnecting with my spirituality (fair enough), and then mentioned that maybe I could manage a number of yoga studios (KILL ME NOW).

SIDENOTE: No offense, yoga lovers. I tried yoga and it was a huge learning experience for me.

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: Oh my fucking god! I thought I had blogged about yoga! I was totally gonna link to it, and it DOESN’T EXIST! And here I thought I was running out of ideas. I’LL NEVER RUN OUT OF IDEAS.

(Haha, watch the universe screw me on like, day 347.)

Guys, I’m not a skeptic. I’ve always been intrigued by tarot and psychics and all that stuff. I totally believe it’s possible. I was totally that 14-year-old with a deck of tarot cards and a book trying to tell my own fortune. (I still have them, too. I know exactly where they are.) Plus, I fucking love Long Island Medium.

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But lesson learned: Today was not my day for a tarot reading.

OR MAYBE

I should become a tarot card reader.

xA

P.S. If you live where I live and you have been to an amazing tarot card reader and/or psychic, TELL ME NOW. I’m so curious it hurts.

P.P.S. Hilariously, the tarot card reader pulled a bunch of cards pertaining to my last relationship, and almost every single thing – like 94% of what she said about him – was (and/or felt) eerily, eerily accurate. So, if you’re reading this and you want to hear about it, send me a smoke signal and when I’m ready, I’ll tell you all about it.

P.P.P.S. Now the yoga post exists.

Three Hundred One.

One thing I have been asked a lot over the last year or so is why I don’t talk about my weight loss.

“You’re totally inspirational,” I’ve had people say, “You should promote yourself more and help other people!”

First of all, the fact that someone may see me as an inspiration is incredibly kind, and I appreciate the sentiment like crazy, I really do.

But there are so many reasons I don’t talk about weight loss, I’ve lost count.

Here are a few.

SIDENOTE: Have you ever noticed how the universe seems to line shit up so that everything sort of happens to you at the same time? It’s like the universe wants you to learn something or something. Weird, that.

Last month, I hit my goal size.

It’s totally none of your business, but that’s a size 10.

Or as I like to joke, “Fashion Fat.”

I feel like this goal shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who knows me at all or has read my blog given the types of women I think are extremely sexy (Jayne Mansfield, Christina Hendricks, Penelope Cruz, etc.). I tend to lean toward the more curvaceous ladies.

SIDENOTE: Maybe it’s because my mom used to take me to the library when I was little and flip through books of classic paintings of fat, gorgeous women and tell me that those painters knew round women were beautiful to make me feel better about being chubby.

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SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: I fucking love my mom.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: Let’s not even get into a debate about whether slim women can be sexy. OF COURSE THEY CAN. I’m not even going to go there. This blog post would never end if I tried to entertain all the sides of this argument/world/issue/whatever the fuck. Okay?

Sometime around last month, I also started hearing a lot of this. (A LOT.)

“Oh my God! You look amazing! What a great start!”

“You look smaller every time I see you – keep going!”

“You’re just gonna keep getting smaller and smaller and looking better and better!”

And then there’s also all the times I’ve been to visit my grandparents in the last few months and they’ve told me how happy they are that I’m beautiful now. “You’ve always had a pretty face,” my grandma said to me, “Thank goodness now your body matches it.”

I also had this wonderful conversation with the greatest* doctor in Edmonton, regarding my damaged knee:

DR: …And the more weight you gain, the worse it’s going to get. (ANDREA’S INTERJECTION: This comment came out of nowhere.)

ME: I’m not gaining weight.

DR: As time goes on and you do…

ME: I’ve lost 110 pounds in the last 18 months. I think if anything, I’ve done a lot of good for my knees.

DR: (Looking me up and down) Well, you’re gonna have to lose A LOT more.

I read this article yesterday, which left me feeling nauseated. In reading it a second time, the part about women perpetuating the social expectation for women to be thinner to be beautiful struck a chord with me because I’ve also had women get upset with me for losing weight. Like my weight loss means I disapprove of anyone bigger than me. Nope, once again, my weight loss is none of your business and it’s not about you.

I recently got called out and reamed out for encouraging a plus-sized girl to wear whatever she wanted because I wasn’t fat enough so I guess that meant I was being condescending?

What the fuck? I spent my entire life being plus-sized and now that I’m not, I can’t think you’re sexy and fashionable?

SIDENOTE: To a great, GREAT percentage of the world, I’m still totally fat, y’all. (See my conversation with the doctor above. Or turn on your TV. Or open a magazine. Or Google “Lena Dunham” or “Mindy Kaling” or “Christina Hendricks” or any other famous woman with hips.)

I was just texting with my BFF about this blog post. Sometimes, I want to write about stuff that feels too big to write about. This is one of those things. Because being plus-sized for 20+ years shaped my life. Being harassed daily for my size shaped my life. But in some ways, losing weight and trying to figure shit out in the last 18 months has been even harder. I could probably write for days and never feel like I’m saying the right thing, saying enough, properly expressing how I feel.

For today, I’ll say this: I’m happy where I am. That doesn’t mean I don’t have further goals. But I love my size. I love my body – flaws, stretchmarks, issues, and spots that trigger massive self-consciousness and all. And I just want you to be happy, too. If you want to lose weight, I will cheer you on. (Unless you think you HAVE TO lose weight because you won’t be beautiful until you’re a size 0 – then we need to chat.) If you want to gain weight (Yeah, guess what, world? A lot of people struggle to gain weight!), I will cheer you on. If you don’t want to change at all, I will cheer you on.

Basically, can we all just do our thing and let other people do theirs?

Lesson learned: Weight. I don’t talk about it because it’s personal.

And I just talked about it. And I’m gonna feel weird about this for THE REST OF TIME.

Bonus Lesson: I’ve also learned that I’m a very “live and let live” person. Writing this kept making me think of when people ask me if I’d only date/marry a gluten-free vegan, which seems preposterous to me. Nope. As long as he doesn’t think what I eat is stupid and he’s respectful of me, he can eat whatever he wants. And no, I’m not judging you when you order meat when we go to dinner together, friends. Do your thing. I like you for you. Not what you eat. Not what you wear. For who you are.

xA

*See: NOT.

P.S. Endless thank yous to the wonderful people in my life who encourage me – and have always encouraged me – no matter what. To the friends who don’t care about numbers or anything else but me. To the friends who say “congrats!” rather than “…really?” about my goals. To the guy who told me I have an amazing body. Oh, and to one of my favourite Zumba students ever, who last week told me I’d better start eating more because she doesn’t want me to vanish. Best. Ever.

Two Hundred Ninety Six.

A little known fact about me (only because you haven’t asked): I love wax museums.

LOVE THEM.

If we were in some random, small, creepy town and there were a wax museum, I’d totally go anyway.

I spent like, half a day at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam.

So when I was in Dublin with my mom, there was no question: we had to hit up the National Wax Museum.

It was totally great!

Until I saw Oscar Wilde.

I don’t know if I have talked enough about Oscar Wilde on this blog. Basically, you just need to know that I love him. I’ve loved his writing since I was young – like 12 or so. I’ve named one of my dogs after him. My entire Master’s thesis was inspired by his work. I know it sounds a little weird, but I am 100% convinced that in a past life, I lived in Dublin and knew him. (I should blog about that…)

To the two of you who are still reading this (okay, maybe there are five of you, because three of you are going, “Oscar WHO?”), thanks for staying with me.

There I was at the National Wax Museum, staring down a wax sculpture of Oscar Wilde. I wouldn’t even call it an amazing likeness. It was fairly good. I felt like the hair semi-concealing his face was a bit of a cop out. But it was good.

But being next to it freaked me right out.

Oscar 1

“Get in there!” my mom waved me in excitedly, “I’m gonna take a photo!”

I took a step toward the sculpture and stopped.

I turned toward it.

Stared it down.

“What’s wrong?”

“I dunno,” I said, “It’s freaking me out.”

“Get in there! I’ll take a picture. GET IN THERE!”

(My mom gets really excited sometimes.)

I took another step toward the sculpture and sort of leaned in. I don’t feel like I can properly convey just how uncomfortable I was, guys. I felt like I was intensely close to the sculpture. I felt like it was basically breathing on me. My blood pressure was up. I was nervous.

Basically I thought it was going to come to life and kill me or something.

(I have no idea why.)

This is how close I was:

With Oscar

So…not close AT ALL.

As you can also tell, I had a hard time staying still because I just wanted to GET THE HELL AWAY from the sculpture.

I thought that I was developing some irrational fear of Oscar Wilde or wax sculptures. But how could that be possible? I had never felt that way about them before. And when I was at Madame Tussauds a few months later, I took photos with all sorts of wax sculptures (I basically made out with the David Bowie one), so what the hell, right?

Fast forward to the Cultural Centre of Belém in Portugal, where I came across this fucking guy:

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I turned the corner and there he was. I stopped dead in my tracks.

Was he real?

I waited a few moments and he didn’t move.

I took another photo:

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I coughed. I cleared my throat.

Nothing.

It was an installation.

And I COULD NOT GET NEAR IT.

That’s when all the pieces came together, flashing before my eyes.

Lesson learned: I still love wax sculptures. I just fear any sculpture that is leaning forward just so, making their face not entirely visible. Because I think they will come to life and kill me. (Obviously.)

Can you blame me?

xA

Two Hundred Ninety Four.

It was a random summer day, back when I was working at the bookstore. I was shelving books at the back of the store. Shelving books was actually one of my favourite tasks, because it allowed me to be organized, and when it was my sole duty, it also meant that I rarely had to stop to help customers.

SIDENOTE: Customers. What a drag.

Anyway, there I was shelving books. I had about six copies of one book that all needed to go together (obviously), so I had to move some others out of the way. I reached for a book and OUT OF NOWHERE a cricket jumped at my face.

A cricket.

?????????????????

A cricket?! What the fuck?!

I screamed – naturally – and the cricket jumped toward me again. My manager, with whom I had become friends, was pretty close by, so I yelled at him and he trapped the cricket underneath the stepping stool I had been using to reach the top shelves.

That’s all you need to know. Well, it’s all that happened.

It was traumatic.

Another day, one of my friends called me and told me about how she hadn’t been sleeping in her bedroom for the last few days, because the crickets she kept in a tank to feed to her chameleon had somehow escaped and were all over her room, chirping.

That didn’t even happen to me and it was traumatic.

Okay.

At my desk at work, my hard drive sits on top of a thick piece of Styrofoam. To be honest, I have no idea why the Styrofoam is there, because the height difference doesn’t seem to change anything about the setup, but it’s always been there, so I’ve never questioned it.

When I sit at my desk, I often cross one leg over the other, and sometimes, my dangling foot will rub against the Styrofoam ever so slightly. When it does this, the Styrofoam makes a very light squeaking sound.

Without fail, EVERY TIME I hear the squeak, I panic and think there’s a cricket under my desk.

I’d love to tell you that this has only happened a few times in the eight or whatever months I’ve been at my job. I’d love to tell you that. But it happens more like 30 times a day.

Lesson learned: It sure didn’t take much for me to be destroyed by crickets.

xA

P.S. If you’re keeping track of super cool shit I do at work, here’s a bonus story. I did a fairly intense chest and back strength training workout last night, so my pecs and “wings” (right under the armpit) are super sore. Right near the end of my work day, I was gripping my sore pecs because, well, they were sore, when some random guy I have never seen on my floor before walked by. He stared at me in horror while I seemingly cupped my own tits.

So that was awesome.

Two Hundred Eighty Three.

Oh my god, this is going to be too easy.

Seriously, though.

“Carina shuffled through the dresser that held her clothing. It all appeared alien to her in this moment, as though someone else had removed all of the contents and replaced them in a disorderly fashion.

LESSON LEARNED: Don’t state the obvious.

(A dresser hold clothes. If it’s alien, it seems like someone else’s.)

DUH.

I feel like today was a freeeeeee fucking ride. So I’ll tell you what: I’m going to go back to blogging about life, and then maybe I’ll compile a HUGE LIST of all the things I’m going to learn from this TERRIBLE NOVELLA.

By the way, in case you were wondering, this is what teenage me looked like. Just replace the guitar with a computer. Oh geez.

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Da na na na na na na na GOTH KID.

xA

P.S. Yes, I did edit this blog post because there was an extra “na” in the song lyrics at the end.

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