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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.

jayne

And so do I.

Image2

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.

Image7_2

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!

600px-US_27.svg

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

photo(1)

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.

Photo 130

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 Forty Five.

Yesterday at work, I had to phone Air Canada for my boss.

They have this dumb rule where if you cancel a flight, you can only use your credit if you book over the phone. What? Yeah. It’s one of a number of bizarre rules and exceptions they place on this particular situation.

Anyway.

Phoning an airline. Great.

I was on hold for approximately 20 minutes. I stopped counting because I was on hold so long that I passed through the “Oh, I’ll just wait and listen carefully for when somebody picks up” phase and well into the “Fuck it, I’m working, I’m talking to other people, I’m busy, and when they pick up, they’d better say ‘HELLO’ very clearly because ain’t nobody got time for this shit” phase.

hold-da-fuck-up-2-300x200

Also, I stopped counting because the phone was hurting my ear. Like, within minutes. And because of the position of the phone on my desk, I couldn’t really switch ears. So I tried to keep myself distracted.

So I finally got through, and of course the conversation wasn’t a quick one. I’m not going to bore you to death with all of the details. What you need to know is that all in, I was on the phone for about 45 minutes yesterday.

45 minutes!!

Let me tell you about today.

Today, it feels like I got punched in the ear. Yes, that’s right, my left ear is so sore from the stupid phone that it kind of hurts when I adjust my hair.

And when I woke up this morning, I noticed that my neck and shoulder felt really weird. It only occurred to me much, much later that that’s the result of my craned-neck multitasking – holding the phone onto my shoulder with my chin while I continued to work.

WHAT THE HELL?

When I was in my pre-teens and teens, I used to talk on the phone for hours at a time.

Is this evolution?

Guys, this is it.

It’s the future.

Talking on the phone isn’t glamorous like this anymore:

VintageWomanOnPhone

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend  the day with my head tilted the other way to try to even this shit out.

xA

Two Hundred Seventy Five.

Look, I’m the first to admit that I have authority issues.

Did I ever tell you guys about my awful university drama instructor who called me a “natural dissident” during a yelling match we had? I did, just in a different context. He was batshit crazy…

Anyway, on top of having authority issues, I can be forgetful about certain things. Maybe it’s my authority issues taking over my brain or something, but I have an overdue fee at the university library here for $2 that I haven’t paid in almost three years. And I work on campus.

So I got a parking ticket.

“SUNUVAB!” I shouted, when I got it. (Pronounce the ‘B’ at the end as ‘bee.’ Okay, cool.)

That was back in April.

Yes, yes, I put off paying it. Because I was annoyed. I was irritated that I got it. I was being stubborn.

But I swear that I meant to pay it eventually. I really did.

Today I got this in the mail:

Conviction

“NOTICE OF CONVICTION”?!

Could they word that a little more strongly? I mean, come on!

So I opened the letter and wanted to cry because I love words and I take them seriously and I don’t like being told I’m being convicted because not only is that a very strong word, but also, I HAVE AUTHORITY ISSUES and NO ONE’S GONNA CONVICT ME.

So I went from, “SUNUVAB” to something more along the lines of, “Fucksakegottabefuckingkiddingmeconvictionfuck” and I logged onto the online fine payment website.

$50 ticket.

$20 additional fine for taking too long to pay.

$9 service fee for paying online. (But we all know if I had to actually get to the registry, it’d be another year until I paid, and it said my license was revoked until I paid…)

GST.

$79.45 that stupid ticket cost me.

Lesson learned: PAY YOUR TICKETS ON TIME.

OR JUST DON’T GET THEM AT ALL.

Blerg.

xA

Two Hundred Sixty Seven.

Here’s my train of thought…

Speaking of getting lost in Belgium

+

You know how they say people in Paris are really rude?

Okay.

I’m here to tell you that all of the mean people “they” say live in Paris actually live in Charleroi.

(Sorry, Charleroi. Maybe you tried. Maybe this was an isolated incident. But it happened, so…)

Charleroi is a city in Belgium, fairly close to Brussels. One reason you might go there is that it is home to a small airport that hosts all of the cheap airlines.

Really, that’s the first warning sign. The airports that host all the cheap airlines are never awesome. Because it never pays to be broke. Or something. Was that deep? It’s the best I’ve got right now.

Anyway, that’s where we were heading after our trip to Belgium for New Year’s. We had to get up ridiculously early for our flight, because the train ride to get there was quite lengthy. But we were on top of it. We gave ourselves plenty of time. No problem.

SIDENOTE: Do I ever say “no problem” on this blog and not immediately discuss a problem? I’m so predictable. I’ll try to mix it up for my last 98 posts…

But it was a very cold winter in Belgium that year, so about halfway through our train journey, our train just stopped. I thought maybe we were changing tracks or waiting for a different train to pass us or something, so I didn’t panic. But after 15 minutes or so had gone by, my mom and I started to wonder. Eventually we were notified that the tracks were frozen.

Brilliant.

After over 30 minutes stopped on the tracks, we had no longer left ourselves enough time to get to the airport when we needed to. You see, the other joy of cheap airlines is they put all sorts of insane deadlines and rules on you. Like you have to check your bag like, two hours before your flight or you can’t check it at all. What the hell is that, right?

By the time we got to the airport, I believe we had something like 45 minutes until our flight was meant to take off. It’s not bad in the real, normal world, but at Charleroi, we were way late.

SIDENOTE: I’ve chosen to skip over how horribly rude everyone at the train station in Charleroi was to us. Because I’m still mad about it and don’t want to get worked up. Also, I’m writing this at work, and that’s not cool.

We hurried up to our check-in desk to see if they would still take our bags and let us on the flight.

“What do you want?” The lady at the desk was super nice.

“Our flight is at _____ and we got stuck on the train. Can we still check our bags? Is there any way?”

She looked at us for a few seconds.

And then she started laughing in our face.

And then she called over a co-worker, and – in French – told him “these idiots think they’re getting on flight ____!”

And then they both laughed at us.

“No, you’re way too late to get on that flight.” She scoffed.

“But it doesn’t take off for 45 minutes.”

“That’s too bad – you missed the time. You’ll need to come back in two or three days when the next flight to Glasgow takes place.”

SIDENOTE: Another joy of cheap-o airlines – very infrequent flights.

………

“Are you being serious? Our flight is still here. We haven’t missed it.”

“You’re too late!” She laughed.

Look, I could delve into my feelings about this, but sometimes I worry that I swear too much. So I’m going to leave it there.

We had to get the train back into Brussels and book a flight home with a different airline.

We eventually got home.

I will never forget the lesson I learned, though, because that shit is permanent: The bitches are at Charleroi airport.

xA

P.S. Lovely people from Charleroi, I apologize to you on behalf of your horrendous airport staff (and the horrendous people at your train station, too). Because I’m an overly nice Canadian.

Two Hundred Forty Seven.

When I was like, six, maybe seven, I had a friend named Katie. We were super tight, and I played at her house a lot. She lived in a really old, really big character house in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, and I loved going over there because it was so big, I felt like I was in a fairytale when I stepped through the front door.

My favourite part of the entire house was this really narrow stairway that went up to a loft/attic that Katie got all to herself as a playroom. All to herself. That lucky bitch.

Anyway, this one day when I was over there, Katie’s mom made us lunch. She made us grilled cheese sandwiches and canned tomato soup.

Now, I know that probably sounds like a pretty “normal” meal, but I never really ate either of those things. I was raised by a mom who is (A) from Mozambique, and (B) a healthy hippie, so canned foods weren’t really on our menu. Neither were things like butter and white bread. I was raised on homemade, wholegrain breads (Seriously, who does that? My mom’s a superhero…), lentils, garlic, olive oil, things like that. Weird things.

SIDENOTE: I’m not saying that to sound superior to anybody. That’s just what we ate. The point is that I had never eaten canned tomato soup.

p_tomato-soup_1744921c

I looked down at the soup in front of me. It was a weird, overly bright red colour and it smelled really strange, kind of tinny. I honestly wasn’t even sure what to make of it. Katie started eating right away. I felt out of place.

“Eat your lunch.” Her mom looked at me, waiting for me to start. I panicked and decided to try the grilled cheese.

It wasn’t bad, but the butter left a funny taste in my mouth. I tried to focus on the cheese. I was never a big fan of cheese, but I forced myself to enjoy it. Mmm, cheesy. (Ugh, cheesy.) But at least it wasn’t tomato soup, which was all I could think about. Surely if I finished my sandwich, Katie’s mom would be satisfied.

“Eat your soup.”

Nope.

Well, shit.

I looked at her with my big brown eyes – filled with fear, I’m certain – trying to mentally will her to back down. I’ve always been way too nice. I would have never said, “I don’t want to.” I was petrified.

Eat your soup.”

Katie’s mom was kind of scary to start with. I should have mentioned that. She wasn’t the nicest. And she was blunt (as you can tell).

I scanned the table and found the salt and pepper shakers. I grabbed one on a whim. It was black pepper. I started shaking it furiously into my bowl. Katie looked at me funny.

“You eat pepper on your food?”

I nodded enthusiastically, buying myself time.

“Hey, me too. I want pepper, too! Give it here!”

Katie grabbed the shaker and added pepper to her soup. Within seconds, her mom snatched it away from her.

“Quit it – that’s enough. Finish your lunch, both of you. You’re not leaving this table until your bowls are empty.”

What can I say? I was totally trapped. I wanted to cry. I wanted my mom. I wanted out of that nightmare house.

I choked back the fucking soup and tried to play with Katie afterward, but I was battling an instant tummy ache. I feared I may see that tomato soup again much too soon.

When my mom came to pick me up, I told her the horror story.

“Andrea, why didn’t you just say, ‘No, thank you.’??”

“She made me eat it. Mom, she wouldn’t let me leave until I ate it!”

I probably cried.

To this day, I have never eaten canned tomato soup again. Just the smell of it makes me feel queasy.

tomatosoup

Lesson learned: Force me to eat something and I will hate it for the rest of time, because apparently my authority issues are very far-reaching. (Also, I just think canned tomato soup disagrees with me.)

xA

P.S. What’s your childhood “EAT IT!” food horror story? I feel like we all must have one. My mom’s will probably be about this weird condensed milk/Ovaltine thing her parents made her drink all the time, for example. Gag.

Two Hundred Thirty Four.

I did this annoying thing when I was a kid.

Well, okay, first of all, I did a lot of annoying things when I was a kid, and secondly, it (hopefully) started out as a cute thing and just gradually became (mild to intensely) annoying.

I ran a library out of my home.

library_by_vladstudio-d5mfjau

What does that mean, you ask?

The first step was to clear the actual library out of library books. I LOVED the library. We went to the library as a family every Saturday, and every Saturday I would take out the maximum number of books I was allowed to borrow on my library card. (Having my own library card is something I was very proud of.) Then sometimes I would make my mom and dad use their library cards, too. You know, in case I really needed those extra five books or whatever.

Then I would bring all of the library books home, pile them into giant stacks in the living room – along with my own books, of course, because I needed as many books as possible – and open for business.

Business wasn’t booming, though, so basically, I had to force my family to play along.

I would make my victim family member choose a giant stack of books, and then I would check the books out for them. I used a pen (with the cap on – heaven forbid I damage an amazing book!) as my scanner, because they had a pen-shaped scanner thing at the library in my brother’s school, and I would make everyone use their real library cards, too.

I’m not entirely sure why this was so fun and exhilarating for me. I think my favourite part was running the pen along each book’s bar code and going, “BEEP!” Regardless, I would work my way through the giant stack of books, thank my guest, push the books off to the side, and make my victim family member start all over again.

The game would have never ended if it were up to me. But eventually my library would get shut down by a parent who was sick of hearing me go, “BEEP!”

Reflecting on this game taught me that I am definitely on the right path. Based on the kid I was (OBSESSED WITH BOOKS AND STORIES AND EVERYTHING HAVING TO DO WITH BOOKS AND STORIES!!!), it only really makes sense for me to be a writer now. Either that or a librarian, I guess.

Wait.

Maybe I should have been a librarian. It probably pays more than nothing.

Oh shit.

xA

P.S. Thinking about scanning all those bar codes got my blood pumping a little bit today, at age 26, so clearly something is wrong with me.

One Hundred Fifteen.

Another quick childhood tidbit as I battle an absolutely insane week:

Okay, so me, in kindergarten. I was five. (I’d show you a photo, but I used it yesterday.)

Just imagine it here. Smiling face. Chubby cheeks. In a dress, most likely.

My classmates and I were outside for recess, playing in a large alcove by one of the many sets of doors my first elementary school had. The first bell rang, and I guess we had been trained to do this, because we all lined up by our door, against the brick wall like good little children/robots.

Except this one jerk of a kid – Morgan – wasn’t standing still. Instead, he was turned the wrong way – facing my friend Jocelyn and I – and making fun of her name.

“JOCELYN! JOCELYN! What a stupid name! BLAH BLAH BLAH I’M AN IDIOT!”

NOTE: My interpretation of what was being said. It’s all you need to know, really. Plus, the first half is totally true.

Jocelyn had started to cry.

“Stop it! STOP IT!” She wailed helplessly.

Then I stepped in. Because if there’s one thing that makes me angry,* it’s when someone picks on someone I love.

Now, I don’t know if I have some Hulk blood in me or what, but I remember what happened next very clearly. I grabbed Morgan’s shirt collar and I pushed him into the brick wall. I didn’t shove him or anything – I held him there, like a mafia boss threatening one of his victims in a movie.

“Don’t you EVER make fun of Jocelyn again!”

Morgan shut the hell up. And he turned really red, like he was gonna cry.

But he didn’t, because before he could, our teacher had come out the door and saw what was happening. She broke us up, ushered our whole class inside, and then ushered Morgan and I into the grade two classroom, which was empty at the time, because maybe they were in gym class or something.

I don’t remember what happened in the meantime, but I remember the principal showing up. He sat on the edge of one of the tiny tables – which, under his tall stature looked like dollhouse furniture – and crossed his arms.

“Do you want to tell me what happened at recess?” He asked sternly.

And then I did this:

Like a boss.
Like a boss.

Yup. I burst into tears. Not just whimpering, but full on CRY CRY.

It wasn’t an act, by any means. I was terrified. I had never been in trouble with the principal before, and confrontations – even to this day – make me severely uncomfortable.** So I let it all out. I sobbed. I sobbed until I was doing that weird hyperventilating inhale thing. You know the one.

I have no idea what Morgan did. I think he just sat there. The principal, from what I remember, was taken aback by my tears, and I think he also took them to mean I was innocent. He basically just told us to “stay out of trouble,” or some other principal cliché, and sent us on our way.

Anyway, that was the day I learned:

(A) That it’s important not to get caught when you’re defending your friends, and

(B) That tears will, in fact, get you anywhere.***

xA

*Lots of things make me angry, but it just sounded right.

**And they still usually make me cry, even if I’m not sad. Remember that episode of Friends? Where Rachel cries at her boss? That.

***Like the time I landed in Glasgow to live there for a year and had the wrong paperwork and the customs agent told me he should technically send me back to Canada and I sobbed and he let me into the country.

Ninety Seven.

Remember how at school you had your indoor shoes and your outdoor shoes? And you were never supposed to be shoeless, like, ever?

Let me tell you about the day I learned why.

Okay, so it was grade two. I had had a really wonderful teacher for the greater portion of the year, but then she got knocked up and had to ditch us for the last few months. We got a long-term substitute. She was not wonderful. Okay, okay, she wasn’t mean,* but she wasn’t our teacher.

Our teacher had beautiful long, blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a young, pretty, round face with rosy cheeks. She was very kind. Basically she looked like Sleeping Beauty, except she wore her hair in a 90s half ponytail a lot of the time – with scrunchies – so she was cooler than Sleeping Beauty.

I personally think of it as the Kimmy Gibbler ponytail, but maybe that's just me.
I personally think of it as the Kimmy Gibbler ponytail, but maybe that’s just me.

I really liked her. Not as much as I liked (see: LOVED) my first grade teacher, but I liked her enough.

Our substitute teacher had a harsh looking bob and she always smelled like cigarette smoke masked with too much perfume. She also had a really fake smile. I just couldn’t connect with her. Plus, since I was a little kid, I saw her as the reason our real teacher left, so she started off on the wrong foot with me anyway.

My first elementary school was set up with a huge library/assembly hall as the central square of the building, with two offshoots on either side that had classrooms. So you often had to walk through the library to get where you needed to go.

One day, I was walking through the library to get back to my classroom. I can’t remember why I wasn’t wearing shoes, but I know I had a good reason. I was by myself and the library was quiet, so maybe it was after recess and I had taken longer to get to class because I had to use the bathroom or something. Regardless, there I was, walking through the library in my tiny sock feet when it happened.

I took a step and felt EXCRUCIATING PAIN.

I looked around and realized that one of the bookshelves was broken at its bottom corner, and there were some chunks and slivers of wood stuck in the carpet. And one of the chunks had just stabbed me in the foot.

Guys, I’m not talking about a sliver, like an almost invisible particle going into my foot. I am talking about a WOODEN STAKE, stabbing through my sock and into my foot right on the arch.

SIDENOTE: Okay, it wasn’t a STAKE to a human being, but to put things in perspective for you, it was large enough to be a STAKE if you had to stab, say, a vampire version of a guinea pig or medium-sized bird. It was a few inches long, and probably a few centimetres in diameter.

So there it was, just sticking out of the bottom of my foot. I freaked out, not wanting to touch it, and limped on my tiptoes back to class to find my “teacher” and ask her for help.

She wasn’t very impressed.

First, she asked me where I had been, ignoring that I was in tears. Then I showed her the WOODEN STAKE coming out of my foot. She showed minimal concern and told me to sit down and put my foot in her lap. So I did, thinking that she would try to carefully remove it.

SHE BROKE IT OFF AND LEFT A CHUNK IN MY FOOT.

And that was her solution.

She told me to put on my shoes and get ready for gym class.

I was crying. I told her it was still in there. It was still hurting me! She assured me that she had removed the sliver and said it again: “Put your shoes on for gym.”

When I told her I couldn’t possibly go to gym class with a sliver in my foot, she looked at me like this:

In other words, the conversation was over.
In other words, the conversation was over.

And I’ve always been a people pleaser and a bit of a pushover in an overly nice Canadian way, so I carefully slipped on my shoe – OMGITHURTSOMUCH – and limped on my tiptoes to gym class.

And I limped through gym class.

And I limped through the rest of the day.

All the while trying to ignore the intense, shooting pains in my foot.

SIDENOTE: I WAS IN GRADE TWO. I know this story is about me, but that poor child!

When I got home, my mom rushed me to the medi centre to get the GIANT FUCKING CHUNK OF WOOD out of my poor, tiny, eight-year-old foot.

Needless to say, I never set foot in that stupid library without shoes on again.

xA

P.S. Sometimes wearing shoes didn’t work in my favour, either. Once, when I was in grade one or two, I took off my indoor shoes at the end of the day to slip on my winter boots…and some asshole had strategically placed thumb tacks in the bottom of them. Luckily I didn’t step down with full force. Stupid kids.

*By the time I finished writing this story down, I realized that wait a second, YES SHE WAS.

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