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How Doing a Photo-365 Changed Me.

I’d ask the question, “Who else is bidding ‘Good Riddance!’ to 2015?” but I know the general answer. It was a very difficult year for almost everyone I know, with a few exceptions (thankfully, or maybe we’d all have given up).

2015 was one of the most difficult years of my life. It was a year full of intense stress, sadness, pain, illness, loss, and a lot of me allowing other to treat me very poorly. (It also had some amazing and wonderful moments, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a writer building some context for my readers, here.) At more than one point in the year, my closest friends were like, “Good God, woman – what else could happen right now?” Definitely had that lovely snowball effect. You know the one.

The beautiful thing about terrible years, of course, is that they make you grow beyond your wildest imagined capabilities. I feel like I’ve shed my skin three of four times in the last twelve months. Like I’ve come out of it not new, but newly armoured. Not with walls around my heart or body, but with great understanding, self-love, and strength I didn’t know I had.

2015 was the kind of year that left me saying, “Wow, I didn’t know I could go through so much and feel so down, but still love myself and be happy on the inside, with who I am and what I’m doing.”

So I guess in the end, I’m eternally grateful for 2015.

Funny how that works. (I see what you’re doing, Universe. I see it. I get it. And I commend you for it. You tough motherfucker.)

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I can honestly say that I’ve never been one to struggle with gratitude. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gone through a lot in my life. Maybe it was the constant bullying I went through starting when I was around five. Maybe it was the chronic pain I faced from the time I was 10 until I was in my early 20s. Maybe it was the depression and suicidal thoughts I had as a teen. Maybe it was all of that. (Spoiler alert: it was definitely all of that.) I’ve always been able to see the good in the bad, and I’ve always been able to appreciate it, wholeheartedly. Does that mean I’m never sad or angry or depressed? Heck no. It just means I can always find a smile in the saddest day, and that I can usually keep my sights set on the light at the end of the tunnel.

I bet at this point, you’re wondering what the hell I’m going on about because I told you on social media (and through the title of this post) that this was about a Photo-365 and for some reason I’m talking about being bullied and calling the Universe a “motherfucker.”

Right. Okay.

In 2015, I successfully completed a Photo-365. I’ve wanted to do one for years. I’ve watched friends and ex-boyfriends start (and sometimes finish) them. I’ve always found them to be such an interesting way of telling your story for a year. So when 2015 kicked off, I decided to go for it.

(We all know how much I love year-long projects. You are, after all, reading this on the blog I’ve used for both a 365-day blogging project and a 52-week ukulele project. Hmm, maybe I should talk to my therapist about this weird obsession…nah, I think I’m fine.)

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I thought it would be fun. I thought it might stress me out having to take and post a photo each day, but I thought it would be fun nonetheless. (For the record, it actually didn’t stress me out a single time.) I knew it would get my creative juices flowing, and that it would force me to look at each day a little differently than someone normally would. What I didn’t realize was just how much it would change my outlook, and just how much it would change my life for a year.

Here’s what happened when I did a Photo-365:

I got creative.

Not every single day can be an exciting adventure of a day. We’re not all Alice in Wonderland. (Which is sad because I’d love to be Alice in Wonderland.) Some days, you’re stuck going from your day job to a meeting or a class and then home to frantically find something to eat and get some quality time with your dogs or some freelance work done before you pass the fuck out in bed.

I had a lot of days like this. But the task of posting a photo a day got me looking at the details of my life a lot more closely than I typically would. The perfect lip print left by my lip gloss on a drinking glass at work. The artwork that hung in my office’s halls. The beautiful, only-makes-sense-to-me mess that is my Zumba choreography notes. All of it is interesting. Capturing these minute details in photos made me appreciate them even more.

I got inspired.

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Just like the saying, “If you want to be a writer, write every day,” I found my photography eye getting more and more inspired as the year went on. There were lots of days that I ended up taking photos of five or six things that could have been my photo of the day, and had to choose which would best represent the day itself. (And then I’d just post the rest on Instagram anyway. You’re welcome, world!)

I also took a lot more photos of a lot more things than I typically would have. I stopped and smelled the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) roses, if you will. Maybe it means a lot more of my iPhone storage vanished in 2015. At least I have a lot more cool options for my background and lock screen now.

I got adventurous.

It might seem a bit odd, but doing a Photo-365 got me trying a lot of new things. I mean, I’ve always been an adventure-lover, but I found myself at a lot more events and on a lot more adventures than ever before. “That would make for a great photo” would sometimes be my only impetus for wanting to go to something, but it would never, ever be all I left with.

In 2015, I got into a canoe twice – oh, and performed a water rescue in a canoe one of those times (crazy, I know) – I learned how to shoot a gun (adding that to my resume, thankyouverymuch), I took my personal training certification, and I started learning to skate. That’s just a few off the top of my head.

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Would I have done all of those things anyway? Absolutely.

Would I have done all of them in a year? I don’t know. Maybe I was extra eager to experience the moment and add it to the story of my  year. There’s no way to be sure.

I got (even more) grateful.

“Was 2015 really one of *the* worst years for you?” my best friend Carson asked me the other day.

“Yeah. Definitely. Why?”

“I’m forming a baseline. That’s good to know.”

“A baseline for what?”

“I thought you were positive and delightful all year, so it’s a good sign of the years to come.”

This was good affirmation of my gratitude and positivity in life. And like I said, I’ve never really questioned or struggled with being grateful for what I have, but I have to say, my Photo-365 brought my gratitude to a new level.

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In 2015, I went through a breakup, got ghosted by one of my (now former) best friends and then by a guy I was falling hard for (he was so wrong for me, you guys – obviously), I had a brutal viral infection for five weeks, I worked 80-100 hours a week for about six months, one of my dogs almost died in my arms after going into anaphylactic shock after her annual vaccines, and my other dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That’s just a best-of list, folks. That’s not even half of it.

I started to recognize and find appreciation – huge, heart-exploding, OH THANK GOD appreciation – for the little things. A long, hot bath at the end of a brutal day. Being able to take 15 minutes out of an insane day to snuggle the shit out of my dogs. Taking a 10-minute meditation break when the stress got to be too much. Hell, even just learning to meditate, period. Bad movies with good friends. Sitting with one of my best friends in total silence, just knowing they’ve got my back, on a devastatingly sad day. A random sign or image or coffee mug that made me laugh out loud. I recognized it. I captured it. I appreciated it. I soaked it up into my heart.

I got present.

I could probably go on and on (I’m a writer, I love words), but WordPress is telling me this post is already well over 1,000 words long, so I should probably wrap this up, but I’ll just say one more thing.

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Doing a Photo-365 made me aware of every day of my life. You could have asked me on any day what my day was like, or what I did, and I would have never said, “Nothing,” or, “Same old.” This project almost forced me to be present – something I can struggle with, especially when I am, as my loved ones put it, impossibly busy and not sleeping. Basically, a crazy person.

I feel like I really enjoyed each and every day of 2015. And it was one of the most difficult I’ve ever had.

 

How weird and wonderful is that?

xA

P.S. Oh, and if you’re curious, yes, I started another Photo-365 for 2016. You can follow along on my Instagram. And you could join me. I guess technically, you’d start a day late, but 2016’s also a leap year, so you could post 365 photos all the same. What’s stopping you?

P.P.S. Don’t say time is stopping you. It takes approximately five seconds to snap a photo, and approximately one minute to post it to like, all of your social media platforms. If you don’t have two minutes a day, you’re lying. You’re so lying.

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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!

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.

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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 Four.

I had this job once. Right when I moved back from Scotland. In theory, it should have been a great job, but it actually turned into the job from hell because my boss was really mean to me. It took me somewhere between six and 12 months to gain back any ounce of self-confidence after that job. I was scared to even write emails in fear I’d do it wrong. That should give you an idea of how awesome I was treated.

So you can imagine how much I’d love to talk to that boss again.

Anyway, one day I was in the car with my parents and my two dogs, taking my dogs out for a long drive. They absolutely love being in the car, so when I have the time, it’s something we do. It’s a nice, casual way to spend a Sunday or something. Family quality time!

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SIDENOTE: Okay, they’re not IN the car in that photo, but they’re out and about and that’s just as exciting.

I was sitting in the back seat covered in dogs. That’s the way life goes when you have Boston Terriers – they have to be TOUCHING YOU ALWAYS. Sometimes it drives me crazy because I just want them to be excited about the drive and give me a few minutes of peace.

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On this particular day, though, I was enjoying the puppy pile. I mean, look at them: they’re ridiculous. So I turned up my puppy voice and I gave them a good cuddle.

Now, I totally get that talking to dogs in stupid voices can be sooooo annoying, but also, sometimes life just calls for it. And I happen to do character voices for each of my dogs that crack me the fuck up. Because I’m HILARIOUS.

SIDENOTE: And humble!

I had been stupid-talking my dogs for approximately four and a half minutes when I decided wheeeew, that was exhausting and I need a little break. I pulled out my phone to check if I had any texts.

And there it was.

I was on a call with my ex-boss.

And I was leaving her a dog-talk voicemail.

FOR FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES.

After what felt like an eternity of me staring in complete shock at my iPhone – HOW THE FUCK DO YOU POCKET DIAL FROM A TOUCH SCREEN?! – I hung up the phone.

I spent the next month waiting to hear from her and feeling like an idiot.

Eventually I forgot about it.

Okay, I didn’t completely forget about it – a part of me EXTREMELY hopes that she had deleted my phone number so that the voicemail came from a vaguely familiar-looking number and not from “Andrea Beça.” But the rest of me knows that of course she didn’t and of course it did come from “Andrea Beça.”

Because that was the day I learned that the OF COURSE stuff always happens. Always. Murphy’s Law, is it?

xA

P.S. But seriously, HOW DO YOU POCKET DIAL FROM AN IPHONE?! GAAAAH.

P.P.S. Speaking of pocket dials, remember this one?

Three Hundred Thirty Six.

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

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

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

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

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

What I cared about was the box.

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

What more could a kid want?

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

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

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

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So…more like this, but still uglier.

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

He was terrified of boxes.

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

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

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

Except…

“WHAT THE FUCK?!”

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

I had destroyed the box.

We were stuck with the shitty vacuum. For years.

Sorry, mom.

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

xA

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

Three Hundred Thirty Three.

Let me tell you a little bit about iron…

Actually, let me tell you what the all-knowing WebMD has to say about iron:

Iron is an essential mineral. The major reason we need it is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to transport it throughout your body. Hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of the body’s iron. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia.

Without healthy red blood cells, your body can’t get enough oxygen. If you’re not getting sufficient oxygen in the body, you’re going to become fatigued. That exhaustion can affect everything from your brain function to your immune system’s ability to fight off infections.

These are red blood cells. I think they look like some sort of delicious candy...
These are red blood cells. I think they look like some sort of delicious candy…

Low iron runs in my family. It’s something I struggled with a lot as a teenager. I basically spent a chunk of life rotating between being on and off iron supplements after a bunch of fainting and feeling terrible. But it hasn’t bothered me for years. Years.

About a month ago, I thought I had the flu. I was getting bad headaches and feeling really tired and generally blah. I stayed in bed for a weekend and it kind of went away. I still had headaches and light-headedness, but I ignored them because I’m a busy (see: stupid and stubborn sometimes) lady.

In the back of my mind I thought, “Hmmm. I never get headaches. I wonder if my iron levels have dropped.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was scheduled to donate blood for the first time in my life. I was crazy excited to do so, because Canada is experiencing a severe shortage right now, and for the first time since I turned 18, I’ve had a long enough gap between getting tattoos to be eligible.

I got to the clinic and filled out the appropriate paperwork. My name got called and I sat down in front of a nurse.

“Okay,” she said, “We just need to do a quick finger prick test to make sure your iron levels are high enough to donate. You need to be at 125 or higher.”

Oh, shit,” I thought, mentally willing my blood to come out dark and juicy.

Finger prick.

Test.

“Hmm,” she wrinkled her nose, “You’re only at 120.”

“Oh, of course,” I rolled my eyes at myself, “Ugh, I have a tendency for low iron.”

“Well, sometimes the first test is low. Would you like to try again?”

“Sure, go for it.”

I upped my mental powers as much as I could.

Finger prick.

This time she squeezed a lot of blood out of my finger before testing. Getting deeper? I dunno.

“It’s better, but not good enough,” she sighed, “122. You’re going to have to up your iron before you can donate.”

I felt like such a failure.

I know it’s silly to feel like a failure about my own blood, but I totally did. I was so ready to help people who needed blood and my blood wasn’t…rich(?) enough!

So I immediately upped my intake of iron-rich foods, which isn’t difficult because I eat a lot of iron-rich foods anyway. Lentils and greens are staple foods in my world.

I was starting to feel a bit more normal until this week hit. This week that I started my six-days-a-week teaching schedule, with lots of practice and prep time necessary.

I guess I really depleted myself because yesterday, I had a full-on CRASH.

I woke up and could barely, barely drag my ass out of bed. I blamed not sleeping enough, and all the construction that is going on all around my house (living on a corner sucks when they’re re-paving sidewalks and streets…). My head felt like it was going to explode, but I had a ton on my agenda for the day, so I ignored it.

The fact that taking my dogs to the vet was first on my agenda didn’t help, because my dogs are so embarrassing at the vet. They bark and freak out. A lot. It takes them a long time to settle down and then if a new dog or person walks into the room, they start all over again. My patience was wearing thin and my headache was really starting to get to me.

I started to feel really sad.

I got my dogs home and got ready for the next thing on my agenda: lunch with a friend.

I had a spinach salad, which I guess was a good headstart on pumping some iron into my day, but of course it wasn’t enough. I started to notice that I was having a really hard time concentrating and forming sentences. My head was pounding even though I was drinking lots of water and had eaten plenty. I was starting to feel like I was spiraling down a sadness well.

Uh oh.

“I have to go buy iron supplements like, now.” I said to my friend as we parted ways.

And boy, was I right. By the time I got to the natural foods store, I was shaking. I felt like I could barely grip the steering wheel of my car. As I walked through the parking lot, I worried about collapsing or tripping over my own feet, which felt like they couldn’t move. I fought back the very intense desire to burst into tears. Everything seemed hopeless and slow-motion.

I knew that taking a single iron supplement was not going to make me feel any better, so I took one, and then also pumped my body full of sugar. I managed to get home without crying – though I did freak out via text with a couple friends – I laid down, had a 20-minute nap, and then I had to teach a Zumba class.

SIDENOTE: Oh boy. That was hard. And a little scary. But I survived!

So, here’s hoping that in a week or so, I’m back to normal Andrea. Because low-iron-Andrea is more than a bit of a weirdo. And not nearly as fun as usual.

Iron, man, it can really, really mess with you if you don’t have enough of it. I thought I was done learning that the hard way, but I guess I needed one more reminder. Never again!

xA

Three Hundred Twenty Eight.

Remember my post about Life Math and punctuality?

Let’s keep going with that for a second…

OTHER TYPES OF LIFE MATH I DON’T GET

SIDENOTE: Am still struggling with punctuality a lot of days, but have realized it’s mostly my dogs’ fault. (I know, what an excuse, but seriously.)

1. Toothpaste vs. Foam

Look, I know that some people are able to like, brush their teeth while they walk around the house and get ready for the day. (My BFF Mags does it and it totally confounds me.) But I am not one of those people. I don’t understand how my pea-sized dab of toothpaste always becomes FOAM EVERYWHERE. All over. Everywhere. Like this, which I’m sure you’ve all seen, but I love it anyway:

BFf5pJnCMAAlGBt

It just doesn’t add up!

2. Dogs vs. Bed

My dogs are small dogs. They’re not teacup dogs, but they’re small. And while I may not have a giant, hotel-style king-sized bed (I FUCKING WISH), I do have a nice, normal queen-sized bed. So how, how, HOW is it that when my two small dogs get into bed with me, I have NO ROOM?

on_bed_1024_263614k

Even that guy looks like he has more sleeping space than I get when Oscar and Lucy are in bed with me.

Maybe it’s because they sleep horizontally or wherever the fuck they please, while I’m left trying to push them out of the way for a tiny sliver of mattress space…

SIDENOTE: As I was writing this blog post, I looked up and caught my dogs hanging out like this:

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 10.25.45

AHHHHHHH! Heart exploded.

3. Tears vs. Water

This is sort of like the feeding a baby vs. the amount they vomit question. As I’m sure you may have gathered from some of my posts a few weeks ago, I’ve been doing a bit of crying. Specifically, I’d say I cried a LOT over the course of say, two to three days.

And then I was dehydrated for like, a week and a half.

No, seriously.

I couldn’t stop drinking water. My mouth was dry, my throat was sticking. It was like being stuck in a weird stereotypical movie about someone stranded in the desert. I felt like I was full of sand and I couldn’t get enough hydration. Surely I didn’t cry that much. So what the fuck, body?

Lesson learned: I’ll never get an ‘A’ in Life Math. (Or any math after like, grade six math, based on past experience…)

What are your biggest Life Math struggles/puzzles?

xA

Three Hundred Twelve.

Your heart can leave you immobilized even when your head tells you to push through and keep moving.

Your dogs will love you no matter what.

Screen shot 2013-08-24 at 12.11.33

Thank goodness.

xA

Two Hundred Seventy Nine.

I love that I’m about to post this on the Internet. I can’t wait for you all to judge me.

(Oh, wait…it’s day 279. I’m used to it.)

Okay, so today I was running some errands, and I had to stop at a pet store to re-stock on some treats/snacks for Oscar and Lucy.

Did you forget about my dogs, Oscar Wilde and Lucille Ball Beça? I sure hope not.

Some recent cuddles, to refresh your memory…

Oscar is my nurse on sick days.
Oscar is my nurse on sick days.
Cuddle Monster.
Cuddle Monster Lucy.

Anyway, there I was at the pet store when I saw another Boston Terrier! How exciting! I adore meeting other Boston Terriers, because they’re so sweet and funny. I like seeing how a lot of personality traits are inherent in the breed.

So there I am, petting this adorable little Boston, and what thought pops into my mind?

Well, in all fairness, my first thought was, “Aww, I can’t wait to get home and smooch my pups!

But my second thought was, “My dogs are cuter.”

WHAT!

I know, it’s rude. It’s weird. It’s like, not even relevant.

But don’t pretend you haven’t done it.

FLASHBACK TO:

A couple months ago, one of my co-workers was puppysitting his childhood dog while one of his parents was out of town. The dog doesn’t live with him full time, so he was super excited about it. He came into my office and started showing me photos on his phone.

“He’s adorable!” I said. (And I was being honest! I think basically every dog is adorable. Or cat. Or bird. Or anything. I think we’ve discussed how I love animals way too much but not too much because how is that possible, and I right?!)

Anyway, my co-worker is weird (all of my co-workers are weird, it’s why I love them so much), so he looked up at a photo of my dogs on my bulletin board and he said, “Your dogs are really cute…but mine is way cuter. I mean, just look at his face!”

Speaking of rude and weird and irrelevant…

I laughed out loud. I LOLed IRL. (Whoa.) Not because I disagreed (I did), but because…well, okay, maybe because I disagreed, but also just because he said it. Who says shit like that out loud? Save it for your blog, buddy!

SIDENOTE: Do people do this with their children, too?

Today, as I relived this thought process at the pet store, I learned two things:

(A) Clearly love is blinding (and I think that’s an awesome and beautiful thing), and

(B) We’re all snobs.*

xA

P.S. Just for the record, if I’m friends with you and your pets, I think they’re the cutest in the world, too, and basically that we’re all related. Like I refer to my BFFs as my dogs’ aunties, etc.

P.P.S. I may need professional help.

*Or I suppose the people who read this and go, “Oh yeah, I do that, too.” are snobs along with me.**

**No, you know what? If you read this and go, “WTF? Who is this girl?” then you’re lying. WE’RE ALL SNOBS.***

***We’re all snobs because love is blinding. See? The world is so fucking beautiful. Happy sigh.

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