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Dreams

Three Hundred Twenty Three.

I think this is like, my first blog by request.

Maybe not the first, but it’s been a little while.

You all loved hearing about The Roxy Theatre ghosts, huh? Well, I had many, many experiences while I was working there, yesterday’s story being one of the most striking ones. But in terms of full-on shivery fear, it’s got nothing on this story.

It was the summer of 2008. Since I worked at The Roxy and I’m generally awesome, my bosses let me rehearse my Fringe show at the theatre (clearly they are also generally awesome).

Fantastic, except for the fact that the auditorium and backstage are a little…eerie.

I don’t know about you guys (well, I know what a lot of people think), but every single time I’ve ever stood backstage in that theatre, I’ve felt that there was also a man back there, and he didn’t necessarily feel nice. Standing back there in the dark during a production waiting to go on stage always made me feel like I had to pee out of sheer anxiety. Going through the backstage area to turn out the lights at the end of the night was even worse.

“Watch me! Watch me, watch me, watch me!!!” I’d shout at my stage manager while I turned out the last light and ran down the side hallway back toward the auditorium to leave. I say “ran” because that’s exactly what I did. I booked it. Every. Single. Time.  It was as though if I couldn’t see him watching me, I’d never get out. It’s hard to explain unless you stand there. Everyone I’ve made stand there has said, “Yes. I feel exactly what you mean.”

Empty-theatre-007The thing I learned very quickly when I actually started rehearsing in the theatre is that The Man, as I’ll refer to him, is like, everywhere all the time. Sometimes I’d be sitting in the front row watching rehearsals and I’d feel like there was someone watching me watching rehearsals. I’d glance over my shoulder and see the shadow of a man, sitting way at the back of the auditorium in the last row. Sometimes I’d glance back and he’d be standing in the doorway, a distinct figure. Sometimes he’d be walking by one of the sets of doors, leading me to actually get up, go out into the lobby, and double check that the front doors were securely locked. Sometimes, when I’d get on stage to talk to my cast about blocking or whatever needed to be discussed, I’d glance out and see him standing up in the production booth.

Luckily, he was never sitting directly behind me when I glanced back.

There was one particular night, though, that he made his presence very obvious to all of us.

Like a perfect horror movie, while we were inside rehearsing on a late week night, it was pouring rain outside. I had been creeped out enough so far during our rehearsal process that my reaction to the storm was , “Oh, great. Now this.”

It was getting very late – around 10 or 11pm – and for whatever reason (well, just read the above for a plethora of reasons), I was feeling pretty done for the night. I kind of just wanted to go home.

SIDENOTE: This was also the summer of no sleep. So it had just been a long day, week, month, everything.

I thought that it was just me feeling a little nervous that night. I had done the shoulder glance a number of times and seen The Man at the back of the auditorium, and I was starting to fear that he would get closer.

And then my fear came very true.

The cast was smack dab in the middle of running a scene when it happened: loud, distinct footsteps, clomping all the way from the back of the house, through the auditorium, and all the way backstage. They were heavy and evenly timed, and they were full of purpose.

The entire cast fell silent.

“What the fuck was that?!” my lead actress shouted, her eyes widening.

And then we all looked up.

Because the footsteps weren’t in the auditorium with us; they were coming from above our heads.

“Is someone on the roof?” my stage manager asked.

“If they are, they climbed up from the outside of the building,” I replied, “The roof access is upstairs, inside.”

“That was in the ceiling.” one of the actors spat, “Like above us. Is someone in here?!”

I shook my head and said:

“Let’s go home.”

And we left the theatre as quickly as we possibly could.

“WATCH ME!” I yelled, practically crying as I turned out the lights.

We exited in a holding-hands cluster, ran to our respective vehicles, and didn’t sleep that night.

But I was curious. I didn’t understand how someone could even get from the production booth to the backstage above the auditorium. So the next day at work, I found the theatre’s technical director – who at the time was a total skeptic (he later changed his mind!) – and asked him about it.

“Hey, can you walk from the booth to the backstage, like, upstairs?”

“Yup. For sure.”

“How?”

“Well, I mean, you can crawl, sort of. There’s a attic sort of thing. It goes from the booth to the poop deck backstage. But the attic has a lot of beams in it now, so you can’t walk through.”

“But you could before?”

“Yeah, absolutely. Back when it was a movie theatre. You could walk the whole way.”

“Like, quickly. Without obstruction.”

“For sure. Why do you ask?”

Eeek

The Roxy Theatre in Edmonton, y’all. Totally haunted. (PART II!)

xA

P.S. Tomorrow I’ll write about something not ghostly.

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Three Hundred Nineteen.

This is going to be scattered because I feel scattered.

On Thursday, AKA The Longest Day at Work Ever That Made Me Partially Insane, I was sitting in my office, having a chat with my 19-year-old coworker, who is about to start another year of his undergrad degree.

I wish I could tell you the exact context of our conversation, but I think I blocked it all out after he said something along these lines:

“I’m just going to finish my degree and get a job and then I’ll pay off all my debt quickly and be fine.”

And I looked over at him, stunned into silence, and then I said:

“And what is totally crazy is that in your world, that’s a totally realistic hope. Because when you finish your degree, you’ll have jobs to choose from.”

“Right, I guess it’s different in the arts.” he replied.

I wasn’t even sure what to say.

“There are jobs you can choose from,” he joked, “Like retail jobs, or you could be a bartender…or a server…”

I let out a sharp, short laugh. It had the same emotion behind it as the “WOW.” in this post, even though I know that my coworker was just razzing me. My office mate instinctively started moving toward me, wheeling his chair up to mine.

“I have a master’s degree. I HAVE A MASTER’S DEGREE, guys.”

And then my office mate hugged me and I wanted to die.

Sometimes working at my science job is like:

Adult

And it makes me feel like this:

But then maybe one person tells me they read something I wrote and it moved them, or they say something crazy like, “You should write books!” or they tell me I’m funny and I should act in things.

Or I read quotes like the ones in this article, or I read the lessons presented by the brilliant Kevin Spacey in this article.

And I just think, you know what? You really do have to make your opportunities. It’s time to stop being scared. Or rather, to stop letting the fear keep me back. It’s time to embrace it, harness it, and let it be the thing that pushes me forward. Because when you’re scared and you start running, you can’t really stop, can you?

(You can’t because the monster will get you.)

kristen-wiig-quote

Run. Run. Run

Just be you.

tina-fey-quoteAnother thing I need to do: be okay with asking for help along the way.

Here goes nothing.

Help.

xA

Three Hundred Fifteen.

So, I got my tarot cards read today.

t-gilded

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.

g244000000000000000d63efe87d69cd686ba2900a753eb35587ccb0d9e

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 Eleven.

Well, since I told you about some of the men I thought I would marry when I was a child, I thought it would only be fair to also tell you about some of the women I loved most.

What’s really funny, though, is that – no, you know what? Let’s just take a look.

WOMEN I WANTED TO BE WHEN I WAS A SMALL CHILD by Andrea Beça.

SIDENOTE: By “small,” I mean like, 13 and under, but some of these dreams have never died. You know what? Basically none of them have.

Catwoman
Catwoman.

I mean, hello? Obviously. Obviously. I watched Batman like, every single day on TV after school. I was obsessed. So naturally I dreamed of being this feisty, sexy woman.

SIDENOTE: I would look killer in that outfit today. And I would love to have a reason to rock it.

Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman.

Again, mega-DUH.

SIDENOTE: I feel like my response to most of these is going to be, “DUH!”

Morticia Addams.
Morticia Addams.

I’ve already talked about how much I hoped and dreamed about being adopted by the Addams Family as a kid, but while Wednesday was closer to my age, I always really wanted to be Morticia. She’s pure class. Stunningly beautiful. And those giant eyes. Get out of here with those eyes, Carolyn Jones!

Storm.
Storm.

My brother collected all sorts of superhero trading cards when he was a kid. I wish I had easy access to them, because I would totally find the Storm card I was so in love with.

I just thought she was the coolest, okay?

Chun Li.
Chun Li.

Noticing any trends? It took A LOT for me to not play as Chun Li when my brother and I would play Street Fighter. (I had a soft spot for Blanka and Guile – no idea why. I liked Ryu, too, but my brother was always Ryu.)

SIDENOTE: Always secretly wished I could do that with my hair.

HONOURABLE MENTION GOES TO:

Xena.
Xena.
The Pink Power Ranger. (Kimberly Hart)
The Pink Power Ranger. (Kimberly Hart)
The Spice Girls.
The Spice Girls.

SIDENOTE: We’ve been through this.

Lesson learned: I like ladies who kick butt and TCB.

And now I am one. Bam.

xA

Three Hundred Seven.

Remember like almost 300 days ago when I wrote about personality traits that are sexy?

SIDENOTE: I sure made it seem early on like I had a huge boner for Adam Levine. What’s hilarious is I barely have a boner for him.*

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: I know, I know, now you’re all like, “My god, Andrea, what CAN we believe if not that?!” Sorry.

Well, I’m here to tell you that my varied tastes in men are not a new thing in my life. I’ve always been attracted to all sorts of cool dudes.

On that note, I give you… (drumroll)

MEN I THOUGHT I’D MARRY WHEN I WAS A SMALL CHILD by Andrea Beça.

SIDENOTE: By “small,” I mean like, 13 and under, but some of these dreams have never died. I’ll leave you to guess which ones.

William_T._Riker,_2365
William T. Riker.

What. A fucking. Dreamboat.

Oh, Riker. I just couldn’t get enough. What with his dreamy blue eyes and his beard. This childhood obsession crush worries me the most because my dad had a very similar beard. So maybe I just thought Riker was my dad. But I definitely thought about marrying him. Whatever, kids are weird. They don’t understand that stuff. Let’s all agree that Riker was the coolest.

SIDENOTE: Ironically, in hindsight, I totally find Patrick Stewart way dreamier.

craigsimpson
Craig Simpson.

No, you didn’t accidentally click over to someone else’s blog. I, Andrea Beça, was in love with a hockey player. It all started when I was in kindergarten and I met him IN PERSON and I was like OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU. I mean I didn’t say that out loud. But he was super cute and like, cool and a grown up with a super interesting and exciting job, and he was pretty famous and a big deal and he was being super nice to us so giggle squee oh my gosh and also I WAS FIVE.

I had a couple of his hockey cards and I held onto them for dear life so that if anyone asked if I had a boyfriend, I could pull them out. Also maybe so that I could plan our wedding to match the Edmonton Oilers colours.

If you caught me on the right day I might still brag about meeting him even though it was over 20 years ago and I barely remember it.

liam-neeson-young-photos
Liam Neeson.

The real reason I wanted to visit Ireland.

Just kidding.

But seriously.

I can’t even remember the first time I saw Liam Neeson, but it was pretty much love at first sight. As my mom says, “I think you just saw him on Entertainment Tonight and stuff and you were hooked.” I guess I just had good taste.

Vincent Price.
Vincent Price.

VINCENT PRICE WHY ARE YOU SO COOL?! YOUR VOICE IS COOL. YOUR MOUSTACHE IS COOL. YOUR LAUGH IS COOL (and a little scary, but in the good way). YOUR STYLE IS COOL. I LIKE ALL YOUR MOVIES. EVEN THE BAD ONES.

vincent-price
Vincent Price and a Friend.

IS THAT A BIRD? I LOVE BIRDS! CAN WE HANG OUT? DO YOU WANT TO GO STEADY? I LOVE YOU.

Lesson learned: The childhood heart wants what it wants. Also, sometimes that doesn’t change.

xA

P.S. Please note that this is just a selection of the many men I thought I would marry. Childhood lasts quite a few years. I know you don’t have all day.

*I have to say, I commend guys for putting up with boners. I mean, you don’t give birth or anything, but if I got a boner every time I was excited, I’d have a lot more awkward stories than I already have in life.

I feel like that came out wrong.

I feel like this conversation got uncomfortable.

I guess I just meant to say penises are weird. Way to go at managing them or whatever.

But I mean like, don’t brag about it. It’s not that special.

(Shut up, Andrea. Shut up.)

Two Hundred Ninety Seven.

Have you ever been somewhere for the first time and gotten an eerie feeling you’ve been there before?

That’s exactly what happened to me when I got to Dublin for the first time in 2006.

pub-dublin-ireland_6794_600x450

I stole that photo from the Internet.

Prior to arriving in Dublin, the only knowledge I had of the city was that I had gleaned from my straight up obsession with Irish literature and film. So while I felt that I had a grip on the culture, the history, and the dialect, I had no idea about the geography. I mean, I had read Dubliners a few times, but I hadn’t gone crazy and mapped it out or anything.

I arrived in Dublin on a bus from Limerick (which had been a trying experience) and then took a cab straight to my B&B. I got myself cleaned up (also a challenge) and ready to explore as quickly as possible. Then I stepped out onto the front steps of my B&B.

And I shit you not, something happened.

Some people believe in ghosts; some people don’t. Some people believe in God; some people don’t. So I don’t expect everyone to believe me when I say this, but as I scanned my surroundings, standing on that front step, it was as though something deep inside of me – somewhere tucked in under my ribcage, somewhere in my gut and my heart and my Self – turned on. Like a switch. It came to life.

I hopped down the steps, turned right, and started walking through Dublin.

I’ve got to see Trinity College again,” I thought to myself as I made a bee-line across the Liffey.

But wait a second. I had never been to Trinity College before.

Front+facade

So how was I standing in front of it just a short while later?

I’m not here to write an explanation, because I don’t have one. I’m not even here to elaborate on this, because I’m not sure what there is to elaborate on. All I can say is this: for my week or so stay in Dublin, I never once looked at a map. And I never once felt lost (unlike some other experiences I’ve had…). Every time I saw a new sight, it felt like a reminder, like seeing an old friend. Like when you visit a place you haven’t been in a long time and you drive around just to see all the spots you used to go.

That was the week of my life during which I learned that I believe in past lives, 100%.

Have you ever gotten that feeling?

xA

Two Hundred Eighty Eight.

On more than one occasion in the last…almost 10 months, I have said, “Wow, so you read my blog and you still like me, hey? That’s cool.”

Yes, maybe I’m being sarcastic, although I have said and done some weird shit. I’m not like, ashamed of any of it or else it wouldn’t be on my blog. (Just imagine all the crazy shit I don’t tell you about, AM I RIGHT?)

So today I thought, what the hell? Let’s get a little weirder, Andrea. What’s the worst that could happen?

I would like to confess a secret fantasy of mine.

There are two reasons it’s been on my mind lately.

  1. Last week, I was at the gym with my BFF Jo and we saw a guy lifting 540lbs.
  2. Today I came across this photo (and hilarious BuzzFeed article) in which Hugh Jackman is deadlifting approx. 460lbs.

Guys, I’m just going to come out and say it.

For as long as I can remember – long before fitness was a major part of my life – I have always wanted to be bench-pressed. As in I want to lay flat as a board while some guy bench presses me.

bench-press

Like this, except instead of the bar, it’s me, and the guy would definitely have to be bulkier because I’m way heavier than I look.

I know what you’re thinking, so I’d like to clear the air right now and tell you all that there is nothing even remotely sexual about this fantasy. I wouldn’t tell you about my sexual fantasies without you at least taking me to a movie and fooling around or something.

It’s just something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid.

When Jolene pointed out that Gym Guy was lifting 540lbs, I literally blurted out, “He could bench press multiples of me!!!” and then I considered finding a way to ask him if he would try, but based on the expression on Jo’s face, I decided not to and instead tried to explain my fantasy.

(Luckily BFFs don’t judge.)

I wish I could explain it, but I can’t. I’m just going to keep holding out hope that one day, some guy’s gonna be like, “Hey, wanna try something kinda crazy?”

And it’s gonna happen.

And it’s gonna be glorious.

And hopefully he won’t think I’m gonna put out just because he bench-pressed me.

Because that would be awkward.

Lesson learned: I could always get a little weirder. (Or maybe we just all have weird random fantasies.)

Soooooo, anyone have anything they’d like to share?

xA

P.S. Seriously, don’t leave me hanging, guys.

…..Guys?

Two Hundred Eighty Five.

STORY 1:

About eight months into my 12-month Master’s degree, I got a phone call from my dad.

It wasn’t the first call I got from my dad while I was living in Scotland. You just needed to know it was eight months in. And that my Master’s is in Playwriting and Dramaturgy.

We were having a perfectly normal conversation – how are you, how’s the weather, how are your classes, etc. – when a silence fell between us for a moment.

“So…what is Dramaturgy, exactly?” My dad asked me with his most bashful of tones.

I did the best I could to explain, though at that point, he probably could have just waited until I had finished my degree and moved back home to ask.

STORY 2:

Last week, I took part in an event called the Slow Flash Mob. It was a very cool all-day event that offered a variety of free activities and was targeted at multiple generations and getting seniors involved in park life in Edmonton. I was honoured to be asked to teach two Zumba workshops.

Photo by Mack. D. Male, @mastermaq on Twitter.
Photo by Mack. D. Male, @mastermaq on Twitter.

Because it was a free, family-oriented event, I decided to invite my parents. My mom is an avid Zumba participant who comes to almost all of my classes, but my dad had never seen me teach before. I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to catch a glimpse of one of my jobs.

After one of the sessions, I was on a break and having a wander around the park. I crossed paths with my dad, who approached me very seriously.

“You have excellent dance moves.”

“Thanks, Dad!”

“But seriously.”

“I appreciate it. I love teaching. I have a lot of fun!”

“You should be a professional dancer.”

“Haha! Yeah, totally, right?” I laughed, “I think I’m as much of a professional dancer as I’ll ever be – I teach Zumba and it’s one of my jobs, right? So I’m a professional.”

“No, but you could pursue this professionally. Like in music videos or something.”

And then my heart melted a little.

Lesson learned: Dads. They say the darndest things. (Thank goodness.)

xA

P.S. If I were ever going to be in a music video, I would want it to be Run DMC’s “It’s Like That” vs. Jason Nevins. I understand that I can’t turn back time. I’m just saying.

Two Hundred Eighty.

I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump.

“Wait a second, Andrea,” I hear you saying, “don’t you have a 365-day blog?!”

Yes. Yes I do. And it’s some of the only writing I’ve found the time to do lately.

In the last few days, I’ve cracked open my notebook and started jotting down thoughts and ideas that have been living in my head for the last couple months. It’s been good. But I think my brain is so deeply buried in Blog Land right now that I feel a little weird even attempting a story.

So I’m taking drastic measures.

Guys, here it is:

Novella

This is the first novella I wrote as an almost-adult. As you can see, my first draft was completed in July (hey, it’s July now!) 2003, making me…16 at the time.

I have very little idea what this novella is about at this point, 10 years later, aside from the fact that it has a horror edge to it and it was inspired by a nightmare I had.

I figure at this point, I’ve got nothing to lose but to see how it is.

(I’m sure it’s terrible.)

So, over the next few days, expect some life lessons from my masterpiece novella, which is untitled, but has clever chapter titles like And So It Begins… and The Fall.

For today, the lesson I’ve learned is this:

(A) Sometimes you’ve got to go back to the beginning (or a beginning of sorts – in all honesty, I wrote my first first novella at age six*).

(B) You can most definitely learn from past failures. (Right?)

Here goes nothing.

(Eeeeeeeeeeek!!!!!)

xA

*BRAGGY BRAG BRAG. I didn’t mean to sound that arrogant about it. I was a child genius. It’s really not that big of a deal.

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