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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!

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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

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 Seven.

A couple weeks ago, I went out to the movies with a friend of mine and then we grabbed a bite to eat.

Oh, actually, now that I think of it, it was this night, AKA the night I ATE ALL THE FOOD.

Anyway, when I got home at the end of the night, I went to wash my face and noticed I had a bunch of black pepper in my teeth. My first thought was, “Why the fuck didn’t he say something?!”

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he didn’t notice. I would have had to smile pretty darn big for it to be visible. But still.

You see, I’m a person who will ALWAYS tell you if you’ve got “something” going on – if you have food in your teeth, if you have a strand of hair sticking out the wrong way, if your hanger strap or clothing tag is hanging out. I’m your girl. It’s not because I’m critical or anything. I’m not. I’m like, the least judgemental person. It’s because I would want to know if any of that were going on with me.

spinach-in-teeth-280x280

But as I was thinking about that, I was reminded of one of many hilarious moments I had as a teen.

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a goth when I was a teenager. A Marilyn Manson-obsessed, eyeliner-loving, eyebrow-shaving goth. So I wore a lot of makeup. I didn’t do anything too crazy – I didn’t like, wear black eyeliner tears dripping down my face or anything (no offense or judgement to anyone who did/does – you do your thing). But I was…creative?

There was one day that I was going out to run some errands with my mom and I was sporting some particularly interesting mascara and eyeliner. I had applied both as usual, but then I decided that I wanted like, eyeliner dots coming out from the corner of my eye toward the side of my face.

I really wish I had a photo to illustrate this. But I don’t. But imagine some cat eye eyeliner:

cat+eye

Only imagine it much messier and comprised of dots.

SIDENOTE: I don’t know what I was thinking. I was 13. Who cares? I was “finding myself.”*

So anyway, I was out with my mom and I remember specifically that we were at Future Shop and we couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we found a sales associate to ask for help.

We had been chatting with him about our needs for a few minutes when a natural silence fell upon the conversation. It was at that point that the sales associate turned to me, and very quietly said, “Uh…I think you have a little something…” and pointed to his eye/eyebrow region.

Being the super self-conscious, nerdy kid that I was, I tried to laugh it off.

“Ha ha!” I giggled nervously, “No, it’s supposed to be there.”

“Oh, okay.” The sales guy cleared his throat anxiously.

And then we all felt awkward.

People wear a lot of crazy shit these days. Like, how many times a day are you walking behind a girl in leggings or yoga pants when you realize you can clearly see her bum/underwear/thong?

SIDENOTE: I work both on campus and as a fitness instructor, so maybe my percentages are higher. Okay, they definitely are. But like, a MILLION TIMES A DAY it happens.

Hell, just last night I was out and saw a dude wearing gold spandex pants and it was like, junk-central. He might as well have been pantsless. It was all out there.

SIDNEOTE: Pretty sure it’s the look he was going for, because shortly after I spotted him, he started doing lunges, so good on him.

Um. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand why some people would hesitate to point out if “something” is going on, but:

(A) If the person is your friend, POINT IT OUT ANYWAY. Be tactful. But just in case. Do it.

(B) If it’s something in someone’s teeth, no exceptions. TELL THEM.**

xA

*I’m nearly 27 and I feel like only NOW am I actually finding myself.

**Unless you hate the person. Then I guess do whatever.

Three Hundred Thirty.

Blah blah blah, I had a shitty time in junior high blah.

Yes, it was serious. It was more than just getting picked on a couple times.

Here’s what you need to know: I had a BFF – let’s call her Shari – who one day decided to hate me and systematically destroy my life.

Sounds like some serious Mean Girls shit, hey?

tumblr_lx537q9zE81r1nzlwo1_500

It was.

It literally happened halfway through a regular school day. One moment we were sitting in eighth grade science class having a perfectly normal BFF day, and then the next, I said her name to ask her something and it went a little something exactly like this:

“Shari?”

“FUCK YOU. I HATE YOU. DON’T EVER SPEAK TO ME AGAIN.”

I thought she was kidding at first, but she totally wasn’t.

I had always gotten picked on in school – from my first day of school ever onward – but from that point on, it got really bad. I went from having a small group of friends to having no one because Shari spread vicious rumours about me. Suddenly my friends were prank calling me and saying awful things to me 10-15 times a night. She told every guy in the junior high that I had a crush on them and who knows what else. So every guy in the whole school pointed at me in disgust and laughed at me as I walked down the halls. I got spat on, pushed around, and threatened. I got scream-taunted by the minute. It sucked.

I won’t delve into it any further because this story isn’t actually supposed to be sad.

In the height of sadness, Teenage Andrea sat in her room, trying to think of (non-confrontational, poetic) ways to get back at Shari.

Then she came across a school photo of Shari.

SIDENOTE: Back in the day, kids, we exchanged school photos – yeah, physical photos, like printed on photo paper – with our BFFs and boyfriends (not that I ever had a boyfriend – just a fake one) to show one another how much we cared. We’d even hand write little notes on the back. So retro, right?

Teenage Andrea knew what had to be done.

So Teenage Andrea found a lighter – used to light candles and incense to set the mood while she Goth-ed out to Marilyn Manson’s latest CD – and Teenage Andrea SET FIRE TO THE PHOTO.

Take that, Shari! I hate you, too! You’re mean and awful!

………..

And then the fire got a little out of control, burning Teenage Andrea’s hand, causing her to drop the photo onto her carpet OH SHIT.

I stomped out the (relatively small) flames as fast as I could, and then tried to mask the burnt fabric smell with perfume or something. What I could not mask was the dark brown/black patch in the middle of my blue carpet.

Oops.

I told my mom it was maybe some spilled candle wax. She might have said, “It looks like a burn” and I might have just shrugged and said I had no idea where it came from.

Lesson I learned at the time: DON’T PLAY WITH FIRE. (Duh!)

Lesson I learned now, looking back: Oh my god, I was a sweet kid. That was my “revenge”? Poor Teenage Andrea.

xA

Three Hundred Two.

Look, I get that I’m nearing 30 and most of my friends are, too, so it’s probably too late for me to save you, but if you have children or you plan on having children, you can feel free to read this to them when the time is right. If I can help one teenage girl’s adulthood by sharing this tiny piece of wisdom, I will consider myself an accomplished woman.

I, myself, came across this piece of wisdom a few years too late when I read an interview with Rose McGowan in a magazine. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.

Here’s the lesson: DON’T SHAVE YOUR EYEBROWS OFF.

You see, when I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to be a sexy goth chick (which, P.S., I totally failed at, because I know sexy goth chicks now and they are totally sexy and I was totally not) and I decided that in order to do that, I had to get rid of my humdrum eyebrows and draw on sexy, dramatic ones.

I’m not going to lie to you. I have some insane photos of myself as a teenager, but I hate most of them, so while these aren’t the craziest brows, this is the only photo you’re going to get. This was in my post-goth-moving-toward-sexy(?)-nerddom-alterna-chick(?) phase when I was 16 or so. I learned how to play like, every Ramones and Misfits song on the guitar and wore lots of superhero t-shirts. It was a good time.

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There they are.

Look, the truth is that sometimes, my eyebrows looked killer hot. And I got really good at drawing them in – a skill that has been incredibly useful to me in adulthood both for myself (about to get to that) and for all of the makeup I’ve done for people for photo shoots, plays I’ve produced, and so on.

But here’s the thing you don’t (I didn’t) think about when you shave off your eyebrows: they don’t grow back.

Wait a second, you’re thinking, I shave my legs and my armpits and my face (shout out to the guys reading my blog!) and those all grow back.

Yes, okay. They grow back.

But they may never be the same. And they may take years – YEARSYEARSYEARS – to grow back.

I think I fully shaved my eyebrows twice, maybe three times. Maybe. I did that some time when I was around 14-16 years old.

I am almost 27 now and only in the last year or two have my eyebrows started to look normal. I still struggle with the ends of my eyebrows, which are patchy. I still struggle with the fact that they grew back in a very ashy, light colour, too. So while I have eyebrows, they’re very light and I always have to fill them in. The last few weeks, I’ve been on a mission to let them grow in a bit thicker and my god, has that been a challenge. I swear I pep talk them every morning and they’re still coming in at a snail’s pace.

So yeah, there you go. When I read the Rose McGowan interview and she said something like, “it’s taken a decade and my eyebrows still aren’t back,” I thought wow, what shitty luck! Now, over 10 years after shaving my own, I’m like ROSE KNOWS, GUYS. ROSE KNOWS.

Tell your teenage daughters.

(For the record, I’ve known a couple guys who have shaved off their brows and they’ve never had this same problem. Lucky bastards.)

xA

One Hundred Ninety Two.

I’m taking yesterday and running with it.

Something I was really good at when I was a kid? Violin.

Violin

I can’t remember when I started playing. I think I was eight or nine years old. I played for over four years, and by the end of those four-ish years, I was good. I still remember some of the songs I used to play. One of my favourites was from The Magic Flute. I could sing you the tune if you asked.

The other thing that happened at the end of those four-ish years is I started to hit my teenage rebellion and I decided it was not cool to play the violin, so I didn’t want to do it anymore.

My mom – bless her heart – didn’t force me to stick with it. And honestly, while I sometimes wish that she had, I don’t think that she would have been able to. I am a stubborn girl. So I put the violin in its case, tucked it away, and became a goth. I stopped humming The Magic Flute and traded it in for Marilyn Manson.

Stupid kid.

A number of years later – when I was probably 20 or 21, I was reorganizing my bedroom and I decided I would pull out my violin. No one was home, so I could play and not have to explain myself to anyone. I could just try it, without having to decide if I was going to really stick with it.

I opened the case. The familiar, comforting smell of resin filled my nose. I sighed a sigh of relief without even realizing it. It felt like home. I had missed this. I picked up the violin, which sat in my hands as if it were an extension of them, and placed it under my chin. I closed my eyes, remembering the finger positions for that one song from The Magic Flute. I placed the bow on the strings and started to play.

It sounded like a cat was dying. Or a fox. Have you ever heard foxes? Fuck.

I was so certain that it would sound beautiful. I felt in my bones that I would be able to pick up and start where I had left off.

I tried another few notes. The violin was still in tune, but I made it sound like…well, like shit.

I placed the violin back in the case very calmly, making sure everything was in the right spot, protected, covered, and then slid it back under my bed. When it was out of sight, I cried.

I cried a lot.

That was the day I learned that just because you used to be able to do something doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to do it. Not without practice.

One day I’ll pick that violin back up and start practicing. I’m honestly still reeling from how horrendous it sounded five years ago.

xA

NOTE TO SELF: Add “practice violin” and “practice spinning” to The List.

…Also add “making out.” It’s been a while. Shit.

One Hundred Sixty Seven.

I made up a boyfriend once.

I was in grade seven. Here’s how it went down…

Okay, in grades five and six, I had this best friend, let’s call her Edie. We were super tight, talk on the phone all the time, hang out constantly BFFs. Everything was awesome. Plus, she never stabbed me in the back. So everything was perfect. But then as grade six came to a close, we learned that we wouldn’t be going to the same junior high.

What

See, I was going to the junior high just a few blocks away from my elementary school (A.K.A. the worst junior high ever), but Edie’s mom was making her go to a different one. I can’t remember if it was a Catholic junior high or if it was just closer to where her family lived. It doesn’t matter; all you need to know is we were being SPLIT UP.

It was a big deal.

We would get together and cry about it. It was the end of an era, after all. How would we hang out as much if we couldn’t hang out during class, between class, and at lunch hour? There was no way we would get sufficient hang-time. No way.

We made a pact to stay in touch like, all the time. We would call each other every night (this was before mobile phones, kids!), and we would get together after school as many times a week as possible.

Basically, we would do our best to make sure nothing changed at all.

As If

But then grave seven started and that didn’t happen.

Within a few months, Edie had morphed into some cool, overly made-up chick with bleached, straightened hair and a boyfriend, and I was still a loser kid who sometimes had garlic breath. I had made some new friends, however, and I decided that I wasn’t going to let Edie show me up.

My friend Sadie (A.K.A. the worst friend ever – we’ll talk about her later) had an older half-brother named…Sean? (It’s hilarious that I can’t remember his name since we were in imaginary LOVE, but let’s just call him Sean.) He wore eyeliner and got into lots of trouble, so basically he was my “Leader of the Pack” bad boy dream. I met him once and he was a total asshole to me, but I somehow brushed it off and pretended he liked me anyway.

Sadie was keen on helping me look better than Edie – probably because she was a crazy bitch – so she gave me one of Sean’s school pictures and helped me create a back story. Within a week, I had created an epic romance that involved a lot of flirting and giggling and being given black roses (black roses – I was such a fucking cliche) and I had told Edie all about it.

And while she totally should have been like:

Really?

She bought it.

There was just one problem, though.

I should have written my shitty romance down on paper, because I started to forget my back story and skew the details. Every time I spoke to Edie, I made edits I didn’t mean to make. She’d ask questions I didn’t anticipate and my split-second improvisations were doing me NO favours. I think I might have accidentally told her Sean was originally from Hawaii at one point. Oops.

Then she started asking about getting together and I realized my time with Sean was up. Our relationship was doomed.

So I invented the break-up.

Couldn’t even tell you what he did to break my heart, but since I was 13, I’m gonna say he winked at another girl or something, A.K.A. he CHEATED ON ME. That good for nothing so and so!

The whole thing faded over time, along with my friendship with Edie, but the experience taught me something: you shouldn’t invent fake boyfriends. Except for when some creepy guy is asking you out at the mall while you’re on a break from your stupid retail job, and all you want to do is get a bubble tea and go back to work because working is better than wandering around a loud mall filled with people. Then you tell him all about your boyfriend, who is in the army (is it called the army in Canada?) and has an extremely jealous personality.*

Looking back, I’m pretty sure Edie told me her boyfriend’s name was Darko McKnight or something equally unbelievable, so I’m pretty sure he didn’t exist either.

Stupid kids.

xA

*For the record, that story did not repel the creepy guy asking me out. All he said was, “Yeah, but I can come over when he’s not home – I won’t tell him if you won’t.” And then he followed me to work, had to be invited to leave (A.K.A. kicked out) by one of my co-workers, and essentially mall-stalked me for another few weeks. Charming.

One Hundred One.

There are a lot of dicks in the world. And when I say that, I mean derogatory dicks, as in assholes, as in mean people, not just penises. I’ve got nothing against penises. Also, just because you’re a dick doesn’t mean you have one. Not in my books, anyway.

Lately I feel like I’ve met and/or had to interact with a great percentage of the world’s derogatory dicks. It’s hard to get dragged down by other people’s negativity, even when you’re being so nice to them, doing your best, etc.

But whenever I’m stewing in a little pot of sadness, wallowing in self-pity, probably crying and eating something I shouldn’t be (like, say, an entire tray of vegan brownies) all I have to do is send one of my BFFs a text, or give them a ring, and I remember that everything’s going to be fine because they are the best. (Hence the ‘B’ in ‘BFF.’)

The other day, Jolene, one of my newest BFFs, asked me a very logical, organized question, which is just her style: “So what, exactly, makes a person a BFF, as opposed to just a really good friend?”

To which I said this: A BFF is a friend I love endlessly, a friend I can tell absolutely anything without fearing judgement, gossip, etc., and maybe the most defining quality, a friend I could spend 24/7 with without wanting to murder them in their sleep, meaning a friend I could easily live with, travel with, or marry.

Let me tell you about four of my BFFs.

This is Chelsea Handler. She's the celeb I think Jolene most looks like.
This is Chelsea Handler. She’s the celeb I think Jolene most looks like.

I met Jolene because she’s a Zumba® instructor. I went to her class – my first Zumba® class at a big gym (as opposed to the tiny studio I was used to) – and thought I was going to die. (A) Because I was nervous and self-conscious, but also (B) because Jolene is an insane instructor who jumps around a lot and I spent the whole class trying to catch my breath.

But even before the class had started, Jolene pegged me as a newbie and came to say hi. And we clicked. I had that instant “this is a cool chick” feeling about her, and I was right. Eight months later, she’s the jelly to my peanut butter, the Laverne to my Shirley, etc. I see her pretty much every day, I co-teach Zumba® with her, and I’ve never wanted to kill her. I’ve never even been annoyed with her. We’re so similar in so many ways, you’d think we’d make each other crazy, but I think we’re just the right amount of crazy to get along on an in-person and psychic level. It’s true friend love.

Jolene is amazing and lost over 160lbs, so she also doesn’t think it’s weird when I text her things like, “On a scale of 1-10, how stupid and/or noticeable would it be if I stuffed my bra right now to make it fit better?” when I’m having a wardrobe meltdown. We compare notes about how much our arms flap when we’re teaching. It’s great.

Also, we’re the same shoe size, and Jo has a lot of really cute shoes, so I have to keep her around for when I want to borrow them. (I have my eye on a pair of hot pink stilettos.)

This is Juliette Lewis, A.K.A. my girl Louise.
This is Juliette Lewis, A.K.A. my girl Louise.

My BFF Louise actually gets stopped on the street and asked if she’s Juliette Lewis. One day I swear I’ll take her out somewhere and lose her to a crowd of fans. And I can understand why: because she’s crazy cool.

Before Louise and I became friends, I knew her as this insanely cool alterna-sexpot (see: goth chick) who always came to opening nights at the theatre I was box office manager at. She had a wicked hairdo and she wore frilly underwear as pants. Basically, I had a crush on her and her sexy corseted confidence.

One day, she came out to audition for one of my plays. She walked in wearing a pair of sexy high-heeled boots or something, and being the nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but mention them. I think I babbled something along the lines of, “OMG you’re so cool and you always look so put together and rock the highest heels and I wish I were you will you autograph my left tit?”*

Louise proceeded to tell me a story about this time she went out to the grocery store and everyone was looking at her funny, which she didn’t get because she was just in a tank top and some sweatpants. Then she got home and her then fiancee (now husband) said, “Babe, you’ve got a false eyelash stuck to your forehead.” It was at that moment that I fell madly in love with Louise. She’s hilarious (yes, HILARIOUS, as in one of the FUNNIEST people I know!) and the craziest shit is always happening to her, but she’s got the best outlook on things: she’s always able to appreciate that the crazy translates into a great story and she’s always able to laugh at herself along the way.

Also, she saves stories for me, which I look forward to every time we get together. When I get a text saying, “Oh no, this is an in-person story only,” I know I’m in for a really good one. When she calls me whispering because she’s in a broom closet, I know I’m in for a killer story.

Mandelle was like, "No one tells me I look like any celebrities," which I think is weird, because she totally looks like Rose Byrne, but she has better hair.
Mandelle was like, “No one tells me I look like any celebrities,” which I think is weird, because she totally looks like Rose Byrne, but she has better hair.

Thank god I was refused a raise at my theatre job and decided to spite everyone by getting a different theatre job one year. Because if I hadn’t, I would have never met my BFF Mandelle. And I still believe to this day that is was pure fate, because my “new” theatre job only lasted five weeks, but I’ve gotten to keep Mandelle for nearly five years now.

She hired me as her box office assistant at a huge theatre company in town. On my first day at work, we were sitting at our desks, which faced one another, and she started quoting Elf at me. When I left at the end of the day, she was like, “Byeeee, Buddy! Hope you find your dad!” and I tried to play it cool, but I was internally GEEKING out.

SIDENOTE: To this day, we still call each other Buddy.

On my second or third day at work, Mandelle told me we needed to go for lunch together…away from the theatre. So we walked down the street, got some food, and she told me flat out (which is true Mandelle style): “I’m quitting this place.”

“Me too!” I blurted out, unable to imagine the theatre without her. Three days into our friendship, I already knew I didn’t want to be there without her. So I handed in my resignation, and so did she. That was in May. By June/July, we were already going on roadtrips together and talking all the time. Mandelle and I have done a lot of laughing together, and a lot of crying, too. She’s also the only friend I’ve ever had who made me a Birthday Tree, which is a Christmas tree decorated with birthday streamers, and with a big photo of me as the angel. Shut up, right? The best. I adore her.

And the only thing I hate about her is her fucking PERFECT, AMAZING HAIR. (Seriously. Perfect. Beautiful. ALWAYS.)

This is Margaret. Wait, I mean Rachel McAdams. No, no, it's Margaret...right?
This is Margaret. Wait, I mean Rachel McAdams. No, no, it’s Margaret…right?

Margaret didn’t show up to our pre-first-class orientation day at the University of Glasgow because she was still in transit from Detroit, Michigan, so I didn’t even know she existed until our official first day of class.

As soon as she opened her mouth, I was two things: (1) intimidated as hell, and (2) intrigued.

Margaret is one of those insanely smart, well-informed, well-read women who can say, “I hate mushrooms”** and sound like she’s at the presidential debates or something. So when she started to comment on a play and compare it to American politics, I was like, “Oh shit, this girl’s way smarter than me.” Luckily she doesn’t hold it against me that I know almost nothing about politics.

Mags and I had what I’ll call a blossoming relationship. We didn’t talk very much at first (because she was intimidatingly smart and cool!), but when we finally got started, we couldn’t stop. We became two North American peas in a Glaswegian pod, and we’ve been besties ever since. I still can’t go shopping without accidentally almost texting her to say, “Want to come with?”

Margaret was there for me when I got hit by the monster rash and I needed to go to the ER. She was also there for me when my uncle passed away very suddenly and I needed someone to come over just to watch me cry and help me pack a suitcase and book an emergency flight to Portugal to be with my family.

Thank goodness she was also there every time I wanted to indulge in really awful reality TV. We also did a lot of travelling together, which I think is a true testament to our friendship. I still wish every day that we could somehow live in the same city, because Chicago’s really far away and I miss her daily. (The OBVIOUS solution to this problem is that I should move to Chicago.)

Also, Margaret brought her ridiculously cute dog with her to Glasgow. And we all know how I am around ridiculously cute dogs.

Me and Audrey, my canine BFF.
Me and Audrey, my canine BFF.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re like, “Wow, Andrea, first of all, your BFFs sound like the coolest ever, but secondly, what’s the lesson attached to this long, rambling blog post?”

The lesson is this: There’s no need to let the derogatory dicks of the world bring you down, because your BFFs will always be there for you to:

(A) Make you feel better.

(B) Remind you that you’re loved and supported to matter what.

(C) Trash talk the assholes for as long as you need.

I’m a lucky girl. I love you ladies!

People say I look like Ginnifer Goodwin, which is the first celeb lookalike I actually agree with.***
People say I look like Ginnifer Goodwin, which is the first celeb lookalike I actually agree with.***

xA

EDITED TO ADD: Guys, I just realized that I have NEVER had a fight with ANY of my BFFs. Like, ever! That’s how brilliant they all are.

P.S. There aren’t actually enough words to express what these women mean to me. Also, if I really got going, you’d probably find me, still sitting at this laptop like a week later with a 50,000 word blog post in front of me, sobbing uncontrollably and muttering things like, “Shit, seriously, they’re the BEST.” And I wouldn’t even be drunk. That would be sober crying. So there you have it.

*That’s an estimation, FYI.

**I don’t think Mags hates mushrooms, but I sure do.

***Shout out to Ryan for his mad Photoshop skillz. Thx for the BFF mash-up!

Ninety One.

Speaking of being a child with good taste, let me tell you about my daily routine when I was in my early years of grade school.

You know what, let me just skip the boring parts where I’d get up, eat breakfast, and go to school. What you need to know is that when I got home from school, I would run to the living room, turn on the TV, and switch it to channel 9 (coincidentally, my favourite number), where they played reruns of The Addams Family every week day.

Creepy and Kooky.
Creepy and Kooky.

I LOVED The Addams Family. I’ve known the lyrics to the opening theme song for so long that I feel like I was born with the words in my head.

And I could snap on beat.
And I could snap on beat.

I don’t know if I can pick a favourite Addams. Of course, I thought Morticia (Carolyn Jones) was the most beautiful woman on earth. She was just so damn cool and collected. But I also had a soft spot for Gomez (John Astin) and his funny moustache. Plus, Wednesday (Lisa Loring) was so cute. I wanted to be her.

No, really.

I used to sit and watch The Addams Family, and I used to dream of one day being a part of it. I thought maybe they could make some sort of exception for me and adopt me even though I wore a lot of colour (See: I LOVED NEON. Funny how things come full circle, huh?) and I liked to smile.

At least I had a love of dance and twirling working in my favour, right?

Because the Addams Family
Because the Addams Family
Knows how to party.
knows how to party.

I’ve always loved my own family, but I have to be honest with you all: I’m still secretly hoping that an Addams will knock on my door and invite me over.

Once a weirdo, always a weirdo?

xA

P.S. What TV family did you want to run away to?

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