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Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

Nope. I still don’t have any answers. And I still don’t feel like a grown up. Maybe slightly closer, but I still don’t even want to have to take care of a houseplant.

SIDENOTE: Somehow I manage to keep my dogs alive and happy. I don’t know how that works. Life Math is weird.

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

My BFF Jo texted me yesterday and said, “It’s your last day as a 26 year old.”

At first I kind of panicked. Holy shitballs. 26. It’s over. I feel like it just started. I know it sounds like a super cliche, but in some ways, it really was like the blink of an eye.

I started this blog a year ago as a challenge to myself as a writer. Early in 2012, I kind of lost faith in myself. I hit a major rough patch and thought wow, maybe I’m actually a terrible writer. Maybe I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I don’t want to ever write again. Of course, I eventually came around and realized that writing is the thing I love the most. And in the same vein, I knew that if I wanted to be a writer, I’d have to write.

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

I wasn’t really expecting that forcing myself to write a blog post every day – a story that somehow led to me learning a life lesson, no matter how small – would help me be happy. I saw it as much more of an exercise than anything else. And an opportunity to maybe be funny. But I have to say, writing this blog has given me a completely different outlook on my entire life. It’s helped me understand how my past has made me who I am. It’s helped me work through a lot of difficult times and put a positive spin on things I would have never otherwise laughed at. It’s helped me approach life in a much more open, accepting way.

Like, happen to me, life: I’m ready to learn from you.

That was a disaster. Oh well, next time will be better!

I can’t believe that just happened. I am mortified. Also, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to tell people.

I did it! Someone pat me on the fucking back!

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

I am hurting. I need to know it’s going to be okay.

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

At the same time, I had come to a bit of a crossroads with myself. I had hit a self-love low. I was feeling depressed, defeated, discouraged, you name it. I decided enough was enough: it was time to make the active decision to be happy.

I also discovered that Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks. And my world was turned upside down. In a good way.

To quote myself (is that totally pretentious? I’m trying to recap, shut up.):

Jayne Mansfield, the American actress, singer, Playboy playmate, and all around drop-dead gorgeous bombshell, was flawed in a way that has been the root of much of my self-consciousness for all of my teenage and adult life.

So…all of that got me here.

SIDENOTE: It’s really hard writing the last post of a 365-day blog.

It’s going to be difficult to let this blog go. I know I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and my first thought is going to be, “What can I write about today?” or, “Oh shit! I still have to blog today!”

But I’m looking forward to channelling my creative energy into a number of other projects that I’ve already either started or am about to. So I guess what I’m saying is I’m not going anywhere. Maybe there will be another blog. Maybe not. But I promise there will be something.

I was trying to think of a fun way to commemorate the end of this blog.

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

jayne

And so do I.

Image2

xA

P.S. It’s hilariously ironic that in the majority of the pin-up photos I took, my stretchmarks aren’t that visible. Because they’re everywhere.

But I guess there’s a life lesson in that, isn’t there?

I’m probably the only one who really notices them.

Image7_2

P.P.S. Things I meant to write but forgot: Happy Birthday to me! Also, here’s to 27! I’m crazy excited for it!

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Three Hundred Sixty Five.

I know this is a 365-day blog, but this is technically the penultimate post, because it’s a birthday to birthday thing. And tomorrow’s my birthday!

600px-US_27.svg

SIDENOTE: Have you bought me a birthday present yet? We can’t be friends if you didn’t because all I care about is material possessions.

Anyway, I thought what better way to spend the second-last day of my crazy year-long blog than looking back on some of its best moments?

SIDENOTE: Maybe that should say best/”best”…

Think of this, if you will, as a flashback episode of your favourite TV sitcom. With the help of a couple friends, I’ve compiled some categories I think you’ll enjoy.

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

photo(1)

Oh boy. Where to even start with this one?! Well, okay…

1. Pressing buttons was (OKAY, STILL IS) a thing I loved doing. See examples A and B.

2. Of course, there was the time I electrocuted myself

3. The day I put scissors through my finger

4. Setting fire to things is never a good idea.

5. Neither is writing a hate letter to your childhood friend.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give honourable mention to the day I learned that “bastard” is a bad word. Oh, and also to the combination of shaving off my eyebrows and getting hair extensions.

And guess what?! It’s your lucky day. I found a photo of teenage Andrea with hair extensions and no eyebrows. And apparently I have no shame because I’m gonna post it on the Internet.

Extensions

Boy oh boy oh boy.

Moving on!

Top 5 Most Awkward Moments

If you haven’t deduced by now, I am the QUEEN OF AWKWARD. This is quite the random assortment, but I feel it encompasses who I am pretty well…

1. The day a goat ate my t-shirt. (Enough said.) (Stupid goats.) (Seriously, why would she do that to me?!) (Ugh.) (I fucking loved that t-shirt.) (SOB.)

2. The day I learned about orgasms in sex ed. (Is anyone else craving cake?!)

3. Barrel-chested. That is all.

4. The day the National Poet of Scotland called me stupid. Which I really should add to my resume.

5. My elementary school “boobies” moment.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

There are so, so many, but I feel like my Pilates FAIL and my Zumba BARF moments were pretty grand.

Top 5 “SRSLY?!” Moments

You know those moments. The ones that make you go, “what the fucking?!”

1. People and my tattoos. Why are people so weird about my tattoos?

2. That time a guy threw a book at my face. No big deal.

3. NO I DON’T WANT TO TAN.

4. Nothing says “what the fuck?” like getting pepper sprayed!

5. Also charming: when people tell you how to pronounce your own name

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

I have to give myself a shout out for fucking up my neck by making fun of someone on a Zumba DVD. Because who the fuck does that? This girl, right here.

But the greatest honourable mention in this category goes to Glasgow, Scotland, where I experienced so many WTF things, including…

Finding a tooth in an ATM.

Finding a used tampon on a bus.

And buses in general.

Among so many others. I fucking love you, Glasgow. I really do.

Top 5 Workplace Blunders

It’s a wonder I still have my job. It really is. It’s also a wonder I still have any self-confidence after all of the stupid humbling things that have happened to me at work…

1. My friends still bring up the day I parked on the sidewalk.

2. Also charming: locking yourself in a stairwell on your first day of work.

3. Or, you know, getting caught dancing in the bathroom.

4. Similarly, walking in on your coworkers in the bathroom.

5. Or traumatizing them with your hair colour.

BONUS PHOTO:

Getting caught taking a selfie at work.

Work selfie

At least I know my office mate loves me and doesn’t judge me.

Top 5 Relationship/Sex Fails

Look. I’d prefer we don’t dwell on how much I suck at relationships, okay? OKAY?!

1. I have been known to throw myself at guys I like.

2. I’ve learned the hard way that spin the bottle will only break your heart.

3. So will going after guys who don’t care that you exist. (But you can keep trying to shout “LOVE ME! LOOOOOVE MEEEE!” at them. Trust me. Guys SUPER love that.)

4. I’m good at ending up in awkward sex situations.

5. And awkward kissing situations, sometimes.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS AND A BONUS PHOTO:

Okay, well, first of all, heartbreak, right?

I think I also screwed it up with this guy, because he was clearly paying me a compliment.

Let’s not forget all of my failed marriages. Sigh.

And the time a MONSTER RASH ruined my potential Scottish boyfriend.

And hey, since I’ve already shown you how great I looked with hair extensions as an eyebrowless wonder, here’s a photo of me in the midst of the MONSTER RASH attack. This was after I managed to get my eyes open, because they were swollen shut.

Photo 130

Good lord…

Top 5 Accomplishments

I didn’t screw up everything, though. I’ve done some stuff. Yeah. I do things! I TCB every once in a while!

1. I’ve gotten over a lot of fear to become a Zumba instructor.

2. Then I stuck with it for a year and changed my life.

3. I grew back my eyebrows, guys. I fucking did it!

4. I got over some serious “I can’t!” bullshit and also tried wall climbing.

5. Oh, hey, I also learned how to embrace myself sometimes. I think that’s pretty huge.

HONOURABLE MENTION:

I BLOGGED EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR 365 FUCKING DAYS.

A year, guys. A YEAR.

I’m excited to celebrate my birthday with you all tomorrow.

xA

P.S. I know what you’re thinking. There totally should have been some sort of crazy travel category. But I just couldn’t narrow that shit down. So you’ll just have to re-read my entire blog to enjoy.

One Hundred Eighty One.

I was trying to blog about a bunch of different stuff for my post today, and everything kept coming out negative.

And not like, normal negative. Like, why-does-it-sound-like-she-hates-the-world? negative.

I’m just having one of those days where I’m way too stressed out, I’m Pfrustrated (which is my new word for being frustrated at my fucking leg injury), and I have way too much on my plate, and therefore everything is making me Sangry (sad + angry).

Oh, also, I have PMS. So that’s not helping.

So when someone asks me a question, I’m like:

NOSFERATU

And I’m finding myself reading through people’s Facebook status updates and it’s like:

“Jane Doe is having a bit of morning sickness today, but I bet I’ll want a cupcake in a couple hours!”

And I’m like, “SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY!”

(And also: “GET YOUR VERB TENSES RIGHT, DUMBASS!”)

And it’s like:

“Jane Doe is having such a beautiful Monday!”

And I’m like, “NOBODY’S THAT HAPPY, YOU LIAR!”

And it’s like:

“Jane Doe is trying to be patient, but when will this snow finally melt?!”

And I’m like, “SHUT UP ABOUT THE FUCKING SNOW!”

And I was just out running some errands and wanted to be like:

SCARLET

To everybody. Even people who had nothing to do with anything I was doing.

And then I was driving home and I got stuck waiting for a train, and the guy behind me was biting his nails, so I was like, “THAT’S FUCKING GROSS!” as if he (A) could hear me, and (B) would give a shit what I think, and then I noticed the guy next to me was picking his nose and I think I blacked out for a second because I couldn’t even.

And then I got home and Oscar and Lucy were ALL OVER ME wanting attention, and I got really frustrated and yelled at them. And then they looked at me like this:

PERFECT FACE

AND I CRIED.

So today the lesson I have learned is that sometimes, it’s just good to stay away from people.

PRETZELS

I DO! I DO WANT A SOFT PRETZEL. But you know what?

I CAN’T EAT GLUTEN.

WHY ME

WHYSOB

…….How’s your Monday going?

xA

One Hundred Fifty Five.

Ah, the Glasgow bus.

There she is.
There she is.

You can have many, many adventures on the Glasgow bus. You can get on the wrong one and get completely lost, for example, or find yourself a new #1 fan. Sometimes it smells like puke. Sometimes it smells like pee. Sometimes it smells like both. Sometimes you can’t tell what it smells like and that’s worrisome. Sometimes it’s 24 degrees outside, which doesn’t sound that hot, but then it’s 24 degrees and 100% humidity, so the windows of the bus actually drip on the inside and make you wish you were dead a little bit.

It’s a good time.

I rode the bus almost every single day while I was living in Glasgow, so I got used to it.

Or so I thought.

I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the one day I sat down on the bus and found a little friend sitting next to me.

“Oh my god,” you’re thinking, “Was it a rat? It was a rat, wasn’t it? Was it dead? WAS IT A DEAD RAT?!”

It wasn’t a rat.

It was a used tampon.

"What the fucking?!"
A USED TAMPON…!!!!

At first I was like:

Disbelief

And then I was like:

NoSheDidn't

And then I realized, oh yeah, I should probably:

OMGEW

That was the day I learned that Glasgow ladies may take the cake when it comes to sheer classiness, but also that I am NOWHERE near as stealthy as I think I am, because I think I’m pretty stealthy when I need to be, but I could NEVER pull that off. No pun intended.

You're welcome.
You’re welcome.

xA

P.S. Genuinely didn’t think I’d use that ‘period’ category more than once, but here I am. I’d apologize, but it’s a good* fucking story, right?!

*See: gross

One Hundred Twenty Six.

Remember my beautiful flat in Glasgow that I had to pay cash for?

Well, before I moved into that amazing flat, I lived in the Nightmare Flat.

Don’t get me wrong. It was still in a pretty nice neighbourhood (aside from a very creepy convenience store manager across the street – another story for another day) and the rent was good. And it was in pretty good shape, too.

OR SO I THOUGHT.

It wasn’t even the neighbours that made it a nightmare. It was the little friend living in the depths of the flat itself. Furry and ranging in colour from white to green to black. Smelly. Damp. Destructive.

MOULD.

My dictionary defines it as, “a furry growth of minute fungal hyphae.” I define it as one of the worst things that has ever happened to me.

Everything seemed normal in my flat at first. It was cold as hell, no matter how high I pumped the electric radiators, but I assumed that was just my body adjusting to a cool, damp climate and no central heating.

Then one day, I noticed that one of the walls in my living room looked like this:

WTF?
WTF?

It honestly didn’t even occur to me at first that it was mould. I thought it was dirt. I cleaned it off. But less than 24 hours later, it was starting to appear again, and within 48 hours, it had grown back and then some.

Oh shit.

Now, the full story of my mouldy flat is a long, intense, and probably boring one involving a lot of bleach, tea tree oil, and frantic phone calls home. What you need to know is this:

  • The mould quickly started to take over my flat, including my clothing and shoes (I had to throw away a lot of stuff.)
  • My landlord claimed it was because I kept the flat “too cold.” (He wanted me to have all my radiators on maximum heat 24 hours a day, plus a gas operated space heater on 24 hours a day. Who the fuck does that?!)
  • The contractors who came to repair some of the problems in the flat told me it was horribly damp and no one should be living in it until there were a bunch of renos done.

FAB.

Oh wait. One more minor detail:

THE MOULD DROVE ME CRAZY.

Literally.

Mouldy blinds.
Mouldy blinds.

When I was home, I would get an insta-headache and an insta-cough. I would often feel tired, lethargic, short of breath, and I would always feel confused, overwhelmed, and unable to focus. Getting through reading for my courses was almost impossible, but so was staying on topic for more than 30 seconds while I was on Skype with my mom. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I started popping a ton of vitamin D, thinking I was having a hard time adjusting to gloomy skies. It didn’t help. I felt like I was losing my mind.

Once I became aware of the mould problem and I Googled the symptoms of mould exposure, I nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Everything I was experiencing made sense. All of a sudden I realized that yeah, my headache and cough went away when I left the flat. By the time I got to school, I usually felt fine: I was my normal, deep breathing, perky self. It was only when I got home that I would crash, cough, and fall mysteriously ill.

SIDENOTE: I also had one of the most horrendous, painful periods I have ever had in my life during the worst of the mould crisis. I’ve never been one for more than a few hours of cramps and some mild nausea during my period; this one had me horizontal on the couch crying and holding my stomach for two days straight. Mould? Who the hell knows.

The ordeal it was for me to move out of the Nightmare Flat was almost as epic as the mould itself (again, another story for another day). For now, let me just say that it involved abandoning a lease, losing a TON of money, and a lot of rage crying.

A lot of rage crying.

HUGELY RELIEVED on moving day. Goodbye, Nightmare Flat!
HUGELY RELIEVED on moving day. Goodbye, Nightmare Flat!

But boy, was it worth it.

Fordyce Street, you dream, you. Miss you every single day!
Fordyce Street, you dream, you. Miss you every single day!

That was the not-even-two-month period in which I learned that mould is no joke.

xA

Thirty Six.

Let’s not beat around the bush (wait for it…): periods are annoying as hell (ba-BAM!).

Guys will never know how ridiculously annoying they are, blah blah whatever – that’s not what I’m here to talk about. (But just to be clear, it’s true.)

I – and I think I can pretty safely say I’m not alone here – have spent a great portion of my 26 years getting my period and going, “Ugh, again?” even though it’s something that has happened consistently since I was 13-ish(?).

SIDENOTE: Guys (Ladies), I don’t remember the day I got my first period. Isn’t that fucked up? I don’t think it was so traumatic that I’ve blocked it out, but I can’t be certain because I DON’T REMEMBER IT. The fact confounds me. I feel like I’m not an entirely complete person, because if I have kids one day (or if I’m just the cool aunt the kids ask about all the important stuff, which let’s face it, I will be) and they ask me about getting my period, I’m going to have to make something up. I remember the day my best friend (whom I no longer speak to) got her period in grade 6. I’d use that story, but it’s so lame. Thank goodness I’m a writer and I make shit up all the time.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into the gory details or anything (you’re welcome), but the bottom line is that periods are a huge drag and usually they make you feel icky and bitchy and everything the commercials and mainstream television and movies say. So a lot of the time, we women (again, speaking broadly here because I feel like I can) wish we didn’t have to deal with them.

Until you stop getting yours or it’s late.

Then you’ll find yourself wishing for your period so hard you spend a lot of time trying to talk your abdomen into releasing some eggs or shedding some layers or whatever.

When I was living in Glasgow, I started to have these weird stomach pains. They were crazy sharp, somewhere up under my ribs, and they would happen randomly, but violently enough to make me keel over and hate life for a few minutes until they were over. I knew they weren’t caused by cramps, because they were way too high up, but I couldn’t pin point any food intolerances to explain them either, even after a process of elimination.

It just so happened that I was on my way back home for a visit with my family, so I decided to wait and see a doctor while I was back in Canada, too. He poked and prodded at me a bit, asked me questions about food and diet, and then drew out the big guns:

“Are you pregnant?”

I laughed out a “no!” and gave him a casual hand flip. You know the one.

“Are you sure?”

And being the hypochondriac that I am, I stopped dead in my tracks. I explained to the doctor that I hadn’t had sex in months – like, months – so it just wasn’t possible.

He shrugged. “A lot of pregnancies go undetected, even into the third trimester. When was your last period?”

I’m usually pretty on top of this question. I’m in touch with my body and stuff. (Especially after this, let me tell you.) But while I was studying in Scotland – not having sex – I kind of forgot about it. So I wrinkled my nose at him.

“Sometime…in the last…well I’ve definitely had it since the last time I had sex.”

He shrugged again. (Smug bastard.) “A lot of women have their period all throughout pregnancy. I’m going to send you for a series of tests.”

And then I kind of wanted to throw up.

(Not because I was pregnant.)

I gave the kind nurses at the clinic all the fluids they asked for, then went home and cried to my mommy. Not only would being pregnant suck, since according to my calculations I’d be like, seven months pregnant, but the guy I’d be pregnant with would suck, too. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t Batman PJs.) But I’m not even going to go there.

Here’s something y’all should know: when a doctor tells you there’s a chance you might be pregnant, you need EVERY BIT OF PROOF  that you’re not in order to believe it.

I went to the drug store and bought a couple pregnancy tests. Negative. Okay, but that happens all the time. So I waited on the results from the doctor’s office and worried that my story would end up being a segment on TLC’s I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant. I didn’t want that to be my claim to fame. I thought about my master’s degree, which I’d have to leave behind, and cried a lot more. (I probably ate a lot, too.)

A couple days later, I got called back to the doctor’s office. He sat me down and told me the tests came back negative, but that false negatives were a possibility, and if I was still having pain (which I was), I should go to an ultrasound. Great. Thanks for making me feel confident, doc!

SIDENOTE: I’ve never been back to this amazing doctor. I know, I know, I’m a crazy person.

I was honestly TERRIFIED to look at the ultrasound screen. I couldn’t sleep the night before, I was so scared that I’d look up and see a PERSON INSIDE ME. The ultrasound dude started doing his thing and I broke into an insta-sweat thinking about cribs and baby names and labour. Then I took a deep breath and looked at the scratchy black and white monitor.

EMPTY!

(Well, not empty, but you know what I mean.)

HOLYFUCKOHMYGODTHANKYOUBABYJESUSANDALLTHATISWHATEVERISUPTHEREJUSTTHANKYOUHOLYFUCK.

Or something like that.

Turns out it was gallbladder pain. And I fixed it with an alkaline diet for a few months.

Amazing.

And that, my friends, is how you learn to love your period.

xA

P.S. What does it say about me that when I watch this video:

50% of me says, “Oh my GOD! I could eat him up he’s so cute! I want one! No, 10! No, just give me this one!”

And the other 50% says, “Oh my GOD! Just give it up, kid! We get it! Go the hell to sleep!”

Is that wrong?

Just wondering.

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