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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 Thirty Eight.

In the sixth grade, we had a class pet.

He was the only class pet I’ve ever had. I guess class pets weren’t a very big thing at my school.

Our class pet was a small white snake named Elmo.

He looked sort of like this:

00096bb163c3096ee5bc05

Why he was named Elmo is beyond me. I don’t remember who named him, but I think whoever it was needed to be reminded that we were in the SIXTH GRADE and therefore all very big, mature kids who would definitely not watch Sesame Street.

SIDENOTE: Meanwhile, at almost 27, I was totally quoting Sesame Street at a friend yesterday. And the friend was not a toddler.

I love snakes and reptiles and amphibians. I think they’re beautiful and interesting. Growing up, I had pet newts (can’t believe I haven’t mentioned that until now!) and I adored them all. So I definitely wasn’t afraid of Elmo himself, but I definitely was afraid of feeding him.

Elmo ate pinkies.

AKA baby mice.

10340baby_mice

Have I mentioned that I love mice, too? I think they’re the cutest. (Look at them! They’re like little adorable aliens! Then they get hair and they’re even CUTER.) Also, they’re living things, and I’m not big on eating those.

At first, Elmo ate frozen pinkies.

SIDENOTE: I feel queasy just writing about this.

They were like little mouse ice cubes. My sixth grade teacher – who was, by the way, a vegetarian (she loved chocolate cake) – was adamant that I take part in the feeding process, even though I didn’t want to watch Elmo eat.

“It’s the food chain, Andrea. It’s the cycle of life.”

So I would stand by and watch Elmo eat the micecubes.*

It wasn’t horrible. It was neat watching him unhinge his jaw. The mouse didn’t like, try to run away or anything. I could cope.

Fine.

I think my teacher felt like she had “gotten through to me” or whatever.

But one day, they were out of frozen pinkies.

CUT TO: Grown-up Andrea shouting, “Oh hell no!”

I sat at my desk during feeding time, but once again, my teacher insisted I get involved.

“It’s the food chain, Andrea. It’s the cycle of life.”

Despite my protesting, she shoved me to the front of the class to watch Elmo eat the live pinkie.

It couldn’t really run away from him. I mean, it hadn’t even opened its eyes yet. But that didn’t stop it from crying and squeaking and squirming all the way down. It was still moving around when it reached Elmo’s…abdomen? (I dunno, snakes are one long body, what do you want me to say?)

So that was basically one of the worst moments ever.

It was the day I learned:

(A) I will never have a pet snake.

(B) I will always be a vegetarian.

(C) My sixth grade teacher was kind of a jerk.

(D) I’m cool with not being exposed to the food chain.

(E) I love mice, even when they look like aliens.

Among many other things.

xA

P.S. Also the reason I never got a gecko. No live crickets for this girl.

P.P.S. Elmo eventually escaped his tank. He wasn’t found until like, a year later, when the janitor found him dead in the gymnasium’s storage room, wrapped up in the parachute. Yay.

*”Micecubes” TM Andrea Beça.

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 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 Twenty Four.

It’s kind of strange to be an employee on campus and not a student.

SIDENOTE: Everyone on campus still thinks I’m a student, so I guess I still look young and maybe stressed….wait…

Yesterday, classes officially kicked in for the 2013/2014 academic year. Wow. There you have it.

SIDENOTE: Where the fuck is my flying car? What kind of sham is this whole 2000’s thing?!

In the afternoon, I had to take a bunch of paperwork from the office I work at to the office I’m employed by (it’s complicated – my boss is major and important so he has two offices oh my), which meant crossing through a chunk of the campus.

I think I was spoiled by the solitude and serenity of summer. (How’s that for some sexy alliteration? I’m single, guys!) I had gotten used to a gorgeous, peaceful campus, lush and green, quiet and full of fresh air. I had gotten used to my walks across campus being my own personal mini holiday during the work day. A little slice of deep breathing heaven. A moment out of my office. A little ray of sunshine.

Say it with me: “Aaaaahhhh.”

Corbett_Hall_University_Of_Alberta_Edmonton_Alberta_Canada_08A

And then yesterday I was BOMBARDED by hordes of university students. New ones (they look like they’re all 12?!?!) They were everywhere, standing in giant groups, eating, talking to each other, talking on their phones, looking lost, wandering, texting, comparing sorority options, and so on. The beautiful courtyard I typically love to walk through was occupied by giant white tents promoting local bars, cell phone providers, and campus clubs.

Rather than get annoyed (okay, I got a little annoyed), I remembered what it was like to start university. Man, it felt like such a big deal. Worrying about finding all your classes on your first day. Debating what to wear. Trying to find the perfect shoulder bag that would not only hold all of your books, but look super cool. Hoping that you would somehow run into at least one familiar face and not feel so intimidated by the thousands of unfamiliar ones you had to walk by and interact with. Anticipating how much your degree would change your life and get you started on your career, your dreams.

And then it hit me.

OH MY GOD I STARTED UNIVERSITY NINE YEARS AGO. AND I’VE BEEN OUT OF UNIVERSITY FOR THREE YEARS.

Lesson learned: THIS IS IT. Adulthood. Where the hell did my school life go?! I think I stressed and sleep-deprived it away.

Maybe I should get another degree.* I don’t think I’m ready for real life yet.

xA

*Oh right, BROKE. Ooooops.

Three Hundred Twenty.

There once was a boy named Ryan.

We met in kindergarten.

I’m pretty sure it was my very first day of school ever when Ryan walked up to me, an adorable ginger kid with a naughty look in his eyes…and lifted up my dress.

I was livid.

I cried.

Ryan, who really did sort of look like this…

childs-play-5__oPt

…continued to torture me for the remainder of kindergarten, lifting my dress almost daily and making me cry. My mom talked to my teacher, and then to his mom, and still, Ryan persisted with his dumb “Big Meanie” behaviour.

Did he change in grade one?

Nope.

Grade two?

Nope.

Grade three?

Nope.

Grade four?

Nope.

And then I left the elementary I was attending – not because of Ryan, mind, but for other reasons – and moved to a new school.

But years later, when we finally reconnected, Ryan and I clicked instantly.

No, we didn’t.

Ryan was always mean to me, and he remained that way. I just creeped his Facebook profile about five minutes ago, and while I’m well aware that I’m severely biased, it seems like he hasn’t changed much.

So yes, sometimes little boys (and adult boys, for that matter) pick on girls when they have a crush on them, but also – and here’s the lesson – sometimes kids are just dicks.

Boys

(Give these girls like, five more years to realize how cruel girls can be to one another, am I right?)

SIDENOTE: If I watch that GIF loop over enough times, I feel like I’m gonna barf.

xA

P.S. Don’t worry, I’m not still sitting in my life thinking about Ryan and his douche-baggery. This post came about while I was brain storming about first day of school memories, sparked by the fact that today is the beginning of September.

Speaking of, I am cheering on all of my friends who are teachers. You guys are already working hard and soon you’ll also have to deal with children. I commend you.

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 Five.

Have you guys ever heard of Irn Bru?

Irn_Bru_500ml_FS

It’s Scotland’s “other national drink” (after whiskey). It actually outsells Coke in Scotland, which is a pretty crazy accomplishment. If I remember correctly, that hasn’t happened anywhere else. But I might have made that up. Or a very proud Scot told me so and I took it for the truth. Either way, it’s popular stuff.

I only tried Irn Bru once. I don’t actually know what it’s supposed to taste like. It’s not orange, despite its appearance. It’s almost like North American cream soda, except way, way sweeter. Apparently, it may have a slightly ginger-y after taste? I think it burned my taste buds off. But that’s honestly not saying much; I’ve never been a fan of soda.

Anyway, I will never forget this one day in Glasgow. I was crossing a bridge in Kelvingrove Park on my way to university and I happened to pass by a young mother with a number of children. That in itself wasn’t surprising, but her youngest child was. The little girl, who could not have been older than 6-8 months, was sitting in a stroller, sucking on a baby bottle…that was filled with Irn Bru.

How can I be sure? It’s neon orange, y’all. It looks like toxic waste.

I have to admit, my first reaction was to think, “Only in Glasgow,” and tell like, everyone I saw that day about how horrified I was.

But lately, like in the last few months, I have seen so many parents buying their kids coffee that I don’t even know what to think. Just a couple days ago, when I was “working” at a Starbucks, I saw a dad buying his 6-7 year old son an iced coffee and I was kind of floored.

I know what you’re thinking. Starbucks has a lot of non caffeinated beverages that could be kid-friendly. Yeah, that’s absolutely true. But this kid was drinking one of these:

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Straight up iced coffee.

I’ve heard lots of parents say their kids genuinely love the taste of black coffee. I just hope that when they comply to their kids’ requests, they’re at least ordering decaf. Because (A) kids don’t need an early start to caffeine addiction, and (B) who wants to parent a caffeinated child?!

Lesson learned: I may be one of “those” parents. You know the ones. They don’t let their kids eat sugary cereal or processed foods.

Combine this post with this article from Jezebel and once again, I’m leaning toward “NO” on the “Are you going to have children?” scale.

xA

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