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Tattoos

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.

Three Hundred Thirteen.

Life is weird.

This new girl has been showing up at my Zumba classes lately. She immediately caught my eye because she’s covered in tattoos and she’s a really good dancer. She also has really great energy – I immediately felt like she was friendly.

She’s been coming to my classes for a few weeks now, and the other day, I finally asked her name. I was standing with my BFF Jolene at the time, and I joked with this girl – let’s call her Charlene – that her tattoos caught my eye, because heavily tattooed girls aren’t too commonplace.

“You used to be the gorgeous tattooed mystery girl showing up at my classes, Andrea” Jolene said, “Now you’ve got one, too!”

We all laughed and continued on to my class and that was that.

I need to backtrack a moment now to tell you about one of the first times I ever talked to my BFF Jolene. I think, in fact, it may have been the second time we ever spoke. It was after I attended one of her Zumba classes, and I overheard her hinting at some relationship drama in the change rooms. She seemed to be having a hard day.

Even though I didn’t know her well, I felt compelled to talk to her.

“Hey,” I said shyly, “Look, I know we don’t know each other well at all, but if you ever need to talk about what’s going on, I’ve been through some shit, too.”

And the rest was sort of history.

Today has been a rough day. It started out with some big sadness, and then I had to gather myself, make myself look like a sort of normal person, and go teach Zumba.

HOO-FUCKING-RAY, right?

SIDENOTE: Groan.

I tried my best. I really did. But at the same time, I could feel that I was not radiating my usual happy energy. I felt exhausted and sick to my stomach, and my blood sugar quickly tapped out. My emotions had left me unable to eat anything. I was struggling hard.

I totally lost track of myself near the end of class. Suddenly choreography I’ve been teaching for months started to escape me and simple moves felt like jumping hurdles. So when the hour was finally over, I was hugely relieved. I wished everyone a happy weekend and then sat down on the edge of the stage to try to gather myself again, this time enough to get my ass back home.

Honestly, I thought that everyone had left the classroom.

But then I saw Charlene. She sat down at the front of the classroom to change her shoes and looked at me earnestly.

“I know it’s totally none of my business because you don’t know me at all,” she started, “but are you all right? You seem really sad today.”

Lesson learned: I’m starting to think there are no coincidences. Life brings you full circle over and over again – with varying lengths of time for those circles to complete, of course – for a reason.

Who knows? Maybe Charlene’s going to become a bigger part of my life, or teach me something really important. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

xA

Two Hundred Ninety Nine.

I worked a casino last night.

Funnily enough, I have never actually been to a casino except to work at them as a volunteer for various theatres in town.

They’re usually kind of boring. Sometimes exciting. Always strange.

I guess I was really asking for it when I tweeted this at the beginning of the night:

Tw1

At first, my entertainment was mostly fashion-based:

Tw2

And BFF-based:

Tw3

But then the men at the casino caught on that I was in the cash cage.

Tw4This guy – let’s call him Goddess Worshipper, or GW for short – was pretty hilarious. It all started when he was at the ATM right outside my cash window. He started glancing over at me, then began to motion at my hair and giving me the thumbs up.

“I like your hair!” he yelled at me.

“Thanks!” I yelled back.

(How awkward.)

He stared at me some more.

“You’re perfect!”

“Wow! Thanks!”

(What was I supposed to say? Nothing like having a yelling conversation with a tipsy GW through soundproof glass, am I right?)

“Everything about you – your style – like, everything from your hair, your tattoos, your outfit – mmm – everything. It’s just 100% you. You are who you are, you know?”

“I…appreciate it!” I laughed.

I thought he was going to get his money and go. But instead he came right up to my cash counter.

“You’re teaching people things just by existing,” he said to me very seriously, “You are a perfect goddess. You’re teaching people how to be themselves. Just by being. Gorgeous. You’re a goddess. A goddess.”

“Okay! Thanks so much!”

(I’m way too nice.)

GW then sat at the blackjack table just a few feet away from the cash cage with his back to me. Throughout the night, he kept turning back to me and yelling “Perfect!” over and over again. After a couple hours, we apparently had inside jokes. He’d turn, point at his friend’s back and laugh, shrugging and shaking his head and motioning to me like, “Can you believe this guy?”

I, of course, would shrug, laugh, shake my head, and motion back to him like, “What a card!”

SIDENOTE: Yes, I just used the expression “What a card!” In a blog post about a casino. THANK YOU I’M HERE ALL WEEK.

Then the night was super quiet for like five hours.

And then there was this guy:

Tw5

His story begins with another guy – a really young guy we’re going to call Young Guy, or YG. Let’s call the guy the story is actually about Forty Five, or FF.

(It’ll make sense in a second.)

It was the very end of the night and YG came up to me to cash in his chips. I had seen him earlier and noted how young he looked. He looked 12, but I’m sure he was 19 or something. Anyway, his cash out was $45.

He stared at me in horror as I handed him the money. He was obviously smashed.

“I got slaughtered tonight.” he said, looking like he was about to cry.

“That’s too bad.” I replied.

(What do you say to that, right?)

FF, who was organizing his chips just slightly behind YG came up to the counter.

“What did you lose, man?”

“Oh, dude,” YG turned to FF, “I got slaughtered. Slaughtered.”

“What’d you lose?”

“$800, man. $800.”

“We can fix that, bro. We can fix that. I lost $4500 last week in Vegas. No big deal.”

“Shit, man.”

“What’s $800?” FF continued, “You can’t do anything with $800. You can buy a hooker and have some fun. That’s it. $800’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

Young Guy’s face lit up.

“Let’s go out, man. Have some fun.”

“Bro, any other night and I would, man.” FF threw his chips at me, looking me up and down, “Tonight’s the one night I can’t.”

“Why not, man? Let’s go. Come on. Get a girl, get some stuff…”

“It’s the one night I can’t, man. I’m back on site in Fort Mac. Drug testing Monday, man. I can’t. Shit, any other night, bro. Any other night.”

At this point, I had laid out FF’s chips and counted out his money – a couple hundred dollars – but he wasn’t paying attention to me. I had to wait until he took his money to put his chips away, so I stood there, just listening.

“Fuck, man. Fuck. What a night.”

“Any other night, bro. I swear.”

Then Forty Five turned to me, in all his expensive jeans, tight t-shirt, bald head, look-at-me-I’m-hot-shit* attitude. He looked at my tits. Then at my face.

“Look at you in there.”

I looked at him, expressionless.

“Look at this chick,” FF turned to YG, “With her neck tattoo.”

Great, I thought, here we go.

FF turned back to me, leaning in really close to the glass between us. He bit his lip.

“You with your neck tattoo and your shaved head. I bet you’d be really up for it.”

And I was like, “WOW.”

I said it out loud. Too loud. It sort of fell out of my mouth. Sheer shock.

It wasn’t “WOW” as in “YAY.” It was “WOW” as in:

KWFKM“You’d take it.” he said.

He grabbed his money and paraded himself away, giving Fort McMurray a horrible name with every step.

Lesson learned: I’m definitely not going to meet my dream guy at a casino.

xA

*See: NOT.

P.S. I totally forgot to tweet about the classiest part of the night. On my walk from the casino to my car – which was less than 250 feet – I saw not one, but two penises. Apparently, dudes just pee on cars at 2am at West Edmonton Mall. Fucking wonderful.

Two Hundred Eighty Four.

A couple nights ago, I was watching some of a friend’s short films on YouTube (you should check out Hyperphotonic here – they do cool work). One of them had just started when I saw the lead actor, froze, and said – out loud, to no one but myself (and my dogs) – “Hey! Screwdriver Guy!”

I knew this guy in university during my undergrad. I wouldn’t call us friends – we were acquaintances, and we had a mutual friend. In fact, I’m pretty sure the guy was interested in our mutual friend (which makes perfect sense, because she is a tall, gorgeous blonde with a huge smile and legs that go on forever).

SIDENOTE: It sounds like I have a crush on her.

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: I basically do.

Anyway, one night we were both at the theatre on campus to see the same play, so we ended up sort of hanging out for the first time, and by some series of circumstances, he offered me a ride home. At least I think that’s how it went. We could have also been leaving the class we were in together. To be honest, I don’t remember which class it was. (It sounds like I was a party animal in university. I was actually just in too many classes and working too many hours on the side.)

Remember Nick’s car, Yugo, from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist?

Yugo

This guy’s car was the white version of Yugo. It was old and beaten up. The doors didn’t open properly. Inside it was messy and full of the guy’s “life.”

(I feel like you all know what I mean – all our cars are a disaster, right? Because I’m pretty sure up until like, two nights ago when I had my car professionally cleaned (Fancy! And soooo worh it! Thanks, Groupon!*), I had an empty suitcase in my trunk that I lent to a friend for CHRISTMAS holidays and some props from a play I produced TWO YEARS AGO.)

So I get in and sit down, and he sits down next to me and puts the key into the ignition. Only instead of turning the key, he just leaves it there for a second. Then he says, “Excuse my reach,” flips open the glove compartment, and starts rifling through it, clearly looking for something specific.

It is at this point that I realize he hasn’t closed his door.

What the heck?

He pulls out a screwdriver.

“Sometimes I just need to…” he says as he pops the hood, gets out of the car, disappears from my sight for a second, and messes around with the screwdriver.

Then he sits back down, turns the key, and the car starts up.

“Perfect. Okay, so where do you live?”

We never hung out again after that day – not because of the screwdriver,** just because of life circumstances and the fact that we were, as I mentioned, acquaintances and not friends. So since that day, he has been living in my mind as “Screwdriver Guy.” (I actually forgot his real name until I saw it in the film credits.)

Another example.

I met my friend Karly (I have no idea if Karly reads my blog – what up, girl?!***) back in 2005 when we worked at a bookstore together.

SIDENOTE: I’ve totally blogged about Karly before! Check it out! Wow. Keeping track of a 365-day blog is hard work.

We had been friends for a couple of years when we spent Halloween together. I’ll never forget that night because I was wearing a corset so that was the night I learned just how difficult it can be to function in a corset. (I should blog about that. I should also totally get a corset again. I fucking love corsets.) I don’t know what I was dressed up as. I was wearing a corset and a top hat. I had a very 1920s haircut at the time. Maybe I just thought I was Liza Minnelli.

It doesn’t matter what I was dressed up as, because Karly needed a costume, so she came over and we created a makeshift costume with what I had in my room. She was wearing all black, so I lent her a pair of cat ears, helped her with some makeup, and she was a cat. For the record, she looked adorable.

It just so happened that that was also the night that Karly met my brother, Bryan. And it just so happened that he never (I believe?) met Karly in person again because he moved to Vancouver shortly thereafter.

Look, what I’m trying to say is that when I talk about Karly to my brother, it goes one of two ways.

#1

ANDREA: I was talking to my friend Karly…

BRYAN: The cat?

ANDREA: Yes, the cat.

BRYAN: Okay.

#2

ANDREA: So I was talking to my friend Karly…

BRYAN: Karly…

ANDREA: The cat?

BRYAN: Oh! Karly. Yeah, cool.

Long story short (except not at all, right?), those are just two of many occasions I’ve learned that first impressions really do stick. And if they’re the only impression you get to give a person, I guess they could be either really damaging, or really hilarious.

Can’t talk, I am now wondering which “Girl” I am to people.

(I’m guessing I’m already “Zumba Girl” or “Tattoo Girl” to a number of people. But I do do some weird shit sometimes. There are so many girls I could be. Exhibit A; Exhibit B; Exhibit C…….oh, shit.)

xA

*I did not get paid to write that. I fucking wish.

**On the contrary, I do this weird thing where I find old, beaten up cars to be super charming. Does everyone do that? Like, it’s somehow cute and cool to have a terrible wreck of a car? Even though it’s totally not because in real life you just end up sinking all your money into it? Maybe it’s just me. (I know it’s not. Just look at Nick and Norah’s and like, every other movie ever.)

***Am I cool enough to pull that off? I do actually say it sometimes. Should I have admitted to that?

Two Hundred Three.

Last week, I had just arrived at one of my classes and was getting the sound system set up when one of my favourite students came in and said hello.

Honestly, she’s one of the nicest ladies I teach. She has energy and enthusiasm, and she doesn’t let inhibition stop her from always trying her best and just having fun. I really like having her in my class.

“Hey, Andrea – is that tattoo on your neck new?” she asked me.

“No, not at all. It’s…almost eight years old now – one of my oldest!”

“Oh, get out of town! I’ve never noticed it before!”

This isn’t all that uncommon, believe it or not. A lot of people don’t notice any of my tattoos when they first meet me. It still surprises me when people don’t see the neck one, because it’s in such a visible spot and I have short hair, but I had to admit, I like that they don’t. My tattoos are just part of my skin to me, so I appreciate when others find them natural.

We deduced that she had never noticed it because of where she typically stands during class. No big deal.

But then the conversation went on two sentences too long.

“You sure have a lot of tattoos. You’ll be a great market for laser tattoo removal in the future!”

I honestly think I looked like this for a second:

Crazy Eyes

Even though what I felt inside was a combination of

What

and

WHYSOB

(I know, I’ve used that one before, but I feel like that a lot, so deal with it.)

I think I managed to laugh and ramble out something like, “Oh, I’d never get anything tattooed on me if I feared I might regret it…” but on the inside, I felt broken. Was she implying my tattoos are regrettable? Was she subtly expressing her disapproval? Was she just trying to make conversation?

I believe in my heart that she meant no ill with the comment, but it was enough to shatter my confidence for the whole 60-minute class and throw me completely off my game.

So I re-learned something I feel like we’ve all learned many times: sometimes people don’t put their thoughts through the “is this appropriate/what I mean to say” filter before the words escape. And sometimes those little slips are mighty hurtful.

What was your last experience with this? (Because I know we’ve all had many.)

xA

P.S. Another quick example: when I was out of the fitness instructing game for two weeks due to my leg injury, I still had to attend my private class in order to let my friend into the community hall I teach at to sub for me. I didn’t have to stay for the class, but I wanted to be there for my students, and I was feeling so down in the dumps about being injured, I thought being in the room and hearing the music and watching people have fun might lift my spirits.

Instead, I heard the music and felt even sadder that I wasn’t dancing along to it. So that didn’t work.

And then one of my students walked up to me and said, “Well, you’re taking it nice and easy tonight – must be nice to have the night off, huh?”

And I wanted to curl up into a ball and die. Because I would have much rather been teaching the class, not sitting still in excruciating pain with an ice pack on my knee at the demand of my doctors and physiotherapist (and, let’s face it, my body). So…I’m just gonna leave that story where it is.

One Hundred Sixty Nine.

Let me tell you a little story about where my last name came from.

If you’re already sitting there rolling your eyes going, “Oh, riveting,” in a sarcastic tone of voice, move right along. This is the sort of shit that excites me. Deal with it.

Bird Flip

Okay, so my last name, Beça, is Portuguese. The ‘ç’ is pronounced like an ‘s,’ so my last name sounds like, “beh-sah,” or, “bessa.” (That’s where ‘contessabessa’ comes from.)

But if you trace the history of my last name way, way back, it apparently doesn’t come from Portugal, but Spain. And Spanish doesn’t use the ‘ç’ like Portuguese does. So the Spanish version of my last name, from ages past, is “Baeza,” pronounced, “bai-eh-sah.”

So I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but this one day, a number of years ago – I’d guess 2005 or so – I learned that there was a Canadian tattoo artist named Andrea Baeza. “Whoa,” I thought to myself, “She’s like me, but not.”

I did what any creepy and/or overly curious person would do and I looked her up. We even had some similar features/body characteristics.

(“Whoa.”)

And then, a few years later – in 2009 – I met her.

I didn’t even mean to meet her. I was at my tattoo shop getting a tattoo from my talented friend, Aza, when this girl walked by. She looked familiar, so I asked my friend who she was. “Oh, that’s Andrea. She’s in from Vancouver [?] for a few days and she’s tattooing here.”

(“Whoa.”)

“Is that Andrea Baeza?” I asked him.

“Yup.”

And then I explained to him that she and I had the same name, only history had separated it. She was like some sort of parallel universe me.

(Now that I’m writing it down, guys, I realize I may have gotten a little too excited about the whole thing. But it’s kind of cool, right? RIGHT?!)

“Weird. You should meet her.”

He called her over to say hello. I explained the name thing, trying not to sound like a total loser, but probably not breathing enough and definitely secretly hoping she’d find it as interesting and exciting as I did.

“Hmm. Cool.” She said. And then she went on with her day.

With totally good reason. I mean, what was I expecting? A giggly freakout?

Yeah, I think I sort of was. But I also get excited when people know how to use the subjunctive, so I’m well aware that I’m a special case.

That was when I learned:

(A) I need to get out more (still working on it), and

(B) I’m a nerd. A super-nerd.

xA

P.S. I’m well aware that Andrea Baeza is like, two degrees of separation from me on social media, so Andrea, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. And I think you’re cool and talented. And I just want you to LIKE ME.

One Hundred Forty Five.

Let’s talk about tattoos again for a second. I know I’ve mentioned that getting tattoos is like entering a lifelong sociological experiment, and I know I’ve mentioned that once you get a tattoo, everyone wants to show you theirs, but there’s another common misconception out there about people with tattoos…

When you get tattoos, people think you’re cool.

Look, I’m well aware that a lot of tattooed people are cool.

-AHEM-
-AHEM-

But that’s just not the case for all of us.

What do people think of me?

I’m tough.

If by “tough,” you mean I have a high pain tolerance, then yes, I am. Incredibly tough. I feel like I’ve had to withstand varying types of physical pain my whole life, from minor things like the sliver from hell to severe Osgood-Schlatter and Sever’s disease in my legs and feet from around age 10 to 20 (I’m still reaping the benefits of those) and scoliosis.

But if by “tough,” you mean I get into fights or I’ve been in a lot of trouble or something, then you definitely have the wrong girl. I will stand up for myself and/or my friends when I have to, but I’m also one of the least competitive and confrontational people ever. Hell, confrontation usually just makes me cry. Even when I know I’m right.

I know where to get drugs.

One of my friends definitely lives next door to a meth house, but that’s all I’ve got, people. And that being said, I wouldn’t even know what to say after knocking on that door. How much do drugs cost? I’m sure there’s lingo involved that you need to know, and I definitely don’t know the lingo. How much do you ask for? Are you allowed to say the name of the drug out loud, or do you have to use some sort of nickname so that you don’t sound like you’re actually asking for drugs?

SCENE: Andrea at a drug dealer’s doorstep

ANDREA: Um, hello, good sir.

DD: Whaddaya want?

ANDREA: Um, I’m after a bit of…Mary Juana, if you know what I mean.

The DD stares at ANDREA blankly.

ANDREA: A little bit of Mary J. Some “whacky weed,” as the kids say. Oh, and I need enough to make one marijuana cigarette. Oh shit! I mean, a hit? No, uh…

The DD slams the door in ANDREA’s face.

END.

Oh yeah, and also, what would you even do with the drugs after you have them? I’ve never even smoked weed, so…

I like to party.

For some reason, people see my tattoos and they assume that means I’m a party animal. They think my Saturday nights look like this:

Drinking

Party Rocking

When really, my Saturday nights look like this:

Reading

Buster

Oh, and:

CU8

And I really like it that way.

Lesson learned: I look a lot cooler than I am.

xA

Forty Four.

Here’s another thing no one’s going to warn you about when you start to get tattoos: all of a sudden, once you’ve got a visible tattoo, every single person who has a small, sketchy-ass jailhouse looking* tattoo is going to think that you both belong to the same tattoo club, and they’re going to want to show you their “ink.”

SIDENOTE: The most shudder-inducing term, in my opinion? Tatty. “Hey, nice tatty!” Or, “I see you’ve got lots of tatties.” Like, just shoot me now. SRSLY.

Look, I’m not trying to say I’m cooler than you or anything. That’s not what I think. And I’m totally not one to judge other people’s tattoos (unless they’re just horribly done – then I feel sad and like I’m maybe a bit cooler than you**). I think you should get whatever makes you happy. And just because I wouldn’t get something tattooed on my own skin doesn’t mean I don’t love it or can’t appreciate it.

SIDENOTE: But not if it’s a swastika or something equally hateful. Then you’re just an asshole.

But what I find funny about the whole thing is that people with amazing, intricate, well-done tattoos aren’t the ones showing off their work, even though we should be (yeah, I totally just put myself in that category – shout outs to Brent and Aza, my wicked artists). The people sharing their work are people like the girl yanking her jeans down to show me her uneven, stereotypical tramp stamp. Or the 50-something guy pulling up the sleeve of his t-shirt to show me his faded Tasmanian Devil tattoo that’s so blown out and blurry from age and sun or everything else that you can barely even tell what it is anymore. Or the girl looking at my full sleeve and then showing me the quarter-sized flower on her hip, all the while shouting, “OMG, I’ve got a tattoo, too!!!!!!”

Stuff like this:

I feel anxious just looking at it…

So, is it:

(a) That my tattoos are actually so ugly that people with worn out, badly done ones think we’re soul mates, Forget it, can’t even joke about that.

(b) That my tattoos are so nice that people with worn out, badly done ones feel like my approval is important,

or (c) That people are just really, really weird?

It’s (c). That’s one of the earliest lessons I learned. Like when I watched this boy named Morgan pick a GIANT booger out of his nose and eat it in Kindergarten. Or when this random girl in my grade 2 class dragged me into the bathroom stall with her and told me about how she doesn’t wear panties with her tights (she proved it, too, without me asking). Or when a guy decides it’s okay to force kiss you and lick your face during the process.

All I’m trying to say is unless we’re friends, please don’t just stop me and show me your tattoos. I didn’t ask. Would you stop me on the street to show me your new necklace? Shoes? Bra?***

Exactly.

xA

P.S. Another for your viewing pleasure:

Gangsta.

*That said, my uncle had this hilariously awful self-done tattoo on his leg and I kind of loved it.

**If they’re misspelled, I want to cry and my head feels like it’s going to explode.

***I’ve totally jinxed myself now. Bring on the random crazy-person fashion show.

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