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.***


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 Five.

I had always been too scared to get a bra fitting. (I don’t know what I thought was going to happen, I just was, all right?!) Plus, I had never had a problem with the fit of my bras, until I needed a really good, supportive sports bra for teaching Zumba®. So I turned to my fellow instructors, and my beautiful friend Lorena said she’d take me to a specialty store to get fitted. Great! I was nervous and excited, like the first day of school, but shirtless.

But of course it couldn’t be that easy. I mean let’s face it: I have excellent luck with the crazies and the weirdo customer service providers in this world.

SIDENOTE: Lorena has no idea that my bra-fitting experience was not a fully positive one because I do this very Canadian thing where I smile through irritating situations and am too nice to get upset with people. So Lorena, I apologize for not telling you about this! But hey, you can laugh about it now, right?

I feel pretty in-tune with my bra size. I had basically been wearing the same bra size since I was a teenager, and then when I started losing a lot of weight and my size went down significantly, I made a point of trying on a wide range of sizes until I found a bra size that felt perfect. Literally.

SIDENOTE: The perfect size was also exactly what I guessed I’d be at – a 36D* – so I felt confident in my instincts. My maternal grandma designed and made clothes her whole life, and I have experience in making my own clothes, too, so guessing sizes is something I feel safe doing, and have done in a number of circumstances (gift shopping, costume shopping for my theatre productions, etc.).

So I genuinely thought that I would get my bra fitting done, and the lady would tell me I should be wearing the exact size I was wearing, and I could just try on a number of sports bras in that size and everything would be awesome and fun and wonderful. Heck, maybe I’d even try on some sexy bras, too. I deserved it!

I'd walk out of there feeling as glamorous as Dita Von Teese!
I’d walk out of there feeling as glamorous as Dita Von Teese!

I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when, after taking two quick measurements, the very dry, very blunt woman performing my bra fitting told me that my bra size was 40F.

I laughed.

“What?! No – that’s impossible.”

“That’s your size.” She replied. DRYLY.

I tried to argue with her, but she walked away to pull me a selection of sports bras. In a size 40F.

I probably don’t need to tell you this, but guys, there is NO WAY IN HELL I am a size 40F.

Compared to a 40F, my tits don’t even EXIST.

I’m a 40F like Pamela Anderson is a 32AA.

I stood in the fitting room, wearing my perfectly fitting 36D, too stunned to speak.

It was at that moment that I realized this day was not going to go as I had hoped.

The lady returned with four sports bras that – needless to say – were HUGE. I decided to try one on just so that she could see how ridiculous this entire thing was.

Of course I was right. Compared to that 40F sports bra, my boobs, didn’t exist. The cups were holding themselves up and my itty bitties were floating around like, “haha, you can’t see us!” and the band was way too big around my body.

“I’m ready.” I said with smug satisfaction, thinking the woman would take one look at me and realize she was horribly mistaken.

She didn’t.

“Hmm,” she raised an eyebrow at me, “It’s just slightly too big – maybe we’ll go down one cup size.”


“I think I should go down in band size, too. This bra is huge.”

“No, no,” she brushed me off, “I measured you at a 40.”

(My inner thought: “I’ve measured myself at a 36, so what the hell is wrong with you, lady?!”)

(Also: “Isn’t the customer ALWAYS right?! Let me have my moment!”)

I won’t even tell you how long this went on for. I finally – FINALLY got this woman to let me try on a 38DD sports bra, which, by the way, was still way too big.

“Hmm. You’re on the smallest closure and it’s still loose, so maybe we can try bringing you down to a 36.”

(Inner thought: “MAYBE?!”)

“Can I try on the 36D, please?”

“No. if we’re going down in band size, we can’t go down in cup size.”

(Inner thought: “WHY DO YOU HATE ME, LADY?! WHY?!”)

I walked out of there with a 36DD sports bra that sort of fit for about two wears. Then the cups stretched from the sweat and the movement, and I proceeded to float around in it for another month (even after putting it in the dryer) until I gave up on it.

That’s when I learned that:

(A) I should trust my own size instincts, and

(B) I had every reason to be scared of that bra fitting.


P.S. At one point, when the ridiculously large bra this woman was trying to get me to like wasn’t fitting (DUH!), she said to me, “Wow, you have a very short torso – it’s weird. These bras are all fitting you strangely. There’s not enough length from your shoulder to your breast.”

That is definitely what the problem is, lady. And thank you for making me feel awesome about my torso.

*Yup, sure did just publish my bra size on the Internet. So this is my life. Incredible!

Sixty Four.

Here’s a weird story.

(I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Andrea, you don’t need to warn us anymore. We get that you’re a magnet for crazies and weirdos.”)

Okay, so when I was in my first couple years at university, I took a combination of the bus and subway to get to school.

(There weren’t any straight forward routes from my house because transit in my hometown kind of sucks. After two years, I figured I’d get a used car and drive the seven minutes instead of wasting almost an HOUR each way. Whew. Hey, I guess I’m still kind of worked up about what a lame route I had to take to school! Settle down, Beça!)

SIDENOTE: Yes, I self-talk using my last name, like a football coach or something. Now you know one more thing about me.

Anyway, my transition point between bus and subway was the main street in city centre, so there were always, always tons of people around. On this particular day, I was waiting to catch the bus back home after school. It was late afternoon on a nice, sunny day, and I was standing at a bus stop in the middle of the city’s core with close to 20 other people. I had my headphones in and I was just enjoying the nice weather and the good music (it was probably Tom Waits*). Everything was normal.

I noticed a homeless man kind of wandering around in my peripheral vision. He seemed like he might be a little drunk. His steps were heavy and calculated. I was mostly astonished by his size; he must have been six and a half feet tall, and he was broad. In fact, I may have been quite taken by him because he reminded me so much of Will Sampson from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

I love Will Sampson.
I love Will Sampson.

Okay, when I describe what happened next, it’s going to sound like I’m a complete idiot for not reacting sooner, but guys, I swear, it was like I simultaneously saw it coming and was completely blind to what was going on!

When I remember it, it feels like it happened in slow motion, and in reality, he was a pretty slow mover, kind of staggering around, so maybe I just thought “who would DO that?” and that’s why I didn’t switch into self-defense Andrea sooner.

I know, I know, at this point you’re like, “What the hell happened?!”

You’re thinking it must be something CRAZY for me to build up all this anticipation.

It’s not that crazy.

But it is weird!

Will Sampson’s body double got a little closer to me. Fine. I still had a safe distance. Plus, with all these people around, what could he possibly get away with?

Then all of a sudden, he was right in front of me, staring down at me. I may have leaned back a bit, but I thought okay, he’s in a sort of stupor, he’ll move on.

Then his arms were around my waist, and he was picking me up.

Like, literally, picking me up off the ground.

To carry me away with him?

To test if he could throw me over his shoulder?

To pack me away in his pocket?


I panicked a little bit and jerked my body around until he let go and my feet were back on the ground. Then I yanked my ear buds out and shouted, “No!”

“IT WAS A COMPLIMENT! FUCK!” is what he yelled back at me.

And I stared back, speechless. Because what do you say to that? Thank you?

He grumbled and muttered some stuff about me under his breath and continued on his way. I noticed I was shaking a bit. I looked around.


Like, hello? People? What if he had thrown me over his shoulder and started to walk away? Would you have helped me then? Jesus.

That’s when I learned:

(A) To turn my music down, lest an attacker (abductor? suitor?) get a little too close ever again.

(B) To be prepared to defend myself (with ninja skills and loud screams**), because counting on other people is maybe not a great idea.


P.S. On the plus side, as a fat girl, I always feel a little weird about anyone trying to pick me up, so I was pretty impressed by Will Sampson’s body double’s strength. Gotta say.


**Which are the Canadian answer to guns. When we kick an attacker in the groin, we also apologize. Sincerely.

Forty Eight.

I am boob obsessed lately.

I didn’t even realize it was happening until I took another look at this post from last week and then considered how much I’ve been thinking about boobs in the last while. No, not because I’m fantasizing about boobs, guys. I’m fixating on them. There’s a big difference.

And I’m fixating on them because mine got small and I feel weird about it.

Okay, okay, “small” is a relative term. I haven’t had “small” boobs since I was like, 11.* But a year ago, I had boobs. They were almost hard to contain sometimes, that’s how abundant and cleavage-y they were. Like this:


Nowadays, I feel like they’re barely even there. Like this:

I know, I've used this photo before; I've been too busy to take vanity shots lately. Give me a break.
I know, I’ve used this photo before; I’ve been too busy to take vanity shots lately. Give me a break.

I made an active decision when I started to lose significant amounts of weight to celebrate all of the pant sizes I’ve lost and ignore the cup sizes I’ve lost along with them, but it’s been a weird transition.

I was getting dressed up for a Christmas party this weekend and I couldn’t find anything that fit right. My body shape has changed so much I’m not even sure what to look for sometimes when I’m putting on some of my older clothes. Like, where did the top half of my hourglass go? When I finally found a dress that I thought looked good, I had to change my bra to work with it and I discovered, much to my chagrin, that even the bras that were in my “smaller, so they’ll fit for a long while yet” pile are much too big now. Like my boobs get lost in them big. They’re floating around somewhere and the cups are just like, “Hey, what’s up? We’re holding up the fort whether you’re in there or not.”**


Here’s the thing: I’ve always kind of been jealous of girls with smaller breasts. Growing up, I found mine to be such a hindrance. Kids at school would make fun of them, even though the other junior high girls would buy excessively padded bras to try to look as big. It made no sense (see: kids are stupid). It was harder to find tops and dresses that fit well and I always had to wear the un-sexy, wide-strapped bras that I could only buy at a couple stores in town for much more money than my small-breasted friends, who could rock sexy La Senza and Victoria’s Secret, or hey, just go without a bra with all their backless tops during the summer. My friends would tell me they wished they had my bust, and I’d say, “Ha! You can take ’em!”

I held the C-cup as the ideal size in my mind. I dreamed of just having C’s so that I wouldn’t have to worry either way. Life would be perfect with a C-cup.

Now I’m almost at a C-cup and I feel confused, and less sexy? Less womanly? I don’t really know what my problem is. I don’t think sexiness is reliant on breast size and I never have. I never walked around feeling particularly sexy anyway, so I don’t think that’s my issue. Is it the change? The who-is-that-in-the-mirror feeling that follows me around? The how-do-I-dress-this-up-now worry?

And what if I just always thought that I wasn’t connecting large breasts to sexiness, but I actually was? Then what? And how do I reconcile that with not thinking it makes any difference on other women? Am I holding myself up to some weird double standard?


Lesson learned: you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone?

I don’t know, I can’t figure this out because my boobs got small and apparently that’s where I kept my brain and sense of reason.


P.S. Look, bottom line is this is a 365-day project, so you’re just going to have to deal with my PMS posts, all right? I would apologize or something, but it’s my blog and nobody reads it anyway, so whatever.

P.P.S. Did I just write a blog post all about my breast size for anyone and everyone in the world to see? Yes, yes I did. I’m gonna feel weird about it later, too.

*That’s not a slight at anyone with small boobs. I hate (see: love) all you ladies who can rock sexy halter tops and flowy dresses without bras. Damn you.

**All puns intended, obviously.

***Settle down, that one was for dramatic effect.


You know how when you’re a teenager, you “find yourself”?

I was a weirdo goth kid who had way too many pictures of Marilyn Manson up in my junior high locker and had a different colour of hair every 3-5 weeks.

And then when you’re in your 20s, your university years, you’re supposed to like, travel and “find yourself” again?

Well, I finished my Bachelor’s degree and then went on a crazy amazing adventure to Glasgow, Scotland, to get my Master’s in Playwriting and Dramaturgy, with some stops in and around Europe along the way.

But all of a sudden, here I am at 26 and I’m kind of feeling like honestly, I got nothin’.

I’ve been working toward a huge weight loss goal this year, and I’ve lost about 65 pounds and counting. If you don’t see me often, you probably have no idea, because I’m not very vocal about it. I totally get why people shout about their weight loss from the rooftops, and I know what a huge accomplishment it is, and how much work it is, and therefore how much it should be celebrated, but I think it’s just such a personal thing for me that I tend to keep it on the DL. If someone asks me, I’m more than happy to chat, but I would never bring it up otherwise.

Except here I am bringing it up now. (Oops.) Because it’s presented an unexpected – and yet fairly intense – hurdle in my life.

I’ve shrunk out of all my clothes.

I know, it’s awesome, right? For the first time (literally) since I was a child (literally), I can now shop in the non-plus-size stores (I call them “normal” stores – it’s fat-girl lingo that actually makes no sense, because what’s normal?) I’ve always dreamed of shopping at. I can buy things at Victoria’s Secret instead of paying way too much for bras at specialty shops (yeah, my tits have shrunk – it’s hilarious, but true). It’s like I have an entire world of options to choose from, and I know I should be thrilled about it.

I’m not.

I mean, okay, I am, but also, I’m really, really not. Because here’s the thing: all of a sudden, I feel like I can finally choose my own style rather than settling on one from very limited options, and all of a sudden I feel like I have no idea who I am. I think I’ve cried more in the past three months trying to get ready to go out than I ever have before, and I get doubly sad because I know I’m crying over something I should be happy about, and because I’m somehow simultaneously the most comfortable and uncomfortable I’ve ever been in my own skin.

It’s complicated.

It feels messed up.

I’ve never had the choice to just be who I want, present myself exactly the way I want to and in a way that feels right, because I’ve always had like, two stores to shop at, often with very little that appealed to me in stock. And the few things that I did love, that I really felt like “myself” (?!) in, have now been donated away because they’re 3-5 sizes too large for me.


But also not.

So, weight loss, I have discovered, is kind of like a giant mind fuck. It’s a daily identity crisis I fight with and against, and it has somehow made me more stressed about shopping than ever before.

For example:

This Shirt.

This is what I wore today. In this photo, I am wearing a pair of hand-me-down jeans from one of my dearest friends (who has also shrunk a lot and has – THANK GOODNESS – passed lots of clothes down to me, saving me tons of $$), and a thermal shirt that I bought last week.

I bought the shirt because (a) I liked the colour, (b) I liked the pattern, and (c) it looked really warm and potentially comfortable to sleep in, too. That’s how lost I feel sometimes; I couldn’t decide if I was buying a shirt to wear or sleep in. (Are you allowed to do both?)

So today I needed a quick outfit to run two errands in, and I threw it on.

And then I stood in my mirror for at least five full minutes (that might not seem long, but try to look at something for five minutes, especially when you’re stressed about it – it feels like AGES) wondering, is this me? Is this my style? Am I a girl who goes out to run errands in thermal shirts? Who is a girl who goes out to run errands in a thermal shirt? Does it even make a difference? What is WRONG WITH ME? And I freaked out and worried and freaked out and worried and then I decided to try to get the fuck over it and get on with my day.

(And then I tried to not look distressed and snap a sassy shot of it in my bathroom. Because I decided it was time to write this blog post. Pure class.)

So it’s kind of like that’s become my goal now: trying to get the fuck over it and get on with my day every day. But I will keep hoping for the day I feel like I know who I am on the outside (because I know who I am on the inside, and always have – again, THANK GOODNESS). I’ll also keep hoping for the day I can escape the fat-girl mindset (SPOILER ALERT: I never will, and I’m okay with that, but also not.)

It’s complicated.

It feels messed up.

But it’s gonna be okay, I guess, right?*


*Thanks for talking me through that, guys. Who needs therapy, AMIRITE?!**

**I’ll try not to be so emo tomorrow. Maybe I’m PMSing, etc., [insert other stereotype about women here].

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