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Weird

Three Hundred Fifty Eight.

So, not sure if you guys have noticed this yet, but I’m a bit of a socially awkward nerd.

You’d think that I’d get it together for my Zumba classes, since I have to stand up in front of classes of 10-40 people oh…eight times a week now, but I don’t.

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I giggle and make awkward conversation. Then my warm-up starts and it inevitably has some super nerdly (see: AMAZING) song in the mix, like Beastie Boys or Run DMC (see; THE BEST). And maybe when I teach I’m like, a super nerdly dancer. I actually have no idea, because I’ve never seen myself teach. I know how I feel when I teach, and that is super into it. Like, having the best time ever.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that maybe I come across as really “white,” whatever the fuck that means.

DISCLAIMER: This post is in no way a slight at the girl involved. I just found the whole experience to be so fascinating and it made me think about how we see people. I’ve been wanting to write about this for ages, but I never wanted her to feel offended. I know she used to read my blog at one point. Just in case she still does, I want to be clear. No offense intended and no offense felt on my part. (Well, okay, a little at first, for a couple days. But that’s long gone.)

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SIDENOTE: See? Super nerdly.

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: That’s my phrase of the day and I love it.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: That photo is an outtake from my photo shoot with the amazing Christina Louise. Check her out and hire her.

Let’s get back on track.

I was teaching a class. I was still pretty new to teaching – within my first six months or so. I was already starting to become Facebook friends with some of my regular students, which is cool. I had been befriended by a girl from Brazil. I guess I had never mentioned that my background is 100% Portuguese.

One of my favourite songs from my playlist at the time is called “Aqui para Voçes” (which translates directly into “Here for You”) by a Portuguese/Angolan group called Buraka Som Sistema. It’s a crazy techno/rap/dance something or other, with lyrics performed by a Brazilian carioca musician named Deize Tigrona.

So. The lyrics are Portuguese. So I know what they mean. I sing along to them because I have them memorized. That’s what I did during my class, but I guess this girl didn’t notice that. I guess some of the lyrics of the song may also take on a different meaning depending what region you’re from/what type of Portuguese you speak. After consulting a number of Portuguese-speaking peeps, no one heard anything dirty in the song, but maybe if I asked another 10 people, someone would hear it that way.

Later on, I got onto Facebook and saw a status from this girl, written in Portuguese, that was expressing shock over the song. I’m totally paraphrasing here, but it said something along the lines of You guys wouldn’t believe what I heard in my Zumba class today…blah blah song…it’s hilarious when people dance to music they don’t understand the context of…where do people come up with these shitty lyrics?

SIDENOTE: This is a total digression, but I have to say, even interpreting the lyrics the dirty way, I’ve heard MUCH WORSE in English songs. Like, any song on the radio. Never mind all the diiiiiiirty naughty dirty Spanish stuff Zumba uses!

The thing that really struck me about the whole situation was the assumption that I had no idea what was going on. I mean, in all fairness, yeah, maybe lots of instructors have no idea what the lyrics of the Latin songs they use mean. I use a lot of Bollywood and Bhangra songs and I don’t know all of the lyrics (for the record, I typically Google it so that I at least know they’re not filthy). I don’t think you HAVE to know what the lyrics mean if you’re feeling the music. It’s not a job requirement.

But why the assumption?

I’m not gonna lie, for a while, I was sort of offended. I’m proud of my Portuguese background. I treasure the connections I have to Africa, Brazil, and Portugal. Teaching Zumba has actually strengthened that connection, too. Dancing and singing along to Portuguese music I love is a way for me to embrace who I am. So I was hurt that someone might look at me and not see that.

I’m totally over it now, of course. But it got me thinking. We make a lot of assumptions. I’m guilty of it, too. giselebundchen300

Would you assume she speaks Portuguese? Maybe not.

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But in the same vein, why assume I don’t? (According to what people think of my face, I could speak a million languages.)

Lesson learned: When you “assume,” you really do make “an ass out of ‘u’ and ‘me.'” It’s 2013. Gay white couples adopt Asian babies and teach them how to speak German. Or something. You know what I mean.

xA

P.S. Besides, knowing how to speak Portuguese gives me super powers. Just check out this hilarious article by Kayla.

P.P.S. See also:

…and so on.

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Three Hundred Fifty Seven.

I realized yesterday that my most prominent scar has also been on my body the longest, and that’s kind of unusual.

Even the scar from the day I put scissors through my finger has faded, and I was around six or seven when that happened. And I’ve sustained many injuries I thought for sure would leave me with bad scars that never did.

One day, when I was just under two years old, I was chasing my brother around the house. This was not unusual, which you should know by now since my brother is the coolest and I like him a lot. Also, the apartment we lived in at the time was laid out in such a way that you could run a full loop between the living room and kitchen, so that was fun. Lots of opportunity to pick up speed with each lap.

SIDENOTE: Remember when you were a little kid and when you ran, you always felt like you were running THE FASTEST EVER? And it was amazing and magical? Almost like you were flying? I miss that feeling. I love that feeling.

Anyway.

I bite my lip a lot. I don’t really have an explanation aside from the fact that it’s there so I bite it, but it’s just something I do. I bite it when I’m thinking. I bite it when I laugh. I bite it when I’m listening. I bite it when sexy times are approaching. (Sorry, Mom.) I bite it subconsciously. And apparently, it’s something I’ve always done.

SIDENOTE: If I lived in 50 Shades of Grey, I’d be in soooooo much trouble.

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SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: If you haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey and therefore do not get that reference, GOOD FOR YOU. You think you’re better than me? I rage read the entire fucking trilogy just so that I could make educated (maybe not the best word choice considering the subject matter) judgements of it and yes, they’re one of the worst things my brain has ever had to experience. So CONGRATS for not giving in, because they’re as bad as you think. And then some. JERK.

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BARF.

ANOTHER SIDENOTE: How was that for dramatic, right? I’m here all week. (Actually, just barely over a week! Wah!)

ANYWAY.

So there I was, chasing my brother around the apartment and biting my lip, I imagine because I was laughing and smiling really hard.

And then I fell.

And then my teeth went through my bottom lip.

Whenever I tell that story, people go, “OMG OUCH!” and I nod and agree with them, but also, I have no recollection of this moment in my life because I wasn’t even two, so I guess it’s no big deal.

Almost 25 years later, though, I still have the scar to show for it:

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(Can you see it? It’s hard to photograph scars, which is maybe a good thing for people who have scars and are worried about them.)

Other things I still have scars from:

The day I got run over by a bike.

The day I removed my own stitches.

Scars. You might not like them (I don’t mind any of mine, but I get it if you have a scar you hate), but hey, at least you’ve got stories to tell, right?

Kind of like when you think about if you were in Back to the Future, what would you change? And then you decide maybe you wouldn’t change anything, because even though you’ve been through some shit – and maybe you’ve gone through A LOT of shit – it’s all just a part of what makes you who you are today?

SIDENOTE: ……do you not think about that?

……me neither!

xA

P.S. Total FALSE ALARM on thinking I had Internet at home yesterday. It’s still down! It’s like living in the past! And it BLOWS.

P.P.S. So I blogged from work today. Don’t tell my boss.

 

Three Hundred Fifty Six.

Hey, guess what? I’m on a computer again!

SIDENOTE: I hope the Internet doesn’t crash before I can post this. It’s been a ridiculous two days of fighting with Shaw. (You’re ruining my life, Shaw!).

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: It totally did, but I think (!?) it’s back again…

One of my friends approached me the other day about helping her out with a photo shoot for a model search contest. She wanted my help with makeup and styling, but in the end, the friend she had planned on taking the photos themselves fell through, so she asked if I’d be up for that as well.

I said, “of course!” and then I tried to remember the last time I pulled out my camera.

Being that this is the future, I could look on my camera and figure it out.

A YEAR.

More than a year.

How insane is that?

This from the girl who used to go out and take photos like, every day while she was living abroad.

What happened to me?

For like, three days leading up to the shoot, I also panicked that I’d do it wrong. What if I was a horrible photographer? What if she hated every shot I took? What if I couldn’t remember how to use my camera? Why did I agree to take photos when I’m not what I’d call a pro at it?

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Then I got behind the camera and forgot what I was worried about.

I really love taking photos. I find it calming. It makes you stop and think about what you’re looking at, how you’re seeing it, how you feel about it, and how you want the world to see it later. It makes you think about all the stories people will see and feel when they look at the photos after the fact. I don’t know. I just love it.

SIDENOTE: It helped that I had a gorgeous, talkative, hilarious model to work with for the afternoon, I guess. (Hi, Rachel. <3)

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Anyway, I decided enough is enough – I have to make a point of taking photos more often again.

So I guess the lesson I learned is that it’s really important to feed all your passions. They’re all connected, anyway. Getting the little (or big) flicker of inspiration in your soul from one just pushes you to move forward with all the others.

It’s really important – even when your life is a fucking gong show (not that mine is*) – to take moments, however small, to do the things you love.

Maybe that’s a better way of putting it.

Look at this sass:

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xA

*IT IS.

Three Hundred Fifty Five.

You know what blows? Not having Internet when you have a 365-day blogging project that is coming to a close. I’ve told Shaw via Twitter that they’re ruining my life. Aside from that, not much to do but wait it out.

SIDENOTE: They didn’t acknowledge the whole “ruining my life” bit, but they insist they’re looking into it. Clearly they have no idea how important my blog is.

So here’s something that’s sort of been resonating with me since last week.

On Thursday, my office mate was asking me about the comic con I went to, so we started having an in-depth conversation about it. When he asked me if I dressed up, I said, “not really, but a lot if people did” and then I showed him the video my friends made of cosplayers at the Expo, which he loved.

Our conversation shifted to professional cosplayers, which we both agreed would be a crazy cool job.

“I wonder how you even start a career like that,” I mused.

“I think most of them are models, too. I think you just have to have really good costumes so people want to take photos of you. Maybe it snowballs from there.”

“I guess.”

“You should plan all the cons you want to go to and then try to network with photographers – non-creepy photographers* – but you probably need time to gather an arsenal of like, really good costumes first. When is the Calgary comic con? You could probably be ready by then.”

To which I replied with a blank stare, and since I’m blogging on my phone yet again, I’m working with the photos I’ve got on my phone, so….
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I’m not going to be a professional cosplayer. I just think it would be cool.”

“Oh. Well, you could totally do it!”

“You’re crazy, but thanks!”

I have to say, sort of like when my dad told me I should be a professional dancer (genuine LOL), there’s something so encouraging about someone you’re not very close with telling you that you could so something you’ve never dreamed you would be capable of. Or a person you wouldn’t expect to be the most concerned with how you’re sick and feeling miserable and need a reason to smile.

People are swell.

xA

*Good call.

P.S. I’m giving up this blog to become a professional Wonder Woman. Or Batgirl. Or Poison Ivy. Nice knowing you!

Three Hundred Fifty Four.

Okay, guys, my Internet is down and I’m blogging from my phone, which isn’t easy. Had something else planned, but you know what? This is fitting.

Ladies, you’ll feel me on this one. You know when you’re doing your makeup and you sort of mess it up and you’re running late so there’s no turning back? Like maybe you made your eyeshadow too dark or – like me – your eyeliner way too thick?

It’s like Halloween came early and Amy Winehouse is visiting…
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SIDENOTE: I know it’s not insane, but it’s a lot more than the casual look I had planned for my day, okay?

It happened today and I thought hey, you know what? Go with the flow, Beça. Go with the flow.

Guys, this is where today’s post applies to you, too. (Shout out to guys who wear eyeliner – I love you hi okay cool!) Through the application of my DRAMATIC eyeliner this morning, I learned a lesson, and that’s that some days, life is gonna throw stuff at you, and on some of those days, you’ve got to just go with it.

How meta is it that my internet went down and I had to go with it and write this post today instead of what I had planned? Right? RIGHT?!

xA

Three Hundred Fifty One.

Guys, I’ve had a cold for a WEEK and it’s making me totally stupid.

You know when your head is all plugged and your ears get all plugged so you can’t hear and then you start coughing and every time you cough you let out a little whimper of self pity?

THAT.

You know what else it’s done? It’s made me so whiny. How irritating. I’m not usually like this. So it’s more like cough, whimper of self pity, grunt of, “Get it together, Beça.”

Um, anyway, I’ve decided to do a follow-up to this post, because I thought of more things.

MORE THINGS I SUCK AT by Andrea Beça

Making Minor Decisions

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When it comes to minor decisions, I could not be more of a Libra.

Hilariously, I’m pretty good at major decisions, because I’m good at sitting down, weighing out the options, and really considering what I want. I mean when you think about it, I’ve made some pretty major decisions in life, like moving to the other side of the world, say.

But ask me what I want for dinner or where I’d prefer to sit at an event and I could flounder for ages. In some cases, it’s just because I’m generally a chill person and I don’t mind either way. In other cases, it’s because I CAN’T DECIDE AND I DRIVE MYSELF CRAZY.

Folding Shirts

How-to-Fold-Clothes-That-Look-Crisp-and-Pressed

One word: NOPE.

I used to try. Now I just do it my way, and you know what? That’s just fine!

Speaking of which…

Folding Clothes and/or Putting Clothes Away

UnpackingIf I don’t do it RIGHT AWAY, it will NEVER HAPPEN.

Like, when I moved in with my friend once, I packed, moved, and unpacked all in a single day. I was up until almost 4am because I needed to get it all done. ALL OF IT. Then I was able to sleep.

On the flip side, I’ve gotten back from trips and lived out of my suitcase for weeks just because I didn’t feel like unpacking. Oops.

Telling People Off

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I’m super nice. Way too nice sometimes. Sometimes (see: always) I do this thing where someone will say something really offensive or rude or just that I don’t agree with and instead of speaking up, I laugh. Kind of like when the dude at the casino implied that I was a purchase-able sex object.

It’s probably why I’ve had a stalker before. I suck at just saying, “FUCK OFF.”

SIDENOTE: Totally not going to blog about that.

Letting Things Be

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SIDENOTE: It’s a sleeping dog. Get it?

Like, say you crack a joke and someone sort of takes it the wrong way and then everyone sort of laughs it off. I can’t laugh it off. If I feel like I’ve offended you, I will not be able to not get in touch and say, “Hey, I’m sorry – that’s not what I meant.”

Or if I feel like I don’t fully understand what someone means or why they would say something they said, I always feel like I need to clarify. Especially when hurt feelings are involved.

Or like today, when I got a rejection email about a short story I submitted to something and the person said, “It’s beautiful, but it has no plot.” I just want to shout IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT PLOT. SOMETIMES IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE.

Let it go, let it go, let it go.

I suck at that.

So I guess the lesson learned here is that SURPRISE! In the six months since writing version 1, I did not get perfect. Darn.

Good thing I have a prize-winning smile or no one would ever put up with me.

xA

P.S.

HEY YOU CHECK IT OUT.

Remember how I said I suck at technology? Yeah, that hasn’t changed. I just figured out I can make polls on my blog. So let’s have fun. Here’s a question. If you read my blog, vote! And do it soon, because there are only 15 more days of posts. (Holy shit!)

(Hint: it’s an aesthetic thing. I’m not going to need therapy or anything. I hope.)

Three Hundred Fifty.

Speaking of crazy shit that happens while you’re in a vehicle and there’s someone crazy outside of it, let’s talk more about the buses in Glasgow.

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SIDENOTE: That’s the bus I used to take almost every day! The good ‘ol 62. Partick represent!

SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: God, I’m a nerd.

What, you don’t remember my Glasgow bus adventures?

Like, the day I walked across Glasgow?

Or the day a woman on the Glasgow bus followed me off  the Glasgow bus and then tried to kiss me?

Or maybe that day I found a – OMG WTF. Yeah, that.

So one day, I was on the bus in Glasgow heading back to the west end from city centre. It was the middle of the afternoon, when you don’t really expect weird things to happen. (Well, I guess I sort of do at this point. Especially after living in Glasgow. But also this.) The bus stopped at…well, at a stop, and no one got on. But a few seconds after it stopped, a guy ran up to the bus and took a jumping karate kick at it. He slammed into the side of  the bus, and despite the intense impact, he seemed unshaken.

The bus driver, on the other hand, was not impressed.

“What the – get tae fuck!” he started yelling out his open window.

But the guy outside of the bus – just a regular looking 20-something – did it again. He jump-kicked the bus.

What followed was a yelling conversation that had a lot of “FUCK” in it, and then the bus started to drive away.

And then the 20-something proceeded to chase after the bus, all the while running, jumping, and slamming into it.

Eventually the bus picked up enough speed that he gave up.

So that was interesting.

On another night, I was actually on the same bus – well, the same bus route – but this time, it was late at night because I was leaving a play I had just been to see. Once again, the bus stopped.

Wait a second.

It was actually at the same stop.

Maybe there’s something wrong with that stop in particular…

Anyway, we were at the stop, and there was also a red light, so we had nowhere to go. And then a guy walked up to the side of the bus, and he started making out with it.

“He whaaaaaaaat!?”

YES THAT’S RIGHT.

He smushed his face into one of the bus’ windows, and he started straight up French kissing it.

I feel like maybe he had just said goodbye to his girlfriend, who had gotten onto the bus, and so he was actually kissing “her” goodbye through the window? But also, I may have made that up to explain the sheer fucked up-ed-ness of the situation.

I think my BFF Mags was with me. Perhaps she can confirm or deny the above statement. But I promise you the makeout happened and I promise you it was as slimy, disturbing, and gruesome and it sounds.

For the rest of the ride home, I couldn’t stop staring at the wet patch left behind.

Of course, there were numerous times that I was on the bus and people would spit on it, but I don’t have any good enough specific stories about that.

Then there was the day I was on the bus in Glasgow going through city centre and we drove past Robert Carlyle standing on a street corner waiting to cross the street.

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ROBERT CARLYLE!

That was crazy in a good way.

No, I didn’t wave. But I really wanted to.

Lesson learned: There are a lot of crazy people out there. Specifically riding and/or waiting for the Glasgow transit system.

And also, never lick the side of a bus. You have no idea where it’s been.

xA

 

Three Hundred Forty Nine.

I was reminded of this story while I was driving with Caitlin to the Edmonton Expo on the weekend. Why did it come up? I can’t exactly remember. Was I maybe air-punching to a song in her car? Oh, probably. That is something I do often…

So, flashback to…2007, I believe. I was driving home super late from a date (?) with the guy I was sort of dating (?)* at the time. It was between 2 and 3am. My route home cut through a bit of a sketchy area in the city centre.

SIDENOTE: Of course it did, otherwise why would I be telling this story?

So I pulled up to a corner, waiting to turn right at a red light. I was just sitting in my car, totally calm and focused on driving. Normal normal.

And out of nowhere, I started to hear this CRAZY LOUD BANGING like the sky was falling down.

Naturally, I freaked out and started screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK?! WHAT THE FUCK?!” and covering my head and also looking everywhere and trying to figure out what the fuck.

My car was being attacked.

By a homeless man.

For no good reason.

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he thought he had a good reason, but this is my blog from my perspective, so fuck that guy.

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He was standing right next to my car, screaming at the top of his lungs and pounding on the roof with angry, balled up fists.

Now, of course I wanted to get the hell out of there, but somehow, despite my intense fear and the fact that I had started crying, I had the level-headed-ness to recognize that the guy had stepped off the curb and was standing on the street. So what if when I drove away, I drove over his feet or hurt him?

I could only hold onto that thought for so long, because the traffic light turned green and the man kept screaming and attacking my car and I was totally freaked out so eventually (see: 45-60 seconds later) I hit the gas and turned the corner.

And then my imagination went wild.

What if I did drive over his feet?

What if he was like, collapsed on the street, unable to walk away?

What if I killed the guy?

Would someone somehow find me and arrest me?

My life was surely over.

I was definitely going to prison.

I would not finish my degree.

I would not become a normal adult.

I would not pass go. Or collect $200.

So instead of just going home and escaping the crazy ass situation that had just come into my life out of nowhere, I made another right turn at the next intersection I got to so that I could go back around, back to the sketchy street, back to where my car had been attacked, to make sure I had not killed my car attacker.

He was gone.

No dead guy on the street.

If I had broken any toes, I guess it wasn’t enough to stop him leaving the scene.

Phew.

So that was the night I learned to always check around my vehicle at red lights.

Maybe it’s just the night that turned me paranoid.**

xA

*Fuck relationships. (Did I say that out loud?)

**Then again, there was also this guy, so there you go. RED LIGHTS = DANGER.

Three Hundred Forty Eight.

This weekend I did something I’ve been so curious and interested in doing for years. I went to a comic con!

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The biggest thing keeping me from ever going before is my social anxiety.

I know, it’s weird that I’m a fitness instructor and I have social anxiety, but I do. And it’s major. Like, if you invite me to an event and I say I’m going and then I bail last minute? That’s most likely because I had every intention of going and then while I was getting ready to go, I had an anxiety attack about all of the people who were going to be there (eek, crowds) or having to arrive by myself and find familiar faces (I have this weird thing about having to arrive at events by myself – I can rarely bring myself to do it).

This year I guess I just found the balls to finally go for it. Also, I invited my friend Caitlin to go with me and she’s one of the most extroverted, bubbly, outspoken people I know, so I knew she’d make a good partner to hold my hand and also just have fun with. Maybe even moreso because she’s not familiar with a lot of the nerdy stuff, so she was super open to going to see whatever I wanted. (Caitlin, you’re the best.)

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SIDENOTE: Ironically, when we took that photo, we were totally hiding out from the crowds. But here we are having an adventure!

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I have to say, it was a pretty crazy cool experience. I mean, I got to dress up a bit (I was too chicken to go all out – maybe next year):

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I got to people watch to my heart’s content (and then some). I got to see actors like Jon Heder and Ron Pearlman speak (among many others):

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I got to support friends who got their own panel on fan filmmaking (so cool):

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And I got to run into friends dressed up in adorable costumes!

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What it all boiled down to was a lot passion. People passionate about creating art, people passionate about acting, people passionate about their love for certain artists or comics or TV shows or movies or whatever it may be.

And also, like, no judgement. Everyone was really embracing the nerdiness. It didn’t matter whether you were wearing a Batman t-shirt or a full suit of armour, everyone was there for the same reasons.

Anyway, this may sound generalized and possibly scattered because I just got home from 48 hours of comic con and I’m completely exhausted and battling a horrendous cold, but the biggest lessons I learned this weekend were:

(A) I definitely need to find better coping mechanisms for social anxiety than hiding, holding hands with my friends, and hyperventilating.

(B) Passion is both inspiring and infectious.

(C) I HEART NERDS AND BEING A NERD.

(D) I need to push myself out of my comfort zones more often, because even when it’s stressful, I always take something away from it.

(E) I feel like I had an ‘E’ and then I forgot it because I’m flustered and also I feel really weird because my cold has left me with plugged ears and it’s distracting me to not be able to hear myself type or think.

Uhhhhh…woo!

xA

P.S. I remember one thing I was going to say and it was that after this weekend, I feel like I need to go to a deserted island for approximately one week to recover. Holy people overload, Batman!

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