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How Doing a Photo-365 Changed Me.

I’d ask the question, “Who else is bidding ‘Good Riddance!’ to 2015?” but I know the general answer. It was a very difficult year for almost everyone I know, with a few exceptions (thankfully, or maybe we’d all have given up).

2015 was one of the most difficult years of my life. It was a year full of intense stress, sadness, pain, illness, loss, and a lot of me allowing other to treat me very poorly. (It also had some amazing and wonderful moments, don’t get me wrong, but I’m a writer building some context for my readers, here.) At more than one point in the year, my closest friends were like, “Good God, woman – what else could happen right now?” Definitely had that lovely snowball effect. You know the one.

The beautiful thing about terrible years, of course, is that they make you grow beyond your wildest imagined capabilities. I feel like I’ve shed my skin three of four times in the last twelve months. Like I’ve come out of it not new, but newly armoured. Not with walls around my heart or body, but with great understanding, self-love, and strength I didn’t know I had.

2015 was the kind of year that left me saying, “Wow, I didn’t know I could go through so much and feel so down, but still love myself and be happy on the inside, with who I am and what I’m doing.”

So I guess in the end, I’m eternally grateful for 2015.

Funny how that works. (I see what you’re doing, Universe. I see it. I get it. And I commend you for it. You tough motherfucker.)

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I can honestly say that I’ve never been one to struggle with gratitude. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve gone through a lot in my life. Maybe it was the constant bullying I went through starting when I was around five. Maybe it was the chronic pain I faced from the time I was 10 until I was in my early 20s. Maybe it was the depression and suicidal thoughts I had as a teen. Maybe it was all of that. (Spoiler alert: it was definitely all of that.) I’ve always been able to see the good in the bad, and I’ve always been able to appreciate it, wholeheartedly. Does that mean I’m never sad or angry or depressed? Heck no. It just means I can always find a smile in the saddest day, and that I can usually keep my sights set on the light at the end of the tunnel.

I bet at this point, you’re wondering what the hell I’m going on about because I told you on social media (and through the title of this post) that this was about a Photo-365 and for some reason I’m talking about being bullied and calling the Universe a “motherfucker.”

Right. Okay.

In 2015, I successfully completed a Photo-365. I’ve wanted to do one for years. I’ve watched friends and ex-boyfriends start (and sometimes finish) them. I’ve always found them to be such an interesting way of telling your story for a year. So when 2015 kicked off, I decided to go for it.

(We all know how much I love year-long projects. You are, after all, reading this on the blog I’ve used for both a 365-day blogging project and a 52-week ukulele project. Hmm, maybe I should talk to my therapist about this weird obsession…nah, I think I’m fine.)

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I thought it would be fun. I thought it might stress me out having to take and post a photo each day, but I thought it would be fun nonetheless. (For the record, it actually didn’t stress me out a single time.) I knew it would get my creative juices flowing, and that it would force me to look at each day a little differently than someone normally would. What I didn’t realize was just how much it would change my outlook, and just how much it would change my life for a year.

Here’s what happened when I did a Photo-365:

I got creative.

Not every single day can be an exciting adventure of a day. We’re not all Alice in Wonderland. (Which is sad because I’d love to be Alice in Wonderland.) Some days, you’re stuck going from your day job to a meeting or a class and then home to frantically find something to eat and get some quality time with your dogs or some freelance work done before you pass the fuck out in bed.

I had a lot of days like this. But the task of posting a photo a day got me looking at the details of my life a lot more closely than I typically would. The perfect lip print left by my lip gloss on a drinking glass at work. The artwork that hung in my office’s halls. The beautiful, only-makes-sense-to-me mess that is my Zumba choreography notes. All of it is interesting. Capturing these minute details in photos made me appreciate them even more.

I got inspired.

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Just like the saying, “If you want to be a writer, write every day,” I found my photography eye getting more and more inspired as the year went on. There were lots of days that I ended up taking photos of five or six things that could have been my photo of the day, and had to choose which would best represent the day itself. (And then I’d just post the rest on Instagram anyway. You’re welcome, world!)

I also took a lot more photos of a lot more things than I typically would have. I stopped and smelled the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) roses, if you will. Maybe it means a lot more of my iPhone storage vanished in 2015. At least I have a lot more cool options for my background and lock screen now.

I got adventurous.

It might seem a bit odd, but doing a Photo-365 got me trying a lot of new things. I mean, I’ve always been an adventure-lover, but I found myself at a lot more events and on a lot more adventures than ever before. “That would make for a great photo” would sometimes be my only impetus for wanting to go to something, but it would never, ever be all I left with.

In 2015, I got into a canoe twice – oh, and performed a water rescue in a canoe one of those times (crazy, I know) – I learned how to shoot a gun (adding that to my resume, thankyouverymuch), I took my personal training certification, and I started learning to skate. That’s just a few off the top of my head.

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Would I have done all of those things anyway? Absolutely.

Would I have done all of them in a year? I don’t know. Maybe I was extra eager to experience the moment and add it to the story of my  year. There’s no way to be sure.

I got (even more) grateful.

“Was 2015 really one of *the* worst years for you?” my best friend Carson asked me the other day.

“Yeah. Definitely. Why?”

“I’m forming a baseline. That’s good to know.”

“A baseline for what?”

“I thought you were positive and delightful all year, so it’s a good sign of the years to come.”

This was good affirmation of my gratitude and positivity in life. And like I said, I’ve never really questioned or struggled with being grateful for what I have, but I have to say, my Photo-365 brought my gratitude to a new level.

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In 2015, I went through a breakup, got ghosted by one of my (now former) best friends and then by a guy I was falling hard for (he was so wrong for me, you guys – obviously), I had a brutal viral infection for five weeks, I worked 80-100 hours a week for about six months, one of my dogs almost died in my arms after going into anaphylactic shock after her annual vaccines, and my other dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That’s just a best-of list, folks. That’s not even half of it.

I started to recognize and find appreciation – huge, heart-exploding, OH THANK GOD appreciation – for the little things. A long, hot bath at the end of a brutal day. Being able to take 15 minutes out of an insane day to snuggle the shit out of my dogs. Taking a 10-minute meditation break when the stress got to be too much. Hell, even just learning to meditate, period. Bad movies with good friends. Sitting with one of my best friends in total silence, just knowing they’ve got my back, on a devastatingly sad day. A random sign or image or coffee mug that made me laugh out loud. I recognized it. I captured it. I appreciated it. I soaked it up into my heart.

I got present.

I could probably go on and on (I’m a writer, I love words), but WordPress is telling me this post is already well over 1,000 words long, so I should probably wrap this up, but I’ll just say one more thing.

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Doing a Photo-365 made me aware of every day of my life. You could have asked me on any day what my day was like, or what I did, and I would have never said, “Nothing,” or, “Same old.” This project almost forced me to be present – something I can struggle with, especially when I am, as my loved ones put it, impossibly busy and not sleeping. Basically, a crazy person.

I feel like I really enjoyed each and every day of 2015. And it was one of the most difficult I’ve ever had.

 

How weird and wonderful is that?

xA

P.S. Oh, and if you’re curious, yes, I started another Photo-365 for 2016. You can follow along on my Instagram. And you could join me. I guess technically, you’d start a day late, but 2016’s also a leap year, so you could post 365 photos all the same. What’s stopping you?

P.P.S. Don’t say time is stopping you. It takes approximately five seconds to snap a photo, and approximately one minute to post it to like, all of your social media platforms. If you don’t have two minutes a day, you’re lying. You’re so lying.

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Three Hundred Sixty Six.

I know what you’re thinking.

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

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

…Maybe I’m just not a green thumb.

Anyway.

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

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

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

But I was kind of scared.

So I promised myself I would write something every day.

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

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

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

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

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

I hate everything right now. Surely someone will understand.

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

This is weird. Does everyone feel this way?

Did that just happen? SRSLY?!

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

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

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

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

So…all of that got me here.

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

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

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

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

Here’s what I came up with.

Jayne Mansfield had stretchmarks.

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And so do I.

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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.

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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!

Three Hundred Sixty Five.

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

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

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

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

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

Without further ado…

Top 5 Stupid Kid Moments

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Sixty Four.

I had this job once. Right when I moved back from Scotland. In theory, it should have been a great job, but it actually turned into the job from hell because my boss was really mean to me. It took me somewhere between six and 12 months to gain back any ounce of self-confidence after that job. I was scared to even write emails in fear I’d do it wrong. That should give you an idea of how awesome I was treated.

So you can imagine how much I’d love to talk to that boss again.

Anyway, one day I was in the car with my parents and my two dogs, taking my dogs out for a long drive. They absolutely love being in the car, so when I have the time, it’s something we do. It’s a nice, casual way to spend a Sunday or something. Family quality time!

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SIDENOTE: Okay, they’re not IN the car in that photo, but they’re out and about and that’s just as exciting.

I was sitting in the back seat covered in dogs. That’s the way life goes when you have Boston Terriers – they have to be TOUCHING YOU ALWAYS. Sometimes it drives me crazy because I just want them to be excited about the drive and give me a few minutes of peace.

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On this particular day, though, I was enjoying the puppy pile. I mean, look at them: they’re ridiculous. So I turned up my puppy voice and I gave them a good cuddle.

Now, I totally get that talking to dogs in stupid voices can be sooooo annoying, but also, sometimes life just calls for it. And I happen to do character voices for each of my dogs that crack me the fuck up. Because I’m HILARIOUS.

SIDENOTE: And humble!

I had been stupid-talking my dogs for approximately four and a half minutes when I decided wheeeew, that was exhausting and I need a little break. I pulled out my phone to check if I had any texts.

And there it was.

I was on a call with my ex-boss.

And I was leaving her a dog-talk voicemail.

FOR FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES.

After what felt like an eternity of me staring in complete shock at my iPhone – HOW THE FUCK DO YOU POCKET DIAL FROM A TOUCH SCREEN?! – I hung up the phone.

I spent the next month waiting to hear from her and feeling like an idiot.

Eventually I forgot about it.

Okay, I didn’t completely forget about it – a part of me EXTREMELY hopes that she had deleted my phone number so that the voicemail came from a vaguely familiar-looking number and not from “Andrea Beça.” But the rest of me knows that of course she didn’t and of course it did come from “Andrea Beça.”

Because that was the day I learned that the OF COURSE stuff always happens. Always. Murphy’s Law, is it?

xA

P.S. But seriously, HOW DO YOU POCKET DIAL FROM AN IPHONE?! GAAAAH.

P.P.S. Speaking of pocket dials, remember this one?

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.

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 Forty Seven.

A couple weeks ago, I went out to the movies with a friend of mine and then we grabbed a bite to eat.

Oh, actually, now that I think of it, it was this night, AKA the night I ATE ALL THE FOOD.

Anyway, when I got home at the end of the night, I went to wash my face and noticed I had a bunch of black pepper in my teeth. My first thought was, “Why the fuck didn’t he say something?!”

SIDENOTE: It’s possible he didn’t notice. I would have had to smile pretty darn big for it to be visible. But still.

You see, I’m a person who will ALWAYS tell you if you’ve got “something” going on – if you have food in your teeth, if you have a strand of hair sticking out the wrong way, if your hanger strap or clothing tag is hanging out. I’m your girl. It’s not because I’m critical or anything. I’m not. I’m like, the least judgemental person. It’s because I would want to know if any of that were going on with me.

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But as I was thinking about that, I was reminded of one of many hilarious moments I had as a teen.

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a goth when I was a teenager. A Marilyn Manson-obsessed, eyeliner-loving, eyebrow-shaving goth. So I wore a lot of makeup. I didn’t do anything too crazy – I didn’t like, wear black eyeliner tears dripping down my face or anything (no offense or judgement to anyone who did/does – you do your thing). But I was…creative?

There was one day that I was going out to run some errands with my mom and I was sporting some particularly interesting mascara and eyeliner. I had applied both as usual, but then I decided that I wanted like, eyeliner dots coming out from the corner of my eye toward the side of my face.

I really wish I had a photo to illustrate this. But I don’t. But imagine some cat eye eyeliner:

cat+eye

Only imagine it much messier and comprised of dots.

SIDENOTE: I don’t know what I was thinking. I was 13. Who cares? I was “finding myself.”*

So anyway, I was out with my mom and I remember specifically that we were at Future Shop and we couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we found a sales associate to ask for help.

We had been chatting with him about our needs for a few minutes when a natural silence fell upon the conversation. It was at that point that the sales associate turned to me, and very quietly said, “Uh…I think you have a little something…” and pointed to his eye/eyebrow region.

Being the super self-conscious, nerdy kid that I was, I tried to laugh it off.

“Ha ha!” I giggled nervously, “No, it’s supposed to be there.”

“Oh, okay.” The sales guy cleared his throat anxiously.

And then we all felt awkward.

People wear a lot of crazy shit these days. Like, how many times a day are you walking behind a girl in leggings or yoga pants when you realize you can clearly see her bum/underwear/thong?

SIDENOTE: I work both on campus and as a fitness instructor, so maybe my percentages are higher. Okay, they definitely are. But like, a MILLION TIMES A DAY it happens.

Hell, just last night I was out and saw a dude wearing gold spandex pants and it was like, junk-central. He might as well have been pantsless. It was all out there.

SIDNEOTE: Pretty sure it’s the look he was going for, because shortly after I spotted him, he started doing lunges, so good on him.

Um. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I understand why some people would hesitate to point out if “something” is going on, but:

(A) If the person is your friend, POINT IT OUT ANYWAY. Be tactful. But just in case. Do it.

(B) If it’s something in someone’s teeth, no exceptions. TELL THEM.**

xA

*I’m nearly 27 and I feel like only NOW am I actually finding myself.

**Unless you hate the person. Then I guess do whatever.

Three Hundred Forty Six.

There are very few women in my workplace. In my specific research group, there are two researchers, plus me. Out of about 15 people. So we’re pretty darn outnumbered.

Now, in the last year, I’ve definitely learned that scientists are quiet people. Maybe it’s just chemists? (I hear physicists have quite the personalities.) But I have to say, the female scientists are the quietest of the bunch.

When I started my job last November, I thought I might get along with the ladies the best. Maybe because I am a lady,* or just because I’m used to working with ladies.

I was off to a really good start with one of the girls in particular. She and I would always stop in the hallway and say hi, have a little chat, all the usual stuff. She was quiet, but really nice, and I thought we might become work friends.

But then I did something stupid.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Andrea, you never do anything stupid at your job. (Not like I’ve ever locked myself in the stairwell or parked my car on the sidewalk or anything…) But this was a total accident – something I could have never seen coming.

I walked in on the lady scientist in the bathroom.

They’re private bathrooms – as in, a single room, not a room with multiple stalls or anything – and she hadn’t locked the door.

Here’s the thing: it could have been way worse. I didn’t see anything. She could have been buck naked or something,** but she wasn’t. She could have been having sex with someone. But she wasn’t! She was just sitting there, and as soon as I noticed, I apologized and shut the door.

That was at least six months ago. The girl still will not make eye contact with me. When we’re walking toward one another in the hallways, she keeps her eyes on the floor. She never says hi. She never talks to me. I’m fairly certain she actively avoids me. Hell, in the last six or whatever months, I think I’ve only seen her like, six or seven times. It’s insane.

Yesterday she needed something from me and she used as few words as possible to ask for it, again without making eye contact. I tried to start a friendly conversation and she basically ran away. And that was that.

Well, guys, lesson learned: I’ve always thought of myself as somewhat easy to embarrass, but BOY WAS I WRONG.

Will we ever rekindle our work friendship?

xA

*Arguable, depending on how you define “lady.”

**One time, a lady walked in on me in a fitting room while I was pantsless and bending over to try on jeans. So there you go. An eyeful of Andrea’s underwear-ed bum, bent over, close-up. That’s much worse, but still not as bad as it could be, right?!

Three Hundred Forty Five.

Yesterday at work, I had to phone Air Canada for my boss.

They have this dumb rule where if you cancel a flight, you can only use your credit if you book over the phone. What? Yeah. It’s one of a number of bizarre rules and exceptions they place on this particular situation.

Anyway.

Phoning an airline. Great.

I was on hold for approximately 20 minutes. I stopped counting because I was on hold so long that I passed through the “Oh, I’ll just wait and listen carefully for when somebody picks up” phase and well into the “Fuck it, I’m working, I’m talking to other people, I’m busy, and when they pick up, they’d better say ‘HELLO’ very clearly because ain’t nobody got time for this shit” phase.

hold-da-fuck-up-2-300x200

Also, I stopped counting because the phone was hurting my ear. Like, within minutes. And because of the position of the phone on my desk, I couldn’t really switch ears. So I tried to keep myself distracted.

So I finally got through, and of course the conversation wasn’t a quick one. I’m not going to bore you to death with all of the details. What you need to know is that all in, I was on the phone for about 45 minutes yesterday.

45 minutes!!

Let me tell you about today.

Today, it feels like I got punched in the ear. Yes, that’s right, my left ear is so sore from the stupid phone that it kind of hurts when I adjust my hair.

And when I woke up this morning, I noticed that my neck and shoulder felt really weird. It only occurred to me much, much later that that’s the result of my craned-neck multitasking – holding the phone onto my shoulder with my chin while I continued to work.

WHAT THE HELL?

When I was in my pre-teens and teens, I used to talk on the phone for hours at a time.

Is this evolution?

Guys, this is it.

It’s the future.

Talking on the phone isn’t glamorous like this anymore:

VintageWomanOnPhone

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend  the day with my head tilted the other way to try to even this shit out.

xA

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