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Weeping Wednesday – Thursday Edition:The Track Meet

27 Oct

I don’t claim to be athletic. In fact I claim nothing of the sort. My childhood recreational activities included ballet classes and horseback riding – not exactly classified as hard-core sports. Did they require childhood poise? Not really – but let’s pretend for my sake they did.

When I moved to Nova Scotia at the ripe age of 10, I figured I needed to find a way to make friends. What better way I thought, than join to join the cross country team? Sure, I was the shortest kid in my class and had no idea if I could run three blocks, let alone three kilometres, but I knew if I could get my name on the announcements for scoring a sweet blue ribbon I would have more friends than I could shake a stick at.

Little did I know pretty much everyone and their dog joined the cross country team that year. Likely because of a girl whose milkshake brought all the boys to the yard. Not only was she super sporty and beautiful, but she could run like the wind and had about a foot on me.

Meet after meet my collection of second place ribbons continued to grow – but I knew that as long as Little Miss Long Legs was around I would never hear my name attached with first place on the morning announcements. Lucky for me this blonde stallion had the immune system of a small child – that might be overstating it, but a case of tonsillitis took my archrival out of the competition just long enough for me to shine.

I’ll never forget that day at the track meet. My parents proudly waiting on the field – inhalers in hand just in case their little ballerina / horse aficionado were to pass out mid-run. Things started off really well. I had a great pace going and I could feel that I was ahead of all the piddly little fourth graders. As I went through various turns I could tell that I was getting close to the end – taking a quick glance back I knew I was set to take home the glorious blue ribbon. And then it all fell apart.

One wrong turn had me feeling like a million bucks – no other runners were in sight and the crowd was going wild. The celebration in my mind started early and I could already picture how proudly the school secretary would be announcing my name the next day. The next thing I noticed was the faces of my parents. Then I realized they were shouting “wrong way” not “yay”!! My slight misstep had me down the wrong path on the final stretch of the race. I sprinted as quickly as humanly possible  to get back on track – and I thought I would make it, but just as I approached the finish line, some Z-list runner bypassed me and dashed her way through.

They say winning isn’t everything – but when you’re the wrong way runner, second place is only the first loser.

Wednesday Weeping – The Bra in the Classroom Incident

21 Sep

Middle school is just the worst. It’s when Mother Nature rips everyone a new one, whether you wake up one day with boobs that apparently grew overnight or you wake up every day hoping to find boobs and realizing, once again, nothing has sprouted. Everything that used to be comfortable and familiar is suddenly terrifying and awkward. Seriously, becoming an adult is the worst thing ever.

Grade 5 was the year the little girls in my class started wearing bras, whether they needed to or not. I, being a famously late bloomer, had no such underthings in my possession, which made me a bit of a freak show when it came time to get changed for gym.

I went to my mom and told her I wanted a bra. She laughed at me and said “What for?”

Then she told my father over dinner. “Do you know what Amy asked for? She thinks she needs a bra.”

My dad laughed too. “What for?”

Assholes.

After the hysterical laughter died down I was told I didn’t need a bra *yet* but I could get one in Grade 6. I slunk away from the dinner table, defeated. Basically I was social roadkill now. I might as well start hanging out with the kids that brought their stuffed toys to school.

A couple weeks later one of my friends who was (I swear) flatter than me came to school and it was obvious she was wearing a bra and flaunting it to make sure everyone noticed, adjusting her stupid straps and whatnot.

“Good for you,” I hissed at her at recess. “It’s probably uncomfortable anyway and it’s stupid to waste money on something you don’t need.”

“No, it’s actually really comfortable because IT PROVIDES SUPPORT,” said my 25AAAAA-cup friend. “You can try it on if you want. SINCE YOU DON’T HAVE ONE OF YOUR OWN.”

“As if,” I said. (Well, I probably didn’t say “as if” because Clueless wasn’t out yet.) But the seed had been planted and all through the rest of the morning I wondered what it would be like to wear one of those forbidden undergarments.

At noon, I sidled up to her in the lunchroom. “Can it try it on?” I whispered.

“I guess so,” she said. “Where do you want to go?” We decided on Mrs. Hopkins’ empty classroom, which would be more private than the girl’s washroom.

I stood guard by the door while she got changed, then she “stood guard” while I attempted to hook up the mess of straps, two tiny white triangles and a ridiculous pink bow in the middle of it all.

I was mid-hook, shirtless and sweating from the effort when in walked two other girls from our class to get something out of their desks.

They gaped at me.

“I’M GETTING CHANGED!” I screamed.

I have never seen two girls exit a classroom faster in my life. I wondered if maybe they hadn’t seen anything.

But word got around. It always does.

Thankfully, some other kid got her period the next week and my bra fiasco was quickly forgotten. And yes, I waited until Grade 6 to get a bra of my own. And I hated it.

Wednesday Weeping – The Spring Fling Incident of ’94

14 Sep

Readers – This guest post has been brought to you by @mcmeganpei, seen here in this recent photo. You are likely wondering why I am attaching a photo, you will not be wondering this after you read the post.

With Chaz Bono’s dancing shoes firmly laced, issues surrounding gender identity are at the forefront of news publications, trade rags and blogs. First, let us clarify for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 10 years, the Wiki definition of Transgender:

Transgender is the state of one’s “gender identity” (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s “assigned sex” (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex).[1]

But let us, for a moment, ponder the flip side. What of the individual with a gender identity that matches their physical/genetic sex but who’s physical appearance (perhaps due to an ill-advised haircut – that’s right I’m pointing at YOU Mom) causes the general public confusion? I’ll tell you what happens – my childhood from the age of 6 – 13. Yeah, that’s right. All of you out there hiding those awful awkward teen photos – “oh no, no, no, puberty was not kind to me”. Are you kidding me? My whole childhood was unkind – puberty was a GODSEND! Finally an end to the anxiety caused by having to meet new people who would politely play detective asking pointed questions that they prayed would ultimately lead to uncovering my gender. Children were the worst though – no beating around the bush there – “HEY! Yeah, you! HEY! Are you a boy or a girl?” Me: “I’m a girl.” Evil Child: “Are you sure?”

UGH … as such, you would think the “Spring Fling Fishpond Incident of ‘94” wouldn’t have cut so deep. This wasn’t my first time at the gender confusion rodeo, but it would serve to be my most shameful moment and the catalyst to a painful process of taking my mushroom cut to a Dorothy Hammel – esque bobb, to what I like to consider my personal tribute to Kurt Cobain – to what was finally without a doubt, long, flowing, GIRL hair.

Let’s head back to 1994: (cue Wayne and Garth doodley doodley doodley)

The Sackville Spring Fling held at Salem Elementary School in Sackville, NB (population 5,411) was the social event of the year and I wasn’t dicking around that day. Nope, a sunny Saturday afternoon, the air finally warm enough to leave your jacket at home – I was pulling out all the stops – pleated jeans with the cuffs turned up to reveal gorgeous plaid lining and a red esprit mock-neck (that’s right bitches, a mock-neck long sleeved t-shirt) and some kick ass penny loafers. Don’t even try to tell me I didn’t look good. Riding the high of high-fashion I gamely headed to the “Nail Art” booth to have my nails painted. This went as follows:

Nail Skank: “Ewww like how can I paint designs on your nails if you don’t have any”

Me: “well they’re not that short I was just really busy tree climbing this morning and didn’t get around to buffing them”

Nail Skank: “Whatever just pick two colours and I’ll paint them like half-and-half”

With my new pink and red nails I was now on top of the world – my fall from grace would be tragic.

I take you now to the “Fishpond.” For those of you unfamiliar with this carnival game it’s beyond simple – apply blindfold, throw the line of your fishing rod over the edge of the table blocking the classroom door and wait for the tug on your line that indicates your prize has been attached, reel up your winning as quickly as possible and enjoy! UNLESS you’re me. You see, in the interest of providing great prizes, the asshole running the fishpond would ask your age and then inform the prize giver of your age and gender in order to ensure you received an age and gender appropriate prize. Note they do NOT ask your gender, it is assumed one can tell by looking at the child whether they are a boy or a girl – WRONG.

I gamely stepped to the plate, confident that I was about to receive the greatest prize of my life:

Fishpond asshole: “How old are you?”

Me: “Eleven”. I applied my blindfold with confidence and tossed my line into the abyss anticipating the glory of a new toy just seconds away.

Fishpond asshole: “ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY! We have an ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY! ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY HERE!”

Where the hell was this prize wrangler located? Down the freakin street?!  I at once wished that my blindfold yielded me invisible as the hot flush of shame turned my face the same red of my stylin’ mock neck. Head hung low, I rushed to find my older sister – it was time to leave, a blue toy truck clutched in my hand – a gift for my little brother that would forever serve as a cruel reminder.

Wednesday Weeping — Black Eye Edition

31 Aug

Another tale of childhood tragedy from our friend Martha.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I have a brother. He’s eight years older, which means I spent most of my childhood tirelessly getting him to like me. At first I tried all of the oldest tricks in the book: giving him my best Halloween candy, getting him the last kool-aid jammer (remnants from our vacation to America – they weren’t available in Canada yet!), and offering up my leftover pizza.

But my seven year old self learned that kool-aid’s only going to get you so far. Eventually I knew I had to pull out the big guns if I wanted to be the coolest sister.

One night, my brother had a friend over. Boys being boys they were bragging about their newest muscles, and how much weight they could lift. It was my mistake, or good fortune depending on your view point, that led me to walk into the room. I heard my brother say, “I could totally bench-press my sister.” I knew this was it. This could be my moment of glory. I envisioned it going something like this: a few easy bench presses, a confetti cannon, a round of hearty celebrations, and just like that, I’m the best sister.

So of course I agreed. I mean really, how could this go wrong?

He’s poised for the lift on the spare bed. I climb up. First lift goes off without a hitch. So, to prove a point, he does it again.

CRACK.

That’s the sound of my face hitting the bedside table. Not just my face, but my eye. An instant shiner. In grade one. I looked like an original badass.

The next day at school started like any other. Writing in our daily journal about what’s going on in our lives. Of course I covered the events of the previous night, complete with a hand drawn picture of my eye and my brother flexing.

No, child services didn’t show up at my house. I just got this lovely reply from my teacher:

“Don’t worry Martha, you can barely see the black eye. Your face is healing nicely.”

Wet Pants Wednesday – Wednesday Weeping

3 Aug

Today’s post is brought to you by @MarthaGallagher

Like many children of the 90s, I was eagerly signed up for Brownies by my parents. I didn’t mind attending the weekly troop meetings, and actually really enjoyed the experience. Camping, cooking and competing with the other girls to have the most badges (just so you know, I totally did) –  it was all right up my alley. So, needless to say, I was pretty excited when our troop announced they were hosting our annual sleepover. There were so many fun times to have: hide and seek in an empty school, crafts, ghost stories, and ample opportunity to stuff ourselves with pizza and pop.

On the day of the sleepover my parents dropped me off at the school with a knapsack, sleeping bag and starry eyed visions of the best night ever. The evening went along as planned, with an abundance of fun times and squealing girls. As we got closer to bedtime the leaders let us know what the ground rules for the night would be. We had to stay in our sleeping bags, and couldn’t leave the gym. All of these rules seemed fair, and with that we went to bed.

Everything was going well until about 2AM when I groggily realized I had to pee. The only issue was the bathroom was outside of the gym, precisely where they told us not to go. In my mind I envisioned alarms sounding and lights flashing as soon as I opened the door to the bathroom. I expected the police to burst in and put me in jail for being a delinquent who obviously could not follow rules.  I laid in agony for what surely felt like a lifetime for my seven year old bladder. Finally I couldn’t wait any longer.

That’s right. Surrounded by a group of my sleeping peers I wet myself. Luckily no one noticed. I was able to change into dry clothes and lie in silent mortification for the rest of the night. Perhaps the most traumatic part of all was that I ruined the book I was reading. To this day I still don’t know how “The Haunting – The House of Cherry Street” even ended.

I couldn’t have been more relieved the next morning when my parents showed up to take me home. Naturally I was in a rush to escape my pee-soaked prison, so if I would have had my way we would have thrown everything in a garbage bag and escaped post haste. Of course my mom wouldn’t do that. Everything had to be packed up in an orderly fashion. As she bent down to pick up my sleeping bag, she noticed it was damp.

“Why’s your sleeping bag all wet?” she innocently asked.

“We’ll talk about it in the car, Mom”

I never advanced to girl guides.

Wednesday Weeping – The Prisoner Bride

20 Jul

When news of the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Whittstock hit the papers, my instant reaction was: “I don’t care about this other Royal wedding. I only care about Kate Middleton. Who is Charlene Whittstock? No wait, I don’t care.”

However, I have recently become significantly more interested in Monaco’s regal union when I actually watched footage of the ceremony. In the video, the bride, a former Olympic Swimmer from South Africa, cannot control her tears as she stands arm-in-arm with her groom (who happens to be 20 years her senior). Brides get emotional at weddings, so that’s really not so crazy – but these tears don’t seem to be tears of joy, but rather tears of complete and utter misery and fear. She is pictured shaking and wiping her eyes with kleenex as her husband maintains a steely glare and doesn’t offer any sort of comfort or tenderness towards his new bride. When the couple finally kisses, it has all the passion and romance of a kiss that you would give your great aunt Myrtle (the one with the hairy mole on her chin) at your semi-annual family reunion. One can’t help but wonder what the hell is going on here?!

So, I did some research in to the situation, and suddenly the Royal family of Monaco became much more interesting (albeit for entirely different reasons than Wills and Kate). It seems, according to various media reports, that in the year leading up to her nuptials Charlene Whittstock has attempted to escape Monaco and return to South Africa on 3 separate occasions. However, her passport was taken away from her, making it impossible to leave. When she sought help from the South African embassy, they turned back over to the Monacoian* officials. Sweet Jesus. This woman is a captive!

Prince Albert (who REALLY seems like a dick) has at least two illegitimate children that we know of, neither of whom is eligible to be heir to the throne. He’s under pressure to produce a ‘legitimate’ heir, and it looks like Charlene Whittstock is his chosen baby-maker. While she may have been lured by the life of a Princess at one time, based on the wedding video I’d say she’s pretty much over it. The couple are now on their honeymoon to South Africa, but allegations have been bubbling that Albert has fathered yet another child with yet another mistress in the last 2 years, despite the fact that he has been in a relationship with Whittstock for about 5 years. SCANDALS!

Anyway, I’ll be keeping my eye on these two over the coming weeks to see how this whole thing plays out, but in the meantime, you MUST watch this video.

Tell us what you think. Is Charlene getting exactly what she signed up for? Or is she a Prisoner Princess?

*I definitely had to google the proper term for an individual from Monaco. Now you know.

Wednesday Weeping: “Mr. Noodles”

15 Jun

“Wednesday Weeping” is a new weekly series here on ThisNeedstoStop. One of us, usually Joel, will recount a sad/funny tale from childhood.

During the fifth and sixth grades (as you may well remember) the dry Mr. Noodles (or Ramen for non-Canadians) for recess fad had well taken hold. In fact, it had already crested in popularity and many of the cool kids had moved on to other exciting snacks.

But after months and months of pleading, I had finally convinced my mother to buy me a packet of Mr. Noodles to take to school. Money was tight, to say the least, and though Mr. Noodles were cheap, they had never made it onto our very short grocery lists.

That morning I was, for the first time in my life and never to be repeated, excited to go to school. The sense of belonging filled me to the bones, the idea that I, too, could be cool. The secret was a packet of dry fried noodles and a tiny package of mostly salt and a few spices. And a recess so far away, but finally so close.

In the preceding months I’d studied how the other children did it. They brought their Mr. Noodles out of their backpacks and placed them on their desks. And then with the deftness and skill of a surgeon, they slammed their fists into the plastic, breaking up the noodles inside. They carefully opened up one end of the package, removed the spices, tore a corner off of the silvery square, and poured the brown-ish green mixture onto their noodles. Then, they shook the bag lightly, clutching closed the opened end to mix the spices evenly.

That day, when recess finally came, I took my Mr. Noodles out of my backpack.

I placed it gingerly on my desk. Slow enough that everyone could see what I had brought. They knew, now, that I was one of them. I had sought and pleaded for the golden ticket to their club, and I had brought it with me. And here it was.

I knew what I had to do.

I raised my fist into the air, and brought it down toward my desk and the Mr. Noodles atop it.

And in one moment I saw dry, broken noodles, along with my hopes of one day, one minute, one second of belonging fly into pieces onto the floor.

My classmates reacted the only way children know how.