It’s been a year, Daddio.

For those of you upset by sad things, this is not the blog entry for you. Next week will be better, I hope.

This Friday it will be one year since my Daddio passed away. I hate every word that is associated with death. Pass away, left us, died, gone. I hate all of them. There will never be an okay word that says, “My dad’s gone and he’s not coming back.”

It’s been a year and lots has happened since you “left”.

– I got accepted into grad school! Can you believe it? I loved it! But I only stuck around half a semester. I really did enjoy so much about it, but I was not 100% sure it’s what I wanted to do with my life at this point. That’s okay. You taught me I could do anything, Dad. You told me my big heart was an asset and that it made you proud. I’ll figure it out one day. Meanwhile I am using my big heart every day that I see someone who needs it.
– We took my little sister to Disneyland, just like you asked us to. Most of the time it was really great. I love spending time with her (how she thinks and takes in the world astounds me sometimes) and I think the magic of Disney was pretty neat. But, during the World of Color show they showed the part in the Lion king where Mufasa dies and Simba is going, “Dad? Dad? C’mon, you gotta get up” and we were not okay. I started crying in the middle of Disneyland during the fireworks because you couldn’t see them. I’m sad you couldn’t take her yourself, even though I know you HATED crowds.
– I started a side art business; And especially during Christmas time, it did SUPER well! I was so proud thinking that these pieces I had made would be hanging in people’s homes! I remember you coming to my high school to buy the ugliest print I’d ever made in art class. It was of a pink sparrow or something. I remember feeling so grateful for you that day, that you would spend your money on one of my ugly pieces! You hung it up on your wall with pride and I remember going, “Dad take it down!” and you chuckling and refusing.
– Hubby and I went to Hawaii. Mom says you guys went there together when you were young. But we did the big Island, I think you were more into the resort-y type areas like Maui or Oahu. (Turns out, I am too! Lava is not my thing!). Some days when it was especially beautiful, I cried because you weren’t here to see it.
– We sold our condo – and it was very stressful for me!!!! I know I would have texted you like I always did, asking for sage advice, because you always gave the BEST advice. On the phone, in person, over text. It was always the BEST advice. And I know you would have said something that would have made me realize how silly I was being freaking out about something I couldn’t control. Good news is, it’s sold so I’m freaking out a little less (but hi, I’m Katelyn,  I worry about WORRYING).
– We bought a townhouse. It is wonderful and has 4 bathrooms, which to me is the pinnacle of luxury and something I know you would appreciate. When I saw the guestroom I felt my heart twinge a bit. Whenever I had envisioned my own guest rooms in the past, it would be you coming down for a visit and occupying them. My heart still hurts when I think of the things you won’t be here for.

I’m still mad at you a little bit. I’m still mad at the doctors for being so slow on acting on your deteriorating health even when I had mentioned months before that you weren’t looking well. I am mad that you didn’t take your health seriously. I am mad at all the people who told me that “it gets easier” because they lied. It doesn’t. You just get better at managing when you break down. I am SO mad that if I ever get around to having kids, you won’t be here to see them or give me advice on how to be a good parent because I KNOW you were full of amazing advice. Who will be my children’s ‘Papa’? That was supposed to be you! I’m pissed off that without you here I feel like I’ll never fully enjoy things that my friends with parents still alive will. I’m scared sometimes because you’re not here and I guess it’s because I felt like you were one of the few people who knew me, the real me. You saw me.

Friday is going to be so hard. Actually, if I’m honest this entire year has been hard. Normally I don’t work Friday’s, but I picked up an extra shift because staying home alone would make it harder. I always think of how hard a worker you were. I remember your boss had to force you to take vacation because you LOVED what you did. I love that you loved to help people, Dad. You were so good at it. You helped me so many times I thought I was lost.
Some of the people you left here are big jerks. I wish you were here to straighten them out in only the way you could. Gently but firmly. I miss that about you.
I keep going to text you or call you and then remembering.
Whenever I hear Patsy Cline, I sing along for you and Grandma because you both loved her and you’re both gone. I sing my heart out, imagining you can hear me. I pretend you are both sitting there listening and smiling at me. Then I open my eyes and not shockingly, you are not there.
I used to beg and pray that you would haunt me. I would have taken a ghostly version of you over nothing any day. But no matter how much I look, I still haven’t seen you. There have been many signs of you watching over me, but I dismiss them. I want to see your face. I want one last hug. I know I will never get those things but I can’t stop wanting them.
I saw a guy who looked like you at Starbucks the other day. Like, a LOT like you. He dressed like you, his hair was like yours, he even did that crooked way of leaning that you used to do when he was putting cream in his coffee. I watched him, mouth agape as he went about his business. I wanted to rush over and hug him. I wanted it to be you so badly, Dad. I felt myself shaking and I bolted from the coffee shop leaving my poor husband bewildered.
I walked behind an older guy with cowboy boots when I was grocery shopping last week. I found myself going closer and closer to him, watching his boots hit the floor. I know how much you loved to cook too. I bet you liked grocery shopping. I never asked you. I wonder if you did. I remember the pair of your cowboy boots that I kept after the funeral. They sit in my closet, looking sad because you’re not there to wear them. I was sad that the man at the grocery store was wearing boots like yours. I think I will always get upset when I see the kind of cowboy boots you wore on someone other than you.
I’m trying to be a good big sister to my three siblings. I feel sometimes like I need to be better, be stronger for them. I try to give advice you would give. I try not to get frustrated so easily. I try to tell them how much you would respect and love their choices and their successes because I know you would. A few months ago they all called me at separate times during the span of several hours upset and missing you and it made my heart break all over again because I couldn’t do anything to help them. I ended up sending them trinkets off of eBay to hopefully brighten their day. I see they are changing too. In good ways, I see you influence in all of them. They are all good, kind, loving people you helped raise. I am proud to be their sister, I am proud to be your daughter.
I am sad that I get to be alive and you don’t. I feel guilty every day I don’t enjoy every second of life because I feel like I am living for you too, a life you didn’t get to finish and I am wasting it. I know that I have changed since you left. Sometimes I think it’s good, when I do something I’ve been afraid to do or show patience when something would normally upset me. Sometimes I think it’s bad when I can’t sleep because I am afraid any of my loved ones will be taken from me.
I don’t really get the point of death. I guess it’s so we enjoy the time we have here, right? Thing is, I could have enjoyed my time on earth with you still in it. I’ve realized after a year that I am unsatisfied with not knowing what awaits me for sure. I am upset that you haven’t come to me in some Mufasa-in-the-clouds type of way to let me know all is well. I know that this is the mystery of death and something we all must face alone, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it or even agree with it.
We are all going to go visit your brother, mom and sister (and our many cousins) in Ontario this summer. You would be amazed and humbled at how your brother has welcomed us into his home for our stay and just how supportive he has been since you “left”. (I don’t like left because it makes it seem like you had a choice). We are all very excited to see your old stomping grounds, see where you hung out when you were a kid. We are all so excited to have you alive in more stories I guess.
You taught me a lot when you were alive, Dad. You taught me a lot when you died too, just in a different way.
I don’t know how to end this letter, so I guess I’ll just say: Until we meet again, Daddio.
Love
PTL

My Dad is the adorable guy in the middle. That's his older bro and younger sister on either side of him.

My Dad is the adorable guy in the middle. That’s his older bro and younger sister on either side of him.

My Dad with his horse and me! Circa the mid 80's. Even then, you can tell I was not a fan of horses.

My Dad with his horse and me! Circa the mid 80’s. Even then, you can tell I was not a fan of horses.

I have no idea what this is from. All I know how much  love it.

I have no idea what this is from. All I know how much love it.

Back when Dad thought that black hair was a solid idea. I liked the salt and pepper personally. We had lots of talks about his hair over the years. :)

Back when Dad thought that black hair was a solid idea. I liked the salt and pepper personally. We had lots of talks about his hair over the years. :)

And lastly, Daddio doing what he did best. Making people laugh.

And lastly, Daddio doing what he did best. Making people laugh.

29 things that strike me as Odd or Nice PART 1

So, I see a lot of these lists: Things I wish I’d known before I was thirty, 27 things you NEED to know before 27, etc. This list is sort of like that, but more odd but nice things I’ve come across in my 29 years on earth. So actually not like those lists at all. This list will not help or guide you in any way….unless you aspire to be me, in which case, HELLO YOU’RE AMAZING.

29 things that strikes me as Odd or Nice now that I’m 29
PART ONE

1. Loving Pizza. [Odd].
Guys, it’s WEIRD how much I love pizza. And the weirdest part is – I am almost 30 and I love it EVEN more NOW then when I was a kid! When I was a kid, I was like, “Cool, I like pizza” but now if I know we are having pizza, I literally LOSE it with joy because I LOVE PIZZA SO MUCH. I think it’s because I do the majority of the cooking at my house, so when we order out it’s so exciting because it means I don’t have to cook! Point is, I love pizza. A lot.

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2. Being Friends with Neighbours. [Nice].
Guys, I have only had insane neighbours. Like the ones that do weird crap and you pretend not to notice them because nothing would be worse than having to talk to them. So, when I got a note under my door inviting my husband and I to our neighbour below us, I was suspicious.

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Turns out, I literally have the BEST neighbors. My other neighbour just bought me an exercise ball because one day during conversation I mentioned that I needed one. Seriously. These people are GEMS. I always thought that being friends with neighbours was lame and something right out of a 50’s sitcom. But know what? It’s GREAT having a wonderful relationship with neighbours! I recommend it! Introduce yourself, you’d be surprised at the possibilities!

3. Skin changes [Odd].
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I cannot eat ANYTHING without it showing up on my face the next day. I used to have such clear skin and would eat like a teenager who just discovered sugar and my face would remain blemish free. Now if I accidentally drink something with too much sugar, my face looks like a moon crater. BUMMER TIMES A MILLION. I never hear anyone else talk about this, but I feel like I can’t be alone. (If I am, lie to me.)

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4. Friend Time [Nice]
I’ll be honest, I used to hate hanging out with people all the time. I was usually good for one solid hang out every couple of weeks if the timing was right and the weather was nice. The following LITERALLY happened after I flaked out on dinner with friends because IT WAS RAINING.

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Lately however, I’ve been pushing myself and making lots of plans with friends (I have my weekly coffee dates, movie nights, dinners out etc) and I actually really enjoy it now that I’m older. It’s also nice that I have friends where we look at each other and are like, “So… I’m gonna go.” and there’s no bad feelings, you just know the other person is spent. I definitely recommend trying it out and seeing if it’s for you. If not, no worries.

5. Being Weirdly Attached to your pet [Odd]
This is a new one for me. I’ve always had pets, but because of where we lived, they always escaped and got hit by cars. Plus, they were always ‘family pets’ which means they like everyone but me. I won’t lie, for the longest time I believed that cats only lived 5 years (because that’s how long mine would live before being hit). So, I guess I never got super attached to a pet. I’ve had my cat Gizmo for 5 years and I love him to the point of detriment. For real, just look at my instagram. There are more photos of Gizmo then there are of my HUSBAND. I’ve taught him to use the toilet, he is a guard cat for any strangers and even though he bugs me, I love him SO much. This is a new feeling for me to have for a pet. Sometimes I sit and think about the day that I will find he is gone and my stomach churns and I get teary. I guess getting older will do that to you. Turn you maudlin.

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6. Not Caring What other people think as much [Nice]
I literally walked out of the house like this. On purpose. Know what I’m doing in that photo? Shrugging because I don’t care that my fashion sense is plummeting. I sort of dig the whole striped sweater over a dinosaur t-shirt topped with a giant Russian hat. It works. It was ridiculously comfortable! I find with every year that passes, I care less and less what people think. In some ways bad, in most ways it’s AMAZING.

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7. People asking me why I don’t have kids. [Odd].
I am continually struck dumb in shock when people ask why I don’t have kids. It’s such a personal question I find it completely bizarre that everyone noses their way into it so casually and often! This is a real pet peeve whenever strangers/acquaintances (aka, NOT my close friends or family who get a free pass) ask me when I’m having kids – or last month when I was aggressively interrogated by a couple who had just had twins, wanting – nay- demanding to know why I didn’t have kids and why I should. This is what happened.

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Okay, the last two panels didn’t happen because I hate confrontation, but I WISH I would have told them to piss off. What I did was awkwardly excuse myself and pretended I was getting a call on my cell.  I felt like they had made a decision and because I wasn’t doing it too, it made them insecure. Which bummed me out because shouldn’t you be having a baby because you want to? Not because everyone else is doing it?
My husband gets it on his end too, but he’s much more chill about it. But it makes me personally MAD. Know why it makes me mad? Because there are SO many reason people DON’T WANT or CANNOT have kids. And you pushing it in their face is INSENSITIVE and RUDE. Plus, shocker- some people just don’t want them and that DOESN’T make them any less of a person. If I want kids, cool. Maybe I will one day. Until then, MIND YOUR OWN BUISNESS.
Okay, rant over.

8. Grey Hair [Odd]
Guys, when I thought of getting grey hair as a kid, I was stoked. And want to know why? Because I was deluded. I was convinced my grays would come in one awesome stripe that would make me look fabulous and the cool kind of mature. The kind of mature that drinks martini’s in the afternoon and goes on yachting adventures on a whim. My grays make me look like the cliché cat lady that doesn’t realize her hair is come up grey in sparse clumps. I HATE IT.

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9. Self Improvement [Nice]

I have a bad temper. But if you’d met me 8 years ago, it was SO MUCH WORSE. I also ate nothing but McDonalds, hated saving money, flaked out on everything and generally hated lots of stuff. Eight years later, I’m far from perfect, but I can see the strides I’ve made and it’s kind of awesome. I go, “Hey, I eat vegetables now!” My old self would have seen changing as some sort of defeat, but my new self sees it as improvement.

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Realistic perspective baby, its good.

10. A Weird Love of Cooking [Odd]
Guys, am I alone here? Did the world suddenly start to love cooking and I got left behind? I see these amazing healthy, beautiful meals all over my instagram and facebook feed with people happily exclaiming, “Can’t wait to dig in!” and talking about how much they love the cooking process. Meanwhile, I’m like:

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Why a free potato is better than nothing

Firstly, you need to know I LOVE free stuff. I feel like it’s pretty obvious considering what I’ve written in past entries. Mama likes free SWAG. I accept it. I also accept that I reference myself as Mama and free stuff as SWAG.
I won’t lie, when I started this blog I was hoping for free merch. (My young hip sister frequently references merchandise as such, so I’m definitely going to pathetically cling to my youth as long as I can and try to stay relevant with lingo). I follow a lot of fashion and humor blogs and I swear, all of them talk about the free stuff they get on a daily basis. They talk about shows and give-away bags and everything they get for FREE! Trips! Clothes! Hot Sauce!

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My greedy little mind went straight to blog + internet = Free stuff! I LOVE FREEEEEEEEEEEEE.

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Secondly, my life is not that exciting. I definitely do fun stuff, but if I’m being real – it’s a pretty average day-to-day experience unless we are travelling somewhere new or embarking upon a planned adventure.
I tell you these two things so that you can properly understand how and why my little heart raced when I logged into my e-mail and the following happened.

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Yep, some guy from mailaspud.com contacted me to give me a free potato. No, for real. A potato.

And at first, I was REALLY excited. Like, what the heck – Someone is offering me a FREE THING BECAUSE OF MY BLOG. How cool is that?!

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But then about two seconds later I was really sad. All I could think of was the cool stuff other people’s blogs were getting and I was being offered a potato.

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So I got mopey for a second. A long second. Then i realized I was being a selfish little baby. Lots of blogs don’t even get the offer of a FREE potato! And here I was being ungrateful at the very opportunity.

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So then I  figured, what the heck – I wrote Sean back about the now infamous potato. I kind of looked forward to opening my mailbox one day and finding a spud covered in stamps. It would make for a fun follow up piece to this. Then I got the following e-mail.

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I live in Canada.

And suddenly, this potato that I had been apathetic about moments before? I was suddenly crushed I wouldn’t be receiving it!  What a bummer.

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So if you live in the USA and read this blog and want to mail a potato to someone for literally NO reason other than to confuse them. Then do it – maybe even tell them that Katelyn from Odd but Nice sent you so that I dunno, one day I get a raisin or something cheaper to mail to Canada.

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Why I am okay with having married my first boyfriend

Please know that I love my husband more than life itself. I feel like before you continue reading, you need to know this fact. I do not regret marrying him and I do not wish I’d dated a million guys before him. But since he was my first boyfriend, my first kiss and my first (and last) husband, sometimes I wish I’d gotten the chance to try out fun stuff like my single friends do now! Mainly, these three.

1. Online Dating Websites

Guys, this was not a huge thing when I was on the dating scene. It was kind of there, but everyone thought that online dating was for a.) Computer nerds or b.) People that wanted to find out your banking information and steal from you.

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It wasn’t the giant thing that it is today. Now there is a website for every race, religious affiliation, or weirdly specific interest (look up Purrsonals.com, it exists and if you love cats, it’s the place for you).
2. Speed Dating
This is basically like one big acting audition. I figure, you can go in as any character you want! And then, just when they start to ask questions that could unravel your tenuous story, the timer is up and boom – you’re onto the next person! The more numbers you get, the more believable your character is!

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3. Blind Dating

Guys for real. Blind dating stories are the BEEEEEEEEEEST. I kind of sort of went on a blind date ages ago, but we both sort of weren’t on the same page and kind of didn’t know it was a set up and then it was just weird. I googled him and found he had a really extensive amount of angry poetry. But it doesn’t even count!
But I want to go on the worst, most hilariously bad blind date so I had a hilarious blind date story to tell at cocktail parties. Right now, it kind of just goes like this.

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It’s a buzz kill for funny stories.

I thought it would be fun to put an ad up on Plenty of Fish (just to see how many messages I got). And because I share everything with him, I ran it by my husband first to see if he was cool with it. However (after laughing aloud for a full minute), he was a bit confused as to why I would want to do such a thing.

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And its moments like this that I’m really okay with the fact that I married my first boyfriend.

Why I cannot accept that everyone doesn’t love me (Greenland, I’m looking at you!)

Guys, Odd but Nice has reached over 56,000 views! This is really exciting because it means that a lot of people are a.) true blue fans who have been here since day one and b.) there are a bunch of new people enjoying the horror that is my life! Both please me immensely!
And as I was observing this, I found a cool new tool on word press that lets me see how many views I get on what topic and very neat – a function that shows me which parts of the country are viewing Odd but nice and how much!

Turns out I have a fairly large following; Canada, USA, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Philippines , Malaysia, South Africa, Kenya, Singapore, Germany, and SO many others! Those are just the first eleven on the list (in order of most views).
When I saw this, I nearly fell over. I was SO excited because that seemed like just the COOLEST thing ever!

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But something nagged me. While there were a few white spaces there was one huge, looming white space. No views. Mocking me on its map.

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Greenland.

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Yep. Greenland. Greenland hates me.

And instead of just being happy at all the places that WERE fans of Odd but Nice, all I could focus on was that horrible blank space that clearly said; “NO ONE LIKES YOU HERE”. My husband came over to support me but all I could do was stew.

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So then I would lie in bed, wondering what it was that was obviously repelling Greenland. Because I couldn’t be happy that a TON of other amazing countries were viewing my blog!

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So what’s up Greenland? Why do you hate my humor? Why have you not even TRIED to enjoy my website? Okay okay, you’re literally one of the least densely populated country in the world – but dude, people from the CAMEN ISLANDS ARE STILL LOOKING AT ODD BUT NICE! And they are small too!
But perhaps it’s because I’m not catering enough to the Greenland crowd. Perhaps our cultures are just too different? Well, let’s look at some similarities that may draw you to my delightful Canadian part of the internet.

#1 – Color scheme

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How great is that? Go team Red & White!

#2 – According to Wikipedia: “Greenland has been inhabited off and on for at least the last 4,500 years by Arctic peoples whose forebears migrated there from what is now Canada.”
So technically you’re pretty Canadian. That should make you love me anyway. Obligatory fellow Canadian love.
#3. Here are two photos.

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One is from Greenland. The other is from Canada. Be real – if you weren’t from either place, wouldn’t you say the two are EXTREMELY SIMILAR?! (left – Greenland, right – Canada)

#4. Heeey, what is on your coat of arms? A POLAR BEAR?

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Guess what? We have a bunch of polar bears in Canada! Okay, not where I live specifically, but for real – Manitoba, Labrador…
So Greenland, be real.

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I’ve given you a bunch of really good reasons to love my blog… Or I’ve come off as needy.

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Thank you. Or as they say in Greenland: “Tak”!

Why I hate it when my husband goes on Business Trips

Okay, so my amazing husband is currently in Boston on business. He is gone for literally LESS than 72 hours. As of right now, he has been gone for 19 hours. I’ll be honest. I hate it when he goes on business trips. I always picture that I’ll have this fun-filled bachelorette-type time to get a manicure, drink long islands with my girlfriends and catch up on my favorite Gilmore Girl Episodes. Only one of those things ever comes true and it’s because I don’t have to move off my couch.
When in truth, the horror begins a few days before I know he has to go. I insist on spending every waking moment hanging out, trying to get in all the fun couple time we can before he goes. I have no idea why I do this. We literally hang out ALL the time anyway.

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So then I have to drive him to the airport (this time was at 5:00 AM! YES IN THE MORNING) and I always imagine it’s going to be this beautiful, teary goodbye.

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But usually its him hurriedly kissing me because he’s worried he’ll miss his flight because he loves sleeping as long as he can.
Then usually about 20 minutes after I have driven away from the airport, I feel the first pangs of sadness settle over me. My best buddy is not here. I find myself overwhelmed with sorrow and I have to pull my car over so I can make a rambling, incoherent message on his answering machine that he probably won’t check until he gets back home. It’s usually interspersed with moments of me gulping and trying to hold back tears. Please note: Elapsed time since his departure? 20 minutes.

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Then I get sick to my stomach as I wait for a message from him to confirm that he’s reached his destination safely. This can take several hours. Several excruciating hours. In these hours, I often find myself eating bad food and watching Netflix.In fact, the last time he was gone and I went through the drive through, the kind man asked me how I was doing and I burst out with how sad I was that my husband was away on business. I would like to note that McDonalds employees are surprisingly kind and patient in listening to rambling stories.

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Then suddenly, like a ray of sunshine I get an e-mail on my phone to say he has landed A-OK! I feel momentary joy! Yay! He’s safe! I can stop being worried!

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It takes about an hour before the despair overtakes me. But I usually have to work so for a couple hours I am distracted from this. But when I get home to my empty condo (aside from our cat) all I can think is, “he’s not here.” and drag myself dejectedly from room to room. I promise myself I won’t check the e-mail for more messages because hello, he is on business and cannot write to me all day. Even though I logically know this, I am still sad when I see 0 new messages from him.

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This is about the time I notice the cat’s baleful glances at me. I know exactly what he is thinking.

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The worst is yet to come. After staving off sleep as much as I can, I finally collapse into our King Sized Bed which feels like an icy tundra when I’m lying there by myself.

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And when I feel like I may just be drifting off to sleep, I hear a strange CREAK noise from somewhere within my home.

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My sleep does not go well the entire time he is gone. I usually end up spending the night in my mom’s guestroom, because I’m almost 30 and apparently ghosts are a genuine concern for me.

Undoubtedly my dear husband will Skype me as soon as he is able to and the time difference allows. And after the initial, “What is the hotel like?” inquiry, the conversation undoubtedly goes like this.

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Yes. So husband, I hope Boston is really awesome but I REALLY MISS YOU DESPITE MY CAVALIER SKYPE ATTITUDE.

PSA: I’m not always this pathetic and needy, I SWEAR. Just when he goes on business trips.

Why I hate public Transit

This short little tale was inspired when talking to someone at a party about bad experiences on public transit. For the most part, my experiences have been fairly fine. Commuting to graduate school (for a whole month) was fairly seamless. My really bad experiences seem to stem from when I was a teenager and a.) Completely unaware of how the real world worked and b.) Way too scared to stick up for myself.

One time my friend and I were coming home from some get together and took the Sky Train. A young man suddenly hurtled himself and his bike into the sky train as several other men ran behind him screaming and uttering threats. He narrowly managed to get in the sky train, the doors closed behind him and the men were trapped, screaming on the other side: “WE’RE COMING FOR YOU AT THE NEXT STOP!” and banging on the glass. This was one of my first forays into public transit.

The story that I will share with you today however takes place on a bus, which somehow is worse to me than the Sky Train because people are just about ten times more miserable. My friend (who was very transit savvy) had suggested shopping downtown. Being the naive teen that I was, this was a unique experience – I never shopped outside my small town. This was County Mouse heading to the Big City as far as I was concerned.

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A few stops in however, there was a bang at the side of the bus. A short, fat, middle aged man was banging on the doors demanding to be let in. He boarded and I do not remember him paying a fare.

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He stank to high heaven of two smells that make me gag 1.) old alcohol and 2.) Putrid B.O. He was sweaty, greasy and wobbling back and forth on his feet. His rambunctious actions already had me uncomfortable around him. As a teenager I was mortified by anything that drew unnecessary attention that I wasn’t prepared for.

Suddenly I felt his bleary eyes on us. If he’d been quiet or steadier on his feet, I never would have noticed or glanced at him. As it was, I had and like a stinky moth to an unwilling flame, I had been caught in the crosshairs and I was suddenly a target.

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I remember my stomach dropping. I think we were fourteen at the time, so the creep factor on this whole exchange was pretty high. Like, off the charts. We didn’t say anything back to him. My friend and I continued our conversation as normal trying not to engage this bizarre man.

The bus lurched on its route and every time it gave a sputtering stop, the Drunk Man would stumble closer and closer to us. I tried to use the hand bar as some sort of makeshift shield which would have worked if I were the width of a pole. Spoiler: I am not.

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Closer and closer this stinky guy got.

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Suddenly and without warning the bus lurched and the man, seizing this opportunity suddenly leaned forward and with dramatic flair LICKED MY HAND.

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Yes, the hand that was wrapped around the disgusting dirty pole. HE LICKED IT. Like, not a quick lap. He fully got his ENTIRE TONGUE around my hand. WTF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!

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I remember the moment of horror. The shrill realization that my rights had been violated. But I was so afraid to talk to people. I was afraid of causing trouble. I remember my eyes welled up with tears and I rushed off the bus to the nearest bathroom, scrubbing my hand over and over while my friend acted like it was no big deal. She’d seen worse.

I hadn’t.

I like to think that these horrible experiences over the years have truly shaped me into the person that I am today. Now when someone steps out, I am first to tell them (Firmly but politely). I have more self confidence, I know that I am valuable and I KNOW that no one has to right to touch me without my permission.

So to all you shy girls (and guys) out there that think they can’t say anything because they don’t want to cause trouble or rock the boat- YOUR BODY, YOUR RULES. That’s just that way it is. If someone is creeping you out, if someone is touching you or talking to you and you don’t like it, say something. Be safe, but stand true to yourself. You are a valuable, amazing person; remember that.

Trust me, if you do that – the odds of you being licked on a bus are far less.