Bad Guy

Life is weird man.

You never know who or what will jump out of the woodwork when you least suspect it.

I’ve had a pretty tranquil life these past few months. I’ve found my groove at my new store. The weather is lovely so I’ve been enjoying my backyard. I’ve gone on a few dates here and there, no one has been someone I’d consider an option for a serious relationship, but it’s been nice to get back out there. My 10k training is going alright. I set a PR for my clean and jerk at the gym. I’ve been spending more time with friends, which led to one of my platonic friends spamming me on Tinder a bunch of times, because why not?

My friends everyone

The kids and I are gearing up for one of our two vacations this year and it’s been pretty chill. Life is good. So, of course, some weird ass thing has to happen.

Yesterday, an ex boyfriend reached out to me on FB messenger (I thought I blocked all the exes that ended on bad terms, but apparently one slipped through. Damn). He wanted to apologize for the circumstances that led to the breakup, despite us breaking up several years ago and both of us moving on. I hadn’t even thought about the dude in years, and for a second, I was transported back to a very ugly time in my life that I had no desire to relive.

For those of you that have the urge to reach out to someone you’ve hurt in the past, so you can apologize and feel better about yourself; don’t. There’s a few people I was toxic towards in my life during a period shortly after my divorce and they had to sever ties. Since I became a healthier person, I recognize that I was a douche and dragged them down with my depression. But I don’t want them to have that dredged up when they’re living their best lives, so I don’t invade their lives with apologies that they don’t really want or need. Let people live their lives in peace and live with your guilt.

My first thought was “What kind of egotistical prick?!” I mean, how much of an ego must someone have to think that years and years later, I give a flying frog’s ass about you, your guilt, etc. As if my life will magically be made better by you seeking me out to apologize. My next thought was that it must have taken a lot to own up to some shitty behaviour. But mostly fuck you and your ego. People who feel the need to apologize years and years later to clean their slate are narcissistic as fuck (unless it’s part of a rehabilitation program) in my opinion because you’re literally invading the happy life someone built to remind them of the shitty times it took to get there and rub their nose in it like a dog that peed on the floor. No one wants or needs it. I respect that everyone needs to heal in their own way, and maybe some people need to make that apology. Maybe some people want to hear it. But for me, if you hurt me, you don’t get to invade my life long afterwards and get your healing through me. Write a letter and burn it. Find a symbolic end. But keep your apologies and bullshit away from me. You’re not in my life anymore for a reason. The reason is that I do not want you there.

I did reply as politely as possible that I accepted their apology and requested that they please not contact me again. The person in question agreed to comply, but I added him to my long block list just in case. I’m sure he felt better, but I didn’t feel any differently. I felt nothing once the shock subsided. That door was long closed and needs to stay that way, much like most doors I’ve closed. Doors that you closed should remain that way.

Maybe I’m way off base. Maybe some people find value in those long overdue apologies. If you do, I hope you get them. But, it’s just not something that hives with me, and I have long accepted what’s happened, forgiven you, and moved on. I hope they have as well, and there’s no ill will, but I also probably never want to hear from you ever again.

Power Over Me

The suckiest part about training for a goal is the part where you realize you have a fuck ton of work to do to reach it and you cannot give up or you have to go back to the beginning.

While training for my 10k, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I gained weight last summer and driving means I don’t walk as often. So, getting back into the running groove has been a challenge. But, I’m gonna keep pushing, keep posting to my fitstagram (because no one wants to be bombarded with my fitness junk, but if you wanna follow, click here. If you’d rather follow along where I actually look nice, click here), and get better. Unfortunately, the only way to run faster is to actually just run more. And running is awful. But, imma push through until I’m 10k ready!

This is the time to beat!

I promised myself that nothing would stop my progress. Not weather, not my own insecurities, not even nature’s douchecanoes; geese. But, I never realized that my ego could still be easily bruised. I was running, already frustrated by my pace, when some boys that know my teenager walked by and said loudly enough for me to hear over my music, “isn’t that (redacted)’s fat mom? Why is she running?”

Full stop.

Fat. Mom. Fat. Mom. FAT. mom. Every single aspect of my life was reduced to those two words; fat mom. Mom I don’t mind, I like being a mom. I get to be with my favourite humans. Their existence drives me to be better. Everything I do is to give them more and better than I had. But fat. WTF? I worked so hard not to be fat anymore and here I was, fat again. Who was I kidding? I’m not gonna make it 10k! I’m fat! So, like a mature adult, I sat on the curb and cried.

I don’t know why it bothered me so much. They’re teenage boys who my kid doesn’t even like! But it broke me down and here I was, a grown ass adult, crying like a little bitch. So, I went home Drove to Walmart. Ate a family size bag of Ketchup Chips. I ran a bath. I got in it and bawled. Every insecurity came pouring out; too old, too ugly, too slow, too weak. Sure, I ran 10k last year, but now I’m too fat! I’m a fat mom who is probably also ugly & is embarrassing to be seen with in public because of the ugly. You know, completely rational behaviour.

Pretty sure am not ugly, but oh well

Once I was done being a little bitch, I stopped crying. After all, there is a scientifically proven method to stop being fat; do active shit and stop eating bad for you shit. Eating Ketchup Chips will not help me become less fat. Yes, I’m a stress eater, but there was a plethora of healthy, yummy things in my kitchen that I could have eaten. I let a group of teenage boys stop my run. So, the next night, I got up, and ran my 4km training route.

Was it my best? Hell no. But did I do it? Hell yes. Tonight I ran my 3km training route. Tomorrow is 5km. Still going to Crossfit three times a week. I’m going to do these things for me, while silencing the voice that says food is the answer, because it never is.

Words hurt, but only if you give them power. I control my body image and right now, I may not be happy with it, but it’s up to me to change it. I don’t go to CrossFit to impress teenage boys. I don’t run to impress men. I do these things because I want to look and feel healthier. I want to live longer and be a good example for my family. In order to do those things, I have to shut out stupid people who don’t actually matter to me in the long run, throw on PVRIS, and do the work. Absolutely nothing will ever get accomplished in life without doing the work.

My pace may not be what I want right now, but it’ll get there, because I am more than a fat mom. I’m a pretty good mom. I’m the okayest cell phone boss lady there is. My friends and cats seem to like me. And I may be a slow, weak crossfitter, but I’m still the 29681 fittest woman on Earth God Dammit. I am not going to let myself be defined by a three letter word anymore. I’m going to keep working to love my body instead.

But maybe the biggest takeaway here is that if you do see the fat person at the gym, or on their morning run, don’t be a dick to them. Don’t be a dick to that super ripped dude crushing the weights. Don’t be a dick to anyone actively working to improve themselves. Anyone who mocks someone trying to be better is actually a pile of insecure human garbage. If you need to resort to mocking someone who’s out there putting in work to be their best, maybe you should look in a mirror and figure out why you need to project your insecurities onto a person out there busting their ass. It will always say more about you being awful than them working hard.

Girl

Remember how I told you guys that I did the cool Crossfit thing and felt super bad ass and like some kind of super nova?

Here’s the story of how I felt like a bucket of crap and a fat loser.

I wanted to do well during this workout so badly. I wanted to do well. It’s been a trying time at work and I’ve been feeling really down on myself professionally, exhausted personally, and just plain overwhelmed. I put off the gym because I’ve been letting my weight get out of hand and I feel like a failure. But the Open was supposed to be how I got back on track. I was gonna kill it, do well. Instead, I crashed, burned, and was so humiliated that I cried. I hate crying. I hate any all indications that I have feelings. But here I was, with sweat dripping down my face, and tears burning my eyes as I looked at my depressing score. I watched everyone else do the thing I couldn’t do, but wanted to do so badly. But, I always put everything ahead of what I want. Family. Friends. Work. Life. And I was the thing I hated most when I looked in the mirror; the fat, single, crying wimp.

As I grabbed my glasses, I had made up my mind; I was quitting CrossFit. 2015, West London Crossfit MHC was gone. She’s not coming back, and fat, sad MHC remained. I hate her so much. All my self esteem issues, my anxiety, my inability to talk to people, stems from the fact that I am fat and I feel ugly and unlovable because of it. Yes, I was going to quit. It’s too hard and too much and I just. can’t. do. it.

I miss 2015 MHC

But, fortunately for me, Crossfit people are actually the coolest of all the people. So many people came over and were like, “you’re so great, you worked so hard!” One of my teammates who’s resting an injury made it a point to cheer me on through Insta. My coaches reminded me that I still did the thing. Maybe not like I’d hoped, but I did the thing. My girls told me I did a great job while taking their job of dog sitting very seriously. I felt so loved and inspired by all these fit, bad ass people who took the time to be nice to me when I felt like shit, and my own girls, who look up to me and think I’m the coolest…

…that’s when I got angry.

I have been selling myself short for too damn long. I keep saying I’ll fix it, I’ll try harder, I’ll get to the gym more, I’ll eat better, but then I do everything else but that! What the fuck kind of example am I setting for these kids if I don’t even like my damn self?! How am I gonna love 2019 MHC if I’m still pining for London, circa 2015 MHC?! I’m not. I’m just wasting everyone’s damn time, especially mine.

So, I decided I won’t be quitting CrossFit. Instead, I’ll do more CrossFit. I’ll eat better things (which I’ve really improved upon). I’ll drink the water and it’s time I stop letting everyone walk the Hell over me. It’s time I bring back London MHC and turn her into Edmonton MHC. Giving up has never, ever helped anyone, so it won’t work for me. I’m gonna take those feelings of inadequacy and use them to empower myself to be better.

I never want to feel like I did today ever again. I know the reason that I felt that way is because I know it’s on me. I’ve let winter blues and insecurities and the universe dictate what I should be doing instead of accepting that it’s not vain or self centred or “wrong” to want to be healthy mentally and physically. And no matter how much I try, I will never be happy with myself if I’m overweight. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to body positivity, or you shouldn’t love yourself in any shape. But this shape is not one I can accept for myself, and I need to change it or my personal life and mental health will suffer. So, I’m gonna get angry and use it to be better, even if 19.4 kicks my ass.

The Killing Kind

This week I realized that I am SUPER bad at flirting. And dating. And gauging interest.

It’s been slow at work so I decided to reach out to businesses that get discounts through our carriers. One of those is the security team in our work. So, I took about seven of my super cool business cards down to them so they’d have a point of contact. Who answers? Hottie McHotGuard, the guy I’ve been working up the nerve to ask for his number for THREE. MONTHS.

I was not emotionally prepared for that! So, I cleared my throat, told him the reason for my visit (to sell phones and make money), and left. My best friend/coworker was dumbfounded. Why not flirt? Why not make conversation?! Why? Because I just wanted to sell phones dammit! But he now has my business card with my work cell number. We even made a bet that he’d text me (I said no, she said yes). As of this second, I win. She says it’s because I didn’t let him know that he should. I CANNOT INTERACT WITH MEN AND IT BE NOT AWKWARD PLEASE HELP ME.

I don’t know how to let someone know I’m interested without a million alarm bells going off in my head;

  • what if he’s not interested & I have to look at his stupid gorgeous face every day?
  • What if he’s a psychopath, as my track record indicates I have a type; fucking lunatics.
  • What if the kids hated him?
  • What if he’s actually a flat Earther or an anti-Vaxxer or thinks the lizard people are real?
  • What if he’s actually like, 22?

Add in my millions of insecurities and I’m ready to rush home to my cats, who tolerate me as long as I feed them.

I just don’t know how to translate “work chat” into “Do you want to grab a beer & maybe see if we should start dating?” Mostly because I see this man for maybe thirty seconds a day, long enough for him to smile and wave so I can tuck my hair behind my ears and wave back like Amy Santiago-Perralta from Brooklyn 99. It’s very nerve wracking and scary and workplace relationships rarely work. Not to mention I need to focus on my store right now. I’ve got a family, a house, a car, and vacations to pay for. I just cannot lose focus…

…but a big part of me really wants to take the leap. He’s cute, he’s got an accent, he’s funny, and does the same goofy things I do. He finds me funny, not “loud and weird” (unless he’s lying and he actually thinks I’m loud and weird). But it’s nice to meet someone I actually want to talk to, and when we do talk, I have fun talking to. It’d be nice to explore that a little, but I’m too nervous about all the things that could go horribly wrong. I need a wing woman because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing here.

At work, when I need to shift from the presentation to the sale, or when writing, how to switch from light questions to deeper conversations, I know what signals to observe. But I don’t know how to do that with dating. But I need to figure it out. Checking out Hottie McHotGuard isn’t constructive. He’s either not interested, which would mean Thank U, Next, or he is, which would mean possibly going on a date & maybe not hating him by date three.

But I’ll never know unless I actually say something, so perhaps I should. What’s the worst that could happen? He says no? I just need some courage. Or a buying signal. Why don’t men have buying signals?!

Maybe they do! And maybe I can learn what they are by probing for needs using open ended questions and non-business conversation! I know, but it’s a start! Baby steps will help me get into the dating pool full time, whether it’s this guy, or a dude I’ve never met yet with a yellow umbrella at train station after a freakishly long wedding. You know, whatever.

I Swear This Time I Mean It

Have you ever been so tired that you feel it in your soul? Because that’s how I’ve felt lately.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been working non stop and work has been pulling me in a lot of different directions. I’m trying to help everyone and run my store and work on articles and there just isn’t enough hours in a day to make everyone happy. I’m trying to give all my time away from work to the famjam, which requires binge watching Fuller House (BTW Fuller House is absolutely terrible).

Maybe it’s because I’m getting over the flu, so I’m living on a lovely diet of Cold 911, DayQuil, and NyQuil. Either way, I’m just tired & it’s impacting every aspect of my life.

One of the things I’m trying to work on is learning how to stop giving so much of myself and not taking time for myself. One of the things I’m most guilty of is trying to help everyone; the girls, my friends, my co-workers, and I always take a backseat. That means the gym (which is so important for my mental health, although I did sign up for DeadBoys Fitness so I can at least WOD from home on non-gym days), personal time to unwind, dating, writing, etc. Everything just takes a backseat to helping everyone else. I keep saying I’ll work on it, until I find myself bogged down and exhausted and feeling like I have no energy. So, I’m learning how to take that time to recharge, and refocus so I can be someone who people can count on to be there for them. But I have to learn to be there for me too.

I think as women, we are conditioned to think that any form of self care is selfish; you need to always put your kids, mate, job, house first. But eventually you just get exhausted because there’s no energy left to pull from. It’s like trying to drink from a water bottle that’s empty. For years, I would just keep pouring until I had shaken the last drop of energy from my body. But I’ve learned that isn’t healthy for me or my family. My kids need a mom that is there for them. I can’t be there for them if I’m too tired to function. I can’t work until I’m dead on my feet. I can’t be everyone’s sounding board. It’s okay for me to withdraw for a bit & focus on my needs. It’s okay to go to bed early, or take a long bath, or say no, I cannot take on that right now, I have too much on my plate. It doesn’t make me a bad person, it doesn’t make me mean. It just means that I need to refill my pitcher. Sometimes, we all just need to be alone with our thoughts to relax.

At my house, you are never truly alone.

However, when you’re a working mom, you sometimes have to power through until you can take a rest. So, I’ll use the gym and DeadBoys Fitness as my personal time until I can take a real break, which comes in the form of a four day weekend in April, where I can hang with the kids, eat pizza, and watch Becky Lynch main event WrestleMania. You know, priorities.

I used to think I needed to be around people because being alone was scary. Now I’ve learned that being alone isn’t scary; it’s necessary to recharge your batteries, and to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself enough to spend time with yourself, doing things you love for yourself, how are you going to love anyone else enough to give them what they need? If you can’t love yourself enough to give you what you need, all you’re doing is letting others exhaust you until there is nothing left of you. I haven’t mastered this, but I’m learning, and I’ll get there.

Thank U, Next.

I didn’t want to go to the gym today.

I was tired. My shift at work was long. I slept like crap. I’ve been stressed out about money, work, Xmas, etc. I wanted to go home, brew up a David’s Tea, and lay on my couch & do nothing. I definitely did not want to go to the gym. I had a headache and I didn’t want to get sweaty and more tired. I wanted to go to bed early, not go to the gym.

Nope, I did not. I sat in my car after work for five minutes, psyching myself up to go to the gym. I did not want to go to the gym. I got to the gym and finished the song I was listening to, trying to mentally prepare to go to the gym. Finally, I made it in and did the WOD and worked on my snatches and did the thing. As I drove home, I was so glad that I went to the gym. I felt better than I had in days; refreshed, rejuvenated, and much more optimistic. I felt like my normal MHC self. So when I got home & realized that I should clean the living room, I didn’t just whine and procrastinate. I just did it.

Sometimes you get bogged down by life and you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and mope around and be a big lame. Maybe your anxiety or your own brain tries to convince you that it’s not worth it and just give up and be miserable. That’s how I get sometimes and sometimes I let that feeling win. But, other times, like today, I did the thing that was necessary to help me feel better, both inside and out. I’m a happier person when I go to the gym. I’m less anxious, I’m more motivated. I smile more. So, even though today I didn’t want to go to the gym, some part of me knew I had to go to the gym, so I kicked my own ass to get there. Sometimes, the things that will make us better are the things we know are good for us, but we don’t want to do it because it’s hard or we don’t want to be accountable for our actions or we’re tired and hangry. But you still have to get up and do the damn thing because you’ll be better for it in the long run.

Next time I get stuck in a rut, I’ll have to remind myself how much better I felt after I got up off of my ass and went to the gym even though I was tired and didn’t want to go. Or when I cleaned my house even though I really wanted to watch Haunting of Hill House & eat leftover Halloween candy (the latter of which I did y’all. No regrets). However, the only way your life gets better is when you like yourself. I don’t like myself when I’m not exercising. So, I gotta make the time, even when I feel like shit. My body will thank me, because your body is like your car; it performs better when you take care of it. Take care of the body, and the spirit will take care of itself.

Next time you feel yourself wanting to be lazy and like you’re forcing yourself to work out or get to work or even something as simple as get out of bed and shower, focus on how much better you feel when you do these things & keep pushing forward. Your mental health will thank you. After all, the only thing that can quiet a negative mind is when a positive attitude chooses to push forward.

Used to Be

My life seems to run on two speeds; nothing is happening or everything is happening all at once. There will never be an in between.

But hey, I guess that’s okay, as long as I know what I’m doing…

…spoiler alert, I do not. But I’m slowly getting there and that’s the key.

Work takes up a lot of my time, but that’s okay, because I’m mastering work life balance. I’m learning how to leave when my shift is over to go home or to the gym most days. I’m learning it’s okay to take my days off and use them for personal time with the fam jam. I can be boss lady, but also take time to be MHC too. I’m also training my new neighbour, who happens to be my best friend y’all! So, I can focus on one workplace and not two. Plus, she’s killing it right now and once she’s fully trained, is gonna rock this business! So, I’m prioritizing myself sometimes, and that’s okay.

I’m learning that it’s okay to make yourself a priority, something I often forget. I always feel like I have to be “on.” I have to be the best mom, the best partner, the best friend, the best employee, the best boss lady, and I need to constantly give and give and give and give. But then, I’m like the Giving Tree. There’s nothing left, but you still need to give. You can’t give everything and then wonder why you’re drained. It’s okay to take time for yourself and replenish so you can give to the people that rely on you. I’ve been forgetting that for so long, trying to please everyone, that I’ve been an empty, drained, vessel, and that’s impacted my work, my home life, my interpersonal relationships. I need to remember that it’s okay to sometimes put me first and it doesn’t make me a bad mom or partner or employee or boss lady. It makes me human.

So, I’ve been making the gym a priority at least once a week. I’ve been taking my Sundays for the kids (except this Sunday, when I’ll be working at a trade show. Check my IG for details). I’ve been taking time at home to declutter my basement and do housework and keep my space the way I want it. Speaking of space, I’ve been putting out feelers for new spaces to call home when my lease is up next spring. I keep talking about finding another home (within YEG guys, I’m not planning another cross country trek. This is permanent), but I never take the time to do it. So, I’ve been looking at a few rentals close to my work or near the high school I’ve chosen for my seventh grader to attend when the time comes. Perhaps a new space that I feel more comfortable in is what the doctor ordered. I loved my London house, and I’ve never felt the same about this one. Perhaps I need to find a place I loved as much. I didn’t like London, just my house. I love Edmonton, but not my house. I need to stop being lazy and find “my” Edmonton house. By acknowledging I have my own needs and choosing to address them, I can continue working to be the happiest, healthiest MHC I can be.

I think sometimes women are taught that if we put ourselves first, then we are selfish and not thinking about our kids/mates/job. But if you don’t make yourself a priority and focus on making yourself happy, no one else is going to. Not your mate. Not your parents. Not your kids. Not your job. It’s a one person job. You can’t give if you’ve given everything away. Sometimes, you’ve gotta love yourself and put your needs first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s selfish. You deserve a fulfilling, happy life too.

I Lived

Happy Eighth Anniversary to my blog!

The former ASH Multimedia turned the Misadventures of MHC is eight this week. That’s pretty much the longest that I’ve stuck with anything besides parenting. But it’s been a lot of fun giving a voice to my journey to growing into a better person every day. There’s been ups and downs and everything in between and I thank y’all for sticking through me through them all.

I’ve also mastered how to look good in public in the last eight years, so go me.

When I started writing (which was originally just something for me to do because my professor once told me to never go a day without writing a word), I thought that life was rigid. That everything was part of a plan and it had to stick to the plan. Well, life is very much like a willow tree; sturdy, but bends, not breaks. Sometimes life has hard lessons. Sometimes you have to break your own heart. Sometimes the journey takes you to unexpected destinations and once you get there, you grow into the person you never thought you could become, but you’re so happy you did. I learned that it’s not enough to survive, but you need to live. Even on days you are completely checked out and life is breaking your heart, you’ve gotta find three positives, and keep on trucking.

My hippie friend, whom I can pick up with no matter how much time has passed, always reminds me that when times are tough, you’ve gotta stay the course. Stand firm in what is right, but don’t be afraid to keep steering ahead. Her husband taught her that, and she reminds me every time we talk. Staying the course took me to places where I finally took risks. I learned to drive. I bought a car. I wrote articles about things that really meant something and my work paid off. By trusting the course, I figured out who I was & I like this person. That’s the biggest takeaway; nothing in life will change unless you like yourself. I ran all over Canada to avoid things and those things kept finding me until I was ready to take steps to close the door on them and learn to like myself for me. You can run, hide, cry, lash out at everyone who loves you, but until you truly like yourself, you’ll never be where you need to be. Fortunately, thanks to therapy, Crossfit, and some amazing people who stood the course with me, I learned & now, I can finally check things off of the bucket list; meet my soulmate, go to Vegas & see Britney. But, to achieve anything, I’ve gotta bear down in tough times and stay the course.

I’m glad I have the last eight years documented so I can see how far I’ve come. I’m no longer a toxic person who desperately needs to be centre stage to mask my insecurity. I no longer hate looking in the mirror. I no longer keep myself in a box of “I can’t do it,” because I’m afraid to try. But most importantly, I’m not afraid to let go of things that don’t work, that aren’t healthy. I’ve learned to move on from the past, from my plans, and just let life happen while I work to be a decent mom and human. I don’t always get it right, but I can at least say I do my best.

Thanks for tagging along for eight years. I hope you’ve had fun laughing at my attempts to kick ass, or even related a little bit. I hope you’ve stayed your own course, or have your own Hippie to remind you to push through the storm. But most of all, I hope you find three positive things during even the darkest of times and really live your life.

Best Life

Every year, there seems to be a new celebrity trend. First it was skinny jeans, then it was highlighter hair, now it’s rushed engagements.

First Ariana Grande & Pete Davidson announced their engagement after three weeks of dating, then Justin Bieber and Hayley Baldwin followed suit. All four people in these couples had ended long term relationships just weeks before their rushed engagements (so this was obviously well thought out). Now, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra are joining the “get engaged during the Honeymoon stage,” trend. The glossy mags talk about how cute it is, and how it’s all “goals.” I’m not one to judge someone else’s love story. I have a friend who married her hubby on their fourth date, and 12 years and four kids later, they’re still in love. But, as someone who did the whirlwind courtship, I can’t help but think it can be a recipe for disaster.

I got engaged after three weeks of dating…twice. The first engagement went down in flames two years later, after the wedding was postponed three times, I caught him cheating, and he had been arrested for committing bank fraud…by stealing from my mom. The second time was my marriage. I’ve talked about it before, and while I don’t regret the marriage because I have my kids, it was a good lesson. I got engaged during the height of the honeymoon phase. As we got closer to the wedding, I realized while I loved him, I didn’t really like the person I was marrying. He was angry, controlling, manipulative. Had it not been raining, I would have pulled a runaway bride. I tried to make the marriage work, but as the years went on, it became more and more toxic. Emotional abuse turned physical. Every day was a battle; reassuring him that he was attractive while he propositioned my friends. Sex was a weapon; it was his way, degrading. If I said no, I was called a whore until I gave in. I was putting out fires from his excessive spending, poor employment record, and mood swings. Had I not rushed, I would have known this wasn’t the right person for me. But I wanted to be married so that I knew he’d be there for our kids (which proved to be no help as he only sees them once a year and doesn’t pay child support).

After that, I struggled in relationships. I would choose toxic men who were controlling, or emotionally unavailable. But I’d stay, through the on and off, because it was always the honeymoon phase, or over. I now realize that those super fast paced relationships played a part in how I saw relationships. For a long time, I would get weirded out because the relationship wasn’t proceeding at a breakneck speed, as all of my major relationships had progressed too fast, so I just assumed you were supposed to know someone was “the one” after a month. I probably sabotaged a lot of potentially good relationships by letting those insecurities get to me & ending it too soon because I didn’t think it would progress, when in reality these were just guys not pushing zero to 100 in a week.

Most of us won’t know someone if someone is the love of your life in three weeks. I’ve known some of my friends for my entire life and I’m still learning things about them. Even if you’ve known someone in a social setting, you don’t truly know someone unless you have lived with them, fought with them, spent time with them. You need to learn their flaws and their core values. While for some, you can do that in a few weeks, for most of us, we can’t. Rushing relationships almost always leads to disappointment in the end.

But we as a society have created & glorified the drive thru relationship. You meet, get engaged quickly, then flame out. Look at the Bachelor franchise; 30 something couples & only four marriages (five if you count the guy who married the runner up). Even now, when you read about the show, people talk about how former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and her fiancé Shawn still aren’t married after three long years, they’ve been engaged FOREVER. They got engaged after nine weeks. Perhaps they decided to step back and date in the real world before rushing to get hitched. If they know that it’s the right person, what’s the rush? They have all the time in the world to do the thing.

We also place marriage as a super important status symbol or a bucket list box and not an actual relationship foundation. Perhaps a guy like Nick Jonas feels pressure to wed because his brother Kevin is married, and Joe is engaged. As one of the few unmarried friends in my social group, I get hounded a lot about when am I going to settle down and remarry. After all, everyone else is married. But, I’m not sure that I want to get married again, and I know that I still have lots of work to do on myself to be a good partner. But in our Pinterest world and desire to keep up with our friends Instalives, the idea of marriage as a commitment has been replaced by “throw a party.”

My best friend told me about how someone he knows announced that they had put their all into their marriage and it was over; they had been married for two years. Maybe they truly weren’t meant to be. Or maybe they only want the honeymoon phase & not the hard times. I know that’s where I was going wrong with my relationships; I didn’t know how to work past the honeymoon stage. The big lesson I’ve learned from a whirlwind engagement is the value of taking your time. Even if you are deliriously in love and are a million percent sure they’re “the one,” give yourself time to see how you grow with them, how they handle dark times, and how you handle them with them. Put in the work, because love isn’t enough. Besides, if they are “the one,” you have your whole lives, right? What’s wrong with taking your time to enjoy life together?

While I wish all of these young couples all of the best with their courtships, I hope they are cautious and don’t enter into them lightly, or else they’ll end up with a broken heart (maybe even on live TV, something Becca the Bachelorette learned about after her whirlwind courtship). Maybe they really know, and can tell their grandkids about their crazy love story like my friends will. Or, maybe it’ll be a painful lesson that will help them discover what they really want out of love, so when they’re ready, it’ll find them.