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.

Sinners

I’ve kept this blog for seven years. Why? I dunno. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I have a sort of map of where I’ve grown. My biggest fear in life is that I’ll stop evolving. So, I feel like blogging is my reference point, like “hey, I don’t do that stupid thing anymore! Go me!” But sometimes I like to talk about stuff to kind of remind others that they’re not alone in the world. Maybe they feel like I do sometimes. Or, I just like to hear myself talk. Maybe both.

Lately, my life has been constant stress. Work stress. Money stress. Life stress. I actually just want to go on vacation because I genuinely feel like my life would exponentially improve if I wasn’t part of it for two weeks.

This isn’t actually true. This is the anxiety. Anxiety is the elephant in the room of my life. I know it’s there, everyone around me knows it’s there, but I like to pretend if I ignore it, no one else will see it.

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder five years ago. I can’t take medication, as anti depressants cause very dangerous side effects. But, I manage it through fitness and therapy. Fitness is a big part of how I cope, so when I can’t work out, I’m especially anxious. I used to have my core group of friends to help keep me grounded. Out here, I have maybe three friends, mostly because of my fear of getting close to people. It’s been so long, but that dark period of loneliness from when I knew no one except for someone who wouldn’t speak to me as a way to control me like a dog always sticks out. If I’m not close to anyone, they can’t hurt me. Or, I’m overly nice to everyone in the hopes that I’m a valuable person because anxiety tells me I’m not. Anxiety likes to tell me that I’m annoying and I talk too much & no one likes me, so I need to prove I have value. Anxiety tells me I’m too weird and everyone laughs at me, not with me.

Anxiety is the reason I both attempt to socialize at the gym while also trying to keep to myself. Anxiety is there to remind me that I stick out like a sore thumb. Slow. Fat. Too old. Too awkward. It doesn’t matter that I’m putting in the work and when I’m done, I’ve been able to shut anxiety up for a few hours, anxiety wants to remind me that I can’t do the bar muscle ups and double unders. I love fitness because that’s the time when I do feel most confident. Sure I’m sweaty and tired and I kind of wanna die; but that feeling of accomplishment when I’ve run a little further, lifted heavier, or finished a little faster is so gratifying. Anxiety is what keeps me at home on days when everything feels like too much. The desire to conquer it is what drives me to sign up for a 10k run.

Also, my team is dope. I work out with good peeps.

Anxiety is why all of my relationships stop before they start. I beat myself up about my “flaws” and end things before they get too serious. I talk too much. I eat too much. I’m too loud. I wear too much makeup. I’m ugly underneath the makeup. I’m a single mom. I work too much. I put my writing first. I’m a nerd that watches wrestling and plays Pokémon Go. I am not a catch. No one tells me these things, other than that nagging voice that reminds me I’m not good enough.

The big thing about anxiety, or any other thing that affects your self esteem, is that the only person who can shut up that voice is you. Only I can stop anxiety from ruining my life. It’s why I push myself to go running on days I don’t want to. It’s why I do yoga & meditate instead of getting drunk in the bathtub on days when I feel sad. It’s why I go to therapy, because we could all use lessons in self care. Sometimes we all need an outside, unbiased voice to help us find our way. But only I can love myself enough to feel good about myself. I have to teach my girls about self love. Not to mention, you can’t be happy with someone until you’re happy with yourself.

But, maybe most importantly, the only well to build a healthier life is to be a healthy person. That’s not just going to the gym or eating greens. That’s also keeping your mind healthy. It’s okay to admit there’s an elephant in the room that keeps you from being your best self. It’s okay to ask for help getting the elephant out of your head once and for all. It’s also okay if that elephant is in the room forever, as long as you aren’t listening to it when it talks shit.

If you are reading this, and you relate to this in any way; I hope you know that you are enough. You’re probably super bad ass. You deserve to be happy and you’re not the only person with anxiety trying to tell you that you’re not good enough. It’s okay to go to therapy. It’s okay to sometimes take space and put yourself first. It’s okay to admit you need help to navigate life. But most importantly, the right partner, the right friends, the people who will never see you as too much (or not enough) will find you once you love yourself enough to let them in.

Sky Full Of Song

A couple of years ago, I was starting a new job, which was kind of an old job. I was going back to a company I loved & I was gonna kill it. I was going to do a great job. I was going to be the best cell phone boss lady in the whole world. Except that I wasn’t, and I was actually demoted after four months. So, I cried in my bathtub with a bottle of wine, wallowed in self pity for an hour, then resolved to get better. I did, got promoted again a year later and now I’m running my store much better than I did before. Sometimes the best lessons come from failure. I wasn’t prepared for the job and I wasn’t very good. It’s a blow to the ego, but sometimes you’ve just gotta take the L and learn from it.

This was the lesson I had to remind myself of this week when every single thing went wrong in my life. I struggled with EVERYTHING, including my road test to upgrade my license. I was feeling discouraged and miserable, like I let everyone down. I injured my foot, so walking was a chore. My feelings of sadness and inadequacy were impacting my work, my life. Fortunately, my best friend Erica is the most bomb ass bitch alive and reminded me that we grow from failure. No one grows as a human from kicking ass all of the time. No, we grow when things suck.

Also, how hot is my best friend? Like, it’s not fair to the rest of us.

I think the universe recognizes that I need to constantly be growing, which is why it kicks me in the face sometimes. We all need that moment where life tells us that we ain’t shit. Otherwise we’d simply float through our lives as stagnant humans. I don’t want to be stagnant. So, I needed that smack with the reality stick to help me stay humble and refocus. That momentary setback will help me become better.

I know it sounds weird, welcoming setbacks? That’s so stupid! They suck! This is true. They do. Trust me, it was soul crushing! My ego was bruised, my self confidence was shattered. But if you wallow in that feeling of defeat, you don’t grow. I wasn’t going to get better sitting around moping. All of the best decisions I’ve made for my life came from being kicked in the proverbial dick. I went back to school after my divorce & met some of my best friends. I moved to London after I let depression get the best of me, and finally found my independence. I moved to YEG after Target closed & I decided to put my writing career first. I learned to drive when my personal life fell apart and I realized my failure to learn was holding me back. I became good at my job after I was told I was bad at my job. All of these setbacks this week are just stepping stones to get better, whether it’s driving, managing, reporting, or fitness. By embracing failure, I can become more successful.

You’re probably thinking “sure MHC, it’s easy for you to say that failure can be positive, but I’m depressed & failure is all that’s happened to me. What then?” Well, I’m not a therapist or professional, but my hippie friend once told me that a mistake will repeat itself until you learn what the universe wants you to learn. Maybe your life is a series of fuck ups because you didn’t learn what you needed to do to evolve, so you have to take the test again. I wouldn’t assume I’m right, but I do know that, in my life, setbacks have gotten me to brilliant destinations. So, I choose to be the eternal optimist and see the good in the worst sorts of things (including Mr. Emotionally Unavailable…call me 😉).

So, I’ll keep on plugging away and keep on trying to get better at every part of my life. Sometimes it’ll all work out. Sometimes it won’t. But the important thing is that I’ll learn how to become a better person along the way. Sometimes things just have to knock you down, not just to test your strength to get back up. Sometimes you need it to remind yourself to be humble and grateful of the opportunities you’ve been given, so that you’re ready to take on more.

No Tears Left To Cry

So, for those of you that have been readers for awhile, you know the backstory; I went from an emotionally abusive marriage to a super controlling string of relationships where I would walk on eggshells so they wouldn’t leave me. I’d trip over myself trying to obey and after years of therapy, fitness, and focusing on discovering who I am, I am doing things on my own, my way. Life is pretty good when you know who you are and what you want out of life. Once you like yourself, you can open yourself up for someone else to love you & you can love them in return. I’ve talked about this many times…

…this is not one of those times.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, there are two things that I’m absolutely terrified of; the dentist…and geese. Geese are evil Canadian fuckers that need to all fuck off. They ruin my running routes, they ruin my afternoon walks. They are all probably actively plotting to kill me. Geese are the absolute worst.

The only thing I hate as much as geese is the dentist. I’m terrified that they’ll pull all of my teeth out. I have no idea why. Maybe the early nineties ruined dentists for me when Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS was threatening to pull out Bret Hart’s teeth for some reason. Maybe I had a vivid nightmare as a child of my teeth falling out. Maybe that excerpt from the Vampire Diaries where Elena’s teeth fell out scarred my fragile tween psyche. Maybe it’s because my best friend was married to a dentist and he’s an ass. Either way, screw the dentist.

Last week, I had a filling fall out. It’s been there for years, nothing hurts, and I had knocked it loose some months ago when I slipped at work and smacked my face against a desk. But I feel really self conscious about it, so I made an appointment with my dentist to have it looked at and replaced. Turns out I need a root canal! What fun! Obviously, I overcame my irrational fear of the helpful dentist and I’ll be perfectly fine.

Nope.

While I enjoy my life on my own, I’m also not an invincible super hero. I get super scared sometimes, especially of stuff that involves my mouth being numbed and someone drilling into my face. It’d be nice to have someone pick me up and bring me home and maybe make me a cup of tea after my mouth is no longer numb. It’d be nice to have the option to take time off from work (my company would give it to me no problem because they rule) but I know I can’t afford to take an extra day off. In times like this, I wish I had someone around to help, or convince me that the dentist isn’t an evil monster who’s going to ruin my face.

I suppose the upside of dealing with unpleasant things on your own is that you master handling unpleasant things so you’re not relying on others to do it for you. That way, even when you do have a partner, you’re emotionally equipped to handle trying times. While it sucks right now, in the end, you’ll be better for it. So, you tough it out, even if it’s terrifying. So, I’m going to be a brave role model to my kids and get the scary root canal and everything will be fine. I’ll also be scared shitless and will need a hug and reassurance because while I can be brave, I am also a huge baby. It’s about balance.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I try to refrain from talking about my daughters on my blog because I have this thing about parents who blast their kids lives on display. It feels so ooky. Like, photos on social media is one thing; but bloggers posting stories about their kids or videos of coached kids doing “spontaneous funny things” and tagging Ellen feels so gross to me. I choose to be a blogger and share my life publicly; the kids have no say. So, I never post photos and keep stories about them to a minimum.

But, they will be mentioned a bit today, although I’ll keep the deets high level.

Yesterday, I was stressed out. I had worked from open to close on Black Friday & was on hour six of what was supposed to be another 10 hour day. I was tired, terrified that we wouldn’t beat last year’s numbers, and generally cranky. I was kind of stressed because the guy I’ve been getting to know seems almost too nice, too perfect. Too many “I love that too,” and too many compliments, and it makes me feel like it could be too good to be true and after a few weeks I’ll find out he’s a serial killer. I was stressed because I hadn’t been to the gym in a week, and I had planned to try a barre class, but I couldn’t find the time. I was stressed out about finances, because it’s Xmas and I’m a sole support parent. I was stressed because I’m trying to get the girls their gifts, as well as hopefully surprise them with tickets to Taylor Swift and a fun trip to Toronto to go to the zoo and my 10 year old will perhaps finally get her dream of seeing kangaroos that hop and aren’t depressed like the ones in Detroit.

I was stressed and pushing myself too hard, and then I got a phone call that my two oldest daughters had been hit by a car during a hit and run. I ran out of my mall, panicked and thinking the worst, with my only thought being how I could get home faster to get to them. The good news is that everyone is fine, injuries are minor and they’re only shaken up. I insisted that they all sleep in my room last night because I didn’t want them out of my sight. Today was spent with doctors and taking steps to have the case investigated, but also to eat pizza and go to Toys R Us, play Super Mario Run and listen to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Swift.

The most important thing you can do when things are shitty is make your day as normal as possible, to remind ourselves that nothing is ever as scary as it seems. I don’t want my girls to live in fear of the world around them. I want them to focus on good things, like the neighbour who went out to help them, or my coworkers, who all called to make sure they were okay. Focus on the fact that Aunt Kiki called and checked in every few hours, not that dad dismissed it as no big deal and didn’t call to check in on them, just a quick call at 8pm to fume about my upgrading a phone, never asking if they were okay. Focus on what’s good; the rest sorts itself out.

In the end, the store hitting budget, the guy being too nice, or my bank balance didn’t matter. What did matter was that I could have lost 2/3 of my whole world because some dude in a Honda Civic was speeding in a school zone. What matters is that they’re okay and safe. They get to grow up into women and make me proud every day. What matters is that somewhere there’s a parent who isn’t as fortunate as we were and their story doesn’t have the ending mine does. They would kill for a chance to call out of work to take their teenager to the doctor to check for concussion symptoms, or rearrange their shifts to walk the kids to school because they’re scared to cross at that crosswalk. I’m fortunate af that I get to do those things. Sometimes being a sole support mom means you have to work so much to give them a good life that you miss stuff, like parent teacher night. But what matters is that you put them first, whether it’s working that 16 hour day, or rushing out into the night to protect them. That’s being a parent; not a handful of phone calls or a visit every now and again. Being a parent means supporting your kids emotionally, financially, protecting them and being there for them 24/7. That’s what matters. If you’re not doing those things; you’re not a parent.

I hope no parent ever has to have that kind of shock to the system. Let’s not lose focus on why we work so hard, or do so much. We’re doing it for them. We can’t take even a second for granted because an asshole in a Honda Civic could take it all away. I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m stressed about sales numbers, or my bank balance, or because someone did some stupid shit to piss me off. I’ll remind myself that what really matters is making time to hang with the kiddos, play Super Mario, and be grateful that I have the chance to do so.

Tell Me You Love Me

Let me tell you the story of MH’s terrible, no good, very bad day.

It actually started off pretty awesome. I had a good visit with my boss, with lots of great feedback. My most favourite member of the management team was filling in across the hall so I got to have a good catch up with him. I got some interviews ready for my latest YEG Fitness piece. Not a bad day at all.

Then a customer called in to discuss his experience yesterday. During this call, he mentioned that he had spoken to me, but he referred to me as “the pregnant lady.” “She’s very pregnant. Huge. Ready to burst.” As I am the only woman on staff, HE WAS VERY OBVIOUSLY TALKING ABOUT ME.

FIRST OF ALL, LET US GET ONE THING STRAIGHT;

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE PREGNANT

THIS IS WHAT I LOOKED LIKE LAST WEEK

After ranting and complaining to my coworkers, I thought about doing what I always do when my ego is bruised: eat. I eat a ton of shitty food. When I first moved out here, and when my last serious relationship ended, the pizza dudes knew me by name. Some people drink; I eat garbage food. I started flipping through Skip the Dishes, trying to decide what fattening foods I should enjoy, when I closed the app and opened Instagram. I decided to post a progress pic, falling into the social media trap that if it’s on IG, it’s real. Maybe if I could convince the outside world that I was proud of my body, that maybe I could convince myself. I got feedback that ranged from hilarious to empowering. My favourite was from my gym, who made me tear up a little.

For once, social media used its powers for good, not evil! But while all of the rad encouragement was happening, I also didn’t order any junk food. Instead, 2/3 of the crew & I watched the Mae Young Classic (& decided that Candice LeRae is cute as a button) & then went for my Friday night run. By the end of the night, I was kind of kicking myself. I mean, don’t I always tell the girls that words only have power if you allow it? Don’t I have a thicker skin? Does it really matter what a customer thinks (of my appearance)? The only person who should care about how I look is me.

I guess even the toughest humans can end up with bruised egos. When you’re putting a lot of work into something, and someone knocks the wind out of your sails, it’s gonna sting. But you’ve got to handle it in a positive and constructive way. Don’t binge eat nachos; find a way to remind yourself that people who sometimes people just say stupid shit. There’s no ill intentions, they just don’t think before they speak (Dude, I am soooooo guilty of that!). But you can control your reaction. It’s okay to feel hurt, or offended, but don’t let it ruin your progress, whether it’s your health, your job, or your self esteem.

That’s My Girl

Let me tell you about my best friend Melissa. 

Total hottie

She’s a mom, manager, wife, fitness guru, and blogger (read her stuff. It’s rad. Also, follow her on Twitter). She’s the most patient, understanding, and all around coolest person that I know. For 15 years she’s been my other half & we’ve been through everything together. Even though I’m like, a bazillion time zones away, she’s still got my back and we talk all day every day about fitness, parenting, family, and really deep things. 


But the big thing we talk about is career. We both work in similar fields and want to move up the corporate ladder. It’s important to us to be successful working moms. We need to be good role models for our kids. We have bills to pay. We’re boss bitches. Yesterday, we both messaged our respective DM’s with ideas we had to grow our businesses. I always get super nervous when I do that. I’m always afraid I’m going to overstep my boundaries, or my idea is bad, or I’m undermining someone. I was walking through WEM (on the never ending search for a Finn Balor Pop Vinyl), and I kept wishing I was like Melissa. I wanted to be logical and articulate and super smart. I wanted to feel confident when I spoke to my boss, not like an awkward weirdo. I admired her for being so brave and bold and cool when she hits me with a truth bomb;


Wait. What?!

Here I was admiring Melissa for being the most bad ass person that I know and she thinks everyone loves me?! What?! I was so confused; how does this confident, cool, level headed, goddess look to weird, scatterbrained, delightfully dim ME as someone people love and admire?! It floored me. But then I realized how women look at each other and then ourselves. 


I looked at my best friend as the coolest person on Earth. She saw me as someone people admire. I saw myself as a big fucking weirdo. She saw herself as Michael Scott from the Office. We saw each other as amazing, and looked down on ourselves. It’s so amazing that so many women are rejecting the idea that all women secretly hate and compete with each other, but why are we selling ourselves short? Why aren’t we building ourselves up while also celebrating how great our girlfriends are. We always joke that there would be world peace is everyone treated each other like drunk girls in a bathroom, but maybe we also need to add that we need to look at ourselves with the same lens we look at our best friend. Maybe then we wouldn’t feel so awkward. We’d be confident. We wouldn’t be competing by way of admiration; we’d embrace self love and build up others. 


I’m not sure if everyone loves me. But I do know that someone I admire thinks I’m confident and strong, so maybe I should respect their opinion and own it. I hope she totally owns being awesome too. We respect our friends; let’s respect their opinions and stop selling ourselves short. Ditch that critical internal lens. Let’s start building up all women; including ourselves. 

11 Blocks

Today, I’m going to talk about the selfie. 

Yes, selfies. 

We all take them. We all share our cute outfit of the day with our friends, a fun moment with coworkers, or that super rad Snapchat filter. While a coworker and I once joked that there should be a ratio of 1:7 of selfie and non selfie photos on your IG to prevent narcissism (& a limit of four hashtags), mostly because he’s a model and it was a silly in joke, taking and posting selfies is a normal part of our culture. One of the questions I’m asked most at work is about the selfie camera. We all take them, whether we want to admit it or not. 

If you’re not following me on Snapchat (ASHMHC), you’re missing absolutely nothing

My teen daughter takes them with her friends. I don’t really think anything of it. She’s fully clothed, not shooting the finger, so who cares? As her birthday approaches, she’s asked me for an autobiography penned by her idol, retired WWE Divas Champion AJ Mendez Brooks. I’ve skimmed excerpts; for the most part, AJ writes a beautiful story of finding herself and learning to embrace mental illness. AJ is very honest and open about her struggles and successes and I commend her for her honesty. I think (for the most part) she’s a great role model for young women. But there is a passage in the book where she equates selfies with a lack of self respect and a desperate cry for attention. As a woman who was once an impressionable teen, I could only imagine how upset my daughter would be to read such a judgmental and self righteous passage, but I refuse to let that cloud my perspective of a moving and inspirational journey. 


I briefly touched on this on Twitter with another blogger and artist (who is rad af & I would totally throw a feminist Wrestlemania party in NOLA with her and the girls while we all sport Bayley ponytails), and she agreed that this one passage didn’t feel that great. It perpetuates the myth that women only do things to attract the attention of men, or need to be validated by men to be happy. For some, that may be the case, and I won’t judge them. I used to, but then I realized that I was part of the problem. If they aren’t hurting anyone, then more power to them. But why does it have to always be about wanting to attract a man? Why do brilliant and inspirational women continue to tear down other women?!


I take selfies. I post em on Snapchat. I never used to. If you look at my old FB photo albums, there was maybe five photos of me in 100. There is maybe one pregnant photo of me. Why? Because I was called fat and ugly every day. I woke up to hear about how I was skinny when we started dating and now his wife was a pig. He didn’t sign up for this. A few years later, one of my best friends told me that I was pretty in the face and didn’t look fat from the “tits up” so I could reasonably find a man. I was constantly told how unattractive I was because I was fat. So I started working out. I started running. I started crossfit. First it was to shake the nagging voice that said no one would love me or be my friend because I was fat. But then, it was because these activities made me happy. And the more these activities made me happy, the better I felt about myself. I wasn’t a size seven (the magic dress size that I equated with being acceptable to be seen in public), but I was confident. I was happy. Confident, happy MHC didn’t want to be in the shadows. She wanted to be visible. So I started using that front facing camera. I’d post the odd one to FB or IG. But it was a huge step for me to stop hiding behind a camera and hoping no one looked at me. Humans should want to be visible, part of the world. Now, there are photos of me & my girls, my friends, of me. My teenager was also brutally bullied in grades seven and eight for being too thin and too different. She and a good friend started taking selfies as a way of accepting themselves. For many women, that selfie is about empowerment, taking control of their self esteem and we need to stop dismissing photos as vanity & a cry for validation from men. If it’s not for you, don’t do it. There’s lots of things in this world that I do not do. I don’t watch Canadian football. I don’t listen to Nickelback. I don’t understand Zumba. But I’m not gonna trash humans that do. Just let people do their thing and you do what makes you feel good inside. 


So, take your selfies everyone. You’ll find no judgment here. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel badly about yourself or like you are somehow less intelligent, less interesting, because you took a photo with your front camera. And if you are one who belittles someone for taking a photo, stop that right now. You can’t bring up your self esteem by passive aggressively belittling someone else. 

Save Myself

I’ve always had a big personality. I’m pretty extroverted. I talk A LOT. I have a million ideas that I think are amazing all of the time. I want to share them and help others and see everyone succeed. It’s kind of my thing. 

However, I get that it doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve dated guys who’ve told me to tone it down. Talk less. Be more introverted. Behave. I remember one of my last shifts at my old job staring at the floor, afraid to make eye contact with anyone or engage in conversation because I needed to obey so a man would talk to me again. I would go home and sob myself to sleep because I wasn’t myself. All of the things that make me who I am were being chipped away to please a person who didn’t love me anyway. A few years ago, I had a good friend who told me that I intentionally dominated the room. I didn’t really understand. I don’t think I do; I just act like myself and I don’t always realize that I’m running people over with my “me-ness.”

But I accepted that being a big personality means accepting certain things. I’ll never have a lot of friends. I always scare people off. I’ll never have a mate. No man wants a workaholic woman who wants to succeed at twelve things and raise a family and Crossfit and spend her life pitching stories and creating ways to grow her business and never, EVER stops talking. I tried for YEARS to fix it. If I could just stop talking so damn much, take a backseat, stop being so open and happy. Change into the contrite woman who smiles and nods and obeys and doesn’t take over the room with her thoughts and ideas. Then I’d meet a guy. Then I’d have more friends. But I realized I’d never be happy. I’m the difficult woman. The opinionated, headstrong, smart ass. I need to be myself. If I am, I’ll attract the right friends, the right lover. Maybe I’ll always be alone and kind of isolated, but at least I’m being myself. I get that my personality is almost impossible to love, but I love it & maybe that’s enough. 


But at work, that was where I always felt at home. I’m a salesperson; big personalities are encouraged. My boss back home encouraged my zany ideas, my over talkative nature. But here, it’s not like that. I can always tell that my “me-ness” is not an asset. It’s a liability. I’m not the right company material. My results are, but me, I am not. But I pretend it’s okay, I love my job. No one needs to like me, just respect me. But today, I was gently told that my overbearing personality detracts from others. I dominate. And for the first time in a long time, I began to think that maybe being myself isn’t the best thing at all. Maybe I need to change into someone quieter. Someone less headstrong. Someone less chatty. Less of a temper. Someone not like me. Maybe I am just too much and my ideas are too much and I talk just too damn much and no one can be around me for long periods of time because I am too much. Maybe I just need to stop marching to my drum and stop. Stop challenging. Stop talking. Stop trying to think outside of the box. Accept the box. 


I’ve never really felt like being me was a liability, but maybe it is. Maybe it’s okay to tone down my personality and just not be so much. Maybe then I’ll make more friends. Maybe then I’ll find a mate because I’m not so over the top. Isn’t that what women are supposed to want? Maybe I’m just the problem. So, how to correct and evolve into someone a little less dominant. A little less extroverted. A little less…me. 

I’m not really sure. But maybe I can’t keep bucking the status quo & taking pride that I don’t fit in. 

Or…maybe that is complete bullshit. 

Maybe my “me-mess” will be a liability. Maybe I’ll die alone with my cat and no husband because I’m too much for a person to deal with. Maybe I can learn to step back and find a balance, but I’m always going to be the person that talks too much and gets way too excited, cares too much and rambles on about the latest zany idea that I think is super amazing. But I can’t be me unless I’m me. 


So, my goal is to find the balance between being myself and rowing the line. Embracing who I am while also listening to feedback. And I won’t throw a god damn pity party when another person reminds me that I’m just too much. Yes, yes I am. But to my good friends, my girls, and most of my coworkers, MHC is just enough. But the most important thing is that I think I’m just enough, and I like who I see in the mirror. Because that’s the person I truly have to answer to.