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Because my life will not be allowing me to do a lot of writing for the foreseeable future (sigh), I’m adding my annual “year in photos” early!

This year was amazing. Full of lessons & beginnings & endings & new challenges & growth & it was another year that I got closer to being the most amazing MHC that I can be. So, as always, I’m going to post snippets of my year, the things that meant most to me & my daughters (that do not include photos of my daughters) & I hope you enjoy them.

While ASH Multimedia may be on hiatus for a bit, as I have two jobs, three kids, & an event to train for. I’m also not in the right headspace to be writing. My heart isn’t in writing right now, I keep deleting posts because I don’t feel comfortable sharing them, so I’m gonna stop. I hope you know how much I love all of you reading my garbage. It means the world to me. Thanks for that. I hope I made you smile as much as knowing you read it made me happy. Always be happy. That’s the big lesson in life.

Happy holidays from me!

MHC’s 2014!

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My favourite electronics teammate gives me team cards in Italian!
My favourite electronics teammate gives me team cards in Italian!
The view from my new home.
The view from my new home.
My daughter knows me so well.
My daughter knows me so well.

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Queen!
Queen!
The Prismatic world tour made my life better.
The Prismatic world tour made my life better.

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I don't post photos of my daughters, but they were very excited for "Bellaslam."
I don’t post photos of my daughters, but they were very excited for “Bellaslam.”
Ed Sheeran made all of my dreams come true
Ed Sheeran made all of my dreams come true

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The talented Gavin Michael Booth, my first movie review in so long!
The talented Gavin Michael Booth, director of Scarehouse! My first movie review in so long!

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Even though I won’t be updating ASH Multimedia for a bit, you can still follow my adventures on Twitter & Tumblr! It’s mostly positive & happy gibberish, but enjoy all the same & thanks again for being so rad.

– MHC

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How You Get the Girl

Let me fill you in on some random facts about your favourite blogger MHC.

I talk way too much. Like, I never shut up pretty much EVER. I probably talk in my sleep. I talk to my cat Peachy like she’s people. I overthink to the nth degree. I fear intimacy & commitment. I over analyze so I’m always 19 steps ahead for no reason & when I figure it out I need to breathe in a bag. I have an irrational fear of abandonment. Then there’s my Fangirl like love for Taylor Swift. It’s really huge. I’m in my 30’s.

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I have a fiery temper & strong opinions & I’m stubborn af & I will not back down when I think I’m right. I get way too defensive when I think people question my way of doing things & I’d rather cough up blood than see a doctor. Oh, and I use 80’s slang for fun. I watch terrible movies. I laugh when skateboarders fall down, I hang up on people to play Legend of Zelda & I have a ridiculously childish celebrity crush on Seth Rollins. I tweet too much. I spend too much time on social media. I take too many selfies. I sing along with mall music & dance in aisles & hug inanimate objects at the mall & I wear a Pikachu hoodie & I’m a grown woman. When it comes to my writing I’m a perfectionist. And I’m a total bitch first thing in the morning.

All of these things used to bother me. I was obsessed with trying to be perfect so that people would like me. I tried to bury them down so far that no one would see them. Then one day…I stopped. I owned all of that. I have flaws. Lots of em! I’m an over emotional, hyper focused goofy ball of energy who talks too much. Way too much. And you know what, that’s totes cool.

However, for those who know me best, there’s also the rest of the list. I’m strong & I’m brave. I give infinite chances to those who deserve them. I like to think myself a kind hearted soul who loves to be nice just because I can & my greatest joy is making those I love happy. I fancy myself pretty smart, and I often joke that I am the best in the world at what I do (a line I borrowed from a great and wise multi hyphenate…Chris Jericho). I’m quite pretty in the right light, I take great pride in my work, my family & my ability to be the role model my daughters deserve so they don’t need TV to find one. I love my career so much that I take pride in the tiniest things. I still have an innocent view of the world, of love, that people are essentially good & often I’m right. I’m determined; there’s not much that I don’t get if I want it badly enough. Some people have told me I have a lovely singing voice. I lost 85lbs on my own without a fad diet. I kick crossfit’s ass. I’m pretty much the raddest chick that I know. In order to be the woman I’m most proud of, I needed to accept that there are parts that suck. And that’s okay.

In order to appreciate all of the amazing things that I am capable of being, I needed to accept that I’m not perfect and the list of flaws help me define my strengths. You cannot be strong until you’ve been weak. You cannot be proud of who you are if you can’t look at yourself honestly & accept every facet of who you are. So, I do & I’m proud of all of it, even the talking to my cat. She gets me.

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I’ll always be the girl who shuts herself away when she’s stressed about stuff that isn’t even real & writes paragraphs until she’s over it. I’ll always be the girl who talks too much & struggles to let people get close to her & will wonder if the people in my life are gonna bail (except Erica. She stays forever. She’s my Murican soulmate. <3). But that’s okay because those are small things & the amazing things I do outweigh the quirks I have & I aspire each day to work on those flaws so that they remain the most minuscule part of my life & people only see how bad ass I am. While I accept them, I also handle them in my own way so that they don’t take over my life. I can’t bury them anymore, because I want those in my life to love me for me; good & irksome. So, I accept them as I would the flaws of others & assume that those in my life will accept them too. Because there is nothing in life that will ever be 100% positive. There’s always something crappy. But if you just own the negative & focus on the positive, you can be really happy just being yourself.

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Back At Your Door

I’m an extremely clever woman.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty smart. I have not one, but two college educations, I read a lot of books, I’m constantly learning & trying to evolve so I can teach my daughters that education & learning doesn’t stop when school ends. But, even though I’m really smart…I’m really freaking dumb.

I’m sure you’re thinking “No MHC! You’re brilliant! Don’t sell yourself short!” (Or “about time you figured it out. You’re so dumb that you didn’t know you’re dumb!”)

Why am I dumb? Because for a social media savvy blogger & entertainment reporter who understands that what’s online never goes away, I literally have no regard for my safety.

This past month I had a conversation with a friend who told me I needed to change the settings on my RunKeeper app because I was literally tweeting a map to my house. I was also informed that my address could be easily acquired from a misprinted address that I found funny. That’s right kids; I posted my HOME ADDRESS on the internet & didn’t even think about it. As my friend said “I could knock on your door & tell you I followed the trail of clues to stalk you. How are you not dead?” I guess no one wants to kill me, so yay?

But this is just one of the many dunderheaded things I do without thinking because I’m flipping dumb. Maybe more naive. I go jogging @ midnight because I figure no one mugs a jogger, especially one with a high end smartphone on her arm while I go down abandoned streets & A CONSTRUCTION SITE. I don’t pay attention & step out in front of cars. I put my address on the Internet & a map thanks to RunKeeper. I’m the easiest human being on Earth to find apparently. (That post has been removed & now only my friends with RunKeeper can see the map)

It’s funny how we as parents preach safety to our children but then don’t even think about our own internet safety (Hell, I didn’t even know what reverse postal code lookup was until two weeks ago). How are we supposed to teach our kids to be knowledgeable about Internet safety (or personal safety) when we literally don’t think & just assume we’re immortal? I need to think & be smarter about how I go about my day; go running earlier, maybe in the mornings, keep a walkie talkie with me at work so when I’m on the floor alone I can call security…oh, and not post my address online. That’s probably a good place to start.

Don’t

Let me tell a story.

In January 2013, Justin Timberlake announced his 20/20 Experience tour. As a long time Timberlake fan, from back to his Mr. Noodle headed N*Sync days, I frantically called my now former best friend and told him we were going. He flatly said he wasn’t a big enough Timberlake fan to go, so no, we weren’t. It wasn’t worth his money, even though I thought it’d be fun.

Fast forward to a few months later, when the Great Gatsby, one of my all time favourite books, was released on film. I begged all of my friends to go with me, pleaded & maybe even whined. To this day, I have not seen Gatsby, as anyone who knows me knows I prefer the movie theatre experience so I rarely watch movies @ home. I was so disappointed that no one would attend the movie with me, just because it wasn’t their film choice.

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I have a point, I promise.

Three days before I moved, Ed Sheeran announced his concert pre-sale. I love Ed, and have even written entire blog posts dedicated to my love for him. I actually took out a cash advance (which I’ve since paid off) so I wouldn’t affect my moving fund to buy the tickets. Zero effs given. I offered up the ticket & was met with the usual “No, I don’t like him. I’m not going. I don’t care that the ticket is free.” My good friend Shannon agreed to go but couldn’t at the last minute. With the exception of an old Sutherland friend, a coworker, & Damanda (who all had scheduling conflicts), I had no volunteers. I was about to sell my tickets on Kijiji, when my good friend the Texan suggested I just go anyway. I thought about it. I had been excited for six months, and booked my travel & hotel. Why not?

So I went. I went shopping, I saw Ed & my life was complete (until the next live act I need to see goes on tour).

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But how many times have we all done that, skipped something we really wanted to do just because we don’t have a friend or partner to go with us? I can think of so many movies I didn’t see because my friends or person I was seeing at the time didn’t want to go, so I missed out. I’m a social person; I love company. But, seeing as all of my London friends either a) work crazy hours like me or b) work the same shift as me because they work with me, I needed to get over the idea that I need someone to come to a movie with me to keep up some kind of appearance to strangers. Who cares? It’s no one’s fault but mine that I missed Gatsby. I could have just gone, right? But I didn’t. And had I sold my tickets, I would be kicking myself for missing Ed. Instead I went shopping, brought home great gifts for my girls & swag for my coworkers & a great shirt to wear to my birthday party tomorrow. But most importantly, I saw a great concert & had a wonderful time. Now I’m heading home to work a short shift & enjoy my family. All good things. Did I mention I sold my extra ticket & made a nice profit? Because I totally did.

So, don’t let messed up plans or lack of interest deter you from what YOU want to do. Go to that concert solo, go to that movie. Dinner for one? Heck yes! The only person who will miss out is you, so suck up the insecurities & have a blast!

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Shake It Off

Happy Birthday ASH Multimedia!

I started this bliggity four years ago today and I wanted to thank all of you for going on this crazy ride known as my life with me. I’m not going to review all of the ups and downs, just thank you for reading my thoughts and feelings as life happens and hope you kept the laughing @ me to a minimum. I once had an audience of one and that meant everything to me; now I have a much larger audience and that’s really awesome. I’m so excited to see how my little creative outlet has grown.

Every year on this day I try to impart some kind of wisdom that I think will help with daily life. Today is no different.

***Disclaimer: I am a moron. Helpful wisdom is for entertainment purposes only***

I’ve always believed that some of us were put on this Earth to change the world and accomplish amazing things. My daughters are three of those people. I once told someone very important to me that his destiny was to accomplish great things & I just wanted to be by his side while he did.
Now, I like to think I am one of those people, but then I remember, not likely. I write puff pieces & this blog. But I think we all have some kind of purpose on this planet and sometimes that purpose is hard to see when things kind of suck. For a long time, I didn’t really give myself credit for my life’s accomplishments, only my failures. But when I sit in my little house by the creek, with my punch clock job & my new media job & another media project a friend is starting, my happy and healthy children and my 65lbs weight loss, I realize that we as humans need to let ourselves feel pride in who we are. It’s okay to be selfish and say “I did this,” because we need to feel competent and successful. I know what I can do & how strong & successful I can be & I’m proud of that. I no longer need to see my worth in being beside someone; I have worth for being me.

But that’s not my wisdom.

My wisdom is a simple lesson I had to tell myself when I felt completely alone and miserable. I had felt betrayed, like an idiot, and so completely alone and humiliated. But, when I woke up in the morning, I looked in the mirror and said “I’m still here.” Those three words got me through all of the bad times from that day on. Obviously, whatever was bothering me, whatever thing that I thought was life altering and heartbreaking couldn’t be that bad, because I’m still here. I’m still here on this Earth to raise my daughters and accomplish something important. At various points in my life, like all of you, I would lay my head down on my pillow and sob and wish I wouldn’t wake up in the morning…but I did and I’m so glad that I did, because now I get to live my raddest life. I’m still here, on this planet, to make some kind of difference, so I plan to live my raddest life, and be happy, and be positive, and be the person I’ve always want to be so I can teach my daughter how to live their raddest lives.

So, if you’re in the “everything sucks” part of your journey, it’s okay. We all have that part of our story and you’ll soon learn that it’s actually one of the most awesome parts of your journey. No, I’m not insane. All of that bad, horrible crap that rips your heart out and brings you to your knees will help you see how strong and brave you can be. You’ll learn that while in those dark moments, maybe you didn’t handle them with grace or maturity (I know I didn’t), but that’s okay; anyone who says that they handled every single thing in life with poise & grace & has never gone a little bit crazy is a big liar. However, you endured and when they’re over, you’ll have the joy of knowing that you are strong and powerful and brave…and no one can ever take that away from you unless you let them. You are in control of your feelings, how you see yourself. If someone is crushing you, you’re letting them. Take control by telling yourself every day that you are worthy of living the best life. By reminding yourself that this life altering, soul crushing blow wasn’t the end, it’ll help you to keep moving on & when it’s all over & you’re succeeding & thriving; you’ll know that it’s because you learned from the bad.

So, thanks for reading four years of my drivel. I hope to amuse you for four more. I hope we get through lots of really cool stuff together. Maybe I’ll get to tell you about how I met my soulmate and I just knew. Maybe I’ll announce I got the best journalism gig ever (although I really love the one I just started) or another awesome move & of course, how my girls become women. Maybe someday I’ll write my book on love (working title is “I attract Losers”) and you can be hipsters & say you knew me BEFORE it became big & turned into a romcom starring Jessica Alba & Adam Levine. And we’ll laugh. And we’ll cry. And we’ll be strong and amazing people, because we’ll all still be here.

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The View From Here

I figured I’d take a moment and share my lovely view of suburbia! That’s right, the least likely soccer mom now lives in a community with a condo board & a welcome committee & a housing association. Let me just get my minivan & mom jeans & I’ll fit in! I’ve also gotten to say “I don’t know how to turn on my fireplace,” in a sentence. I’ll post more pics after my furniture arrives & I finally get to paint.

Isn’t it very Desperate Housewives like?

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Closing Time

Normally, my song title blog post titles are just as random as what I’m listening to at the time. Today is different. I deliberately sought out this song for one line, which sums up this post nicely;

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Much like every part of life, this Windsor chapter has been about beginnings & endings. I started over after my first attempt to get a post secondary diploma didn’t go according to plan. I succeeded, graduated & became a writer. I welcomed my youngest daughter & watched her grow into a bright & happy young girl. I obtained a second post secondary diploma when my dearest hippie friend called me & suggested we both needed a change. I started a retail, johnny punch-clock job (even though I swore I’d rather be shot) to support my family & found that it wasn’t so bad. I made great friends & found I was pretty darned awesome @ this real people job thing. I fell out of love with my husband & closed the door on my marriage. I fell in love with a man & had my heart broken. I kept longing for a person who couldn’t or wouldn’t ever love me back. From that experience, I became closed & guarded, terrified to let anyone in again, even my closest friends. I was alienating anyone near me for fear of getting hurt by another person, but I’m slowly stepping out of that shell, taking Gigi’s advice to go out & live again, spend time with friends & even go to some “meetings” (first dates) & be the beautiful, strong & vibrant woman I was meant to be (she’s a wise woman, that Gigi. Meghie also suggested to pick the opposite of what I usually would, but Meghie doesn’t mince words). Truthfully, I haven’t been happy with my Windsor life for years. I often mentioned to Drew that I wanted to get as far away as I could, but there was always one thing that appeared & made me stay & I kept romanticizing this life. Much like “How I Met Your Mother’s” Ted Mosby ignored his incompatibility with former love Robin, overlooking her faults even in the closing moments of the series, I chose to ignore my unhappiness. I pretended not to notice how I let friends dictate everything, including the colour of my living room, while borrowing money & dragging me down with their negativity & chose to ignore that the continued attempts to take over my life were making me passive aggressive & bitchy. I also didn’t notice my own dragging down a good friend, allowing my broken heart & fear of starting over without his guidance & the person I truly believed was the love of my life with me to choke the life out of one of the best friendships I’ve ever had. I ignored my professional dissatisfaction at the magazine, because I was living my dream so I had to suck it up. I ignored that I didn’t care for my neighbourhood & wanted more out of my life, I had been so happy in that life that I was afraid to let it go, even when it was gone. I wanted to go back to that life, with those friends (even though they weren’t perfect, they were my life mates), with that man (even though I knew he’d always hurt me), with that little girl & my own girls, that I couldn’t see that old life wasn’t where I belonged, all I felt was the pain because it didn’t exist anymore. I needed to let go of the life I wanted, the one I’ll never have, to get the life I truly deserve. Much like when Ted finally let go of Robin, he found true love with the titular mother (I’m not acknowledging the last five minutes of the show because I’m trying to make a point), one random September day, I decided to let it all go & just leave town & start over. I got sidetracked by a person & their cruelty, which left me leaving them in a bar in tears, sobbing to the Gleason Table. But that helped me remember that I need to do what’s right for ME. So, I set a timetable, found a house, focused on my personal goals (including a 31lbs weight loss!) & I have been happy. But we all do this at some point; we hold onto nothing because what was once there was amazing, even when it wasn’t. Most of those friends were toxic, that house not the place you want to settle into forever. That man probably wasn’t the beautiful person you remember. Once you realize that (sometimes if you listen to Wide Awake by Katy Perry 100x times in a row, it’ll speed things up), it’s easy to cut that cord & move forward. But don’t feel badly if you struggled or if it took you longer to heal, because all humans heal on their own time. But you’ll get there. We all get there.

But today is the last day & one can’t help but be nostalgic on the last day. I will turn around tomorrow to look back at my empty home & face the flood of memories. I’ll take that instant to remember the birthday parties, the Christmas get together’s, the St. Patrick’s Day I made corned beef even though I didn’t like it. I’ll remember the night he asked me (indirectly) 15 different times to marry him, the cold night air against my face when he showed up late at night, held me in his arms, called me his salvation & said my smile healed his pain, and the night I leaned against my bedroom door & broke down sobbing for hours until I mercifully passed out on the floor because he walked away. I’ll remember MH & Drew’s grand adventures, the nights we were late for the movies because he got watching Maury, needing him to light my barbecue because I was afraid of it, shopping for an iMac, the great ostrich debate & any conversation that ended in “Right?!” I’ll remember blinking back tears as two of my babies started school, sidewalk chalk artwork & all of the times the pirate princess demanded to feed the “gooses” in the yard. I’ll remember school projects, silly songs & clean up days singing Taylor Swift into my mop while my children laughed. I’ll remember a little girl who ran to me & always embraced her little friend like they’d been separated by war every time they met. I’ll remember rushing home from my office to my home office to interview Penn Jillette, my happy tears when my musical hero Amanda Marshall said I was a good reporter & the two am revisions passing out on my computer because I know if I read it over ONE MORE TIME, this time it’ll be perfect. I’ll relive every emotion & then I’ll take a deep breath…& let it all go so I can make a new fresh start & make it a good one.

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Why? Because every new beginning in comes from some other beginning’s end. This chapter of my life has come to an end & the London chapter is a blank page. It’ll be interesting. I’ll find another magazine & tell more interesting & exciting stories that I hope people will read & love. Maybe I’ll fall in love again & finally meet the great love of my life, but that’s not really a priority. Maybe I’ll keep moving towards the GTA & finally land that sweet job in a PR firm or a magazine. But whatever happens, it’s time to stop being afraid & see what happens next, because it may very well be everything I’ve ever wanted.

So, goodbye to this life & welcome new adventures. Let’s see what you have in store for me.

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Day 30: Five Good Things

It’s the last day of this challenge!

While nothing overly earth shattering has happened to me over 30 days, great things happen every day! So, here are five of the most awesome things that happened this month.

1. My transfer was approved, all official-like. I signed all the papers, paid the deposit on my house & it’s all mine! I’m outta here Windsor! Peace out!

2. I’ve lost a total of 20lbs in 8 weeks! Quelle success!

3. Ronan Farrow favourited my tweet, which means he knows I’m alive. That’s step one towards our wedding in the Hamptons & us becoming a journalist power couple.

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For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Farrow, he’s a journalist who served as the Special Adviser for Humanitarian and NGO Affairs in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan under the Obama Administration. He recently got his own show on MSNBC thanks to his background & being a smart ass on Twitter. He also loves Zelda. If there was ever a human being designed for me, there it is. Also, he looks like this:

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I may dislike matrimony, but my wedding to Ronan Farrow, which exists entirely in my imagination (and I then get a job @ the New Yorker) is quite lovely…& will feature Taylor Swift.

4. I made a friend. It was awful.

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Okay, so Grumpy is actually the Overlord’s friend, a gift for her seventh birthday, which was minion themed. We’ve been calling her Grumpy Cat for a year because she glared in our Easter photos last year & someone said that’s what she looked like. She even placed third in a Grumpy Cat lookalike contest (she was robbed). But I like to think Grumpy enjoys my company too, probably not. He’s Grumpy for a reason.

5. I finally made an appointment to make my hair a colour & not just 19 shades of whatever.

Sure, they’re not exciting things, but it’s fun & life is meant to be fun. So, I like to focus on the positive & fun things that make me & the people I love smile. I feel like that’s where I fit in this world; journalist & mom who makes people smile.

I hope this made you smile.

Day 22: What My Future Will Be Like

In the words of my future husband Adam Levine, “I’m not a fortune teller, I won’t be bringing news of what tomorrow brings.”

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I always had a clear career path, I’m going to be a reporter, even if I just freelance on the side and I was going to be a Mommy. But the rest, I never really planned out. When I was married, I let my husband sort of control our future. The one thing I wanted was to live here in Windsor so I could work for my magazine. After the divorce, I had a picture in my mind of my future. I knew who would be my husband and what our house would look like and I’d work in a law firm and as a reporter and he’d work in management and the kids would attend music lessons and we’d hire a cleaning lady because I’m not exactly Suzy Homemaker. I got so caught up in this idealistic future this person & I spun that when I lost it, I struggled with finding a new plan.

So, I decided that I had no plan.

Nope, no plan.

Besides my job, my plans to find a new magazine to call home and to raise my girls, I quite literally have none plans. I fully intend to just live life from day to day and enjoy them. If my true love magically appears in my life; great! If not, oh well. If I interview 50 more celebrities, fantastic! If not, I’ll still be the princess of telecommunications and that’s fantastic too. Obviously I’ll plan for my daughters college funds and my retirement savings, but financial planning is just smart. But aside from that, I’ll let the universe help me find my path. I know what I want for my life and that it’ll all work out when the time is right.

This is the best way for me, because there is no pressure, no timelines, no nothing. Just me and my girls and my friends enjoying my life the best way that I can.

Day 20: What If?

I used to wonder this a lot.

What if I had been more understanding of my ex husband’s mental illness? What if I had treated my boyfriend better? What if I had just spit the words out by the water? What if I hadn’t befriended that person on Twitter? What if I hadn’t introduced our friends? What if I had been nicer to people? What if I had kept my big mouth shut? What if I had stood up for myself? What if I hadn’t wanted my kid to spend their first Xmas with their dad? What if I had kept going to the gym? What if I had tried harder to be a better friend? What if I hadn’t have walked out of that exam? What if I had just switched seats on the way to the art gallery? What if I hadn’t entered that contest, even though my intentions were good? What if I hadn’t left the bar?

It went on & on. Then, one day…I stopped.

While I was wondering “what if?” my life was passing me by! My girls were growing up & I was missing it! So, I stopped wondering, as none of it would change the current outcome. But what would was coming to terms with it, hence my summer of cathartic blogging. I got it out & I refocused my energies on me & my girls & I don’t wonder anymore. It’s helped me become a happier person.

If things are meant to turn out a certain way, they will & nothing will change that. Nothing I do will change it. The universe will make it happen. So, I’ll just continue to be happy & let it go, just like Queen Elsa of Arendelle told me to do.

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The universe will put things as they should be & I’ll just ride out life while pursuing my dreams of being the best mother & journalist I can be while the universe puts everything as it should be. When that day happens, I’ll understand why everything else happened & it’ll all make sense. But until then, I’ll just enjoy the ride.