She Loves Control

Two things I’ve never been good at are time management, and saying no. These constantly impact my day to day life.

For example, I super hate my body right now. I’ve gained some of the weight back since I moved to YEG and to lose it, I need to go to the gym more often. But my staff often delays their breaks until my shift is over. So, instead of working out, I stay late. But then I go home feeling like crap. Most recently, I signed up for the Festivus Games, but it’s the same day as the trade show I organized a booth for at work. So, I’m out money and even more frustrated because it’s all my fault. I didn’t check the dates.

I schedule my driver’s education classes with my few days off, but when you have two deadlines and are picking up extra shifts to earn money so your kids can go visit their dad because he isn’t contributing to his children, you get a window of 10 minutes between the lesson and the bus for class and it doesn’t work. So, I’m left so burned out that even my evening yoga doesn’t help.

But I find I’m constantly fighting for time to do what I want, to improve my life, but I never seem to do it because I am stretched so bloody thin, and yet not thin the way I want to be. I’m taking on writing assignments to supplement my income, as I’m still not receiving child support, and likely never will. I’m working full time and don’t want to upset my team, so I won’t just say “Take your break earlier, because I am leaving when my shift is over.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m also acting as mother and father to three children. I’m making sure that I have learned how to drive properly so that I can buy a car and improve my family’s day to day life. I’m doing as much as I can to make sure we are clothed and fed and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone that I find myself sitting in my tub hating how I look and wanting one damn hour to myself once a day to go to the God damn gym.

I need to make myself a priority.

I never have, and I never do. I’m always trying to be nice or be liked that I can’t just say no or take time for me. Obviously, the kids come first, but I can’t be a good mom if I’m burned out. I can’t be a good employee or manager if I’m constantly tiptoeing around everyone to be nice to everyone so that everyone will like me. I can’t please everyone and I’m the boss; I will never make my team happy all of the time and do my job well. I can’t meet someone if I hate how I look because that’s how you settle. I wouldn’t impulsively overbook myself if I felt like I could take time for me. But, in the end, the only person who can control these things is me. Why don’t I see myself as an investment? Instead, I allow myself to put me to the back burner so I can handle all of my responsibilities, but I feel like there’s too many and I’m about to freak out.

Actual footage of me and my responsibilities

I can get mad about why insert thing or person here doesn’t see me as valuable or worth putting time into, but I don’t see myself as worth putting time into anymore, or I’d just fucking do it. I invest more time into my store and my cats than I do myself. Then I get mad because nothing is going the way that I want. Maybe it would if I actually invested in myself.

I used to believe I was worth it, back in London, when I started Crossfit and had a core group of supportive friends. I have an amazing gym & great friends, but I always put myself last, because I don’t think I’m important anymore. I’m just there. Something happened to me in Alberta that I stopped feeling like I mattered. When I am willing to take care of my own needs, I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better. When I don’t, I eat nachos & drink mojitos.

I need to start reminding myself that my time matters. I deserve to be at the gym, I pay for it, I enjoy it, and it’s important to me. I deserve to take a day off to hang with the kids and play Pokémon Go and watch Season two of a Series of Unfortunate Events. I deserve to do things for me and not feel badly.

I’ll probably never perfect time management, but I’m certainly going to try, because my kids deserve a mom to look up to, and not a frazzled, stressed out mess that just wants one hour to go to the damn gym and maybe not have to budget my paycheques from the bathtub because that’s the only alone time I have…before a kid walks in.

I think sometimes we as moms try so hard to be indestructible that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Sometimes you have to say no to the extra shift, or let driving wait one more week, and just go to the gym. Or take a bubble bath. Or whatever works for you.

Mic Drop

What an exhausting few days it’s been.

I attended the Alberta Magazine Awards gala and while I didn’t go home an award winner, I did get a chance to network with some amazing journalists & colleagues. Not to mention my brilliant editor took home an award for his piece, which was so deserving of this honour. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a link, but you can find more brilliant writing like this in the Magazine of the year; Eighteen Bridges. My 2018 writing goal is to have something published in this amazing journal.

But, I got to dress up nicely and go on a super fun road trip with one of my best friends. We ate donuts and had a blast. I’m so grateful to call her friend. But at the gala, I spent all night insecure about how I looked in my dress. I felt kind of big and insecure. Everyone said I looked great, but it just validated why I need to clean up my diet. I didn’t think I looked good. So I had to make changes so next time I wear that dress, for my friend Brie’s wedding, I will.

After that, it was time for me to tackle 18.3. When I read it, I knew I was screwed. I can’t do a pull-up unless it’s a jumping pull-up. I would not come close to finishing. But God damn it, I was gonna try and get one. One little pull up. Yes. This would happen.

For those of you new to the party, I attempted a pull-up once. I also fractured my tailbone. But I almost finished 17.1 afterwards so yay me! I cried through it and I was in more pain than I’ve been in for a long time, but I did it.

So, today, I made the attempt to do that damn pull-up. I fought for it. I tried so hard. I tried Kipping. Tried dead hang. Tried wide grip. Close grip. Tried everything. I did not do the pull-up. I said “fuck it!” And did some ring rows. My score was 220. I did the best damn single unders i have ever done. But I did not do the pull up. I didn’t come close to doing the pull-up. But, I tried really hard and did the best that I could & that’s all I can do. I also got the joy of watching my 11 year old (who is regularly bullied about her height) feel empowered watching one of my coaches do muscle ups because she is maybe five feet of fury & “was stronger than boys!” I love when my girls find empowerment in other women. She saw someone with her personal insecurity killing it and then decided that you can do anything in the world, even if you’re small. I was so excited to see my teammates kicking ass and taking names. I have the best team.

I also did some of my drivers ed training so guys, I can drive a car now. Big fuck you to everyone who said I couldn’t. Fuck. You.

As I hobbled home on my burning calves, I realized that if I wanted to do the damn pull-up next year, I needed to focus on the things that helped me get in better shape in the first place; better eating, working out, accountability. Mealife is AMAZING. Healthy, real food on the go. I’m so excited that this exists. And at home, it’s easier to eat better. Drink the water. Do the yoga. It’s all important. My best friend & I set goals for when I visit this summer. She’s my go to fitness guru (GO FOLLOW MY FRIEND ON INSTAGRAM. OKAY). My personal goal was wear shorts.

I haven’t worn shorts since my oldest was a baby. I’ve been so insecure about my legs. But I’m gonna do it. Just like I learned to drive, and moved across the country, and started Crossfit, I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone this summer and do the damn thing.

I decided if I’m going to do it, I’d have to stay the course. Cheat day once a month. Healthy food the rest of the time. More importantly, I wanted my first super cute pair of shorts to be shorts I was excited to wear…& also gym shorts because I only go to work or the gym. I have no life. Only work, kids, Crossfit. So, I grabbed the credit card and snagged me some BirdieBee!

BirdieBee is a clothing line dedicated to female empowerment. It’s run by my fitness idols, the Bella Twins! I’ve been wanting to buy some pieces from the line, but I haven’t felt confident. But the whole point of BirdieBee is to EMPOWER women, not make women feel badly about themselves. Anyone can wear BirdieBee. Just because my body won’t look like Brie or Nikki Bella, doesn’t mean I won’t look awesome in my own way. I love that all BirdieBee photos are untouched. No photoshop. These women show all of their own insecurities in their photos. If these women, who’s appearance is a major part of their brand, can embrace their flaws, much like how my daughter was inspired by seeing my coach slay a muscle up, I was inspired to embrace my insecurities, and this summer, I’ll show off my tree trunk, super strong legs in a pair of gym shorts…but only gym shorts because I have no life and only go to the gym.

The only way to get over your insecurities is to push through them. I used to be afraid to drive, but I do that now. I used to be afraid to hang on the bar at the gym, and today I tried to kip into a pull up. I used to be afraid to assert myself at work, but now I put myself out there by volunteering for projects (also the other Captains are adorbs and so much fun to be around). This is just one more time I need to put on my big girl pants and do the damn thing.

Gorgeous

Oh, Hello. Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the festive holiday break! I worked like a dog through it! But, it wasn’t all for naught. I love my jobs, even if journalism had to take a backseat for the month due to the craziness of the season. Fortunately, I’m working on an article that I’m super excited about, with some pitches out there. Things are quieter at the day job. 2018 is already amazing & I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.

My professional life is already off to a rocking start. As many of you know, last year I was asked to step down from my position and work as an assistant manager. It was demoralizing as fuck, but I wasn’t ready for the job. I had so much to learn and I actually saw it as an opportunity to learn how to be a good manager. I wanted to learn from my mistakes and become better. So I did. Thanks to a lot of guidance from my District Team Leader (whom I call my Jedi Master), I was recently transferred to a new location as acting sales manager! I’m pretty excited about my new role within my company. My staff is amazing and I’m so proud to have them as my team. Don’t worry though, I held onto that old nametag because I was pretty sure I’d use it again.

Meanwhile, my personal life is going pretty okay. I have the best friends who are with me through of the best and worst times. 2018 brings visits with them, including my friend’s wedding to her soul mate. Her joy makes me smile. I’ve been adopted into the best gym community. There’s no one else I’d rather hate my life during a WOD with. My kids are amazing and they’re super pumped for our trip to see Taylor Swift this summer. Breaking Benjamin has a new album coming out this year and my friend/favourite former co-worker are going to see them live in February, so that’s pretty awesome too. 2018 is gonna be rad yo.

My love life will always be ridiculous. I’ve been casually dating a guy we’ll call the teacher for about a month. He’s nice, attractive, we have a ton of things in common, and I should be head over heels…except I’m not.

I wanted to like him, but instead, Meh. The first red flag was that he goes dutch on every date, which is fucking rude. Before you get all “But MHC, you’re a feminist, what about equality?! I can’t believe that this bothers you! Think of equality!” Well, Captain jerkface, let me tell you something; except on very rare occasions; my platonic friends and I don’t even go Dutch on nights out. The person who invites pays. Why? Because it’s called having manners, asshole. Tonight I went out with my friend Carissa & I paid because I invited her. The guy asked me out every time. But every time, we split the bill. This to me screams lack of effort. If you can’t treat your guest, and make them pay for half the plate of nachos and a mojito, what effort will you put into a relationship? Not to mention it sends a mixed signal. Are we on a date? Are we dudebros? Life is too short for games in the early stages of dating. But more importantly, everything has a negative twist. EVERYTHING. Working late, not having plans on Friday, the Far Side. Everything had this dark attached to it. I look at the bright side of everything so the sigh and pessimistic side to everything was kind of meh. But we kept talking. I kept agreeing to go out again. I kept the conversation going. It was constantly me putting in the work & it bugged me. Unless he’s having a bad day, I don’t hear from him. Why do I bother? I guess I thought that you can’t ask for everything to be what you want. So what if he’s cheap, and kind of emo, and says things like “it’s too people-y out?” He’s interested and nice I guess?

Sure, I didn’t get butterflies, or kind of excited when he texted me. Just meh. But I’ll grow into romantic attraction, right? When was the last time the butterflies led me in the right direction anyway (if you need a friendly reminder of my horrible dating choices, click HERE)? Obviously it’ll be the right choice, I’ll just keep telling myself that.

Then I ran into the hot guy from my gym while I was out and about one day. I tried to talk to him once before. I tripped over my own barbell and contemplated dying there. Everything else can be summed up by my lord and saviour Jesus Swift by clicking here.

But we had a nice chat and said we’d see each other in class. Told my best friend; she may be planning the wedding because she was so excited that I’m so attracted to a human being. I’ve literally spent a year telling her about why the hot guy from my gym is so hot. This random interaction gave me an epiphany (& no, it’s not what one of my fellow managers thinks and that Jesus was showing me that I should make a move. Hot guys at the gym always have girlfriends, because they’re hot. And cool. And I’m a potato that sucks at burpees). I realized that I was wasting my time with the teacher.

I keep settling because I feel like I should date, or want to date someone, even though I don’t really care. Then I hate them after like a month because I realize they’re assholes. I choose guys (to shut people up) that I think are more “my league.” You know, losers, not “quality mans”. I always think maybe if I was in better shape, or wasn’t awkward and weird, I could land a great guy who would make me happy like in the movies. But I am, so I should choose guys more my level. You know, the guy who doesn’t pay for dinner and turns everything into an emo sigh.

Between well meaning friends and family who want me to meet someone, and my own feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my life, I keep settling for guys so I can be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. It’s not some item I want to check off of a bucket list, like the triathlon I want to participate in, or going to Vegas, or finally trying a donair. It should be because I genuinely want to spend time with someone. I’m tired of selling myself short in relationships. So, I likely won’t see the teacher again. I keep replying to be nice, but I can’t see accepting another date. Maybe we can be friends, or acquaintances? But a relationship is definitely out of the question. So is hot guy from the gym, because that would require actually talking to him, and I literally cannot do that.

For me, 2018 is about elevation. Elevating my team, empowering other women, including my daughters, building people up and watching them thrive. It’s obvious that I need to start with myself! Get to the gym more and have some work life balance. Attend the events we hold at the gym! Spend time with my friends, and make loving myself a priority. The more I love myself, the more I will see men like hot guy at the gym as “my league.” After all, I’m pretty dope. Four out of five Wireless sales managers would agree that I’m kind of cool. And I’m pretty when I make an effort. I’ll keep losing weight and build up my confidence and kick some ass at life & stop lowering my standards just to say I have a date. I deserve better, and I’ll need to remember that.

Maybe I need to look in the mirror and see a “quality womans,” and then I’ll stop wearing my “I attract losers” sign when I go out. Or learn how to talk to guys without looking like an idiot. Or both. Whatever.

Call It What You Want

I am a feminist.

I think women should have equal rights, equal pay. I think we should have control over our bodies. I think women should be viewed as equal to men. I think women should be allowed to embrace our sexuality, etc. I think women should empower women, not tear each other down.

But, in a post Trump world, I struggle with the idea of being a feminist. I’m ready to turn in my feminist card, and it’s because of other feminists.

You’re probably thinking, what? No, you mean Trump. You mean the GOP. YOU MEAN MEN. Nope, I mean other feminists.

(For the record, the GOP & Trump can suck it)

Feminism is about equality, but lately it’s been about some exclusive club that requires flash over action. The biggest example of that is that feminism, equality, and celebration of women doesn’t apply to Taylor Swift.

In addition to having the highest selling album of 2017, donating generously to victims of hurricane ravaged Houston, flood ravaged Louisiana, and to Kesha’s legal defence fund, Swift was named one of Time’s silence breakers. For those of you behind on the times (pun absolutely intended), let me bring you up to speed. Taylor Swift was sued by a man who sexually assaulted her for defamation. Swift countersued for a dollar. She won. She defended herself against her abuser. After her victory, she donated generous sums of money to charities designed to help women who have been victimized by sexual assault. Swift’s only public interview in almost two years was with Time, to shed light on this issue (it’s an amazing read, check it out). RAINN saw a huge increase in women reporting assaults, citing Swift’s bravery as the reason. But instead of being proud of a group of women for telling their stories and helping other women tell theirs, I was floored by the responses;

“Taylor Swift didn’t even use the #MeToo hashtag! She didn’t tweet!”

“She hasn’t even denounced Trump. Her inclusion is false until she tweets denouncing Trump.”

“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Rose McGowan had the best #MeToo of all time! You didn’t even tweet!”

Comments about Kesha deserving it more, Taylor hasn’t denounced Nazis (which she did, through her attorney), and until she tweets about Trump & uses the #MeToo hashtag, her experiences, her assault, her attempts to help women are invalid (ironically enough, Swift tweeting in support of the women’s march was heavily criticized, as she only tweeted. Why didn’t she attend?).

Wait. What?

Feminism isn’t about checking boxes to make sure you’re part of the super cool and exclusive feminism club. It’s not an itemized list of marches or protests you’ve been to. It’s about helping women. Swift has conducted one public interview, which was to highlight an issue she feels strongly about; protecting women from sexual abuse. She’s donated money to causes, she asked for a dollar to hold a man accountable for assaulting her. She donated to Kesha’s legal team to help her in her quest for justice. She also highlighted Kesha and her experiences in the article.

Instead of celebrating women, there was think piece after think piece about how Taylor Swift has not proven herself as a true feminist because she hasn’t written an apology album or even sent a tweet denouncing Trump. All she did was donate money. Not. One. Tweet. That’s when I started to realize that feminism isn’t about equality anymore. It’s about strong arming women to conform to the cause of the day, exactly how others want them to, or they’re kicked out of the club and vilified. When feminism stops applying to certain women because they didn’t dance like a puppet, or tweet with the right hashtag, then you are not a feminist. You’re just a mean person trapped in high school trying to bring down the personification of the head cheerleader.

A similar thing happened 15 years ago, when Christina Aguilera embraced her sexuality and released Stripped. The same feminists who wanted victim blaming and slut shaming to end were calling Aguilera a whore because she sang frankly about one night stands, women taking pleasure from sex, and embracing her body. While we now embrace Aguilera as a feminist trailblazer, I’ll never forget that the same people patting her on the back once called her a whore.

Emma Watson was also almost kicked out of the feminist club last year because she posed for Vanity Fair topless. What kind of feminist does that? Feminism seems less like a movement and more like a popularity contest. Action isn’t important, hashtags and analysis trumps action. Watson’s photo was somehow more important than her contributions to the advancement of women’s rights through the UN. Aguilera’s body of work was trivialized because she displayed her body. And they didn’t fucking tweet god dammit!

Women struggle to be taken seriously as it is; turning the quest for equality into a pissing contest to see who is the feminist most active on social media, or who marched the loudest, or who’s feminism is correct according to Jezebel or Daily Beast, isn’t helping. We look exactly like how we’re painted; as catty, jealous, vindictive bitches who like to boss each other around. A feminist doesn’t have to tweet about Trump to represent women; she can donate money. She can encourage victims. She doesn’t need to cover up (or pose nude). She needs to act in the level in which she feels comfortable, and in the interest of helping other women. That’s all. Stop policing feminism, because it’s making it harder for women to celebrate theirs. It makes it harder for us to defend the movement. Basically, if your thoughts are “not to diminish her experiences, but…” maybe sit down and shut up until you have something constructive to say.

Walking the Wire

I don’t normally use my blog to discuss serious topics, mostly because I’m grossly under qualified to discuss them, and I reserve my writing space for happy stuff, or stories of my doing stupid things. But I’ve read a lot about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and most of it has kind of made me want to barf. Mostly because of the level of victim blaming and the number of women who have said “this has happened to me too.”

Mayim Bialik, self proclaimed feminist and actress went on a rant in the New York Times about how she was blessed because she was smart, so men didn’t harass her. She didn’t get manicures and she didn’t flirt. She dresses modestly, so she’s never harassed at work. That’s all well and good, but harassment isn’t about what you wore; it’s about power. A self proclaimed champion of women shouldn’t be telling over thirty women that if they just dressed more modestly and not flirted, they wouldn’t have been sexually harassed.

Bialik wasn’t exempt because she’s smarter, or dressed better. She’s been exempted because she was lucky. We as women need to stop using the misfortunes of those that make us envious or inadequate to feel good. You will never feel good about yourself when you compete against other women. We’re all doing our own thing, so celebrate who you are, not how you’re better…and stop blaming women for being assaulted.

I think Ms. Bialik’s comments rubbed me the wrong way because it implies that women are somehow responsible for being assaulted, or it only happens to attractive women. Never “smart” women, or modestly dressed women. That puts blame on women. It’s their fault; they should have dressed differently, carried themselves differently. But that’s not fair. The fear that comes with harassment and assault lingers (I was afraid to give my mailing address to a friend yesterday, because an ex boyfriend had once asked a mutual friend for my number after stalking me for over a year. That’s one of the after effects of harassment), why add guilt and shame and the feeling of “you did it to yourself because of X,Y, & Z?”

Sexual harassment and discrimination can happen to anyone. I wear a ring on my left hand. I know it impacts my ability to meet men, because it looks like I’m engaged. But I was once sexually harassed at a workplace by a security guard. He refused no, would force me to hug him, etc. He got jealous when a platonic friend drove me home & asked me how dare I. So I bought the ring. Started wearing it. He apologized; didn’t realize that I belonged to someone. I had to be another man’s property for my declination to be accepted. I wore a uniform. How I dressed, my makeup, my hair had no bearing on his actions. It was about him being powerful and desirable, whether I wanted to participate or not.

That’s not the only time. I witnessed a trainer in my workplace get told by a newbie rep that she was only good at her job because she was hot. I once wrote an entire blog post about how a stranger grabbed my ass at a Tim Horton’s because he assumed that he could. A customer once screamed at me and threw paper in my face until my male manager had to step in. A grown man once pulled my headphone out of my ear to tell me that my sweater didn’t impress him and suggestions on how I could. I wasn’t even looking at him. This is not behaviour that was brought upon me by my dress or looks. It was brought about because women are told to watch what we wear and men aren’t told to behave themselves.

Almost every woman has a story of harassment. Whether it’s a catcall on the street, a male customer saying “not you, a REAL manager,” when they are told the manager is a woman. The guy who calls you sweetie even though you are his superior, or the mansplaining (a man once mansplained my own damn name to me). It wasn’t what we were wearing. It’s not about modesty. We need to stop pretending it’s about modesty or how we carry ourselves and start being open about this stuff happening and support each other, not tearing each other down.

I invite every woman who reads this to share their stories in the comments. Whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment, or you haven’t and want to support women who have, I encourage all of you to speak up. Don’t just say “me too.” Get loud. Get vocal. However, if you’re not ready, me too is good too. But please don’t stay silent. You are not alone. You are not the only woman. It wasn’t how you dressed or if you flirted. It was not your fault. If you have been sexually harassed; I believe you. I support you & you deserved better.