Whatever It Takes

My life has reached a comfortable and calming rhythm and I’m super grateful about that. It’s been so chaotically busy, but it’s a good busy. I’ve been building up my writing career nicely, I’m still working on those driving lessons, and I’ve been more successful at my day job than I have been in months. That means more money for me, and a better way to provide for the famjam. I’ve also been without fast food, alcohol, or caffeine for 22 of thirty days. I’m looking better, my skin is better, and I feel more alert and focused. 

This makes me wonder if I should resume my Red Bull filled life after the month is over.

These past few weeks have been very eye opening. Much like when you rid yourself of toxic people, not having caffeine has been the same for me. First I felt really shitty. But now, my mind is clear, I’m focusing better, I’m less tired because I’m sleeping better. My workouts are better (with the exception of the damn geese).  But  iced coffee is also really delicious. So, the struggle is real. 

Maybe I need to reevaluate how much caffeine I’m consuming. Maybe limit it to that one cup of tea or one Red Bull a day. Or even treat it like I do with alcohol and have it as a rare, once every few months treat. But I wonder if anyone else struggles with a quasi unhealthy love of caffeine? I mean, I don’t eat much fast food because it’s not good for you. I avoid alcohol because it isn’t good for you. But I guzzle caffeinated drinks like water even though I know they’re bad for me. Why am I giving this kind of poison a pass? Shouldn’t I keep it out of my life like I do all other poisons, food, human or otherwise? Or am I overthinking this? 


I guess I’m wondering if I’m sabotaging my best life by adding poison to my body and saying it’s okay because it’s just coffee. It’s just an energy drink. I’ve gone without for three weeks and I’ve been emotionally, physically, and mentally better. Maybe this thing we’re taught helps us stay alert is actually holding us back. Or maybe, I just really want a damn coffee and I’m trying to suppress the cravings with justifications that I don’t care about it hahaha. 

I want to be my healthiest, happiest self. Maybe that does mean caffeine free, alcohol, and fast food free (until I remember that there’s a Popeye’s five minutes from my house). I mean, it’s been three years since I’ve had soda & that’s been okay. Maybe cutting the cord on coffee won’t be so bad. I’ll probably feel better long term. But I’m not sure if I can stick to it. Maybe I’ll keep replacing it with my delicious David’s Tea until I forget about it forever…maybe. 

But for now, it’s time to consider ending my long term relationship with caffeine. It’s not you coffee, it’s me. I want to be a healthier, happier person and I’m afraid you might be holding me back. 

Work Bitch

For those of you who are new to my world, let me catch you up to speed; I am absolutely terrified of geese. Every once in awhile, I try to pretend that the geese aren’t scary af, but in the end, I always go right back to remembering that geese are the minions of Satan, and are probably out to get me. 


Anywho, I often see these dark creatures of evil while I’m running and I normally turn around and run home. Why? Because I don’t want to die. Duh. But yesterday, I was feeling pretty buoyed by the Oilers big win and wanted to get my 5K in. So, I’m running and feeling all good about myself when up ahead I see…that’s right, the feathered horror itself; Mr. Goose. But, as fate would have it, my playlist switched to the greatest icon of my generation; Britney Spears. 


If you’ve lived under a rock, let me bring up to speed: Britney Spears is an icon. Anyone you consider an icon that isn’t Britney means that you are wrong. Deep down, everyone likes Britney Spears. You know that you secretly mouth the lyrics to Baby One More Time when you’re alone. It’s okay. But I digress. So, I’m running, and Britney’s Stronger comes on. Again, I don’t care who you are, if Britney Spears’s Stronger comes on, and you don’t feel like a bad bitch, then who are you really. Suddenly, I’m an invincible goddess, much like Britney. If she can survive 2007, I can survive a damn goose! So I jog right past that feathery fucker and keep on going. I can run 5K. Why? Because I slay. Queen Britney has empowered me. 


I’ve always said that music can change your mood. That’s why my running playlist is mostly hard rock, Britney Spears, and also Brie Bella’s entrance music (which is also my ring tone, because it’s the best thing ever). 

Stuff like this keeps me pumped up. Unlike Crossfit, where I have coaches and teammates to keep me motivated; I have only myself. Sometimes, I want to just give up early. I’m tired. I’m not feeling it. My hips are sore. Whatever. But I can’t do that or I’ll never progress or get triathlon ready. So, I use music that will elevate my spirits and keep me energized to finish my run, just like I choose music during my day to pick me up. Back to the story, I was doing so well. I was making great time, I had Britney Spears and Brie Mode, I was the fittest person ever. I was fearless guys, FEARLESS. I was almost positive that no goose would scare me off from my run…

Almost

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t invincible. But part of life means putting on your big people pants and putting up with stuff we don’t like. For me, it’s geese. Eventually, I’ll get to the point where they aren’t terrifying…or I’ll use my fear to run faster. Maybe. 

Beautiful Birds

Today I got to spend some much needed time recharging in nature & enjoying fall. 

Unlike those who hashtag every season as their favourite to get those social media likes for the external validation that they need to feel whole, fall really is my favourite season. The colours, the cold breeze and the warm sun, sweaters, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes, there’s something about fall that makes me so happy. There’s no deep meaning, I just super like it. I’ve always loved apples (I wear apple perfume every day of my life), Halloween, and the geese go back to Hell from whence they came. 
Fall always represents endings to people, but to me, it always feels like a beginning of sorts. School starts & all the social missteps of the year before were forgotten by the summer; months of not speaking. Now it’s just compliments of hair and shoes and a new start. My birthday sometimes lands on the first day of fall, so maybe because my life actually began on the first day of fall, it represents a new beginning, the next chapter in my crazy life. 

Today, while I wandered through the scenery, I was purposely ignoring my work phone, because as much as I love my job, I need work/life balance. That helps me focus when I am in the building & can support my team. This month we are the most successful team for our banner in the district. Not too shabby for a team that was second last a month ago! My boss told me he was proud of me. I told him I didn’t do anything. I just told the team I believed that they could. My DTL tells me to stop downplaying my role & embrace my role as the leader, but I’ve seen too many managers take credit for successes and blame the team for failures and how it impacted the team (it happened often at Walmart, mostly about their credit card applications & the team would HATE their managers after awhile. I never want my team to feel that way about me. They don’t have to like me, but they do have to know we’re all working for the same goal) & I never want to be that kind of boss or person. But I didn’t realize how comfortable I was in my role until this week. But not just at work; I’m comfortable in my world, in my place in the universe as MHC. 

The evolution of MHC

I used to wear a lot of eye makeup to play up the only feature I thought was pretty. I used to fake my personality to please my friends, my partner, whatever. But over the two years, I’ve rejected that. I’ve changed what I didn’t like and embraced what I did like about myself. Crossfit helped me get physically stronger while helping me feel accomplished whenever I finished a workout and lived (that’s exactly how I feel when I workout). And I got healthier; physically, mentally. And for the first time in my life, I am completely in love with my life, with my personality. I see myself as a whole person, that needs no mate, no human, job title, or reputation to complete me or make me into someone I’m not. I’m just me. And because I’m okay with being just me, the right relationship, the right friends, the career goals will all be there. In fact, my professional life has never been better. I’ve never been this successful as a writer or a leader. My role as mom is improved because I learned from the commute from Hell the importance of work life balance. And I look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman. I no longer feel like I’m missing something. The more you love yourself, the more successful you become, because your happiness no longer relies on it. You are happy simply because you make a conscious choice to be happy. 

I used to be defined by my marriage. I was defined by my occupation. I let my friends define my value. And finally, after many years and struggles and victories, I define my worth & I love the woman I’ve chosen to be so much. She’s smart, and strong, and brave. She’s damn near unbreakable. She’s learned to be patient. Let life happen on its own time. She’s kind. Gracious. Forgiving. And I know where I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be here; writing, working, teaching my girls how to become women that change the world. The only way to do that is to believe that I can change the world, even if it’s in a small way that impacts maybe one person. But lead by example. Be active. Be brave. Be a warrior in a world that wants women to sit quietly & not be heard. That is who I want to be, so that is who I will continue to become. 

Mine will be both.

For the first time ever, I’m in complete control of my life & my destiny. That’s not true, I always was, but much like Dorothy in Oz, the power was always in me, I just didn’t realize it at the time. But I do now. And I intend to use it to continue to kick ass at everything I set out to do with the knowledge that no one can take that power away. After all, I create my own happiness, simply by choosing to be happy every day. What I build for myself, no person can ever take from me. 

Firestorm

My bestest friend Erica told me to post this on my blog today. I told her I had nothing to write about, but she threatened to be a ghost writer if I didn’t write about something. So, I’ll write about why she’s so great. 


She’s the coolest, least judgmental person in the world. She respects my decision making. She trusts my judgment. She feels the same way I do about grammar. If you hurt any of her friends, expect her to go full mama bear. We promised my teenager that we’d go to Texas to hang with her daughter if she got straight A’s, & she is kicking ass at school. She’s pretty rad. And she knows I’m not totally comfortable blogging lately, so she tells me to write stuff or she’ll do it for me. She knows how important my blog is to me, that it was the first place I found where I thought what I said mattered after years of being silent and Stepford like. So, like a good friend, she challenges me to be better, a better writer, a better friend. 

Mostly, she finds things & thinks they’ll speak to people. I know, because they speak to me. And she wants everyone to be happy, even if she doesn’t agree with it. Oh, and she REALLY hates anyone who treats people poorly. Chances are, if she wants nothing to do with you, that’s why. 

Any who, this was her super cool meme that she wanted me to share. We had a whole chat about it on FB. We both thought it was something lots of people might want to read. You can totally read it (unless one or both of us have blocked you on FB). And since she’s having a cruddy day, maybe it cheered her up. If I missed the mark, she can expand in the comments while leaving her meme for you to enjoy. But any opportunity to discuss why Erica is great works for me. 

Your Type

I’m starting to think I’m spreading myself too thin & I’m pretty sure I don’t give a fuck.

I’ve been offered another freelance position with TWA Entertainment writing for one of their entertainment blogs. I’m reviewing a book for Great West as well as working on another piece. My story pitch was well received by another editor, but he’s not sure if it works in the paper I suggested, so he’s taking more time to think on it. But most importantly, I have a meeting next week with the editor of Metro Edmonton. I’ve met the guy before…and emailed him. And texted. And sent resume after resume. I’ve pretty much proven I can be VERY tenacious when I need to be. But I finally got a meeting for my sixth freelance position & I am so nervous that I may throw up. My best friend Erica calls him “Editor hottie” and said she “ships it” but I ignore her. This is a big opportunity for me & I REALLY don’t want to blow it. This would give me real newsroom access & it would mean so much to me. And I could still work my day job, which means I’ll get to keep doing such amazing things such as live & pay bills. Yay!

…oh, and I finally got a better work phone, so win for me. My boss asked how I got such a solid device as my work phone (which I now carry 24/7), I said because I’m awesome & everyone fucking loves me. He laughed. He gets me. 

LOOK AT MY WORK NEXUS 6P. LOOK AT IT. Although my business cards need work
That’s my fear; that I’ll spread myself so thin between management, journalism, raising my family, and fitness that I’ll burn out like I did in the winter. I keep reminding myself that I cannot allow that to happen. I’ve worked too hard for this & I need to keep my work life balance in check. So far, I’m doing alright. My friend Jannik jokes that I’m much easier to stalk now, as my schedule is so precise.I can’t complain about my work schedule; I build it because I’m the boss hahaha. Monday, Friday, Saturday are day shifts in my store, and running.  Tuesday – Thursday are night shifts in my store & crossfit (with a floating day off in there). Sundays off. Always (except for next weekend, where I’ll be reviewing Fringe Festival plays for Vue Magazine! How cool is that). I keep asking him if it counts as stalking if I know he’s there & leave him snacks and binoculars. We have an odd rapport. But my point is that I’ve built myself a balance. I worry if I keep adding to my plate like a fat kid at a buffet, if it’ll all topple down.

Aren’t we cute? But I don’t visit enough. Or ever. I am so mean.
But I guess I know that this is how it has to be. No one ever achieved success by sitting on their ass. I need to work hard. I’ve always worked hard, but this time it’s paying off in spades. I’m passionate about writing. It’s literally all I know how to do (oh, and kick ass in wireless. I’m good at that too) & work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like me doing what I have to do in order to become the successful woman & role model for my daughters I need to be.
When Fong, the weird pyramid scheme guy (who I thought was asking me for a three way when he asked me if I was open minded, proving that I’m super messed up) asked me if I could scale back & focus on having an easier time making money, I told him no. I like working. I like working hard. I like doing things that make me happy. Why would I trade that in for an easy path? 

So, I push myself by reminding myself that I earned these opportunities & I have to earn the right to keep them. I force myself to the gym when I’m tired or don’t feel like running by reminding myself that I need that self care, and I keep my day for me, my family, my sanity. Last week, I chose to spend part of it by my favourite place in Edmonton reading. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be in the exact same spot reading a book I’m reviewing.

If anyone needs me, I will be here every Sunday, recharging in nature

It’s a lot of work, but the best things come to those who put in a lot of work. So, I go into each day with the understanding that I need to put in that work to continue to succeed while balancing work, life, & fitness & being the kindest possible person I’m capable of being.

As always, to follow more of my adventures, follow me on Snapchat (ASHMHC). There’s lots of selfies with this filter. Fight me.

Forget Me Now

Today I did a thing. 

It’s not a super exciting thing, but for those who know me well, it’ll be a funny story. And you’ll probably giggle a bit. 

In case you’re new to the wonderful world of ASH Multimedia, let me bring you up to speed. I used to be really fat. Now, I am 92lbs lighter (as I lost the last of that pesky 15lbs I gained during my commute from Hell) & I have 43lbs left to reach my goal weight. I’ve worked super hard to get healthy. Part of that includes running. I effing HATE running. I have dedicated many a blog post to my hatred of running. But, combined with Crossfit, it helps me reach my goals. I want to be healthy, in shape, set a good example for my girls. But running is still stupid. 

Every other day, I go for my morning run around the lake near my house. But I never actually make it because the harbingers of doom are always hanging out. You know, GEESE. 

Again, if you’re new, let me catch you up; geese are the absolute fucking worst. WORST. They’re evil & scary & will likely murder me. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have watched my epic boss battle with Satan’s unholy army (which can be found here & here). You can actually pinpoint on my Runkeeper Go maps EXACTLY when I encountered these evil creatures because it’s where I turn around in terror. 

See?

Well, I’ve made it my personal mission to actually run all the way around the lake & not “run until Honky McTerrorface & his evil family appear.” So, like every other morning, I got up, did my yoga & went running. All was well until…you guessed it. GEESE. 

Fortunately, our evil feathered creatures of death were distracted by a elderly man taking photos of them, for what I can only assume is a coffee table book called “The most evil monsters known to mankind.” I sped up, fearing for my personal safety, assuming I’d be one of those people who gets chased or murdered by the unholy spawn of Satan & all that would be left of me would be a plaque with my face while people gathered around it feeding bread to the mother fucking geese, having learned nothing from the tragedy. However, Satan’s minions were excited for their Snapchat debut (they dig filters I guess. Unrelated side note; I reactivated my Snapchat at work this week. It lasted maybe 10 minutes before I decided it was the stupidest & deleted it again. I didn’t even send a snap to my favourite Snapchat friend because I’m an asshole) & ignored me…& I finished my run & finally made it all the way around the lake. 


This might seem like a stupid story, mostly because it totally is. But it’s fun & not everything needs to be some metaphor for some deeper lesson. I wanted to reach my little goal more than I wanted to be afraid of the goose. So I was. By achieving this mini goal, it helps me stay on course to achieve my next fitness goal (regain all of my crossfit strength & set a back squat PR# of 150 by year’s end). Every time I achieve a little goal, I can accomplish more until my fitness goals are about getting stronger & maintaining & not losing weight. It’ll be nice. But to do that, sometimes I’ve gotta do unpleasant things, like risk being murdered by geese…

…sometimes. 

Literally my worst nightmare

In The Night

I can’t sleep so I had a thought. 

It’s nothing important, but it’s something I’ve wondered. 

For those of you new to the party (and maybe need to be brought up to speed), all of my blog posts are titled with the title of the song I’m listening to at the time. Sometimes they make perfect sense. Sometimes they don’t, not even a little bit. Either way, the format isn’t changing. Sometimes, there’s a song that makes me think of a specific idea or person, but those generally have a password (more on that here). Often I heard something and it stuck out, as nothing speaks to me more than music. If I’ve ever told you (or tweeted) that a particular song was everything, chances are it had a deep meaning to me at the time. 

But I’ve often wondered if anyone actually looks up the song titles & listens to them.  I don’t imagine anyone does. But I’ve wondered if anyone does.  Or if they pick the right song. Like, if I title something In My Head, I mean 12 Stones, not Jason Derulo. Superman is Rachel Platten, not Eminem. And literally everything involves the Lumineers. And if anyone looks them up, would they think they could understand what I’m thinking because of a song? Isn’t that a hilarious thought. 

Maybe I’m vain. Or maybe it’s because it’s something I would do if I knew anyone who titled something after song titles. Maybe I would discover something new. A new artist, a new song. Maybe a song by the Lumineers I hadn’t found yet.  But maybe I’m the only person that takes my music that seriously. Oh well. 

  

Lost In Translation

It’s that time again, where we all celebrate the holidays & look back on our year! 

2015 started out super crappy. I rang it in bawling my eyes out because I missed someone who reappeared in my life & vanished again. I quit blogging to heal. Then I lost my job & found out on Facebook. But then it got better. I focused on friends & crossfit. I went on an insane adventure in the pursuit of my dreams of becoming a writer & started freelancing again. I thought I’d be alone when I got here but instead I found the love of my life, well, he found me, I’d hate to take away from his achievement haha. I worked to be a kinder person. All in all a rad year & I am proud to say that I did it all on my terms, my way. As always, here  is a photo essay (minus photos of my children) that sum up a year of my life.

 

Alcoholic hotel hallway yoga?
 
  
 
Superbowl, MHC style
 
  
 
My first crossfit competition!
  

  
 

 
  
  
  
  
 

My friend Bookstore Kitty

 
Queen Taylor Swift!
  

All hail King Rollins
 
 
Small Pet, the best birthday gift ever
 

 

         

     

    

  

   

 Happy Holidays & all the best for 2016 from me to you. I hope it’s the raddest year yet. 
 

Focus

When I went home to visit, I swore that I wouldn’t want to come back. 

After all, I had been so incredibly homesick that I was sure I’d be so happy to be home that I would start plotting my return. But, by day three, I missed my littles & my love & even my cat. I texted my boss saying I was excited to come back to work. I was working on an article. I was ready to go back to “real life,” while also trying to stuff my best friend in a suitcase.  

Aren’t my friends beautiful?
 

It definitely wasn’t because I wasn’t having fun. I was having a blast! My friends & I had the best time. There were drinks (including my boyfriend buying me a drink from two time zones away, because he’s adorable), Cards Against Humanity, bad movies & great conversation. But, with the exception of my old gym, where I felt right back at home, I realized that life moves on when you do & my place is in Cow Province. 

 

Oh, and I did this thing
 
My best friend is planning her own cross country venture. My other girlfriend is running a business with her husband. Everyone has their lives now & we’re settling into them. And me? My life is here, with my littles & my writing & (at the risk of scaring myself back into my groundhog hole & him away) my love. I’m stealing his words to explain how I feel about my life, I hope I don’t get sued for plagiarism. One night, I asked him to find more time for me, then promptly apologized because I am me & he is busy & works so hard. I told him I didn’t want him to take away from his actual life for me, to which he told me that his daughter & I are his “actual life,” and as long as he has us, that’s what matters. Visiting is fun, but I want to live my actual life with my daughters & my writing & with him because that’s the life that matters. 

I like my job. I make good money & my team is super rad. The Federal Election jaded me on my profession quite a bit, with their political bias, so I could be content freelancing for magazines while I work full time…for now. I still apply, but I could be content having the best of both worlds like Hannah Montana did back in the day. My girls are such awesome tiny people & I feel like I’m setting a good example. It’s not perfect, but it is my actual life & it’s pretty rad.  

More beautiful friends…& a bitch
 
But the best part of being home was talking to my friends about their lives. My best friend is so excited about her potential opportunity. She’d have a new position & better earning potential & she’d be really happy. My other close girlfriend & her husband are so deeply in love & it’s so awesome. My other girlfriend is helping her family find a new office for her family law firm. My former coworker & his girlfriend just bought a house together. My old coaches are thriving in their personal and professional lives. I believe the best part of life is watching others succeed & seeing so many of my friends thriving in their lives warms my heart. Keep on kicking ass my dearest friends, even if I didn’t get to see you. I love that you’re all living life & killing it. I loved catching up with all of you. 

And for me, it was a nice break from the stress of balancing motherhood, working two jobs, a personal life & sanity. My kids were safely in the care of the person that I trust most in this world. I got to enjoy much needed grownup time with all of my most favourite people. But when it was over, it was nice to cuddle up with the person I love most in the world & prattle away about my vacay (while half asleep) as we drove home…

…back to my awesomely awesome “actual life.”

  

Style

Happy birthday ASH Multimedia!

Five years ago, I started this little blog to help endorse my ex husband’s photography career. The photography & the husband are gone, but after 511 posts, over 65K views & five years, I’m still writing & that’s kind of rad. 

I don’t even recognize the person I used to be. I look at old photos and wonder who that woman is. I don’t recognize her (not just because I’ve dropped 100lbs) & I’m so glad. I love the person I found while muddling through life & finding that my life needed many things; passion for my career, a commitment to being a role model to my daughters, all the Crossfit, and the strength to stand on my own & become the woman I always was meant to be. 

 

The five year evolution of MHC
 
I no longer fear being my overly determined, impulsive & flighty self. I no longer fear being left to deal with life on my own. I no longer fear anything, except for geese, because they are terrible. I don’t take life too seriously anymore; I’m not going to make it out alive anyway. Now I trust that the universe will put me where I need to be & I’ll sieze those opportunities & make them my bitch. I’ve finally hacked away all the poison friends, relationships, self doubt & fear & have only the good left. And I love it. 

NEVER take life seriously

I used to think that I needed to conquer the world (this is lies, I still want this), but now, I just want to work towards my goals & make my daughters proud of me. So, I’ve decided to build my life on three basic rules. All I need is this;

1. Something to work for (whether it’s to be a better writer, or a better mother, a better girlfriend, Crossfitter, or human). 

2. Someone to love & love me in return (my children, my friends, my mom & brother & my beau, whom I have always loved & always will)

3. Faith in myself & my path, whether it’s the one that was well worn, or the one I forged myself through the mountains. 

The rest are details that mean little to me. I may never be a staff writer (this is lies, I for sure will), or a wife again (which is so low on my list of priorities, under “get root canal”), or a size six. But I will always be MHC & that’s the most awesome thing ever. 

Thanks for hanging out with me & my kooky life for five years. I’m sorry if you applied any of my ideas to your life & probably screwed it up for you. Might I suggest Taylor Swift or BeyoncĂ© as a role model? They’re much better at this. I hope you don’t recognize yourself from five years ago because you’ve grown into the person you were meant to be. I hope you’ve found joy, happiness, & you’ve found the love of your life. 

I look forward to what the next five years will bring…