Sorry Not Sorry

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but my coworkers are pretty much the raddest people ever. I’m so lucky to work for a company that encourages growth from within, a one team mindset, and celebrates individual accomplishments. There is no “follow my coaching and become a mini me.” My boss encourages everyone to learn from everyone else until they become a superstar. It’s refreshing to see a team so focused on helping everyone succeed. 


The women on the leadership team know we are islands in a male dominated industry. We know we’re the minority. We have our own unique challenges (our trainer, who is arguably the most intelligent and interesting person I’ve met since moving here, was recently given sexist feedback by an ASSOCIATE), and we’ve stuck together. We celebrate each other, stand up for each other, and we’re fortunate to have each other. But most recently, I’ve learned more from one of these amazing women about self love in one night of cocktails then I have in a long time. 

There’s no denying that I’m an odd duck. I talk a lot. I like a lot of nerdy things. I’ve been known to live tweet WWE PPV’s. I tell bad dad jokes. But that’s who I am and it took me a long time to get comfortable in my skin. My colleague marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s unconventional, over the top, creative, and driven. I once said she was like a living meme; she drives the point home in a hilarious manner. At our last training, she said that if she could be an animal, she would be a giraffe. Why? So she could be majestic, but also eat her grass and mind her business. She’s also successful af & super interested in helping the business grow, so I love learning from her. 

As we were downing shots of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey (I may not drink often, but I drink whiskey now. Somewhere my high school bestie is so proud), I mentioned how I was told by a manager to turn down my personality so that I could better fit in. She straight up said “fuck that.” 


She then tells me about how she felt the same way when she had to go to her first manager’s meeting. What if they didn’t like her ideas because she was new? What if she was too over the top? What if no one liked her? When she told her boyfriend, he told her “show them you belong.” So, she showed them she belongs. And she did it by not giving a fuck and being herself. 

I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin, but there are times if I wonder am I  just too much or not enough? Am I ever going to be good enough to get that promotion, find the right person, achieve that 200lbs back squat at the gym? But my coworker’s “show them you belong” mindset reminded me that if I’ve changed everything about who I am to get that promotion, to meet someone, then I’m settling. I should be earning these things on account because of who I am, not through becoming a lesser version of me. If you sell out your authentic self to win a person or a job, then it’s a false victory. I’m not about that. So, instead, I’m going to put on my big people pants & show the world that I belong. 

I promised on Twitter that this gif would be in my next blog post, regardless of context. Pretend it has context

Whether it’s at work, in your personal life, or any other aspect of your life, show the world that you belong, that you are valuable, and that you can be successful and happy exactly as you are (unless you’re a racist or a serial killer, then you should probably go to jail). The best times of your life will come when you embrace who you are and use your strengths to your advantage, instead of hiding them behind a wall. So, shine your light, and show the world that you belong. 

It Ain’t Me

One thing I talk about frequently is my love of fitness. I super love it. Fitness is my favourite thing in the entire world. I love running. I love crossfit. I love yoga. But even though I love it, work, parenting, and life prevents me from working out as much as I want. I’m starting to realize that I need to work my way up to “the people at my gym go five days a week! I need to find time for six workouts or imma be a Mighty Morphin Failure Ranger!” 

When I started working out, it was six days a week with Stratusphere yoga. Then six days with Stratusphere Sculpt. But once I started running, I found six days to be too much. I ran every other day. So, three to four days a week. Then I added Crossfit. I went twice a week. During the winter I added some yoga at home twice a week. But as I added intensity, I found I needed downtime. Then I took six months off for an injury and three more because I had lost that WLCF loving feeling, where I would grab my gear and make a 7am class because those were my favourite people, outside of ones that shared my DNA. I’m so fortunate to have captured that again at my new gym. They are the best people in YEG. But sometimes I only get there once a week. And I might not want to run the next day. Then I look at the Fitbit that says I’ve only worked out twice and get down on myself. Then I eat shit…and feel like shit. 


Last night, I decided to FaceTime one of my two BFF’s, you might know him as heavy lifting outlaw Lift Bitches (give him a follow on the IG, you won’t be disappointed. PS I totally named his YouTube channel. Totally remind him that it’s great)! I love having a competitive powerlifter friend. I can talk about my progress, fears, etc. He gave me some real talk; yoga for six days (even bad ass yoga) is a lot less intense than two 5K runs and two WOD’s. Stop comparing myself to the guys in the competitors class and compare myself to last week’s MHC. Is she better? Eating better? Living better? Could I add more weight to my bar? Did I do an extra hanging knee raise before I felt scared? That’s the progress that matters. 


I keep forgetting that in October, I was basically starting my crossfit journey all over again. I can’t compare my progress to the competitors. I can’t even compare myself to WLCF me. I have to only focus on here and now MHC. My workouts have changed. Four days a week of crossfit and a 5K run followed by a half hour yoga cooldown is okay. No, I may not achieve my goal of a handstand push up by the end of the year. I may not hit a 200lbs back squat. But if I keep pushing forwards instead of stressing that I’m obviously not cut out for crossfit because my time was the slowest and my burpees were sloppy and I needed a rest day after a hard WOD, I’ll actually do those things. I need to be proud of the little victories, not kick myself. 

And always remember selfcare.

I sometimes wonder if my desire to be the best is hindering me. I fell in love with Crossfit because it’s a limitless journey to become healthier. Why am I always looking for the quick fix? Why do I feel like “the scale didn’t move this week. Am a fat failure. Break out the pizza.” I also wonder if I’m the only Crossfitter/person trying to be healthy who feels this way. 


So now, I’m going to focus on realistic goals. A realistic workout routine. In a few months, we’ll add a day or two, but right now, this is where I am, and that’s okay. I have to set goals that are right sized for me, not for the guy who can deadlift a million pounds and has been training without stopping for five years. He was probably struggling to get through that power snatch just like me once. But I’m never gonna deadlift a million pounds if I keep beating myself up for not working out six days a week. I’ve gotta trust the process…and myself. 

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.