The Killing Kind

This week I realized that I am SUPER bad at flirting. And dating. And gauging interest.

It’s been slow at work so I decided to reach out to businesses that get discounts through our carriers. One of those is the security team in our work. So, I took about seven of my super cool business cards down to them so they’d have a point of contact. Who answers? Hottie McHotGuard, the guy I’ve been working up the nerve to ask for his number for THREE. MONTHS.

I was not emotionally prepared for that! So, I cleared my throat, told him the reason for my visit (to sell phones and make money), and left. My best friend/coworker was dumbfounded. Why not flirt? Why not make conversation?! Why? Because I just wanted to sell phones dammit! But he now has my business card with my work cell number. We even made a bet that he’d text me (I said no, she said yes). As of this second, I win. She says it’s because I didn’t let him know that he should. I CANNOT INTERACT WITH MEN AND IT BE NOT AWKWARD PLEASE HELP ME.

I don’t know how to let someone know I’m interested without a million alarm bells going off in my head;

  • what if he’s not interested & I have to look at his stupid gorgeous face every day?
  • What if he’s a psychopath, as my track record indicates I have a type; fucking lunatics.
  • What if the kids hated him?
  • What if he’s actually a flat Earther or an anti-Vaxxer or thinks the lizard people are real?
  • What if he’s actually like, 22?

Add in my millions of insecurities and I’m ready to rush home to my cats, who tolerate me as long as I feed them.

I just don’t know how to translate “work chat” into “Do you want to grab a beer & maybe see if we should start dating?” Mostly because I see this man for maybe thirty seconds a day, long enough for him to smile and wave so I can tuck my hair behind my ears and wave back like Amy Santiago-Perralta from Brooklyn 99. It’s very nerve wracking and scary and workplace relationships rarely work. Not to mention I need to focus on my store right now. I’ve got a family, a house, a car, and vacations to pay for. I just cannot lose focus…

…but a big part of me really wants to take the leap. He’s cute, he’s got an accent, he’s funny, and does the same goofy things I do. He finds me funny, not “loud and weird” (unless he’s lying and he actually thinks I’m loud and weird). But it’s nice to meet someone I actually want to talk to, and when we do talk, I have fun talking to. It’d be nice to explore that a little, but I’m too nervous about all the things that could go horribly wrong. I need a wing woman because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing here.

At work, when I need to shift from the presentation to the sale, or when writing, how to switch from light questions to deeper conversations, I know what signals to observe. But I don’t know how to do that with dating. But I need to figure it out. Checking out Hottie McHotGuard isn’t constructive. He’s either not interested, which would mean Thank U, Next, or he is, which would mean possibly going on a date & maybe not hating him by date three.

But I’ll never know unless I actually say something, so perhaps I should. What’s the worst that could happen? He says no? I just need some courage. Or a buying signal. Why don’t men have buying signals?!

Maybe they do! And maybe I can learn what they are by probing for needs using open ended questions and non-business conversation! I know, but it’s a start! Baby steps will help me get into the dating pool full time, whether it’s this guy, or a dude I’ve never met yet with a yellow umbrella at train station after a freakishly long wedding. You know, whatever.

The Death Of Me

One of the things I struggle with the most is the ability to roll with punches, but I’m finally getting better.

My anxiety always gets the best of me & I end up pushing myself to be the best and when I’m not, I tend to panic. This applies to every aspect of my life; work, fitness, personal life. But, I’m working to get better. My goals for 2019 all involve me becoming the healthiest version of myself and that means learning to take the L’s when they pop up, because they happen to everyone.

This week started with a victory. Since I started CrossFit, all I’ve ever wanted to do was an RX’ed WOD (exactly as written, no scaling). This week the Crossfit Open started and 19.1 was completed…RX’ed BAYYYYBEEEEEE! I get that to normal Crossfit people, who work at it every day, and are super strong and mega bad ass, this is not a big deal. But to me, it’s a HUGE deal. I felt super accomplished. Maybe it’s not the best score ever, but it’s a damn good score to me.

I followed up my success this week by falling flat on my face the following week. Burpees are my biggest weakness. Until I get back to the gym three times a week and work on my mobility through yoga, they’ll be slow, sloppy, and awful. Burpees always bring out my insecurities too. I always feel obese, awkward, and like everyone is laughing at me. I know this isn’t true because my gym people are awesome. Also, they’re trying to do their own burpees and probably don’t give two shits about what I’m doing. They’ve got a workout to do. Normally, feeling awkward and awful about myself would keep me from the gym for a week. But not this time. I’ve got a workout I need to do and it involves hanging, another fear of mine. But I’m determined to do well.

Life is about learning to roll with punches. Sometimes you’ll fall on your face at the gym. Sometimes you’ll get rejected for a date. Sometimes you’ll fuck up at your job, or forget to put gas in your car, or accidentally lock your cat in your pantry. But you’ve gotta pick yourself up and learn to roll with it and keep plugging forward. I’ve realized how much of my life I’ve derailed from this insane standard I’ve held myself to. I try so hard to do everything right all of the time while simultaneously thinking that I suck. I feel like if I’m not completely perfect at work, I Won’t be taken seriously. I get so anxious about fitness that I’m afraid to go do the fitness and then feel badly because I’m not progressing at fitness. I both want to move into a healthy relationship, but I’m too insecure to talk to men I’m interested in, derailing any hopes of being in a healthy relationship. If I could just learn to accept that a mistake, miscue, or rejection isn’t the end of the world, I’d be in a much healthier place. So, I’m going to continue to work on it.

It’s not easy. Overcoming irrational fears and long term anxiety wasn’t built in a day. But neither was my desire to be the kind of woman I would be proud to be. I just have to make it a point to make that desire bigger than my fear of failure, and grow from it instead of falling apart because of it.

Let You Love Me

I’ve decided that 2019 is going to be the year I break all of my destructive, self sabotaging habits. I’m going to stop letting anxiety, poor time management skills, and procrastination affect my ability to do my job well, work out three times a week, keep my house clean, and generally be super mom…okay, decent mom, because super mom is a lie.

Step one was leave the house I hated and move into a place I’m proud of. My new house is pretty dope kids. I’m almost unpacked, all the laundry is done, and I’m loving my new place. It’s funny how loving where you live can change your whole outlook. I love my house so I’m making it a point to keep it tidy, and so are the kids. Clutter is a thing of the past, as we’ve made sure to keep things organized and put away. Loving coming home each night has made me happier at work, more pleasant to be around, and overall more at peace with my life & makes me want to be better. I haven’t loved my space since I left London, so this is huge. The stress of moving caused me to lose my focus at work, so it’s been nice to be back on track, working on those sales and really helping my team.

The next is health and wellness. I’m down 12 lbs so far and now that the move is done, I can focus on the gym. I registered for my fourth CrossFit Open, because someone has to finish last and I’m honoured to take one for the team.

Truthfully, it’s just what I need to shake off all of the blahs and residual depression from the summer. Getting back into fitness and integrating back into my gym life will do wonders for my self esteem and mental health. The only way to be a good parent is to teach healthy living by example. If I want to raise girls that love their bodies, I have to learn to love mine, which means getting stronger, healthier. By setting a good example, I can raise strong, bad ass, women.

All of these steps to be a better person are for a reason; to be a better mom, a better writer, a better cell phone boss lady, a better housekeeper and human. The more I invest into loving myself, the more I’ll be able to develop a healthy interpersonal relationship. Which brings me to my last point of self sabotage; the ring.

I started wearing the ring about three years ago, when a security guard at work wouldn’t respect that I wasn’t interested in him romantically. He kept pushing, so I went to Pandora and bought a ring. Suddenly, he backed off (because apparently “no” doesn’t hold as much weight as “look, I’m some other dude’s property!). Now, I just wear it because I like it. But today when I was driving my best friend home from work, we realized that I’m probably self sabotaging, as I wear a giant ring on my left hand. I’m giving off the aura of “unavailable,” mostly because I didn’t like myself and was living up to a self fulfilling prophecy that I was unlovable. Most people check for rings when interacting with a person of interest. While, it meant nothing except it was pretty, I was probably subconsciously making myself unavailable because I’m so gun-shy about dating. I can’t expect people to know I’m interested if I’m giving off the vibe that I’m unavailable. So, perhaps it’s time I ditch the ring.

I think a lot of us put up walls when we’ve been hurt or have experienced trauma. We’re all taught from TV shows that we someone to push past those walls and make us love them because that will heal them. That. Is. Bullshit. No one can tear those walls down but you, for you. This isn’t the CW and life isn’t some teen drama. No one can love you back to life but yourself. I think sometimes we let the dark parts of ourselves convince us that we need to wreck stuff before it starts and then wonder why nothing is changing. I’m so guilty of that, which is why I’m determined to break all of my self destructive habits, so I can be a healthier person personally and professionally. This means accountability at home, at work, at the gym, and with my personal life. This means no more giving the impression that I’m unavailable, or cold, or dismissive. Don’t worry, I’ll still troll online creeps…mostly because they are creeps.

In order to improve my life, I’ve gotta improve my life. No more letting the cycle of depression affect my home, no more letting anxiety affect my desire to live a healthier lifestyle. And no more hiding behind security blankets to avoid dating & rejection! If I’m gonna live my best life, I need to throw out the excuses with the bags I donated to charity when I downsized. The more bad, self sabotaging habits I remove (as well as that ring), the happier I’ll be.

Maybe You’re Right

FINALLY, the last few weeks are ALMOST OVER!

Hooray!

It has been a long ass month of sales, training a new hire, packing, getting ready to move to my dream home, and pretty much never sleeping ever. I’m hosting a housewarming party at the end of this and we’ve unpacked (with many stuffed mushrooms), because I’m literally in awe of my home. All my life I’ve wanted a home that I could be proud of, that the girls could be proud of, and in London, we had one, but not much else. Here, I have a job I’m good at, a freelancing career, a car, and the house I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl and I’m so grateful that my girls & I get to call it home.

I’m working with a renewed sense of purpose, because I have the house of my dreams, I have to take care of Wanda Maximoff, and now I’ve got to save up for some trips to Ontario for the summer, as well as a trip for my birthday. I was planning a trip to Vegas, but with Britney taking a hiatus, why even go? Exactly! No point at all!

Since Vegas is out, I’ll go to the one place I’ve always dreamed of visiting; New Orleans. I’ve tried to go twice; once for my Honeymoon (we didn’t go anywhere because he lost his job right before the wedding…twice) and once with an ex boyfriend (we broke up). Perhaps the lesson is to stop trying to do kick ass stuff with shitty men. So, whether I go alone, or find a travel buddy, imma try to save up and go to NOLA! I’ll need to fritter all my extra pennies, and buckle down at the gym (I’m down 12lbs since December), because I want to do this vacation, but also feel good about myself while I’m there.

One part of feeling good about myself is trying to make dating an option and actually mean it this time. For years I’ve kept myself closed off because I’ve been afraid of getting hurt. Then I’ll go out on a few dates, decide the guy is probably just an asshole and leave before I get hurt, rinse repeat. But my BFF’s keep reminding me that when I take risks with my work and other aspects of my life, they pay off. I took my kick down the ladder at work and worked hard to prove myself to be a capable manager who CAN do a good job. I took risks with my house hunt and I now live in the most awesome house in the whole wide world. Why don’t I take risks with my love life, and I don’t mean Tinder.

I mean actually making moves to let men know I’m interested in them, or at least make eye contact.

For this, and other pearls of wisdom, follow me on SC @ashmhc!

I keep telling myself I’ll meet a guy organically, but I also don’t do anything to do that, like leave my house to go anywhere except work, the gym, and Starbucks. Then while at those places, I refuse to acknowledge anyone outside of a quick greeting and retreat into my insecurity and lose myself in my phone. I refuse to even approach the hot security guard my best friend swears is flirting with me because I say he’s definitely not flirting, he’s just being friendly. He’s hot with an accent and hilarious. I am…me. I can look at my life and think “Damn I’m so awesome,” until it comes to dating. Then I instantly think

  • Too old
  • Too Fat
  • too weird (definitely too weird)
  • Too much baggage
  • Too loud
  • Too basic (My personal and work cell phones have matching pink sparkly cases ffs!)

I always just look in the mirror and think;

What self respecting man wants a single mom of three in her thirties that talks too much, swears too much, is WAY too bubbly, watches wrestling and loves Crossfit, Taylor Swift, and thinks that nachos and mojitos is the best date ever? None. That’s who.”

Let’s be real; there are beautiful women in their twenties with careers, cute friends that take insta photos of their feet on tropical islands, no kids, no divorce, wearing a size four. An attractive, intelligent man would definitely be more interested in. Why? Because they’re awesome! I’m not knocking beautiful twenty something women. They’re the coolest! They have jobs and visions and deserve to be praised for being amazing & deserve to be loved and appreciated just like anyone else.

Women need to stick together and they aren’t to blame for my insecurities. I am. It’s my fault that I refuse to make eye contact. It’s my fault that I feel awkward and weird and like I’m not good enough…and it’s up to me to fix it.

When I carry myself with the same confidence I have when it comes to my job, people notice. Men notice. They talk to me, smile, and even flirt. But I’m so concerned that I’m not good enough that I close myself off from meeting, as my ex boss/current friend says, “quality mans.” But that’s not on them, it’s on me. Sure, I have baggage, but I can lose weight if I put in the work, I’ve done it before. I have a good job, a great support system, a car, no criminal record. All good things. Maybe I’m too basic, but I’m also pretty funny. I’m smart. I have strong opinions and I can totally hold a conversation because I NEVER SHUT UP LITERALLY EVER. But for anyone else to think I’m a catch, I have to believe I am. But that’s the problem; I don’t believe I am. I do, until I want to approach a guy I’m interested in. Then I clam up and close off because there’s no way I’d be good enough for him and end up depressed for three days because I’m a lost cause with cats. I’m going to die alone as a spinster…with. cats.

When I get like this, and decide that I’m probably gonna die alone, ugly and fat, with cats, I usually eat ten pizzas and skip the gym and do all the things that don’t improve my life. This time, I channeled my insecurities into something that would make me feel better about myself. I carried on, getting my new house ready. I went to the gym as often as I could. I changed up my sales strategies at work. Went for Korean food with my ASM squad. But most importantly, spent time with the family catching Pokémon or watching the Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix and relived our magical evening with our Lord & Saviour Jesus Swift.

A mate can’t help me love myself and I can’t have a mate unless I love myself. So, if I’m going to use 2019 as the year that I FINALLY make my love life a priority, I need to silence my insecurities by making myself a priority. Once I truly love myself, I can let someone else love me.

Maybe I won’t have the courage to ask for the hot security guard’s number, but if I keep working on loving myself despite all of my weirdness, I’ll talk to the right guy. And he’ll think I’m great just the way I am. But the best part will be that I’ll think I’m great just the way I am too.

Last year, I attended a beautiful wedding & I caught the bouquet. I jokingly told my friend that it was hilarious that I caught it, because I’m the one person who will never get married next…or at all. Her new husband told me “if you told me two years ago that I’d be here now, married to (friend) and building a life and family with her and the kids, I’d have laughed at you. But I’m here and I’m so happy. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you that in two years, we’ll be dancing at your wedding.” It was so optimistic and cute. But maybe he’s right. Maybe all these years I’ve closed myself off because I’ve felt unworthy of love, and I’m missing out on the joy they had. So I promised I’d carry that bouquet as my “something borrowed” at my future wedding. I just have to remind myself that I deserve love and joy just as much as anyone else and its out there if I’m willing to put myself out there.

But I learned you’ll never love yourself if you keep blaming your past, your experiences, acting like a victim, or making no efforts to improve your circumstances. Change doesn’t work unless you do. I keep making changes; I work out to feel better about my body. I found a home I’m proud of. I work hard at my job so I can grow. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m trying. But if I want to be a person that someone else will fall in love with, I have to make sure that I love every aspect of who I am, and continue to grow. I’m not there yet, but I’m working at it. Maybe, once I fully love me, I’ll meet someone who does the same.

Everything I Need

It’s that time of year. You know, New Year, New Me, and that bullshit. This year was something. I learned that to be the person my family needs me to be, I have to make sacrifices. I learned that people will exploit those sacrifices to manipulate, and exploit your kindness to try to hurt you as much as they can just out of spite. But, I learned that you need to forgive those people, because family trumps all.

I learned how to reconcile with my past relationship failings and move forward as a healthy, happy, human being, so that I can finally be emotionally available in a relationship. I learned my priorities will always be my family, my job, and Crossfit and that’s okay, because I don’t need to change for anyone.

I also finally reached a point in my career where I feel successful enough to make changes. I bought a car. I conquered my fear of driving. I have a new home. 2018 was a year of learning. 2019 will be the year that the lessons I’ve learned blossom into joy; professionally, personally, and mentally.

As always, here’s a snapshot of my year, featuring photos that don’t involve my children. 2018 was a magical, painful, challenging year. But I hope I always keep growing, optimistic for the future.

Finally got to see Breaking Benjamin!

We don’t discuss this evening

Another cover story!

I did not panic (lies, I’m panicking now). My new home.

After five years of never making hair changes, I finally did something different to my hair.

Woman Like Me

My best friend moved to Edmonton a few months ago and it is, without a hint of hyperbole, the absolute fucking best.

She’s getting the hang of our business, our team is dope af, and WE GET TO GO TO THE IKEA! I’m moving next month and it’s been nice to have someone here who’s super excited to organize and decorate my new house (also, WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE MY NEW HOUSE IT IS THE MOST AMAZING PLACE EVER), have Thursday coffee with, and talk in the same time zone. I am so proud of this woman for taking huge risks and having it pay off, and I get to watch her do it all from across the hall! There is literally none downside, unless you count when she decides to be my wingman.

See, I haven’t been on a date since early June, when I went out with Mr. I work for the Government, I’m super important, so I’m always late and super arrogant. Barf. I almost made a date with the guy who pretended to be a customer to get my business card and then charmed me until he told me to go on break and hook up with him in the bathroom of Sherwood Park Mall. Know your audience bro. The rest is boring Bumble dudes who annoy me and my longstanding crush on the super hot security guard at my work (not the one that told me I looked pretty & my 11yo told him “Dude, I am right here!” The other good looking one hahaha). But, I made a joke that I was bored at work and too bad the security guards weren’t doing their routine visits. She points out;

  • He’s not wearing a ring
  • She works shifts I’m not there and can do recon
  • She knows my number, my work cell number, all of my social media handles (which are here, here, and here), where I live, and my work schedule

And she’s not above playing wingman. After all, it’s time I got out there & I could always talk to him myself…

…but why?

You have to TALK to men now?! Ugh!

I’m not good with dating. Or talking to attractive men. I become all weird and awkward and it’s super awful for everyone, especially me, who pretty much wants to crawl into the floor and die.

Besides, no security guards wear wedding rings for work purposes, and super attractive security guards generally have girlfriends, you know, with the being attractive, funny, and have a good job and such. That’s generally what women look for, along with “don’t be a raging fucking asshole.” I am a potato who doesn’t know how to talk to men. I mean, I make attempts, but it’s all “so…do you like…stuff?”

The thing is, my BFF is right. Maybe I should be more open to communicating with men. The pieces of my life have been falling into place all year. I’m finally successful at my job & I’ve held my position for a year. I bought a car. I’m moving to a house that I’m proud to live in. I’ve built a strong support system and have established strong friendships in YEG. I’m focusing on ways to improve my physical and emotional health and both are working. My work performance is improving every day. I’ve been happier than I’ve been in a long time because of the changes to my living situation and more time at the gym. Maybe now that everything else seems to be falling into place, I’m finally ready to consider dating more seriously than “three dates and you mildly annoy me so I don’t want to date you anymore.” That’s how it works. You get the rest of your life figured out, and then you meet someone & it works and you’re happy…

…or you just become the cat lady!

But, apparently, you need to actually talk to men, and interact with them, and like, pay attention to them and stuff, which is apparently where I’ve been going wrong. I’m always so focused on making life better for myself and the girls that I don’t really do that. I live in a bubble where I parent, go to work, and go to the gym, and no one meets their soulmate at work or the gym (or in Sherwood park in a mall. Trust me. Just no). So, I guess I’ll need to start doing that…

…mostly because I don’t really have a choice, as my own personal wingman will force me into the dating world kicking and screaming, but it’s for my own good hahaha.

Best Life

Every year, there seems to be a new celebrity trend. First it was skinny jeans, then it was highlighter hair, now it’s rushed engagements.

First Ariana Grande & Pete Davidson announced their engagement after three weeks of dating, then Justin Bieber and Hayley Baldwin followed suit. All four people in these couples had ended long term relationships just weeks before their rushed engagements (so this was obviously well thought out). Now, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra are joining the “get engaged during the Honeymoon stage,” trend. The glossy mags talk about how cute it is, and how it’s all “goals.” I’m not one to judge someone else’s love story. I have a friend who married her hubby on their fourth date, and 12 years and four kids later, they’re still in love. But, as someone who did the whirlwind courtship, I can’t help but think it can be a recipe for disaster.

I got engaged after three weeks of dating…twice. The first engagement went down in flames two years later, after the wedding was postponed three times, I caught him cheating, and he had been arrested for committing bank fraud…by stealing from my mom. The second time was my marriage. I’ve talked about it before, and while I don’t regret the marriage because I have my kids, it was a good lesson. I got engaged during the height of the honeymoon phase. As we got closer to the wedding, I realized while I loved him, I didn’t really like the person I was marrying. He was angry, controlling, manipulative. Had it not been raining, I would have pulled a runaway bride. I tried to make the marriage work, but as the years went on, it became more and more toxic. Emotional abuse turned physical. Every day was a battle; reassuring him that he was attractive while he propositioned my friends. Sex was a weapon; it was his way, degrading. If I said no, I was called a whore until I gave in. I was putting out fires from his excessive spending, poor employment record, and mood swings. Had I not rushed, I would have known this wasn’t the right person for me. But I wanted to be married so that I knew he’d be there for our kids (which proved to be no help as he only sees them once a year and doesn’t pay child support).

After that, I struggled in relationships. I would choose toxic men who were controlling, or emotionally unavailable. But I’d stay, through the on and off, because it was always the honeymoon phase, or over. I now realize that those super fast paced relationships played a part in how I saw relationships. For a long time, I would get weirded out because the relationship wasn’t proceeding at a breakneck speed, as all of my major relationships had progressed too fast, so I just assumed you were supposed to know someone was “the one” after a month. I probably sabotaged a lot of potentially good relationships by letting those insecurities get to me & ending it too soon because I didn’t think it would progress, when in reality these were just guys not pushing zero to 100 in a week.

Most of us won’t know someone if someone is the love of your life in three weeks. I’ve known some of my friends for my entire life and I’m still learning things about them. Even if you’ve known someone in a social setting, you don’t truly know someone unless you have lived with them, fought with them, spent time with them. You need to learn their flaws and their core values. While for some, you can do that in a few weeks, for most of us, we can’t. Rushing relationships almost always leads to disappointment in the end.

But we as a society have created & glorified the drive thru relationship. You meet, get engaged quickly, then flame out. Look at the Bachelor franchise; 30 something couples & only four marriages (five if you count the guy who married the runner up). Even now, when you read about the show, people talk about how former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and her fiancé Shawn still aren’t married after three long years, they’ve been engaged FOREVER. They got engaged after nine weeks. Perhaps they decided to step back and date in the real world before rushing to get hitched. If they know that it’s the right person, what’s the rush? They have all the time in the world to do the thing.

We also place marriage as a super important status symbol or a bucket list box and not an actual relationship foundation. Perhaps a guy like Nick Jonas feels pressure to wed because his brother Kevin is married, and Joe is engaged. As one of the few unmarried friends in my social group, I get hounded a lot about when am I going to settle down and remarry. After all, everyone else is married. But, I’m not sure that I want to get married again, and I know that I still have lots of work to do on myself to be a good partner. But in our Pinterest world and desire to keep up with our friends Instalives, the idea of marriage as a commitment has been replaced by “throw a party.”

My best friend told me about how someone he knows announced that they had put their all into their marriage and it was over; they had been married for two years. Maybe they truly weren’t meant to be. Or maybe they only want the honeymoon phase & not the hard times. I know that’s where I was going wrong with my relationships; I didn’t know how to work past the honeymoon stage. The big lesson I’ve learned from a whirlwind engagement is the value of taking your time. Even if you are deliriously in love and are a million percent sure they’re “the one,” give yourself time to see how you grow with them, how they handle dark times, and how you handle them with them. Put in the work, because love isn’t enough. Besides, if they are “the one,” you have your whole lives, right? What’s wrong with taking your time to enjoy life together?

While I wish all of these young couples all of the best with their courtships, I hope they are cautious and don’t enter into them lightly, or else they’ll end up with a broken heart (maybe even on live TV, something Becca the Bachelorette learned about after her whirlwind courtship). Maybe they really know, and can tell their grandkids about their crazy love story like my friends will. Or, maybe it’ll be a painful lesson that will help them discover what they really want out of love, so when they’re ready, it’ll find them.

Sinners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Night We Met

What could be better than your computer requiring a system restore the night before a deadline, so you have to wait to proofread it before submitting it?! What, being punched in the face?! Perhaps!

Actual footage of me vs. my computer tonight

Oh well, while I wait for the system restore, I’ll just sit here in my bathtub wearing a detoxifying mud mask because this skin isn’t gonna look healthy on its own. I’ll also take this time to ask a question that’s been the subject of an argument between myself and my friends (& my teenager, who is determined to marry me off to some handsome hunk so her little sisters have a father figure in their lives & she can convince imaginary new stepfather to buy her a puppy);

Is it possible to be too busy to date?

My friend is getting married this August, and I’ve been asked back home if I’m bringing a plus one. I haven’t been on a date since December so…no. Besides, who brings someone they’ve dated less than six months across the country to meet everyone & attend a wedding? That’s way too soon! I’m constantly asked when I’m going to finally meet someone, or start dating someone seriously, and I always ask myself “Excuse me, when am I going to have time for this?!” I mean, I work 50 hours a week at my store, then I’m writing articles for three publications. The only places I go to outside of work is the gym or Starbucks. No one meets their soulmate at the gym or at Starbucks, despite what romcoms tell you…do they? Personally, when I’m at the gym, I’m just focused on not getting injured. Seth Freaking Rollins could walk in and propose and I would likely be too focused on my kettlebell swings to notice.

I work six days, I hit the gym three days a week, go running three days a week, work on my articles in the middle of the night, and use my one day off as family day for the girls. Where exactly am I gonna fit “develop a functional interpersonal relationship?!”

I keep being told to “make time.” But I don’t want to unless I’m making time for someone of value. Otherwise, it’s straight up wasting my time. People say I’m not willing to give men a chance, but in reality, I’m not willing to give all my time and attention to some Tinder dude that hasn’t proven himself worthy of my time yet. I’m busy. I’m not gonna drop a gym class to go out for drinks. I’ll gladly make plans in advance with you, and if you’re not willing to make them, then chances are you don’t respect my time. Why should I lower my standards like that? If I asked to make plans, and the dude said he was busy, I would understand he has a life too. But women in general are expected to fall head over heels because a guy showered them with attention.

The other issue I take is “MH, you’re a single mom. You have baggage. You can’t be expecting to land a charismatic, successful, career focused man. You need to settle.” Bitch, no I don’t. Kids aren’t baggage. They are part of the package. Unless they have chosen to remain child free (a decision that should be respected BTW), we’re in our thirties. Lots of divorced single parents out there. Much like I had to learn to embrace that I might be a stepmom (something I was previously not open to, because of past experiences), most men in my age group understand its part of the deal. Why are single moms supposed to reduce ourselves to emotionally unavailable jerks because “the good ones won’t want a single mom.” Then how are they “good?” A good person embraces every part of you, and that includes kids. I always want to scream that I’m not too busy to date; I’m too busy to settle.

Every relationship I’ve ever been in was me settling for someone I thought would love me because I’m obviously so difficult to love. When my old blog post pop up on my Facebook memories, and I re-read about how grateful I was that cowardly, spineless, twats “loved” me because I was so impossible to love, I want to puke. Not just because it reads like a pathetic wimp, but because I allowed myself to think that I didn’t deserve to be happy with someone because I sucked as a person. Everyone deserves to be happy. That is a basic human right. And everyone deserves a relationship that helps them feel good about themselves. A relationship where you feel like you have to be grateful they’re with you because you suck isn’t one of those.

I don’t want to look at myself in a negative space anymore. So, I refuse to waste time on things or people that will only bring negativity to my life. Instead, I fill it up with things of value; my girls, my job, my career, Crossfit, a 10k run, my best friends. You know, stuff that really matters and will help me improve as a person, so I can be a better role model to the girls. Settling isn’t really doing that.

I guess when I say “I’m too busy to date,” I also mean, “I’m too busy to settle.” I’m also too busy, mostly because I only go to work, Starbucks, and the gym (which we have established are not ideal places to meet people), because I’m trying to do my best to live a life I’m proud of, while teaching my daughters to live life on their terms and be happy with themselves, so when they’re ready to love someone, they’ll be capable of a mature, healthy relationship without the trial by fire that we all had. Maybe if I meet someone who is also busy, and wants to compromise with me so that we fit into each other’s lives comfortably, things will change, but until then, I’ve gotta focus on the girls, that 10k run, my byline, and helping my store succeed.