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.

Vega

This morning, I did the normal day off routine; get kids off to school, take a nap, leisurely skim Twitter (if you’re not following me on Twitter, feel free to click HERE. Mostly fitness, bad WWE takes, and rambling about current events), then empty stomach cardio because winter has finally gone back to Hell where it belongs. Anywho, this morning, one of the trending topics was from a man giving real life “love advice.” It was obviously so great and not at all terrible. Here, let me show you & you can see for yourself.

Great, right?

This is always so irksome to me, because it’s always so one sided. It’s always about how women should learn men’s interests and hobbies, and let them teach us how to do stuff, because men aren’t happy unless they are exerting their intellect over stupid, stupid women, right?

Barf. Barf. Barf.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with sharing in your partner’s interests. But this guy perpetuates the idea that women only like sports and video games to attract men. They obviously wouldn’t do it because they like it! Also, it’s one sided. It’s always about how women should learn about their man’s interests and learn to love them, but never the other way around. I have never once read where a man is told to learn about his lady’s interests, or pick up a fashion magazine and learn all about how to pair a skirt with a cute pair of heels.

I’m sure a lot of women can relate to the idea that we must always be interested in what our partners like, but our interests are considered secondary. I remember reading the Sword of Truth series, but I don’t recall my ex husband ever picking up Gatsby, or any of my favourite books. I tried Grand Theft Auto and Halo, but they never played Zelda past the Great Deku Tree in Ocarina of Time. Throughout my life, I have sat through hours of baseball games, listened to Drake albums, and watched One Tree Hill because I wanted to take an interest in my man’s hobbies and interests. But never once have I gotten an offer to play Street Fighter, read a book I recommended, come to a Crossfit class, or watch Wrestlemania (of course, even if they did offer to play Street Fighter, they’d get mad if I won). Some of it wasn’t all bad; I developed my love of the Lord of the Rings after my ex husband asked me to go to all of the movies with him (I later read the books and loved them). While there are lots of great guys out there who really care about their partners and take an interest in their hobbies and interests, the general consensus is always it’s up to women to sacrifice, change, support, adapt. We must giggle and twirl our hair and ask men to teach us how to understand sports, while they never need to learn anything about our interests or hobbies or what we do to make us happy.

Relationships are supposed to work both ways, but you rarely see men encouraged to read Pride & Prejudice, or listen to their girl’s favourite band, or watch Mean Girls and learn the entire dialogue. It’s always up to us to embrace their hobbies and assimilate into their world. But I think it’s just as important that a guy should want to get to know his mate’s interest. I don’t expect you to love it, but I do expect any potential mates to at least take an interest in some of my hobbies. Ask how my class went at the gym; maybe even check out a class with me & try Crossfit. Attempt some yoga with me. Stream some Taylor Swift and Breaking Benjamin on Apple Music. Ask me about the articles I’m working on or my day at work. But I refuse to be in a relationship with someone who expects me to take an interest in their life and take no interest in mine. Relationships are about compromise. If you don’t, then you’ll end up like John Cena, who refused to budge on anything and lost his fiancée (or it’s all a ploy for Total Bellas).

So, don’t expect a woman to pretend to give a shit about your fantasy football league if you’re not going to watch the Bachelor. Women like to feel respected and valued just as much as men do. In fact, you’ll likely find that the more invested you are in what she enjoys, she’ll probably show more interest in yours. Then you’ll actually be merging your lives, instead of asking her to stroke your ego.

p

Gorgeous

Oh, Hello. Happy New Year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So It Goes…

I’m a very lucky human being, because I’ve had a core group of friends to see me through most of my life.

There’s something so comforting about the fact that my best guy friend at thirty something is the same one I had when I was 17. That my roommate at 21 is still my friend today. That my best friend at eight years old is still someone I connect with on social media while we navigate the world of single parenting three girls. It always makes me feel like I can’t be that bad of a person, because the people who knew me then still like me now. It’s nice to know that the people who saw you when you loved Barbie, or listened to KoRn, or went with you to get eleven different piercings have evolved with you and you still love each other.

Also, look how cute we were at prom.

I will also be the first to admit that I once relied too heavily on people to look out for me. My wonderful friends did that, mostly because my track record with life choices is pretty terrible. They still do, and I love them for it. Last week was a shit show (which I mentioned here), and every one of my friends (save for one), suggested that I move home. Sometimes I even think about it. But the teen has her heart set on attending a university here, and my job as a mom is to help her get to where she wants to go in life. But, after a long chat with the best of all the guy friends, I realized why I need to stay with the Cow People in the Cow province.

He casually brought up someone that I used to know, who I haven’t thought of in months. I called him “the Dude.” Mostly because for a good two minutes, I couldn’t remember his name. I once believed that the dude was my happily ever after; now I had to pause to remember his name. I’ve realized that I have no idea who my soulmate is, because I have no idea what I want in a mate. I know what I don’t want; but I’ve spent so long listening to what people think I should want that I have no idea what I want. But I know I need to stop getting caught up in a type and just let what’s meant to happen strike like lightning. Maybe instead of a Seth Rollins, I belong with a Dean Ambrose (gross). Maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.

However, I do know that my adventures to the land of cows have helped me realize that life evolves when you do; the thing you wanted a million years ago, might not be anything you would recognize now. I don’t want to be the person pretending on FB, posting the happy family pics to pretend I’m happy when in reality, I’m not because I’m walking on eggshells. You know what I mean, one half of the couple has everything about how in love they are and happy photos and the other, not so much, and you KNOW neither one is happy. I don’t want the complacency of my life in London; where I was content at my job and didn’t really push to get my written work published because meh. I don’t want to be the person who settled: for the house on Felix, for the call centre job because it paid the bills, for the husband that made me cry because no decent human would want me. I don’t want to be the woman that relies on her friends to prop her up; I want to be a person that can stand on her own while holding up others.

In the Cow Province, I don’t settle. I grow. I wanted to achieve my goals and I am. I am growing as a journalist; my Great West Newspapers editor is really helping me evolve as a writer. I want to move up at work; not just because a promotion means more money, but because I want to be challenged. I want to develop into a better leader and coach. I want to push myself to be better, so the friend who knew me at eight, or dated me at 17, or lived with me at 21, can be proud of me. More importantly, so I can be proud of me.

I needed to go on my grand adventure so I could learn how to push myself harder. I needed to learn that my weirdo personality is not for everyone; but I need to own it. I needed to learn how to stop being some simpering victim and own my shit. But most of all, I needed to learn that every single thing that pops up on FB memories about my life from this time a few years ago isn’t the life I really wanted at all, and I don’t miss any part of it, except the house I lived in while in London, and that my friends lived in same area code.

As much as I sometimes want to go home and settle back into Ontario life, I realize that for me to become the type of person I want to be, I need to follow the path I’m making, not the one anyone built for me. Maybe this grand adventure was a lesson in throwing my very sure and certain guidebook for life out the window and actually work to become a better person. Maybe I needed to change for the better, and the things that stayed (Crossfit, journalism, an unhealthy obsession with pancakes) were meant to stay, along with my best friend in the eighth grade, the friend I met working at Target, or the hippie that dragged me to college with her, and always reminded me that just because it’s not the path everyone would have taken, doesn’t mean it’s not the one I’m meant to follow.

For Now

In the never ending story that is my life, we’ll call this chapter “the time everything absolutely fucking sucked.”

I’ll keep the major details to myself, as there are a great many things that I still choose not to share with the internet, but trust me when I say this week absolutely fucking sucks. Because it sucks, I’m seriously contemplating functional alcoholism (despite the fact that I rarely drink), or maybe full Brie Mode (for those of you that don’t watch Total Divas, click here for the definition of Brie Mode).

Despite the fact that I have the most amazing friends back home, sometimes I feel like I can’t talk to anyone, because they all tell me “you’re so strong, you’re Superwoman.” I want to be a superhero, and that bad ass woman they all tell me that I am, but am I? I don’t feel very super. I feel more like “pitifully average human who is drowning under the pressure to be a good mom and a good writer and a good employee and a good Crossfitter and pay bills while still looking pretty and maintaining a social life, despite having one friend that isn’t a coworker.” Being a one woman operation is tough kids.

We live in a FB filtered world; no one wants to admit that their life isn’t perfect and maybe they aren’t the superhero that their inner circle thinks that they are. No one wants to admit that they sometimes think they’re a shitty parent or looks at their bank statement, which is currently negative $36 and wonders how Xmas will be wonderful when cheerleading fees need to be paid and the gas bill is due and one kid needs new glasses and another has a field trip & it all costs money. No one wants to admit that sometimes they just want a night off from trying to be the best and just go out with friends, but since you don’t really have any, it’s hard to go places (sometimes I feel like I’m in the ninth grade again, where I wonder if people actually like me, or if they just want me to help them with the grownup equivalent of helping them with their English homework). No one ever admits that they feel like their very personality is somehow deficient, and you are somehow too weird or annoying for people to actually like, so you feel like you can’t really be yourself around anyone. These are things we just don’t do. Instead, everything is perfect. Everything is fine. Life is awesome.

In my life, everyone is counting on me to be so damned inspirational. Spoiler alert: I’m not inspiring; Beyoncé is inspiring. I’m just me. I’m a mostly unimportant writer and kind of okay assistant cell phone manager who talks too much.

Sometimes I wonder why it’s not socially acceptable to admit you’re not killing it at life right now. That maybe you’re lonely, or stressed out, or you just don’t really feel very good about yourself. Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to say “I hate literally everything. You ever felt like that?” And someone relate to that? Maybe then we wouldn’t feel like it’s somehow not okay to have moments of self doubt, or sad, or stressed. Instead, we push ourselves to be the superhero we’ve made ourselves out to be and you don’t want to let anyone down. I think it’s harder for women, because we’re taught at an early age that we’re in competition with each other to be the prettiest and the smartest, meeting all of the Game of Life checkpoints while also never getting angry, or feeling less than confident, and God forbid you aren’t a size six! So, we all kind of compete for the best highlight reel and you can’t really live up to the hype.

Sorry guys, I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m just little old me; a plain, boring human who struggles with self esteem and time management, and sometimes is overwhelmed by the enormity of her responsibilities. I’m actually not sorry. If I’m going to be some inspirational ray of fucking sunshine, I need to be an authentic human being. Authentic human beings sometimes hate everything and feel like they suck at everything and look to someone they think has their shit together and goes “man, I wish I had my shit together and was half as awesome as they are.” I look at another manager in my company and wish I was half as cool as she was! She doesn’t care what people think; she just does her thing. She doesn’t second guess every word or thought, hoping she didn’t do something wrong by being herself. She just slays. Who knows? Maybe she gets days where she feels like I do too and looks to someone else to inspire them. Maybe it’s Beyoncé. Who knows?

So, if you ever feel like that, let me be the first to tell you it’s totally okay. Humans are not meant to live by the standards of social media. Humans are messy, complicated beings who sometimes aren’t happy. So, embrace those moments where you feel like the world is crushing you. Allow yourself to feel it, so you can get back up again. It’s okay to feel down; it’s just not okay to stay there, not even for me. In order to be on top, sometimes you’ve got to slide back down a bit. Since I’m feeling down, there is nowhere else to go but up! So, I’ll focus all of my energy on accomplishing all of the things that I’ve set my mind to…

…if not, there’s always functional alcoholism, right?! Brieeeeee Mooooodeeee!

John Wayne

If I ever decide to write the book about my life, we will call this chapter, “the time I went on the worst first date ever & created a safe word at my work to save me from future situations like this.”

I went on a first date with a guy and it already started out as a disaster because I was late. I hate being late and it just looks bad. So I’m already off my game. But it starts out so promising that I decide to let it go. There’s coffee, sunshine, good conversation. I’m actually having a really nice time. The subject changes to my work & an article I wrote about safe injection sites. This stemmed into his opinion that BLM is a terrorist group and “as woman, statistically, you should fear black people.”

Ummm…what? Statistically speaking, women are 10 times more likely to be abused by a date or romantic partner over a stranger! When I mentioned this, he informed me that those numbers aren’t totally accurate, because certain minority groups inflate those numbers.

He continues on by telling me that black men wouldn’t be shot if they stopped resisting and just accepted the police were right. I have some pretty strong feelings about this, and all of them are that that opinion is complete bullshit. We need to stop blaming victims for their own murders.

Then he said “I’m a Trump supporter because Bernie should have won.” Then I realized I needed to run.

Before I continue with the story, can someone explain to me how Trump is an acceptable substitute for Bernie? Because I genuinely don’t understand. Please explain. When I asked the dude, it was just that Hilary isn’t the right type of person. It should be Bernie, or Trump. No one is ready for a woman world leader (sorry Angela Merkel, no one is ready for you. Please resign).

I made up an excuse about having to work and ran screaming for the hills. My coworkers had a good laugh about it at my expense, and suggested I write a book about my ridiculous first dates.

But a friend from home reminded me that I’m not getting any younger & I still haven’t met anyone & stop being so picky. Just date the Trump supporter because I talk too much, I’m not gonna land a decent man. I thought about a guy online that started a conversation saying I was “hitting the wall” and no decent man would want me. I started thinking, maybe I’m the problem. Maybe I do just talk too much. Maybe I am too picky. Maybe I do work too much and focus too much on the gym and I’m just unlovable.

Or maybe I just have some sucky, not supportive friends? I mean, when I sacrificed all of my interests, hobbies, feelings for relationships that I had to walk on eggshells to maintain, my self esteem took a hit, I gained weight, and I felt like a person watching their life unfold than living it. I didn’t feel like I was someone unworthy of love, or unattractive, or the like, until the friend back home said so. Until then, the first date story was hilarious. We all laughed at how ridiculous it was and discussed making a safe word so I could have an escape. My best friend and I had discussed that I’ll probably meet my Mr. Right at my gym, because that’s where I spend all of my social time anyway, and because he’ll have already seen me all sweaty and miserable, so it’ll be a match based in reality.

Maybe it is all downhill from here, but I had a good run when it comes to being cute.

I didn’t think I was doing something wrong until someone else decided to tell me that I need to settle for the Trump supporting racist. But how would I be proud to introduce my friends to a Trump supporting racist? I wouldn’t. I won’t settle for a relationship I’m not proud to be in ever again. So, maybe I am hitting the wall. But if I wouldn’t want you to meet my coworkers, I sure as Hell wouldn’t want you around my girls, which means, peace out, Trump supporting racist. All this showed me is that I need thicker skin and can’t let my self esteem take a hit because another person feels the need to tell me I need to land a husband or an online dating dude hates himself and wants to spread the pain around. Until I improve on that, maybe the universe wants me to stay unattached.

The thing is, you can’t lower your standards because you’re afraid to be alone. That’s how you end up taking back that toxic ex that only comes into your life when they want something, or staying in a relationship that you have no business being in. When you do that, you are doing yourself (& them) a disservice. Choose your time to improve yourself, work on your self esteem, and fall in love with yourself. Figure out who you are and the rest will fall into place. No one needs to settle for a Trump supporting racist. We all just need to do our thing, live our lives, and just in case you end up on a date with a Trump supporting racist, don’t forget your safe word.

The Last of the Real Ones

Normally, I write about my personal success stories and how I’m improving as a person and junk. Today is not one of those stories. Today is the story of the time that I did some dumb ass shit.

So, let me preface that I am not smart. Like, I’m articulate, and well read. When it comes to my line of work, I’m a god damn pro. But when it comes to men, I’m dumb as fuck. To review some of my *ahem* finer dating decisions;

1. I was married to a serial cheating, abuser for eight years.

2. I DATED MY OWN STALKER. TWICE (legit looked up my address and camped outside a movie theatre. A few months later my hotel room. TOTALLY NORMAL AND NOT AT ALL A FELONY)

3. I was once attracted to a pilot that couldn’t find north.

4. I went out a guy who lied about getting a colonoscopy to go out with another girl

So, clearly I am super good at making relationship choices. I swear, really great guys are attracted to me, BUT I AM TOO FUCKING STUPID TO PICK UP ON THEIR SUBTLE CUES OF SANITY TO NOTICE. PLEASE HELP ME. Anywho, this brings me to Mr. Oil Guy and why I am a moron.

So, Mr. Oil Guy is cute. Mr. Oil Guy is pretty chill. Funny, fun to talk to. MHC is super into Mr. Oil Guy. Mr. Oil Guy & I are planning a date. MHC is actually really excited. What could go wrong?

Well, he started telling gay jokes. The first one was more of a wrong number joke. The next few were less funny. I tried to play it off by pointing out that gay men are usually funnier and smarter than straight men, but then he got kind of defensive. So, I thought I’d point out that most of my friends are LGBT, as is my brother, so if he’s gonna keep cracking gay jokes, even light ones, I’m not gonna be interested. He then flipped it that I was being argumentative. So I apologized. We carried on. The next day we got talking about my birthday, and he got kind of defensive again. This time, because my manager bought me some shiny new headphones for my birthday (mine broke that day), because he had bought me a pair and now needed to return them (we haven’t even gone out yet). Also, that I was going out with some male coworkers. I kind of felt awkward about it. Lots of comments about brown nosing and hints that male coworkers don’t just go out with female colleagues as friends (yeah they do. All the time). But I just kept thinking that these aren’t red flags. I’m just afraid of dating. This is normal.

This brings us to the next day. Mr. Oil Guy says he’s gonna buy a phone at my work. So, I STUPIDLY TELL HIM WHERE I WORK. Then he proceeds to explain how Canadian telcos rip off Canadian consumers and there is no excuse and begins explaining to me how my job works! He tells me that subsidized phones aren’t “free”because you pay for them through your plan.

HOLY SHIT NO WAY. THANK YOU FOR CLEARING UP THE THING THAT I EXPLAIN TO CUSTOMERS A MILLION

TIMES A DAY, PLEASE DO GO ON SIR.

Finally, after I flat out ask if he’s mansplaining my own job to me, and he informs me that we are “having a healthy debate,” (about why my job is stupid), I stop messaging. I’m sooooooooooo done. If I wanted to hang out with a stubborn, arrogant, manchild who doesn’t know anything about anything and talks down to me like I’m braindead, I WOULD STILL BE MARRIED. But then, he sends me this message:

So, naturally, I throw up in my mouth a little bit (I actually replied “my hair is down”), but decide that my best friend Erica needs to see this message, because I tell her all of the things, complete with the caption “barf barf barf.”

What could go wrong?

(Narrator: everything went wrong)

In order to fully appreciate the next series of events, I present this conversation;

Yup. Sent it to him because I am fucking Einstein. I actually felt badly, because that’s some kind of rejection. But I also felt badly because I didn’t trust my own judgment. I was so afraid that I’m too picky, that I was willing to settle and ignore obvious red flags because I wanted someone to like me. I should hold myself accountable to my own standards and if Mr. Oil Guy doesn’t meet them, fuck Mr. Oil Guy. As luck would have it, I do have a date with Mr. Nurse next week, so as long as I don’t fail screenshot, we’ll see how that goes!

I should have stopped talking to him the minute I felt like I had to apologize for not appreciating the off colour jokes. Instead, I tried to look past a deal breaker and ended up embarrassing myself super mega big time. So, trust yourself guys. If something feels off, it probably is. If not, you’ll end up screenshotting their own stupid comments back to them and end up looking and feeling like an idiot. Chances are, there’s something better right around the corner. Maybe. Unless you’re me, then they’re probably fucking crazy too and you should probably get a cat.