There’s been an article circulating online that a few of my friends have tagged me in, mostly because it’s something I’d relate to.
Feminista Jones, an authour and social worker, encouraged women to agree with a man when they complimented her. The results weren’t terribly surprising. Anyone who is familiar with my online dating trolling on my personal Facebook page knows all about what happens when you say “no thank you” or agree with a compliment. I thought maybe I was just a bitch, but no, apparently this is a thing.
I’ve seen this in my previous long term relationships, and even the workforce. Weak men do not like it when women are confident. My ex husband once made his own Facebook fan page with photo albums of “his” cover stories. They were all written by me. His answer was that he was the reason I was a good writer, so they were kind of his. Before I started at my new job, a male colleague at my old job told me not to get a big head when my performance was commended, it was a team effort and don’t think you’re so perfect. Agreeing with a compliment makes you a vain bitch. We’re taught that a woman only has worth if a man sees it, and that is bullshit.
I read a lot of comments from men about why women should just say thank you, be humble, stop being full of themselves. But why is it that when a woman thinks she is smart and pretty and worthy of love an attention, she’s suddenly unworthy of attention. This trope is common in pop culture. Look at One Direction. The girl is only beautiful BECAUSE SHE HAS NO IDEA THAT SHE IS BEAUTIFUL. Had she known, then Zayn wouldn’t have found her so attractive (sorry Gigi). Every teen movie is the same; the pretty, popular girl is a bitch and the nerd is only pretty when a guy tells her that she is. What a great lesson girls! You’re only amazing when a boy tells you that you’re amazing!
It makes me wonder why the world continuously forces the idea that women who are assertive and aware of their value are somehow bad. Why should we only feel pretty because a man tells us we’re pretty? Why should we only giggle and say thank you? Why can’t we know our own value? We wonder why girls have low self esteem, but then they’re inundated with the idea that confidence = lack of humility and women are only desirable when they’re innocent and unaware of who they really are until their prince comes to sweep them off of their feet. Why do we need that? To me, that feels like we’re encouraging low self esteem and breeding controlling and abusive relationships. That’s how we end up being told “without me, you’re nothing,” and we believe it. Why? Because we’re taught that feeling good about who you are makes you vain and conceited and no one wants that. Be the quiet, meek, girl who doesn’t know she’s gorgeous. That’s how you end up with Freddie Prinze Jr. instead of all alone.
We need to start telling ourselves that we’re beautiful and stop waiting for Freddie Prinze jr. or an online creeper to tell us that we’re pretty. Like Ms. Jones said, agree with compliments. It’s a good way to weed out the men from the weak minded jerks. The one who respects your confidence is the one who will elevate you to be the best version of you, by supporting you, not trying to reshape you into some stepford simpleton who giggles and falls at their feet because they said you’re pretty.
I know I’m pretty. I’m really smart too. I’m good at my job. I’m pretty okay at crossfit and my running times improve. I can carry a tune pretty well and my hair is super cute. I don’t need anyone to tell me these things and you don’t need anyone to tell you either, because despite what Harry Styles says, you DO know you’re beautiful & that’s what makes you beautiful.
I was once a catty bitch. I mocked celebrity clothing choices, I criticized women wrestlers who were hired as models, I compared myself to other women. I talked about girls behind their back in high school, etc. But I was an insecure, jealous, girl. I was jealous of the popular girls in high school & in the workplace. I was completely jealous of Gwen Stefani’s seemingly perfect life. In 2011, I was jealous of Brie & Nikki Bella’s looks and success. It wasn’t until I grew up (figuratively) and found myself that I realized that I made these statements because I was jealous and insecure about myself. I was projecting my feelings of self loathing onto them. Now, I can look at Gwen Stefani and see a talented singer. I can look at Brie & Nikki Bella and see hard ass work & women who empower other women. I can respect women who wear what they want. You want to rock those booty shorts? Work! I love seeing other women get up and do their thing & kicking ass at life. But there is one thing that I cannot stand, and that is an unreformed catty bitch.
Recently, my daughter lost her Snapchat privileges. Not because of the reason you would think. It was because I found out that she was insulting other girls by calling them bitches. I want to raise strong women. Strong women don’t call their friends bitches. They don’t belittle each other. They work to build each other up. I won’t allow my daughters to treat their fellow human beings like crap, so until she could learn to speak with respect, she didn’t need social media.
But I see an influx of memes on social media where women criticize other women. They mock each other for wearing makeup, their shorts, their clothes, their marital status, their looks, etc. And every time I see a woman call down another woman, I have only one question;
Like, come on ladies. We have to work twice as hard for half of the recognition and THIS is how you want to treat each other? With this kind of childish name calling?
I mean, we live in a world where we are smashing through glass ceilings. Women can be the CEO of Fortune 500 companies. The most successful athlete in history is Serena Williams, a woman. We are watching a powerful, bad ass woman running for the presidency of the United States and we are still ridiculing each other for who we date, what we wear, whether or not we drank too much at the party & if we are telling the truth about domestic violence. Why are we continuing to belittle each other?
Why are we still having these conversations? It’s 20 freaking 16. So we really want to teach the next generation of women to be catty bitches? I know I don’t. Sorry, but I remember the girl fights in high school, the petty drama & how much I do not want to be part of that anymore, nor do I want my daughters to perpetuate it. And one thing I’ve learned from being a reformed catty bitch is that I’ve been so much more successful now that I’ve stopped worrying about what other women are wearing & doing. Now that I’m not trying to tear down other women, I’m focusing on how I can improve, not how to be better than that bitch. And by competing only with myself, I’m becoming better than I ever was.
The biggest thing that women need to learn is by tearing each other down, we are giving men permission to tear us down. We all sit aghast at the things Donald Trump says about women, but then belittle a coworker in the next breath. By calling a woman a bitch or a slut, or questioning her qualifications to lead a country based on her pantsuit and not her resume, you are basically giving disgusting creatures like Trump the power to say the same thing about all women. When women tear each other apart, we are giving men permission to mistreat us, belittle our abilities, make vulgar and misogynistic statements about us. Every time we call a woman a slut, we are no better than people like Donald Trump.
But mostly, you’re telling the world that you are insecure, petty, jealous & intimidated by the success of others. Why would you want to project that? When you belittle other women, you show people how small and petty you really are. Why not take that energy and put it into making you successful instead of putting down others all of the time? It just seems like a more constructive use of time.
We have the power to be better, treat each other better, and empower each other. Why waste your time and energy bullying each other about things that don’t matter? Every time you put down a woman for her clothes, her hair, her choices & her makeup, whether she chooses a hijab or not, whether she chooses a traditional family or to reject societal norms, you are doing the equivalent of getting angry about someone putting the peppers you don’t like on the sandwich you aren’t going to eat. It’s not your sandwich. Instead of getting mad or calling them down, just eat your own damn sandwich and let the woman enjoy her peppers.
If more women chose to build each other up, we would have more women leaders, more women heroes and more women making history. If we unite, there would be no glass ceilings, as we would have kicked them down decades ago. So, in a world where in five weeks we will (hopefully) see a strong, bad ass, intelligent woman elected the leader of the free world, let’s make a commitment to stand together to end the stereotype that all women hate each other and show future generations that women can empower each other, no matter what we are wearing, thinking, or doing.
Sometimes I get days off. And after spending time with my kids & crossfit, I hang out by a lake by my house and read books & think about stuff.
Tonight, I spent my night FINALLY reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, because nerd. I like to sit among rocks & trees & read and enjoy nature. As a kid, I used to go to Bible Camp & read my Bible in the woods (fun fact, my oldest daughter was named after the place I went to Bible Camp). I’ll get more of this because my schedule has changed & I now get weekends off. Yup, normal Monday to Friday. I like being around nature because it’s a calm, peaceful place. Birds & trees are silent, and anyone near you is minding their own business. And no one is paying attention to you.
Because of my personality, I’m often thought to love attention. This is not true. I hate it. I feel uncomfortable when eyes are on me. It makes me nervous like I’m in a spelling bee & my nose is bleeding & I pissed my pants and the word is “superfilous” (the choice of word stems from when I was visiting back home & we were having a shark party & my best friend & I decided I would tweet anything that we said. So we decided to take a random word & add “choking on dicks” to it. Superfilous means “unnecessary,” so this sentence was actually accurate. We laughed. We were extremely drunk. I drink once a year. This is why). I hate when people stare at me or when I’m forced to be in the centre of attention. When I used to perform, my hands shook. I do presentations at work because I have to, not because I enjoy it. I think that’s why I started writing. I get to tell stories. I’m not the subject. I’m the narrator. People don’t read something I wrote & think about me, they think “hey! That play sounded good!” Or “that person seems interesting!” It’s not about me. Even this blog about my life isn’t necessarily to be about me. It’s more about learning lessons & evolving, something all humans do. To most of you, I’m a faceless weirdo. But then, there are some of you who know me better than anyone, and those are the people I struggle with talking about why I hate being stared at or watched or whatever.
This isn’t an idea that I share to my social media feeds. I never share my super personal stuff there. That’s like showing weakness or something. People will think I have feelings or some shit. This is for the like four people that read my blog with any regularity. So, Erica & like, three other people. I used to know who they were, but I’ve turned that privilege over to a close friend who monitors my web security for me (that person is not Erica). It’s actually nice to be able to write whatever I want without worrying if I’d offend anyone, because I knew who was reading it. Erica always says that the people whom I might offend are soulless creatures anyway, human poison who prides themselves on hurting me for kicks. That their only purpose is to hurt me as often and as painfully as possible for their own amusement because they are sick fuckers & who cares if I offend them, but I’m not really one for offending people. I like making people happy. It brings me great happiness to bring joy to others. All I want to is to love everyone & be a good mom & a good person & write happy shit and make people smile. I used to write things with a password just to make one human smile. I wanted to be able to use my one talent to reach them & help them communicate with people so they wouldn’t run away from things & return, repent, repeat. But, I never could. So, I waved my little white flag. Cut off all communication because I’m beyond tired of being shut out & stonewalled. It’s bullshit & it’s not how you treat people. Now all I care about is being a good person & mom & writer. News stories don’t touch you; they inform. I write now to inform, not make you think or touch your soul or break down invisible barriers. My blog, just me sharing my life. Not even interesting.
But there’s always this nagging feeling that I cannot prove one way or the other that people use my blog to observe my life without being in it & that has always hurt me.
Yes, you read that right. IT HURTS ME.
Why MH? Why would that hurt you? Because I feel like I’m in my own twisted version of the Truman Show. I hate this feeling like I’m not worthy to be part of someone’s life, but it’s fine to observe me like your favourite character on a teen drama like One Tree Hill or some shit. It makes me feel subhuman. It chips away at my self esteem to know you’re good enough to watch like a TV character, but not good enough to speak to, have in your life. And when I feel like this is the case, I get really sad & feel very small.
So, I’m left with this weird dilemma. I could stop blogging. That would make the most sense. Give up writing, the thing I love most to help keep people away from me. And what does that leave me with? Nothing, I guess. Erica says that’s what bad people want, to take everything from me until I have nothing. But of course, I’ll never have nothing. I’m pretty much the most blessed person I know. Great kids, great job. Amazing freelancing gigs, so I’ll always be writing, just not here. Bad ass Texan friend. All good things. Sometimes I look at my incredible life & get excited to share it with people, which is why blogging has become an intrical part of who I am. It’s how I sort out my thoughts to build a better life for myself & my family. It’s how I scratch my creative itch. But even more importantly, I look st my life & I am so freaking grateful. I’m living my dream life and I built my dream life all by myself! Isn’t that the freaking coolest?! And I write because I’m so happy that I get to be the one to live this incredible life. However, I guess the Truman Show viewers bother me because those are the people I’d rather have in my life, but aren’t. And I’m not Truman Burbank; I’m an actual human & you shouldn’t get to view my life if you left it (or in some cases, I asked you to leave it).
This brings me to my point; maybe to remove myself from the Truman Show, Truman needs to close the bubble.
Erica reminds me that it’s not fair for me to continually sacrifice my joy so that people who cannot muster the bravery to be in my life can be viewers of the Truman Show. She rants & raves about selfishness, cowardice, etc. She’d say maybe the people who use my blog as the Truman Show should just go rebuild the bridge that they burned because they obviously need me…& a therapist. But I don’t make things easy. I build walls because people hurt me. Writing is how I try to let them down. But letting people who hurt me near me? Nope. Terrifying. Worse than geese. Nope. My success rate at reaching people is 0% (which makes me question my abilities to write anything but news, as I’ve never emotionally connected to anyone). Not putting myself through that. One of my closest friends suggested that I start letting those walls down, and I balked. Walls keep us safe. Besides, why is it always me who has to make the first step when there’s conflict? Why is it always me who has to extend the olive branch, to try? If they wanted to find me, they would. They don’t. I’m tired of luring out scared bunnies. It’s tiring.
Maybe it’s because for so long, I was told my blog was the way to get back in after people hurt me, that I’m reading too much into nothing but my gut instinct. I’ve been known to do that. But maybe I need to step back from sharing my life. Cancel the Truman Show.
I wouldn’t even know what to say to reach out to nothing. Please just talk to me & stop hurting me? Don’t put me through this anymore, just talk to me? I love my blog, please don’t force me to shut it down, just please reach out & speak to me? I’ve always been one for many chances & I would give as many as needed & I could explain why I’m not even mad anymore. But I already did that in something only one person on Earth can read. But I know if I did that, I’d be talking to a wall. Maybe I’m not the only one who builds walls. Or maybe this time I built them too high. So I guess I’ll just be bidding you good afternoon, good evening, and good night.
One thing that has always bugged the piss out of me is when women bully and belittle other women. It’s such bullshit.
You know what I mean, those “real women have _____” memes, the “make sure your shorts cover your vagina” memes, the “I can wash your beauty off with a cloth” memes. Please do shut up. Women; we are not in competition with each other. I repeat; WE ARE NOT IN COMPETITION WITH EACH OTHER.
Over the past two weeks, I have read some of the most ridiculous belittling of our Prime Minister’s wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. Mrs. Trudeau made a comment that she may need help with her many commitments, raising her family & supporting her husband. While yes, she has a household staff, she has one assistant, but over 70 requests to appear each week. Every charity wants Mrs. Trudeau to appear, speak, give a face to their voice. She cannot answer them all, let alone attend. If she declines, she will be vilified for ignoring. Declining to answer is even worse! She’s in a lose lose situation, even though she just wants to help & use her celebrity status to bring attention to Canadian women.
Women across Canada sharpened their claws, claiming that Sophie was asking for something unheard of, even though Mila Mulroney had her own office & staff to help her with her many causes. Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose actually praised former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife Laureen Harper for choosing not to be “splashy,” as if wanting to contribute to your country and use your popularity to help others & have an identity away from your husband is somehow a bad thing.
Mrs. Trudeau is the spokesperson Fillactive, a program designed to help 12 – 17 year old girls develop active lifestyles. She has dedicated her time to advocating for women struggling with eating disorders. She is using her status to shed light on causes that are important to her.We should be celebrating her honesty; that running a home & having a job & trying to do more isn’t easy. Instead, it’s some kind of pissing contest. “What about me? I take the kids to lessons & have to cook the supper! Pity me!” “What about single moms?!” Well, this single mom thinks it’s great that she wants to use her status to help others, that she wants to be more than just Mr. Trudeau’s arm candy. That it can be hard. I always say that if I ever got married again (which isn’t bloody likely), I want to be one half of a tandem, with my contributions recognized & that I’m seen for my own merit. I don’t want to be Mrs. Someone, I want to be Mary-Helen & seen for what I can do. I don’t want to be a shrinking violet who hides behind her man. Yes, i will be proud of my man and his accomplishments, but I would expect him to be equally as proud of mine. I would want my strength, tenacity, passion for my career and family to be celebrated. I would want to be recognized as more than a mate, but as a woman…and also that I have really fantastic skin. I refuse to accept the notion that women cannot be celebrated for being clever & beautiful, or that we need to downplay one to build up the other. I want to be seen as a force of nature, someone who commands her destiny & wants to shine. Mrs. Trudeau is beautiful & bright & should be allowed to shine brightly. All women should be allowed to shine.
But it’s not just Mrs. Trudeau. It’s every woman all the time. If you’re thin, eat a cheeseburger. If you’re fat, go on a diet. Don’t wear makeup? Why don’t you take pride in your appearance? Wear makeup? Why don’t you love yourself enough to go natural? Don’t wear the crop top; you’ll look like a slut. If you don’t wear the crop top, you don’t have body positivity. Don’t go to the gym; Netflix. But now you’re lazy. Don’t want a mate; it’s because you can’t keep a man, but don’t get married, you’re sacrificing your independence. Don’t have kids, but if you don’t you’re betraying your uterus. Just know that every move you make, all other women will be judging you & telling you that you are doing it wrong.
So, I ask you, my fellow women, if you can’t say something nice, shut the fuck up. Build each other up, stop tearing each other down. If you don’t want kids, don’t have any. If you don’t want to wear the booty shorts, don’t wear them. If you don’t want to get fit, don’t. And if a woman admits her road is harder than she thought, admit your road is hard too & find understanding together.
Life isn’t a contest about who has the best pretend life on Facebook or who has the hardest time being a woman. Life isn’t meant to be wasted judging other women for their clothes, spouse, kids, or waistline. It’s meant to be kind, do your best, and teach the next generation of women to stand together & stand up for each other.
So, wear the short shorts. Don the red lip. Have sex with the guy or don’t. Have kids. Or don’t. Get married or don’t. Go on a diet. Wear a size 22. But don’t judge another woman for choosing a different path than what you chose. And don’t ever kick another woman while she’s down because she admitted that life isn’t easy.
We have been friends for 20 years (Dear God). We’ve been friends through the best of times, the worst of times, marriages (both of us), divorce (mine), kids, depression, and that heartbreaking time that Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. I’m very fortunate to have maintained such an awesome long term friendship. We used to talk about TV & sports. Now it’s kids & fitness & life.
But when you’ve known someone as long as I’ve known him, they’re more apt to tell you when you’re not living up to your potential. Or, in my case, when I’m being a doormat.
For years, I’ve told him about my life, my kids, my plans, goals, etc. and the one question he’d ask me whenever I would talk about stuff is “Is that what Mary-Helen wants?”
“I know the hubby thinks you can afford that Van, but what do you think? What do you want?“
“I know he’s talking marriage, but is that what you want?“
“I know you say you’re fine with that schedule, but is that really what you want? Will it really work for you?“
“So you’re giving him what he asked for, despite him having no respect for you whatsoever. When does he care about what you want?“
I would answer that I was doing what I wanted, because I was writing & crossfitting & doing my thing. But was I really getting what I wanted? I often said that I didn’t want to rock the boat at work, or make the Dad angry. Blank & I were together & happy & he worked so hard that I didn’t want to upset him. I would always say “I don’t want him to get mad & leave me,” and when I did assert myself, I would be afraid of the disappearing act. So, maybe I wasn’t. Or was I? I don’t even know anymore.
I spend so much time making people happy that I end up sacrificing what I want. I would try to stand up for myself, but when it didn’t make things better, I’d stand down. Give in. Maybe I need to be more assertive and stop taking stupid people’s stupid shit.
But, since winter turned into spring, I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. What does MHC want? What do I want for my life, my kids, my future? I’m in control of my life & deep down, I always have been. I just let my fear get in the way of that. And like a good friend, or Glinda, my friend wanted me to figure it out on my own.
Maybe I need to stop worrying about what everyone else wants and do what I want. I need to stop worrying about what the Dad wants & what my friends want & what he wants & focus 100% on what my kids & I want. And we want to continue to live our quiet life. Go to church. Go to Starbucks. Tomorrow we’ll go see Captain America. I want to go running after work every night. I want to crossfit & gains. And most importantly, I want to be the best damn writer & role model I can be. And with the awesome new changes at my magazine, I’m excited about what kind of writer I am going to become. And I’ve already taught my girls about forgiveness and compromise. Now I need to focus on teaching them how to stand up for what they want &I make their voices heard. If people don’t like that, then oh well. Your time in my story is over. I no longer stress about that. I have a world to conquer.
Sometimes it takes reminding, but I do have a voice & I need to use it to stand up for myself at work, in life, and to myself. Because what I want matters too…and I intend to get it.
Over the last few months, I haven’t had much faith in humanity. Mostly, because humanity hasn’t given me much to have faith in.
It all started about three months ago, when some teen girls tried to rob my teenage daughter. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as safe in my neighbourhood. Then, I was blindsided and abandoned, subjected to some of the most manipulative mind games & cruelty from a man who claimed two days earlier that he loved me & to remind me of a conversation we were having once we were married, because he couldn’t wait to marry me. Fast forward to 48 hours later, when I woke up extra early for my long commute to get ready for a date we had planned for when my shift was over. 48 hours earlier, he told me he couldn’t wait for date night. I was so excited to finally have time alone with him without work, as I was beyond over work taking over our romance…only to find he erased me from his life, and a cold text saying he was angry & if I gave him space & a little time & did what he said, everything would be fine. I began obeying his commands, both stated and unstated. I felt like a dog, like I was being punished. And nothing I did made it better. He still wouldn’t talk to me. I apologized for what he said was bothering him, because I am a firm believer in owning your shit, I offered to take steps to resolve the slight, even transferred at my job to help give space, but not a word. I’m not perfect, but no one deserves this treatment. I used to believe he could never hurt me. But it was like the man I love; the kind, gentle, man who sought me out & begged for my affection & loved me so much died and a monster stole his face. It shattered me in ways that I still haven’t really recovered from, and sometimes I’m afraid I never will. I refuse to be a victim, I knew better but I wanted to believe he had changed & would allow us to communicate when he was angry. Bad shit happens, you get up, you kick ass. But it leaves scars. Horrible scars. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust another man again, as I am absolutely terrified of this man I loved. I built up huge walls to keep him away from me, as well as anyone else.
Sometimes I’m still in denial, like there is no way this man that swore I knew him best could do this. He couldn’t be this hateful. I keep thinking he’ll want to fix it like before, but the thought of him coming near me actually terrifies me, something it never did before (even though he would never harm me). And sometimes, while my friends, therapist, all insist he is emotionally abusive (sending me article after article to back it up), I still squeak out tiny defenses. He’s not mean. He just can’t do anger. I bet he feels badly & just doesn’t know how to come tell me. They ask me how he’d feel if someone treated his daughter as he treated me, because he’s teaching her that this is okay & I still try to defend him. Sometimes at night, I still cry confused tears because I literally just don’t understand how a man went from holding me and telling me that I was the love of his life to never speaking to me ever again in 48 hours & was seemingly proud of destroying my heart & self esteem while I sobbed on his voice mail to please just talk to me. How did we go from looking up engagement rings on New Years Day to feeling like I needed to change everything about me (even though I didn’t want to) just so he’d speak to me. I would delete blogs after minutes for fear of offending him. I would have done anything just for him to talk to me & I still just want him to talk to me, even though I know I deserve a man who would never dream of treating a woman this shamefully. But I still sometimes feel worthless because he won’t talk to me & even though I’m terrified to let him near me, I just want him to fix it like he said he always would. But I don’t ever want to be a woman who meekly kowtows to a man. That is NOT who I am not who I will EVER be. I don’t want to be controlled. So I move forward, focused on being the most bad ass MHC I can be. And despite how harsh this may sound, I don’t believe he’s a bad person. I think he’s a good person who struggles with anger management and commitment & conflict. He made some very poor choices & they are on his conscience, not mine.
A few weeks later, I was robbed, my purse stolen from my workplace. I lost all of my ID and I’m still trying to get it all back. The whole experience left me reeling, I had just transferred and now I didn’t trust my own coworkers. The mall security didn’t help. I have little faith in the police. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly feel safe at work or walking home from work. I feel violated and I look over my shoulder a lot. But I focus on the good things I have; my family, my health, crossfit. My amazing friends who rallied around me during those tough few weeks, including a really cool coworker who became my bodyguard & protector. My super cool therapist. So many awesome people who made this whole experience bearable. By focusing on the good, I could get through the bad. I have so many good things. I am lucky to have these things. I am happy.
(This isn’t a pity me trip. Bad shit happens every day, you get up & keep on going. But I just talked about why we need to be our authentic selves. That means I need to be able to talk about the times life kicked me in the metaphorical balls. It just sometimes takes me a bit, until some of the hurt subsides.)
But to say it didn’t make me question my faith that people were essentially good would be wrong. It did. I didn’t trust anyone. At one point, after a particularly cruel trick he played,where he messaged Erica claiming he wanted to talk to me, which never happened, I almost stopped trusting Erica & shut her out for a few days, even though she’s the most important person in my life. I shut out everyone for awhile, except for those good friends who forced me to talk. I stopped writing, I had nothing to say. I felt like everything I had believed about humanity was wrong. People aren’t good. I watched people get busted for shoplifting many times a day, road rage assaults, murders on the news & my neighbours got robbed.My house got egged. And I waited for a conversation that I was told he wanted until I realized it was just another manipulation to keep me hanging on to nothing. Everything I had ever staked my beliefs on felt wrong.
Then, little things happened to help me see that most people are good & not to let some bad apples spoil that. My girls & I started attending a new church here in the city. We were welcomed with open arms. My teenager attends youth group. She’s learning and growing. The pastor drove her home because it rained. Suddenly, we felt like part of the community. My district manager, who did everything she could to make my work life tolerable, pulled me aside on one particularly trying day and said “I sought you out to hire you because you are a strong, talented, energetic, genuinely kind hearted person. If he can’t see your value, then he’s missing out.” My new manager did all he could to make me feel welcome. He’s been great fun to work with. My teenager’s teacher went above and beyond to help her with math. My coworker drive me home after working 15 hours. And when my cat went missing this past week, my neighbours formed a search party to help me find my beloved kitty. Each day, something new happened that helped me see that people are good.
Each day, I saw a little more kindness from people. The cab driver that didn’t charge me because I looked tired. The coworker who gave me a hug because I was so drained I burst into tears at work. The crossfit coach who called me the day after a hard class to check on my hip. The stranger who walked an old lady down the street. The principal who consoled my nine year old when she got sick at school. All restoring my faith in humans. How could you not have faith in the planet with so many cool people around?!
Finally, this weekend, I saw how truly good people could be. After a forest fire displaced many of my fellow Albertans, I saw kids with lemonade stands. People paying for the groceries of the person behind them. A man donating $200 to Red Cross. The same people who were cussing each other out in the street were helping each other. WWE Superstars Kevin Owens & Tyler Breeze created a GoFundMe to help bring people together to raise funds during their personal time (Mr. Owens once did an amazing thing for my daughters during a WWE Live Event last year, so I already knew he was a great guy). And my dearest Bree reminded me that humanity is good, I just need to remember where to look.
It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring out the best in humanity. We should all aspire to be good to each other every single day. And we also need to not lose sight of the good things people do for us, who’s there for us, the random strangers who have your back. Don’t lose sight of them because of a few bad people. Don’t let the bad people of the world take away your belief in humanity. People are good if you believe they are good. And even if they aren’t, be a good person because it costs you absolutely nothing to be a good person, but you will gain so much from it.
Humans ARE good. Yes, some are bad. Some are good, they just do dumb things. But you’ve gotta look around & see the good. It’s there; you’ve just gotta make sure you see it…and live it.
I’ve enjoyed my respite, but it’s time for me to do what I do best; write happy shit.
I guess I should clarify why I took my downtime. My commute had me exhausted, I felt like I had overexposed my life like a Kim Kardashian nude selfie & I honestly just wanted a few weeks to do some yoga, hang out @ home & reacquaint myself with MHC.
Sometimes I feel like I share too much of myself. I’m a very loving & open person & I just want to love everybody. I want to be nice to people. I want to love my girls, my friends, the people I love, even my cat. And I always want to share my happiness with everyone because I assume they are also super happy. That gets me into trouble, as there is always that one or two miserable people who make everything ugly in an attempt to bring you down to their level of misery. I won’t allow it though. My happiness doesn’t come from people or jobs or possessions. It comes from a conscious choice that I make to be happy, simply because I can. You cannot take my joy, as I create it myself. You cannot ruin someone’s happiness when it can be found in her children, writing, Heavenly Hash ice cream, nature, cute puppies, hot baths, and the ability to change a day with a smile.
My reputation means little to me; my character does. I don’t let gossip or public perception skew me. I would rather focus my attention on being loving, kind, forgiving & compassionate. Those who know best know who I am & who I aspire to be. I won’t let anyone take that from me.
I also hate attention except from my kids & like one other person. I would make a terrible celebrity. I hate when people talk about me when I’m not around or stare at me. When people do that, watch me from afar but don’t talk to me, it makes me feel unnerved. I figure if you’re watching me or talking about me, you should come and talk to me, say hi! I don’t even understand why I’d be interesting enough to talk about & I feel like some kind of test subject & it makes me self conscious. Like, I write about my life, but I’m a faceless weirdo to most people. I think I’m the only extroverted person who literally hates attention from strangers or large groups. But during this period, I realized how few people are like me & just want to he happy & love everyone & how much of that unwanted attention I bring on myself by trusting everyone, including the wrong people & sharing so much of myself. I will never stop being kind, patient, understanding & when the world feels dark, it’s important to me to say that I will not allow it to sap my strength & tenacity, my belief in humans & my determination to be kind, understanding & loving, even if no one else is. So, when I feel any kind of edge to me, I decide to retreat so I can retain the best of me.
I give so much of myself to the people in this life that I love that I forget to love myself sometimes. I devote so much of who I am to trying to make everyone happy that I end up forgetting to love myself! So I decided to pull myself out of that by kind of internalizing stuff. I didn’t tweet much. I ditched like 60% of my social media & downsized the rest. I kept Instagram, Facebook & Twitter, but posted very rarely. I kept my life to myself, save for my nearest & dearest. They knew about how I was adjusting to my new workplace (Someday I will write a damn book about what I see there hahaha), my kids, crossfit (& my distress at missing the open), and my joy that the Overlord & I each own a pair of Becky Lynch goggles. All of the most awesome things.
But I found that the more I kept my life to myself, the happier I was! I liked that my personal time & space was MINE. I liked not sharing it. I liked that if you wanted to know how I was, you needed to call or text me. And I learned that certain friends didn’t, despite my always being there for them. Nothing was wrong, but I’ve been checking in on them since I moved but I realized how one sided these friendships were. And it didn’t bother me. I don’t need that in my life. You wanna be around me? Make an effort.
But the big thing was that I was learning how important it is to maintain my privacy & not blindly trust everyone who seems friendly. It’s important that I create separation for myself, keep my personal life mine, maybe my whole life. That’s not to say that I won’t write about stuff sometimes, but I really enjoyed having that down time to really connect with myself & enjoy that if I was out with friends, or my kids, or even enjoying a cup of coffee by the lake, that was my time. I liked that people had to ask me what’s new because they didn’t read it on FB or Twitter. I felt like I was having real conversations with people again, like in the before time, before social media took over our lives.
I’m sorry that you’ll see fewer of my Instagram pics, or random Twitter musings, but I really like keeping my life to myself a little more. Maybe the last few weeks were a really good lesson in shut the fuck up. I don’t really see difficult weeks or situations that suck as bad things, I see them as super rad opportunities to evolve as a woman & learn to be a better woman, mom, daughter, sister, partner & friend. I like being able to turn situations I don’t like into super amazing ones (LIKE THE FACT THAT MY TRANSFER = I MAKE SO MUCH MONEY NOW. SO MUCH. IT IS SO STUPID AWESOME HOW MUCH MONEY I MAKE). But like I said, I always want to be a bubbly optimist. So, I needed to get some sleep, spend time listening to bomb ass music & enjoy being that bubbly optimist, as I’m the only MHC on Earth, and I kind of dig her.
Sometimes I realize how ill equipped I am to handle stress in this province of cows.
For the last two months, all of the things I came to use to overcome stress weren’t there. You can’t sit amongst nature when it’s nuclear winter. You can’t go to the gym & lift heavy when you can’t support your weight on one leg. I felt under a microscope at work. My identity was that I was someone else’s. I sometimes felt like I worked, raised the girls & slept. I want to do so much more than work, pay bills & sleep. I want to be a role model to my girls. I want to be a good friend. I want to be a capable partner who stands on her own two feet, and that my person can see that I want a life of my own, in charge of my own life, not just to be theirs, as that’s never what I want. I want to be physically & mentally strong. Without my normal stress relievers, I felt like I was burning out.
So, I talked to my friend Gleason, who reminded me of how good meditation can feel. I remember it for awhile, and then forget. Thanks to Sarah, I’ve discovered some great new music (Elle King!). And I even bought one of those adult colouring books. I laughed at them, but they do a lot to relieve stress. And of course, writing. Lately, I’ve worried about people reading too much into my blogging. I write whatever I’m thinking in the hopes to give myself clarity, not necessarily “this is what I want right now.” I just know I struggle with asserting myself, and with anything deep, so I write to avoid over thinking and self sabotage. But maybe I need to stop baring my soul so much. Maybe I need to be more guarded about my feelings. Maybe I need to stop assuming that people care when I open up & get personal with them.
Maybe I need to stop talking about that.
In the end, I need to focus on dealing with my own stress levels & get through it on my own, for me. I chose to move away from my support system. I can’t rely on them. I need to remember who I am. I am a bad ass. Tomorrow is my first trip back to the gym after two months. It’ll be intimidating, and exciting. I got a chance to enjoy nature for the first time in forever. It was so nice to just have me, my music & fresh air. And if I get stressed at home, I’ll colour. I’ll work at work & continue to do well. All good things. And once again, I’ll feel like I’m kicking ass & taking names & setting a good example for the little ones that look up to me, which is what I want most in life. I love them & I want to set a better example for them. I want to grow because I love myself & want to evolve for me. For the first time in awhile, I’m focusing on my own needs so I can be a better woman. Sometimes I give so much to my girls & the people I love & my mom & my brother that I forget about me. I need to remember to nuture myself.
Part of adapting to a new life is learning that I can’t do things the old ways all of the time. I can’t always get around trees or lift heavy things. I may not always have friends to talk to. I’ve got to adapt. So, I’ve been learning to adapt & find ways to be a better mom, writer, friend, partner, and woman. Because that’s what life should be about; getting better, learning to be better, and treating people better. That’s all I want for myself; to set a better example & love better.
That’s all. Just sucked. Everyone I love had things to deal with. My life sort of fell apart & I don’t even know what’s happening with any of it. But I refuse to be made to feel like I cannot do the things that made me happy, so I’m gonna write about stuff that helps me smile & screw everything else.
Since I was little I’ve never handled anger well. I simper & cry & beg them to talk to me & I beg them to forgive me & I’m always the only one trying. Ew. First of all, I’m a legit bad ass. I may run out of bad ass, but there is always more. I’m the most beautiful, witty, funny, articulate, and patient person I know. Those who know me should feel blessed to have my love & friendship. I am a prize, not some snivelling wimp. Nope. But yet, I keep falling back into old patterns when people get mad at me, because I value people more than ego. But I need to be the woman I am; strong, bright, beautiful, I need to get mad. I need to know I can stand up for myself. I love who I am. I fought to become her. And those who say they love me love her. But I need to know that I can be myself & stand up for myself & be heard. I’m also not afraid to own my mistakes. If I fucked up, I’ll own it. Right now, I need to value my ego. And I need to focus on my health & well being. I matter. I matter a great deal. And I deserve to feel like I matter, even if it’s just to myself. So, I’ve decided that my life matters to me & I am going to start making it better.
The physical aspect is hard. I have to trust doctors. I have to wait. I can’t exercise. I have to stay in bed on my days off. This makes parenting a little challenging. But we are getting it done because I’m a bad ass.
The next was mental. I’m reclaiming control of my life. I’ve let too many people control it & I’m tired of walking on eggshells to please them. That’s not who I am. I need to be myself. I need to be able to get angry. I need to be able to assert myself & have that assertion respected. I need to be able to resolve conflict. So, I started resolving the number one conflict in my life.
My mom has been the major source of my stress. She’s negative, doesn’t like it here & her relationship with the girls is becoming emotionally abusive. My friends keep telling me how grumpy she is all of the time & the last straw was when she made my 8yo cry in front of her friends by saying she didn’t care of her beloved cat died. My mom wasn’t a loving mom to me as a kid, I ended up in a foster home for a reason. That reason is why I pick myself up when I’m sick to go to work. Why I cry at 3am. My daughters will know their mother’s strength, not her weaknesses. And I will not allow them to grow up around poison. So I told her when my lease was up, she was moving out & I would stand on my own. My daughters will grow up surrounded by joy alone. And I won’t let them feel hurt or slighted. Her negativity left me with a feeling of having no control in my life. I want to be in control of my home. So I took it back.
The next was I called about counselling. Clearly being here alone with only a handful of close companions has taken its toll on me. I felt like I was relying on my few friends to be my support system. I don’t want that. I want to be in control of my own happiness & I am. I saw a dog with a puffy tail. I’m so happy because I saw that puffy tailed dog. When I get back to the gym, I’ll set PR’s. But until then, I need an outlet to focus on retaining my independence. So I started counselling again. I don’t feel badly. I’m not ashamed. I want to be the kind of person I can be proud of. When you struggle, you ask for help or you destroy everyone & everything you love. I love my family. I want to be better for them. So, I’m going to retool myself to be better for them.
I will not be controlled, by my mom, by life, by anything. So, whenever I feel like someone or something is trying to control me, I will stand up & take steps to become stronger, more bad ass & the people who truly love me will love me for it, like my daughters, who get a better example to look up to.
This has not been my week. I’ve been sick. I’ve had xrays. It’s actually super shitty. But I will figure this out in a few days & all will be well.
But I refuse to let dark times cloud my awesome life. My life is the raddest. I’ve lost six pounds this month. My gym dues are paid & I can train. My kids got rad report cards. Oh, and I got some much needed time with some friends this week. It was just what I needed.
But enough about my life. Let’s talk about mindless drivel. Today’s mindless drivel is why the WWE Divas Division continues to piss me off.
It has not been since 2014 that WWE has had a true babyface Diva in Brie Bella. Brie was beloved by fans, as they hoped she would defeat the evil Stephanie McMahon & avenge her husband Daniel Bryan & sister Nikki (she didn’t. She was defeated & aligned with Nikki to reign as bad girls in Team Bella & now is used to elevate the NXT Divas).
Since then, all of the dominant women have been stereotypes. Bad girl Nikki Bella. Jealous geeky girl AJ Lee. Manipulative Paige. Daddy’s spoiled brat Charlotte Flair. All until the unexpected rise in popularity of Becky Lynch.
Becky Lynch has gone through many phases since her debut, but the core of her main roster character has remained the same; she wants to be a champion of integrity. Someone little girls can look up to. She wants to win the right way. All three of my daughters watched the Royal Rumble with baited breath, to see if Becky would overtake Charlotte Flair & become the Divas Champion.
Instead, Charlotte’s father forced himself on her, she was pinned in dirty fashion, tossed out of the ring like trash by villainess Sasha Banks & left to sob alone.
As a mom & a feminist, I find it horrifying that male “advocates for women’s wrestling” like Jim Ross & Mick Foley are more concerned about whether or not the word Diva is problematic than the actual treatment of the women. An old man forcing himself on a woman is a humourous plot point in 2016. Every woman except Becky Lynch is a stereotype, from mean girl to cat lady. They are booked as catty, jealous bimbos who are self serving & petty. Even my 14 year old daughter, who wanted to be a Diva, no longer wants that. She feels like she would have to become a character that her sisters couldn’t be proud of, or end up humiliated like Becky Lynch.
WWE has an obligation to their female fans to give them a hero. I’m not necessarily about kids role modelling from TV people, my kids look up to me, my strength, tenacity, my work ethic. But little girls deserve to see the heroine win in the story. Celeste Bonin’s Kaitlyn was humiliated by man eating villainess AJ Lee. Brie Bella was felled by her evil twin and then joined her. Paige fought the good fight, but turned bitter. WWE finally has a chance to give little girls a chance for their hero to win, like John Cena or Roman Reigns for boys, as Becky is still fighting the good fight against two evil stereotypes. As the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania approaches, I hope WWE finally shows that nice girls can finish first, and the big moment can go to the character who wants to show that you can become champion & keep your soul; Becky Lynch.