Sucker

It’s funny how things will change for you when you put what means most to you first.

I was working at a trade show this weekend with a friend/colleague and he told me he was so proud of how I’ve grown into my life over the last three years. I’ve learned a house, moved into my new home, really grown into my position, and built strong roots here. I mean, I guess. But isn’t that normal, to evolve as time goes on?

But one thing I have really tried to do is make my needs a priority. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. How do you make time for what you want to do/improve as a person without feeling selfish and evil? It’s been a work in progress, as I still have trouble saying no and leaving work on time, but I’m getting better every day.

I think it’s a mom thing. You always feel like you shouldn’t want time to go for a run, go to the gym, or even meal prep! Yes, I started meal prepping! It’s been great for my waistline and my wallet. It was also something “I just didn’t have time for” a year ago. Now, I make time. The kids help me make my lunches for work. They’re learning helpful skills and I’m getting stuff done. All good things. But we’re all taught that wanting time alone or wanting to make ourselves a priority is selfish, wrong, bad. This is beaten into us until we feel like even taking a bubble bath is taking time away from the family. But everyone deserves to live their best life, and sometimes that means you can’t put everyone else first.

I’m realizing it’s okay to say no, I need to focus on me/my family/my career. I don’t have to be “on” all of the time. I can absolutely take an hour to go to the gym. I can absolutely go for a run and answer the three calls that came in during my run when I’m finished my run. I can meal prep before bed. I can take my day off and clear my schedule to watch Becky Lynch main event Wrestlemania and win the Raw & Smackdown Women’s titles because the kids want their mom to hang out with them and cheer for Becky Lynch. I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to make myself a priority.

The more I take those few moments to make myself a priority, the more that happiness spreads into other aspects of my life. I’m happier at my job. I’m more confident when I’m out and about. I don’t get as anxious anymore. It seems stupid to think something as little as meal prep or 15 minutes of nightly yoga can improve every facet of your life, but it does. It’s another way of reminding yourself that you matter and you are important. If you don’t feel like you matter enough to give yourself value, why would anyone else?

So, don’t be afraid to take that time to do things that make you happy, and don’t be afraid to say no when your cup is empty. You don’t need to give all of yourself to everyone all of the time, because very few people would do the same for you. You can’t run yourself down to please everyone else. Whether it’s taking the family for ice cream, going to the gym, or just sitting and reading a book, take time to put yourself first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong or selfish or bad. You deserve it.

For The Last Time

It’s funny how everything changes.

Last year, I felt very out of place in my own life. I felt like a fat banana, and like someone too awkward and not fit enough to be part of my gym community. This year, I feel empowered by the same people and I find that I want to go to the gym because I love being there, and go running because I finally enjoy it.

I felt out of place at work. I felt like I was the smart kid in class that everyone talks shit about after they give them the answers to number six. Now, I have an amazing group of humans that work with me. I love the leadership team, and I love the staff I have in my store & across the hall. I hang out with them outside of work; we play video games & eat dinner. I even convinced my ASM to run a 10k with me (she hates me now)! But I genuinely love working with these people and I feel more empowered to be successful. My personal performance has improved, and my ASM and I are a great team, as are my best friend/coworker and her ASM. We have such a fun dynamic and I’m so proud to be part of it.

I no longer feel like a weird loner in a big city trying to find where I belong. I’ve found it; I found my home. I found it by being brave enough to drive. I found it through my work, both management and through my published articles. And I’ve found my tribe of people through my job, my gym, or because they moved here from home. But I finally feel like, for the first time in years, I’ve found my place.

It’s weird how something will happen and you’ll realize everything has just kind of snapped into place. For me, it’s been this last week. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the house and it hit me that I finally lived somewhere I was proud to invite company over. I asked my social circle to do a fitness thing and people actually wanted to do it. The kids brought home great report cards. I was invited to a gym event and I went and had a great time. That’s when it hit me; I’m no longer a participant in my own life watching it happen around me. I really love my life and finally feel like it belongs to me. Even my cats seemed more at ease lately, and put up with me taking selfies with them. That also may be the CBD oil.

Things won’t improve until you take control and improve them. And your situation won’t change, whether it’s your financial situation, your relationship status, your job, until you stop letting yourself be a participant in your own life. I needed to stop just accepting the things I didn’t like about my life and change them. Once I did, the positivity and joy arrived. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that change doesn’t work unless you do, and some of that change I didn’t even realize was happening until I saw how certain decisions change how you see your life. You won’t even see change overnight. You’ve just gotta keep pushing until you can’t see the negative because you’re too focused on the good and that’s when the breakthrough will happen.

Sometimes all you gotta do is change how you look at life. Fake it until you make it? Instead of “how am I gonna run 10k again?” It’s “this year I’m gonna make sure I get my Doughnut Party after I finish.” Instead of “ugh I have a fuckton of yard work,” it’s “my yard will be dope.” Instead of “that workout is too hard,” it’s “my legs are gonna look so good in a few months.” You get the idea. By changing the mindset, I could do the work to make changes. So, next time you feel negativity seeping in, look back at how you’ve grown and don’t let yourself undo that progress.

Girl

Remember how I told you guys that I did the cool Crossfit thing and felt super bad ass and like some kind of super nova?

Here’s the story of how I felt like a bucket of crap and a fat loser.

I wanted to do well during this workout so badly. I wanted to do well. It’s been a trying time at work and I’ve been feeling really down on myself professionally, exhausted personally, and just plain overwhelmed. I put off the gym because I’ve been letting my weight get out of hand and I feel like a failure. But the Open was supposed to be how I got back on track. I was gonna kill it, do well. Instead, I crashed, burned, and was so humiliated that I cried. I hate crying. I hate any all indications that I have feelings. But here I was, with sweat dripping down my face, and tears burning my eyes as I looked at my depressing score. I watched everyone else do the thing I couldn’t do, but wanted to do so badly. But, I always put everything ahead of what I want. Family. Friends. Work. Life. And I was the thing I hated most when I looked in the mirror; the fat, single, crying wimp.

As I grabbed my glasses, I had made up my mind; I was quitting CrossFit. 2015, West London Crossfit MHC was gone. She’s not coming back, and fat, sad MHC remained. I hate her so much. All my self esteem issues, my anxiety, my inability to talk to people, stems from the fact that I am fat and I feel ugly and unlovable because of it. Yes, I was going to quit. It’s too hard and too much and I just. can’t. do. it.

I miss 2015 MHC

But, fortunately for me, Crossfit people are actually the coolest of all the people. So many people came over and were like, “you’re so great, you worked so hard!” One of my teammates who’s resting an injury made it a point to cheer me on through Insta. My coaches reminded me that I still did the thing. Maybe not like I’d hoped, but I did the thing. My girls told me I did a great job while taking their job of dog sitting very seriously. I felt so loved and inspired by all these fit, bad ass people who took the time to be nice to me when I felt like shit, and my own girls, who look up to me and think I’m the coolest…

…that’s when I got angry.

I have been selling myself short for too damn long. I keep saying I’ll fix it, I’ll try harder, I’ll get to the gym more, I’ll eat better, but then I do everything else but that! What the fuck kind of example am I setting for these kids if I don’t even like my damn self?! How am I gonna love 2019 MHC if I’m still pining for London, circa 2015 MHC?! I’m not. I’m just wasting everyone’s damn time, especially mine.

So, I decided I won’t be quitting CrossFit. Instead, I’ll do more CrossFit. I’ll eat better things (which I’ve really improved upon). I’ll drink the water and it’s time I stop letting everyone walk the Hell over me. It’s time I bring back London MHC and turn her into Edmonton MHC. Giving up has never, ever helped anyone, so it won’t work for me. I’m gonna take those feelings of inadequacy and use them to empower myself to be better.

I never want to feel like I did today ever again. I know the reason that I felt that way is because I know it’s on me. I’ve let winter blues and insecurities and the universe dictate what I should be doing instead of accepting that it’s not vain or self centred or “wrong” to want to be healthy mentally and physically. And no matter how much I try, I will never be happy with myself if I’m overweight. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to body positivity, or you shouldn’t love yourself in any shape. But this shape is not one I can accept for myself, and I need to change it or my personal life and mental health will suffer. So, I’m gonna get angry and use it to be better, even if 19.4 kicks my ass.

The Killing Kind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Death Of Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Swear This Time I Mean It

Have you ever been so tired that you feel it in your soul? Because that’s how I’ve felt lately.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been working non stop and work has been pulling me in a lot of different directions. I’m trying to help everyone and run my store and work on articles and there just isn’t enough hours in a day to make everyone happy. I’m trying to give all my time away from work to the famjam, which requires binge watching Fuller House (BTW Fuller House is absolutely terrible).

Maybe it’s because I’m getting over the flu, so I’m living on a lovely diet of Cold 911, DayQuil, and NyQuil. Either way, I’m just tired & it’s impacting every aspect of my life.

One of the things I’m trying to work on is learning how to stop giving so much of myself and not taking time for myself. One of the things I’m most guilty of is trying to help everyone; the girls, my friends, my co-workers, and I always take a backseat. That means the gym (which is so important for my mental health, although I did sign up for DeadBoys Fitness so I can at least WOD from home on non-gym days), personal time to unwind, dating, writing, etc. Everything just takes a backseat to helping everyone else. I keep saying I’ll work on it, until I find myself bogged down and exhausted and feeling like I have no energy. So, I’m learning how to take that time to recharge, and refocus so I can be someone who people can count on to be there for them. But I have to learn to be there for me too.

I think as women, we are conditioned to think that any form of self care is selfish; you need to always put your kids, mate, job, house first. But eventually you just get exhausted because there’s no energy left to pull from. It’s like trying to drink from a water bottle that’s empty. For years, I would just keep pouring until I had shaken the last drop of energy from my body. But I’ve learned that isn’t healthy for me or my family. My kids need a mom that is there for them. I can’t be there for them if I’m too tired to function. I can’t work until I’m dead on my feet. I can’t be everyone’s sounding board. It’s okay for me to withdraw for a bit & focus on my needs. It’s okay to go to bed early, or take a long bath, or say no, I cannot take on that right now, I have too much on my plate. It doesn’t make me a bad person, it doesn’t make me mean. It just means that I need to refill my pitcher. Sometimes, we all just need to be alone with our thoughts to relax.

At my house, you are never truly alone.

However, when you’re a working mom, you sometimes have to power through until you can take a rest. So, I’ll use the gym and DeadBoys Fitness as my personal time until I can take a real break, which comes in the form of a four day weekend in April, where I can hang with the kids, eat pizza, and watch Becky Lynch main event WrestleMania. You know, priorities.

I used to think I needed to be around people because being alone was scary. Now I’ve learned that being alone isn’t scary; it’s necessary to recharge your batteries, and to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself enough to spend time with yourself, doing things you love for yourself, how are you going to love anyone else enough to give them what they need? If you can’t love yourself enough to give you what you need, all you’re doing is letting others exhaust you until there is nothing left of you. I haven’t mastered this, but I’m learning, and I’ll get there.

Let You Love Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe You’re Right

FINALLY, the last few weeks are ALMOST OVER!

Hooray!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I always just look in the mirror and think;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Salute

Another bucket list item checked off!

I completed a 10k run!

My time wasn’t what I hoped it would be, but I set a personal best, and that was pretty exciting. My coaches cheered at the finish line and that meant a lot to me. It’s a small thing, but I felt so supported by my gym crew. I have been so swamped that I haven’t been able to train as much as I wanted, but I did it and I’m pretty proud of that. Next year, I’ll aim for an hour. I think with training and dedication, I could do that.

I was feeling pretty good until I got my marathon pics. While everyone was happily sharing theirs, I was crying in my back room because I couldn’t believe how big I looked. I wasn’t proud of myself anymore. All I could see was that I was this big fat blob running. It sounds depressing, but it was a really healthy moment because I keep pushing down and ignoring the feelings that stem from the fact that I really don’t like myself right now. I keep saying I’m going to do things and put me first, but I never do it. Here I was, fresh off of a major accomplishment and I was heartbroken because I felt so fat.

I haven’t been happy with my training level this year. I feel like I could be doing more, but it seems like work, family, life bogs me down more than I’d like. Lack of training leads me to eat like crap. This makes me get fat again. None of this is good, because it all just makes me unhappy. So I decided I need to find another goal to work towards. My coach suggested a half marathon, but no thank you. I’m not ready for that yet. But Crossfit goals might be a good idea. It would help kick my ass to train. I’d hopefully get to know my gym community better, which is positive. Basically, I need to learn to like myself again, and I know exercise is a big part of it.

I thought about some goals I wanted to set. A few things I could work towards to help me feel better about myself, both physically and mentally. I want to get healthier, be a better role model to the girls, and get out of my comfort zone and not let work take over my life. I love my job, but I need work life balance. The gym is an important part of that for me, as I like the people at my gym, and I like how I feel after a workout. With my car, it’s easier to get to the gym, which means fewer excuses, and also, a better butt.

I thought long and hard about the goals I wanted to set. What would help me improve and also help me like myself better? Here’s what I came up with;

1. Attend classes five days a week every week for a minimum of one month.

2. Attend at least one strongman class.

3. Push myself a little harder each week so I can start completed RX WOD’s.

4. Complete one Open workout RX’ed in 2019.

5. Give up caffeine for thirty days.

6. Sign up for a Crossfit competition and actually do it.

They all sound like they’d be hard. But that’s the point. I’ll have to make it a point to leave work on time to get to the gym. Now that I have a vehicle, it’ll be easier. I’ll have to push past insecurities to attend a class that (right now), is out of my skill level. I’ll have to break my morning routine and not get my morning Starbucks & shake up how I start my day. I’ve always been able to change my life to keep doing positive things, but lately I’ve been stuck in a rut. Last time I felt this way, I packed up, moved to London and lost weight. Then I packed up, moved to Edmonton and began a freelance career. I can’t pack up again, but maybe I can shake up my life just enough that I can kickstart positive changes again.

If you don’t like yourself, no relationship, no friendship, nothing will fix you. Only you can fix you. I’ll never be good for anyone else if I’m not happy with myself. I need to teach my girls fitness is about loving your body enough to take care of it, not punishing it for liking pizza. So, I’ll work on my goals, so that the next time there are photos of me accomplishing a cool thing, I’ll actually be proud of them.