Daylight

Welp, its time for the holidays, which are the busiest time of year for all of us. Since I’ll be busy working and enjoying time with family, and ending the decade with friends, I figured I’d post my annual photo essay reviewing my 2019 (excluding photos of the kids). It’s been an eventful year; moved to a new home, went on some fantastic adventures, made new friends, and did a bunch of kick ass stuff. I hope you had a great year as well, and you achieved many goals and dreams. Enjoy the photos and hopefully I’ll have more stories to tell in 2020!

We saw Ariana Grande and it was the best day until we met Becky Lynch

Changed my look for the first time in forever

City and Colour!

It’s Nice to Have a Friend

I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday this year.

Money has been tight because of some unexpected repairs and I couldn’t take the girls to the WWE event they wanted to go to. I know they just went to Summerslam but I knew they wanted to go for my birthday. I know kids don’t need to do everything, but I felt like I disappointed them.

Still an amazing night

I also just looked at my birthday as a bunch of disappointments. I thought I’d have found my partner by now, and I haven’t been on a date in two months. I thought I’d be at my goal weight and I’m not even close. I thought I’d have gotten the promotion I’ve been chasing, but I’m not there yet. I just felt like I’ve let myself down. I had set goals for myself, and I didn’t really hit them. My birthday just felt like the year of disappointment. But, I still look good, that’s a plus, right?!

Fortunately, I have some pretty awesome friends. My assistant manager and his partner planned an entire birthday party for me, and invited all of my friends. They spoiled me with gifts. We drank wine and played Super Smash Bros. Two days later, I attended a work event and everyone made it a point to wish me a happy birthday. My boss’s wife got me a piñata. It might not seem like much to y’all, but when you’re already feeling down, there’s something so amazing about all the people you love or respect taking a second to do something nice for you is such a cool thing.

Maybe I didn’t meet the goals I set for myself, but I’m still doing really well. I have a job I love. I’ve been working on some new articles. I have great kids and the best friends in the whole world. I must be doing something right to have so many amazing people take time out of their lives to want to celebrate with me. I’m not behind because I didn’t meet some imaginary criteria. All of this stuff will happen when it’s supposed to. Until then, I should focus more on gratitude. I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life and that I get to be their friends. I’m fortunate enough to live in a wonderful home with my amazing family. I’m fortunate that I can afford to repair things when they go wrong. Lots of others don’t have that luxury. Maybe instead of focusing on timelines and schedules, just keep working on what I want to work on and then be grateful for when they happen, instead of pressuring myself to get there and failing. Things fall into place better when you let them instead of forcing them to fall when you think they should. Trust the process, don’t obsess about the result.

One Thing Right

It’s funny how sometimes one thing can just snowball and really deflate you and destroy you…if you let it.

Shortly after I finished my 10k, I was feeling better than I ever have. I was feeling empowered and excited for the first time in a long time. I was starting to feel good about my body. I was really believing I could lose these pounds and look the way I wanted to. I was finally overcoming the dark cloud and pushing forward.

Then I was out with some friends and one of them was telling a story. During the story she said “there was no way I’d fit in it. She’s so big even YOU couldn’t fit in her clothes!” I remember balking at the comment and the friend was like ” you know what I mean, you wouldn’t fit in them because she’s really big, so I definitely wouldn’t!” But the damage was done. I had just talked to people about how I work out because I enjoy the work, only to be told that I looked fine and at my age, the window to find love was closing anyway, and finding someone would only complicate my life, couldn’t I just be happy as the solo friend? I realized that my closest friends don’t look at me as someone who loves fitness or is desirable or has great traits; I’m the fat, single friend. I make people feel better about their lives because they’re not the fat, single friend. I didn’t mind being the single friend, but when I’m just confident enough to really take dating seriously, being told that the window is closing so stop working out and accept your fate, solo loser, was a little off putting.

Suddenly, I felt like the “f” word was EVERYWHERE. That’s how everyone saw me; fat and old. I’d be at the gym, but I felt like there was a sign on me that screamed “you don’t belong. You are fat and old.” Even though my gym mates are super supportive, it was like a mantra now “fat and old. Window closing. Best days behind you. Fat and old.” I was my biggest fear; the fat old single mom that dies alone meddling in their kids lives because they are unlovable. I’d work late. I stopped running, because every step screamed; “FAT. OLD. FAT. OLD. NO HOPE. WINDOW CLOSED.” I stopped wearing makeup. I stopped trying. Even my work slipped. But it didn’t matter. I gained the weight back. I’m old and fat. Sephora doesn’t make enough makeup to fix that. Old. Fat. Old. Fat. Window closed.

I saved up all year to take the kids to Summerslam. I pinched pennies and stuck to a budget and used all my PC Optimum points for snacks. They had the best time, and met their heroes, Becky Lynch and Carmella. We watched Crossfit Jesus become the Master of the Universe from our nosebleeds. I felt like after a year of second guessing, I finally did one thing right.

Even then, I avoided photos on vacation, until the girls insisted I was in one. Then, a random Twitter user called me fat.

Even on vacation, old and fat followed. This was who I was. All those years I spent trying so hard to be a good role model suddenly felt pointless. Dating, which was never a big priority, suddenly felt useless. Sure, hundreds of people said otherwise, but I didn’t feel pretty, or even good about the fact that I saved up all year to take my kids to Summerslam and give them that memory. I just felt defeated. I came home and my washer broke. The repair is way beyond my budget. I was so depressed that I slept through my gym alarm…twice. When it rains, it pours, and I felt like a failure trying to balance work and life and something as simple as liking myself when I looked in the mirror seemed impossible. So I just stopped trying.

Carmella is the sweetest and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise

But, life doesn’t stop when you’re sad. Life doesn’t end because you’re moping about. And kids still need good role models even when you feel fat and old and like you’re unloveable and unworthy. So, when today’s crisis (internet went down) barred me from open gym, and I had to do laundry at a friend’s house, I still went running. Was it a good run?! Hell no! I ran a kilometre. But I ran, and it felt good to run. On Wednesday, I’ll run two. Three on Saturday. I’ll keep it up until I get back to 5km.

I talked to my ASM about making sure i could leave on time to hit the gym. That’s the one place I feel empowered. The only person who tells me I don’t belong is me. That voice can kindly STFU ten times. Washing machines break. It happens. We’ll pull through. Daphne Zuniga got married for the first time at 56. The window doesn’t close. The only way it closes if you keep telling yourself you’re too old and fat.

It’s not going to be easy; when you feel depressed, it’s hard sometimes to shake off the negative self talk and push forward. But I know that to love myself, I’ve gotta invest in myself. Push past that voice that says I’m too old and too fat and do the work and invest in myself. The reason I was so happy wasn’t just because I lost 100lbs. It was because I was investing in my own happiness. My kids need to see that happiness doesn’t come from a relationship; a relationship comes when you are happy. I had a great talk with my boss about the quadrants of time management. I spend so much time trying to be in Q2 (important but not urgent) that sometimes I forget that Q1’s (urgent and important) happen, or Q3’s (urgent and unimportant). You gotta roll with the Q1’s so you can get back to Q2. Don’t panic, just push though. The washer will break. Money will be tight. A Twitter troll will call you fat. But I’m not old and fat. Or maybe I am. But I’ll work at it until I feel happy with my body. But most importantly, I’ll remind myself that I’m beautiful and work at my life until I believe it, because no one is gonna do it for me.

When I took this picture to show my friend the new colour, all I could see was wrinkles and thin lips. Now, I choose to think I’m beautiful.

Guiding Light

Have you ever just felt “blah?”

Not good nor bad, just sort of meh.

That’s how I’ve felt this past month. I haven’t been pitching stories anywhere because I haven’t had the urge. I haven’t really exercised much, because I’m always exhausted. At first I thought it was jet lag, but it’s been a week and I’m still just blah. But my race is coming up and I ate nothing but crap for a week and I missed the gym, but I’m just like…meh.

I have no reason to feel this way. Work is going well. Life is good. Friends kick ass. Family is good. But I’m just kind of in a weird funk. The rain preventing me from going for a good run isn’t helping either. I always just want to go to sleep.

Even my attempts to run weren’t going well. I’d hear the pace say I was behind & I would just give up and quit. It was just so demoralizing that I felt like I shouldn’t be in the 10k or even doing anything except crying into an ice cream sandwich and going to sleep.

I knew I had to snap out of it because no one is successful living their life in a haze of meh. You’ve gotta find something to feel passionate about, even if all you wanna do is take a nap. There’s also the fact that how you treat your body impacts how it reacts. If you don’t take care of yourself, your body doesn’t want to go. I spent a week eating garbage food and doing nothing and then came back home to do nothing and eat garbage food. There’s been less meal prep and more Manchu Wok. I fought so hard not to become this person and yet, I’ve become this person. But the thing about this type of behaviour is that it sneaks up on you. One day you’re just a little tired. The next you think you’ll just catch up on sleep. Then two weeks pass and you haven’t seen your friends and you’ve worked late and missed the gym and you’re laying in your bathtub even though the water is cold and you realize maybe you aren’t doing okay.

Nothing really needs to be “wrong” in your life and you don’t necessarily need to be “sad.” Sometimes you just feel like your energy has been sucked out of you and that’s where all month except for the week I was away. I’ve realized that while I’ve talked about giving away too much and leaving an empty vessel, now I really am one. So, much like one of my best friend’s deleted FB to shut out some noise and focus on himself, I need to start doing the same.

First thing I did was make a hair appointment. You can’t feel blah after a day making your hair fabulous. My stylist is the best and I know my self esteem will jump 10 points because my hair will be fantastic. You might laugh, but small things will really help pull you out of the doldrums. Next, I forced myself to workout with Deadboys Fitness and get back into running. They haven’t been great, but I’ve got two weeks before the race, so even running every day should get me on the right track, no pun intended.

I asked a friend who is a trainer to help me push myself harder to get a better run in. It wasn’t the best time, but I did manage to get a solid time in while running on the trails. My next time will be much better.

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling so blah, but when going through a depressive episode, it’s up to me to pull myself out, just like it’s up to all of us when going through those times when we are down on ourselves and feeling like crap. Whether it’s through therapy, medication, exercise, or just focusing on a little victory each day, everyone can find a way to feel better. For me, it’s finding something every day to feel good about myself, whether it’s a good run, getting back to the gym, or a strong day at work. I’ve been wallowing in my low sense of self for a month now, and it’s time I snap out of it and focus on being the most bad ass version of me. That means getting up every morning, putting my confidence on, and working towards my goals.

Cross Me

I have a confession to make.

After years of working to be healthy and love myself, I gained a bunch of weight back.

After the events of the fall, I decided since I was on the wait list for counselling, I’d just eat a fuck ton of garbage. I bought lunch every day, ate a ton of snacky crap. I even brought chips into the house and started drinking Soda again. It was BAD. I ended up adding 40 to the 20 I had gained and now I needed to drop 60lbs to fit in the super cute outfits I used to own. I haven’t felt good about my body in a long time and on 12/29/18, I vowed to change this.

Actual footage of me in the fall

I started a fitness only IG & updated it with progress pics once a week. Everyone was usually positive, except that one asshole that trolled, calling me fat (Good job, asshole, I already knew that. That’s literally the point, but thanks for the head’s up).

It’s been good for keeping me accountable, but I felt like I wasn’t progressing. I was really down on myself and being down on myself usually means stress eating. I tried stress running instead, and stress fitness. I’ve been doing a fun combination of CrossFit, Crossfit with Deadboys Fitness at home, and running. I even felt confident enough to try one of the competitive WOD’s and completed “Man Vs. Man,” a Deadboys Workout that was awful. I also beat my friend, so I’m the man.

This was awful. But finished in 21:22

Even though my running times are getting faster and my lifts are getting heavier, I still felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Even when I tried on an outfit and it was two sizes smaller, I still felt defeated. I promised myself I wouldn’t get in this place again and here I was, fat again. I felt like a hypocrite, because I keep telling my 12 year old when she complains about her least favourite class that she’s right at the end, and you wouldn’t just sit on the ground 50 metres from the finish line, so you gotta push and finish strong. But here I was, ready to throw in the towel because I didn’t feel like I was improving. I was trying to be positive, but just felt like a failure, until I took this week’s progress pic. I noticed what I thought were small changes in my waist and thighs. So I decided to do a comparison from eight weeks ago & was shocked.

There’s a fairly big difference! It’s not where I want to be but it’s a big start! I forgot that with weight loss, it’s easy to get discouraged because you look at yourself in the mirror every day and it’s hard to really notice changes. But if you trust the process and remain consistent, you’ll get where you want to be. I’m pretty proud of the changes I’ve made and I’m gonna keep going. There are no more chips in the house. We eat fruit as a snack. I pack lunches. I’ve stayed on my running/fitness schedule & progress is being made. To top things off, I tried on a jumpsuit and it was a size 12, two sizes smaller than I’ve been. Maybe I’m not at the goal, but I think there’s lots to celebrate.

So, if you’ve felt like you’ve hit a wall with your attempts to get healthier, improve at work, school, or whatever you’re doing to try and be the best version of you, don’t stress, change takes time. Maybe you won’t see it right away, but you will, And when you do, you’ll want to keep going because you’ll be empowered by the change. So, even when you feel discouraged, keep on pushing. You’ll feel so much better when you do.

Bad Guy

Life is weird man.

You never know who or what will jump out of the woodwork when you least suspect it.

I’ve had a pretty tranquil life these past few months. I’ve found my groove at my new store. The weather is lovely so I’ve been enjoying my backyard. I’ve gone on a few dates here and there, no one has been someone I’d consider an option for a serious relationship, but it’s been nice to get back out there. My 10k training is going alright. I set a PR for my clean and jerk at the gym. I’ve been spending more time with friends, which led to one of my platonic friends spamming me on Tinder a bunch of times, because why not?

My friends everyone

The kids and I are gearing up for one of our two vacations this year and it’s been pretty chill. Life is good. So, of course, some weird ass thing has to happen.

Yesterday, an ex boyfriend reached out to me on FB messenger (I thought I blocked all the exes that ended on bad terms, but apparently one slipped through. Damn). He wanted to apologize for the circumstances that led to the breakup, despite us breaking up several years ago and both of us moving on. I hadn’t even thought about the dude in years, and for a second, I was transported back to a very ugly time in my life that I had no desire to relive.

For those of you that have the urge to reach out to someone you’ve hurt in the past, so you can apologize and feel better about yourself; don’t. There’s a few people I was toxic towards in my life during a period shortly after my divorce and they had to sever ties. Since I became a healthier person, I recognize that I was a douche and dragged them down with my depression. But I don’t want them to have that dredged up when they’re living their best lives, so I don’t invade their lives with apologies that they don’t really want or need. Let people live their lives in peace and live with your guilt.

My first thought was “What kind of egotistical prick?!” I mean, how much of an ego must someone have to think that years and years later, I give a flying frog’s ass about you, your guilt, etc. As if my life will magically be made better by you seeking me out to apologize. My next thought was that it must have taken a lot to own up to some shitty behaviour. But mostly fuck you and your ego. People who feel the need to apologize years and years later to clean their slate are narcissistic as fuck (unless it’s part of a rehabilitation program) in my opinion because you’re literally invading the happy life someone built to remind them of the shitty times it took to get there and rub their nose in it like a dog that peed on the floor. No one wants or needs it. I respect that everyone needs to heal in their own way, and maybe some people need to make that apology. Maybe some people want to hear it. But for me, if you hurt me, you don’t get to invade my life long afterwards and get your healing through me. Write a letter and burn it. Find a symbolic end. But keep your apologies and bullshit away from me. You’re not in my life anymore for a reason. The reason is that I do not want you there.

I did reply as politely as possible that I accepted their apology and requested that they please not contact me again. The person in question agreed to comply, but I added him to my long block list just in case. I’m sure he felt better, but I didn’t feel any differently. I felt nothing once the shock subsided. That door was long closed and needs to stay that way, much like most doors I’ve closed. Doors that you closed should remain that way.

Maybe I’m way off base. Maybe some people find value in those long overdue apologies. If you do, I hope you get them. But, it’s just not something that hives with me, and I have long accepted what’s happened, forgiven you, and moved on. I hope they have as well, and there’s no ill will, but I also probably never want to hear from you ever again.

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.