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.

Lie To Me

When I was a little girl, all I wanted to be was a reporter.

When other little girls were playing house with their baby dolls, little MHC was dropping her dolls off @ baby doll daycare & covering a fire. Little MHC played “Desert Storm” & she would write articles on loose leaf paper based on CNN coverage. All of my friends thought I was a freak (this has never changed), but this was my calling, not a career. I was going to inform the masses. I was going to make them think. They were going to ask questions of the world, themselves. They were going to trust the information I worked to collect & present & society would be better because people would learn & evolve. After all, people should always be learning, asking questions, collecting information & growing. I was going to change the world by showing people what the world really was & people would want it to be better. I was going to reach someone & make them think & grow. I actually apply this principle to everything in my life. If I stand by something & tell you I believe it with all that I am, you should probably investigate it, because I have & I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t something I believed was gospel.

Alas, I have done none of these things. I write puff pieces & this blog. Little MHC is probably ashamed. I always justify my entertainment reporting with the idea that I write smart, snappy & honest articles. I only sold my soul a little. But my calling remains; I will be a writer & I’ll try to show the world what the world is really like so it’ll change.

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I have a point, I promise.

Little MHC had one idol growing up; Barbara Walters. This woman asked hard questions. She spoke to world leaders, war heroes. She was bringing the world information that would change how they saw the world. She was a bad ass, no nonsense lady who wasn’t afraid to put these powerful people on the hot seat & make them accountable. I even forgave the existence of the View because it was a good idea in theory. But this woman was literally everything I ever wanted to be (well, professionally. I always kind of knew I’d never have a person, because they’d have to love my writing as much as I do & understand my need to inform & be moved by my writing & care & even suggest things for me to write about).

Even though they’ve gone downhill, I still look forward to her Most Fascinating People series. I don’t always agree, but she always conducts such compelling interviews. This year, she chose Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) as her most fascinating person of 2014. Interesting choice. Her reason? Clooney’s wedding to her husband, Academy Award winning actor George Clooney was “really one of the greatest achievements in human history.”

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What?

Mrs. Clooney is a fascinating woman. She is educated and uses her education to bring attention to human rights issues. Her focus as an attorney is human rights and extradition. She represented Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) & Yulia Tymoshenko (the former president of Ukraine). She met with world leaders before Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. She cut her honeymoon short to attend a case in Greece involving the reparations of ancient statues. Mrs. Clooney is definitely a fascinating woman. But she is considered fascinating because she married a playboy actor, not her body of work.

As an entertainment journalist, I know I am part of the problem. We have put so much focus on Kardashians & ScarJos & J.Los & treat these people as fascinating instead of leaders of men, visionaries & average people who just want to make the world better. Walters completely devalued Mrs. Clooney’s body of work, her dedication to helping her fellow man, her education by claiming her greatest moment in life was landing George Clooney. Because after all, no woman can have any real accomplishments greater than marrying a rich and handsome man.

While yes, celebrities can be fascinating (Taylor Swift), there are so many more people in the world. Of her list of 10, the only non celebrities were Mrs. Clooney & Elon Musk. In a world where Ferguson is happening, there is political unrest in Russia, the American political system continues to be flawed, where planes disappear, discrimination is still rampant, sexism is real & racism is fatal. We live in a world where, despite all of these things, beautiful acts of heroism & kindness happen. We live in a world where beautiful people try to make it beautiful every day. All of those things produce fascinating people & someone’s ability to land a man shouldn’t make her the most interesting person in the world. It makes me so sad that Barbara Walters, a pioneer for women reporters has fallen in line with the celebrity worship that she no longer sees the fascinating people among us, the peacekeepers & the leaders & the thinkers.

I guess it makes me sad that we live in a world where our media focuses on keeping up with Kardashians, their own political bias or forgetting that news doesn’t stop just because it stopped trending on Twitter. We’ve stopped informing people & making them think. We’ve allowed ourselves to blame the media for our skewed way of thinking, because we aren’t. We just mindlessly listen to a network who feeds us whatever & a differing opinion is just bias. That’s why John Oliver & Jon Stewart are most people’s go-to for news. But they’re comedians, not reporters.

Before you read anything, even my drivel, open your mind & be willing to think. Then think. Then question. Then read a contradicting opinion. Then think again. Ask more questions. Expect the media to work for you & get the answers you need to know. If you’re satisfied with the answers, then you need to think harder. Because we work for you, to inform you, to make you think, not the other way around.

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Headphones

While I generally do not care to discuss my relationship with my boyfriend (as I like having that part of my life fairly private), since he pretty much suggested this entire post (complete with the title), I kind of have to.

He’s an interesting & captivating man, compassionate & smart & sweet & pretty much every good adjective you can think of. He supports my crazy desire to become the world’s greatest reporter/cell phone princess & reads literally every word I write. But, in addition to all of these amazing things, he entertains my needs to ask questions.

I’m an inquisitive sort; I need to know everything about the world around me. So, I ask a million questions; about the world, my family, etc. I ask him a million questions every day; how is your day, your life, your daughter, tell me about your job, etc. and he answers them all. I think it’s because he’s like me; he likes information. Whether it’s sports, politics, current events, world religion, he likes to know. I think that’s why we work; he’s the intellectual and I’m the journalist, the supplier of information. He loves to learn & I love to inform, we’re quite the pair. Also, he hasn’t complained about my inability to shut up ever, so either he’s mastered tuning me out or is a glutton for punishment.

However, he possesses dual citizenship & unlike most Canadians, he would actually prefer to be American. We have conversations about when Thanksgiving is supposed to be (pro-tip; he’s wrong) & I often end conversations with “YOU WERE BORN HERE.” So, we tend to differ on the “American” vs. “Canadian” way.

Today’s horrible shooting in Ottawa put a halt to our mock fights about national pride to listen & read about what was happening. This was a horrible thing & a young man lost his life for no good reason. He’ll never have another birthday or Christmas. His beloved dogs will never see their master again. His parents will never hear his voice on the phone & my heart breaks for them. No 24 year old should be taken from this world in such a terrible way & I hope that we as a nation will stand by the Cirillo family through this horrific time.

I wanted to know why this happened, what measures will be taken to protect our Prime Minister & Members of Parliament going forward, how did a man with a gun get into Parliament, is there a second shooter, etc. The RCMP was mum. The Canadian Press seemed mute except about the lockdown. Meanwhile, CBS already had the identity of the shooter & breaking news site heavy.com had a bunch of facts about him, before the Canadian Press knew what was up. I was so frustrated, because as a journalist (albeit a fluffy celeb journalist) I didn’t understand why no one was informing us & why we as Canadians seemed to be okay with that. I texted my beau a huge rant, which prompted my epiphany that perhaps his “American” thought process wasn’t so off base & he told me to write this because I’m a genius.

The truth is; we get the media we deserve.

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My American friends are not afraid to question everything they hear. My Facebook timeline is inundated with them questioning their government, their police, the FBI, Mark Zuckerberg, and the list goes on & on. They live in a “stranger danger” sort of world. When the Boston Marathon was horrifically bombed, we had real time updates from every reliable news agency in the world, as the American media kept people appraised. We knew who, why, who was at large in hours & people knew what was happening. Today, people in Canada sat questioning how this happens here & when I would ask why it happened, I was told I was nitpicking the coverage instead of the tragedy & shame on me.

Actual quote from cbc.ca's live blog. This MAY have been what started my rant
Actual quote from cbc.ca’s live blog. This MAY have been what started my rant

While Americans live in stranger danger, we in Canada do the opposite; we don’t care. We’re ostriches. Political scandals are overlooked (one of my colleagues once wrote an amazing piece for a magazine we all wrote for about Canada’s apathy to political corruption) because that doesn’t happen here (yes it does), we flip out whenever there’s a major crime because it doesn’t happen here (a prime example was when a meth lab blew up near my old house right before I moved & everyone freaked because that doesn’t happen here), and we’re so focused on being perfect utopia Canada that we miss that bad things happen here & we need to accept that so we can learn from it so it doesn’t happen anymore. People get murdered, there is crime, there is corruption & pretending it doesn’t happen won’t make it any less true. While my feelings towards Prime Minister Harper’s politics follow “I don’t agree with anything he says ever,” he was very realistic when he said we are not immune to terrorist attacks. We are not. Fortunately our Nation escaped this horrific day with only one tragic loss. But we need to be smart and arm ourselves with information, we need to ask questions so we won’t be shaking our heads wondering how this happened because it doesn’t happen in Canada. I love my Nation; I think it’s a beautiful place and I am so proud to be Canadian, but we are not a utopia and the biggest lesson we need to take from this tragedy is like Mr. Harper said, we are not immune to tragedy, so we need to stand in the face of these things and not hope it just goes away.

Perhaps we do need to borrow a page from our American brethren and accept that bad things happen and start asking questions. It is perfectly okay to question your government. It is okay to question law enforcement. It is okay to ask what is happening in the world around you, if you are safe, because when all is said and done, these people work for us to preserve our way of life and for the most part, they do a damned good job. But if we as Canadians are not asking, we won’t be informed and we’ll have to learn from our neighbours what’s happening in our own backyard. We cannot peer over the fence and ask America who is attacking us. We need to find out for ourselves.

So, ask questions. Seek knowledge. Make the media answer those questions. Hold them accountable and let’s make it a point to make sure we aren’t ostriches as the world goes to Hell around us, because it CAN happen here.

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Something Great

I watched WWE as a kid & still dig the camp factor. My daughters love it though, are very invested in the storylines & I’ll have to keep my two eldest in neutral corners as their faves AJ Lee & Paige compete for the Divas title tonight @ the Summerslam PPV event (yes, they are well aware it isn’t real, it’s all scripted & they’re all friends in real life, but you can get hurt if you try it. My middle daughter will tell you this is the best cartoon on TV & Daniel Bryan is everything).

However, I often complain at the lack of proper representation for their female characters. The Divas (until recently) were one note characters, either kind of trashy or innocent ingenue & their only storylines were bad girl wants good girl’s Divas title or is jealous of good girl. The only exceptions were the long & storied feud of Trish Stratus & Lita & the mean girls style antics of Laycool (Michelle McCool & Layla El). As a parent of daughters , it bugged me that there were no characters they could really get behind or rally around. Well, it’s as if Stephanie McMahon (the company’s principal owner & mom of three daughters) heard every mom’s concerns & did something about it.

The women have complex characters now. Divas Champion AJ Lee went from one note man eater jealous of the girls from the reality show Total Divas (on the E! Network) to complicated heroine struggling to keep her composure after an onslaught of machinations created by her “friend”. Newcomer Paige is a sweet young girl…or a master manipulator. The Bella Twins went from wooden bad girls to heroines protecting each other & their family (namely Brie’s real life & legitimately injured husband Daniel Bryan) from the aforementioned McMahon. Nikki put up with unfair advantage week after week believing that she could overcome & Brie, having had enough, challenged McMahon to stand up for her family & Brie vs. Stephanie is going to headline tonight’s PPV.

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That’s right: the main event is two women! Something unheard of in the sexist & misongynistic world of wrestling. Women are normally relegated to less than 10 minutes & put in the spot known as the “death slot,” so you can get nachos before John Cena appears. My daughters were heartbroken @ Wrestlemania XXX when they waited all night for the first Divas title match in the history of the event, only to see there were no entrances (save for AJ Lee) & their match was shorter than the time it took for the Undertaker to walk to the ring. The Divas disappear from TV for weeks while little girls sadly hope for a glimpse of Brie or Nikki & last year, a Divas t-shirt was a mythological thing. If little girls wanted something to represent their idols, they had to make it themselves.

But not anymore.

Seven women have merch for little girls to buy. There are two women’s matches a night. TWO. The women have actual storylines & Brie Bella, who’s match was famously pulled off a PPV to make room for Machine Gun Kelly to play John Cena to the ring is considered more important than the men. My daughters pleaded for their Bella shirts & I relented (& got one too) & they are excited for tonight like it’s Super Bowl Sunday with their Fearless Nikki & Brie Mode shirts. They’ve counted down the days for Bellaslam as they call it & tonight, they all get to stay up late to see if their beloved Brie can defeat the evil Stephanie McMahon.

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While to those who don’t watch, it doesn’t seem like a big deal; it’s just a campy, stupid TV show designed for rednecks & children, but to every girl who was told that they only watched wrestling for the hot guys or for the soap opera like atmosphere, this is our moment. For once, the girls we cheered for aren’t being marginalized in a dumbed down storyline that makes women look like shrews or like they only care about pleasing men or like women secretly hate each other & it’s all about jealousy. This is the equivalent of A Disney Princess grabbing the sword from Prince Charming & saving herself, or the Cubs going to the World Series. Fans waited so long & gave up hope that the day would ever come. Suddenly, for every little girl who aspires to be a Diva (including my 13 year old daughter), the main event, the star of the show, is an option. It’s attainable & kudos to WWE for realizing that girls can kick ass, girls do have feelings, & girls can star the show & people WILL care about them. Between this & the successful reality show Total Divas, it’s like WWE finally gets what they seemed to have forgotten since Trish Stratus & Lita retired; women are people; strong, resilient, confident, brave & emotional people & not just objects for men to ogle.

Now, I’m well aware that WWE will likely screw this up & break up the Bella Twins or something & turn this into a one note jealous sister storyline & remind me why they are sexist & can’t write for women, but right now I’m feeling very girl power for them & for my own kids, who get to ask to stay up without saying “if they don’t get cut” or “it’ll only be five more minutes,” because for the first time ever, the Divas are the star of the show.

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All Of Me

I’m always afraid to write things about fitness because every time I do, I get accused of fat shaming.

I don’t really understand “fat shaming.” It seems like something made up for fat girls to bully thin girls by calling them bags of bones etc. I am currently a fat girl. I used to be a fatter girl, once weighing almost 300lbs. But now, I’m under 200, a size 12 & halfway to my goal body type. I’m not working to be thin; I’m working to be strong. I see my fitness idols Trish Stratus (thanks to her Stratusphere Yoga DVD’s & lifestyle tips I’ve lost 32lbs in 16 weeks) & WWE Diva Nikki Bella rocking their strong & fit bodies. Bella is regularly called fat & has even been nicknamed “Thikki” by her detractors, but I see a strong girl with some killer arms. I also know she & Stratus train hard for their bodies, eat a healthy, balanced diet & their rewards pay off. I’m training with the help of the Psych Major & her hubby & using Stratusphere yoga as well as cardio. It’s hard ass work, but I’m taking this time of my life to focus on the person that I want to be, and that is strong physically & emotionally.

Courtesy: Nikki Bella's Instagram (theNikkiBella)
Courtesy: Nikki Bella’s Instagram (theNikkiBella)

But I digress.

I am fat. I am well aware that I am fat. I am working to change the fact that I am fat. I am doing it because I want to feel better about myself and be healthier for my children. I am also an extremely beautiful & charming woman & even if I were a size 40, I’d still be beautiful. I have a friend who is fat. She is dieting right now because she wants to find a job & she feels her weight is holding her back. I don’t feel ashamed when people call me fat or post ads promoting bikinis saying that we should aspire to be thin. That’s not true either. My four best friends all have very different body types. What is “thin” for them might be a size 14. What is “fit” for another is a size two. These numbers mean nothing. What matters is that you’re healthy & in the right shape for your body type. Own that body type!

Courtesy @trishstratuscom
Courtesy @trishstratuscom

However, I see nothing wrong with pointing out truth. When my brother said he wanted to go to the gym, I said “you’ll need to change your diet, because you only eat s***.” I had to give up a lot to see results. I’ve cut down on carbs (not completely, I still enjoy potatoes, pasta & bread in moderation), started packing lunches for work & gave up soda completely. If a friend asks me if the dress makes them look fat, I say “yes,” & hope they’d do the same for me. The Psych Major & her husband are always brutally honest & I love them for it. You shouldn’t sugar coat reality. Saying “men love curves” does not mean “being obese is cool.” Saying “you’re not fat, you’re beautiful,” reaffirms the idea that you can’t be fat & beautiful. Why not accept that you’re fat (or thin) & beautiful? If you don’t like it, go freaking fix it or if you’re cool with it, be cool & don’t get butthurt when someone says you’re fat (or thin). If you’ve made 1000 excuses about no time, you’re too fat to do (insert exercise here), then you’ve made the choice to be overweight & you don’t get to feel badly when people call you on it, nor do you get to bully thin women, who may be fighting their own body image battle. You chose to accept your body, so embrace it. Words lose their power when you take the power away! People call me fat all of the time. They say I’m crazy sometimes too. And I’m a bitch. Whatever. They’re words. They used to hurt me, until I realized that’s all they are; words. I could scream “POTATO” in someone’s face & it has the same power. Fat is a body type, not a personality trait. If you don’t like it, talk to your doctor & work on it. If you’re cool with it, own that big butt & wear it with pride. Same goes for you thin girls. If you don’t like it, speak to your doctor about safely gaining weight. If you’re cool, rock those plunging necklines I can’t wear & work them.

Courtesy: Glamour UK
Courtesy: Glamour UK

I guess I’m saying don’t focus on some scale number or dress size. Focus on what works best for your body type with your health care professional & get the body you want to have, whether you’re cool with your love handles or you want to be jacked like Chyna. I know I want to be strong. But only you have the power to make yourself feel like crap. Once you choose to take the power away from bullies & use it to better yourself, you’ll be much better off.

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Closing Time

Normally, my song title blog post titles are just as random as what I’m listening to at the time. Today is different. I deliberately sought out this song for one line, which sums up this post nicely;

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Much like every part of life, this Windsor chapter has been about beginnings & endings. I started over after my first attempt to get a post secondary diploma didn’t go according to plan. I succeeded, graduated & became a writer. I welcomed my youngest daughter & watched her grow into a bright & happy young girl. I obtained a second post secondary diploma when my dearest hippie friend called me & suggested we both needed a change. I started a retail, johnny punch-clock job (even though I swore I’d rather be shot) to support my family & found that it wasn’t so bad. I made great friends & found I was pretty darned awesome @ this real people job thing. I fell out of love with my husband & closed the door on my marriage. I fell in love with a man & had my heart broken. I kept longing for a person who couldn’t or wouldn’t ever love me back. From that experience, I became closed & guarded, terrified to let anyone in again, even my closest friends. I was alienating anyone near me for fear of getting hurt by another person, but I’m slowly stepping out of that shell, taking Gigi’s advice to go out & live again, spend time with friends & even go to some “meetings” (first dates) & be the beautiful, strong & vibrant woman I was meant to be (she’s a wise woman, that Gigi. Meghie also suggested to pick the opposite of what I usually would, but Meghie doesn’t mince words). Truthfully, I haven’t been happy with my Windsor life for years. I often mentioned to Drew that I wanted to get as far away as I could, but there was always one thing that appeared & made me stay & I kept romanticizing this life. Much like “How I Met Your Mother’s” Ted Mosby ignored his incompatibility with former love Robin, overlooking her faults even in the closing moments of the series, I chose to ignore my unhappiness. I pretended not to notice how I let friends dictate everything, including the colour of my living room, while borrowing money & dragging me down with their negativity & chose to ignore that the continued attempts to take over my life were making me passive aggressive & bitchy. I also didn’t notice my own dragging down a good friend, allowing my broken heart & fear of starting over without his guidance & the person I truly believed was the love of my life with me to choke the life out of one of the best friendships I’ve ever had. I ignored my professional dissatisfaction at the magazine, because I was living my dream so I had to suck it up. I ignored that I didn’t care for my neighbourhood & wanted more out of my life, I had been so happy in that life that I was afraid to let it go, even when it was gone. I wanted to go back to that life, with those friends (even though they weren’t perfect, they were my life mates), with that man (even though I knew he’d always hurt me), with that little girl & my own girls, that I couldn’t see that old life wasn’t where I belonged, all I felt was the pain because it didn’t exist anymore. I needed to let go of the life I wanted, the one I’ll never have, to get the life I truly deserve. Much like when Ted finally let go of Robin, he found true love with the titular mother (I’m not acknowledging the last five minutes of the show because I’m trying to make a point), one random September day, I decided to let it all go & just leave town & start over. I got sidetracked by a person & their cruelty, which left me leaving them in a bar in tears, sobbing to the Gleason Table. But that helped me remember that I need to do what’s right for ME. So, I set a timetable, found a house, focused on my personal goals (including a 31lbs weight loss!) & I have been happy. But we all do this at some point; we hold onto nothing because what was once there was amazing, even when it wasn’t. Most of those friends were toxic, that house not the place you want to settle into forever. That man probably wasn’t the beautiful person you remember. Once you realize that (sometimes if you listen to Wide Awake by Katy Perry 100x times in a row, it’ll speed things up), it’s easy to cut that cord & move forward. But don’t feel badly if you struggled or if it took you longer to heal, because all humans heal on their own time. But you’ll get there. We all get there.

But today is the last day & one can’t help but be nostalgic on the last day. I will turn around tomorrow to look back at my empty home & face the flood of memories. I’ll take that instant to remember the birthday parties, the Christmas get together’s, the St. Patrick’s Day I made corned beef even though I didn’t like it. I’ll remember the night he asked me (indirectly) 15 different times to marry him, the cold night air against my face when he showed up late at night, held me in his arms, called me his salvation & said my smile healed his pain, and the night I leaned against my bedroom door & broke down sobbing for hours until I mercifully passed out on the floor because he walked away. I’ll remember MH & Drew’s grand adventures, the nights we were late for the movies because he got watching Maury, needing him to light my barbecue because I was afraid of it, shopping for an iMac, the great ostrich debate & any conversation that ended in “Right?!” I’ll remember blinking back tears as two of my babies started school, sidewalk chalk artwork & all of the times the pirate princess demanded to feed the “gooses” in the yard. I’ll remember school projects, silly songs & clean up days singing Taylor Swift into my mop while my children laughed. I’ll remember a little girl who ran to me & always embraced her little friend like they’d been separated by war every time they met. I’ll remember rushing home from my office to my home office to interview Penn Jillette, my happy tears when my musical hero Amanda Marshall said I was a good reporter & the two am revisions passing out on my computer because I know if I read it over ONE MORE TIME, this time it’ll be perfect. I’ll relive every emotion & then I’ll take a deep breath…& let it all go so I can make a new fresh start & make it a good one.

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Why? Because every new beginning in comes from some other beginning’s end. This chapter of my life has come to an end & the London chapter is a blank page. It’ll be interesting. I’ll find another magazine & tell more interesting & exciting stories that I hope people will read & love. Maybe I’ll fall in love again & finally meet the great love of my life, but that’s not really a priority. Maybe I’ll keep moving towards the GTA & finally land that sweet job in a PR firm or a magazine. But whatever happens, it’s time to stop being afraid & see what happens next, because it may very well be everything I’ve ever wanted.

So, goodbye to this life & welcome new adventures. Let’s see what you have in store for me.

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Day 29: People Who Inspire Me

I’ve already talked at length about my Fangirl love for Trish Stratus & Amanda Marshall, so let’s continue on.

When I was little, I wanted to be just like April O’ Neil. Chasing stories, breaking scoops, so awesome. Yes, April O’ Neil inspired my career path. I even had an April O’ Neil doll! I don’t jump into fires or hang out with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which sucks), but it’s still the right path for me, so clearly eight year old me chose wisely.

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Next would be Katy Perry. I relate to her music so much & wish I could rock the pinup girl look as well. I think she’s beautiful & talented & funny & I’m sad that she got her heart stomped on by John Mayer…again. Katy’s songs have gotten me through a divorce, a breakup, and some big housecleaning days & I can’t wait to go see her in August with the angriest tween, who also loves Ms. Perry. It’ll be a cool mother/daughter memory for us & we will sing along with every song.

From: Katy Perry Official site
From: Katy Perry Official site

I don’t care how old I am; I love Taylor Swift. Yes, she writes about her exes, but oh well, we bloggers write about ours. Men shade theirs on FB. Whatever. Taylor is raw & honest & beautiful. Her album Red was the story of my life when it came out in 2012, as she wrote about meeting & losing the man she felt was the love of her life (widely speculated to be Jake Gylenhaal…how could you do it Jake?! hahaha). But her refreshing sweetness, honest lyrics & eternal optimism make me love her so much. The tween calls her the Queen & was even on #TeamTaylor over her crush Harry Styles. I love that my kid can listen to an entire Taylor Swift album and I don’t have to worry about suggestive lyrics or cussing & I can love “Queen Taylor” without feeling like a loser.

From: Muchmusic
From: Muchmusic

My non-Stratus fitness idol is WWE Diva Nikki Bella. Yes, wrestling is fake & the world of Total Divas may be scripted “reality” but one thing that isn’t scripted is Ms. Bella’s commitment to being in shape, becoming strong & working to the top of her division. She’s gone from delicate ingenue to being called fat by detractors to a strong & powerful Diva. Between crossfit, strength training & the Change Time program (created by beau John Cena), Nikki looks amazing, & is far more athletic in the ring. Detractors will say what they will but to me, Nikki’s amazing abs & rocking curves look phenomenal & she’s making strong the new sexy.

Courtesy: Nikki Bella Instagram (@baciamibella)
Courtesy: Nikki Bella Instagram (@baciamibella)

Finally, the non famous person who inspires me is my friend The Gleason Table’s lovely wife. She is a sweet & earthy young woman who raises two beautiful children while teaching them healthy living, kindness & a passion for art. She shares her ideas on her awesome blog Charcoal & Crayons & you can’t help but get excited to try the crafts & recipes she shares with her family. She’s an artist, a wife, a mom & still runs marathons. She’s just a cool person & it was her amazing performance @ a marathon this Christmas that helped give me that last nudge to get up off of my butt & make health changes. You should definitely read her blog to get some great ideas.

These are the people who inspire me, whether it’s through music, health, walking their walk or because they hung out with ninja turtles. Either way, they help me see what kind of person I want to be & learn from their shining examples.

Day 23: My Thoughts on Television & How It Affects Our Lives

Confession time: I am an entertainment reporter who rarely watches TV.

I have had some friends recommend Dr. Who for me, as well as Supernatural and Reign. I’ve given the latter a try and haven’t been able to get into them. Even Law & Order: SVU is hit or miss for me without Stabler. I’m just not a big TV person, I get too bored or annoyed and quit watching. The only show I almost watched to the end was Dawson’s Creek and even then, I gave up after season six.

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I pretty much only watch TV two days a week, which is Monday and Thursdays, when I watch Monday Night Raw with my daughters and The Vampire Diaries with the sometimes angry Tween.

courtesy wwe.com
courtesy wwe.com

I used to love WWE as a kid and as a grown up it became my favourite soap opera. All of the camp of real soap operas, but much better looking men! However, the storylines are getting lame (or I’m growing up) and the only thing that interests me are the Divas, who get very little love from the WWE writers. However, watching my children laugh and get invested in their campy characters (the overlord has long joined Daniel Bryan’s Yes Movement and the angriest tween of course idolizes AJ Lee) and get happy or angry with it, knowing it’s fake all the while.

courtesy the CW
courtesy the CW

The Vampire Diaries was my favourite book series as a tween. I remember sitting on my couch sobbing as (SPOILER ALERT) Elena died @ the end of the Fury (and later was resurrected in Dark Reunion). However, the show (which was a staple for seasons 1-3) has strayed so far from the novels that I loved as a young girl that I can’t seem to get into it anymore. But I must admit that the chemistry between Paul Wesley’s Stefan and Nina Dobrev’s Elena sucks me back in periodically. I sometimes wish I could enjoy the show again, as I used to love it so much and there is still one scene in the season three opener that gets me every time.

I think I struggle with this show because season four & five have Elena spurning her compassionate & gentle suitor Stefan in favour of “taming the bad boy” in brother Damon. Sometimes, the angry tween will tell me that love can fix the broody bad boy, BUT IN THE REAL WORLD, IT DOESN’T. I’ve learned after my last few relationships, all with broody, emotionally stunted bad boys & want to be players, love does not turn a bad boy good. A bad boy has to want to be a good man & he has to want to do it for himself. Too often, a TV shows teach girls that love tames the bad boy. Carrie converted Mr. Big. We all swooned over Jordan Catalano (I still do. Jared Leto. Sigh) & Joey Potter abandoned nice guy Dawson Leary to reform Pacey Witter. Maybe the reason we women spend so much time crying into our Ben & Jerry’s is because we’re conditioned through these love stories that we can love a man into wanting to grow up & be a good husband & father. In reality, it’s up to him to look @ the people he claims to love, look @ his children & look in the mirror & if he wouldn’t want his son to be just like him or his daughter to date someone like him, he needs to become that person. But he has to love himself first. A man will never love a woman enough to better himself for her; he has to love himself enough to be the good man that lives in every bad boy.

Women need to stop being so simpering (especially me) & realize that the bad boys aren’t good for us. We need to find the Stefan, not the Damon that will chew us up & spit us out, strangle the life from us & leave us for dead the minute it gets too hard. We need to marry the Aidan, not Mr. Big. It may not be as thrilling, but at least we won’t be abused & neglected & crying in our ice cream or driving our friends nuts wondering why we weren’t enough to tame the bad boy. Because TV is TV & reality is much uglier. We are good enough. We are all good enough to be loved by the right person. But we’ve got to also recognize that love isn’t enough to make someone want to treat you better. You’ve got to love yourself enough to sit back & wait for the right person & not let the fact that the bad boy didn’t see the good in you ruin that. This is a lesson every woman learns the hard way at least once.

So ladies (& guys), let’s stop letting the romance novels & TV shows sway us into believing that we were put on this Earth to reform a bad boy & our love is powerful enough to make him a good man. It’s not. Instead, let’s accept that our self love is enough to make us good people & the rest will be better than any passionate & stormy TV romance on Earth.

Dear Olympic Committee, Sponsors & Networks: Why I won’t Watch Your Games

(I understand this deviates a bit from my normal formula of self depreciating wit, I promise to bring it back tomorrow.)

Dear IOC, Major Television Networks & Corporate Sponsors,

Let me introduce myself. I am a 30 something single mom who lives in works in Canada. I’m not a celebrity, of anyone important by any stretch of the imagination. I have never won an Oscar or an Emmy & my only medal is a silver medal when my eighth grade class represented Thun, Switzerland in the bid for a pretend Winter Olympic Games.

I am, however, a huge supporter of the Olympic Games. Every four years, a school project was dedicated to an Olympic sport. I waited with baited breath & stayed up all night to see if you would let Ross Rebagliatti keep his gold medal. I stayed up all night to watch the Beijing Olympics live. I forced my then boyfriend to sit through events we had never heard of (Keirin? What?) & even saluted when the US teams won medals (even though I’m a proud Canadian). I have six pairs of those red mitts, stuffed mascots & books everywhere. I cry when Canadian athletes stand on the podium & stand for my anthem with pride. I love the Olympic Spirit…

…but I will not watch one moment of the Sochi games.

There are things in life that I love more than the Olympic spirit & those are my daughters, my family & human rights. I cannot in good faith celebrate a host nation that punishes people for loving whom they choose or people who support them.

I’ve read about the state-sanctioned corrective rape, the sickeningly high suicide rates & Vladmir Putin’s claims he’s defending “traditional family.” Fifty years ago, my family was not traditional. A single mother, that wasn’t a widow, working full time while building a career was unheard of! Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon would have been stoned in the street for their interracial marriage & children. Traditions change, families are redefined every day. Same sex families are every bit the new normal. I can’t imagine how anyone could look at photos of Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka with their children & not see a beautiful & loving family. Traditional is so subjective. BDSM isn’t traditional, is that banned? No Fifty Shades of Gray? Or is that okay because it’s heterosexual relations? But I digress.

As much as I love the Olympic spirit, I love people more. I love my LGBT family members & friends who would be forced to live a horrible life if they were in Russia. I love my daughters, whom I need to teach right from wrong & the Russian law is WRONG. I cannot support the spirit of the games when your host nation breaks human spirit every day. So , you can keep your games; I’ll watch reruns of Glee. I won’t be enjoying any sponsors during the games either. Sorry.

I know I’m a nobody. I’m not Lady Gaga or Stephen Fry or George Takei. I’m just one woman & I won’t affect your ratings or your games. But I’ve always taught my girls that one person has a voice & I am using mine to tell you that what you are doing is wrong. I’m also using it to implore all athletes to use their time to perform well & if they support LGBT families, use this chance to support them. Use the spirit of the games to support the human spirit, the greatest thing we as people have.

Sincerely, MHC

Make Your Move

This morning on Facebook, a friend of mine had a status that stuck out & I felt like sharing it with you (well, not all of it, because it was lengthy).

“The hardest three things in the world to say are ‘I love you, I’m sorry & help me.'”

What do we think? Is this true?

I used to be a pretty hot-headed girl, until I realized that while my feistiness serves me well in other places, lashing out in the heat of a moment hurts the people I love. So, I have a rule that I will wait at least two hours before making a decision about what to say to someone who makes me angry, if at all. I’m not one to hold onto anger, as it only hurts me. I generally find ways to shut out those whom I feel are toxic to me (my Facebook block list is HUGE) & focus on me. Selfish? Maybe. But I don’t like allowing people the power to hurt me. While yes, like all people, there are some that are my kryptonite, but for the most part, I’ve learned that it’s not selfish to want to be happy & you can’t sacrifice yourself to do it.

But I’ve learned that these words are hard to say. It took me a long time to admit that the constant changes in my life over two years required me to look @ my anxiety levels, but once I did, I got them under control. For me, I’m sorry is easy, as I apologize for EVERYTHING, including things that I didn’t even do. Things you did, I’ll apologize to you. But for others, admitting that they did wrong can be hard. How do you face someone that you’ve torn apart & say “I’m sorry that I hurt you?” What about “I don’t know how to do this?” (Something I wrote about a lot as it relates to the angry tween. I was at a loss, so I blogged to reach out to other parents) How do you open yourself up & tell someone that you love them & risk rejection?

The answer is simple: you do it. Don’t drag it out & make the wound bigger. Don’t take the back roads. Don’t wait. We all have a limited window & all of the time we spend waiting & watching & going down the back roads & hurting the person more & more by opening the old wound & leaving it to fester. Much like I said (when I got really bored) last year & quoted Grey’s Anatomy sometimes you’ve just gotta make a move (as my beloved Gavin DeGraw would say). If you’ve already made your move, no matter how small, make your next move. Don’t hurt someone all over again by forcing them to relive pain or wonder how you feel because you can’t get the words out. Take that step, and the next & the next until you’ve said what you needed to say.