Carolina

When it rains, it pours, let me tell you.

Remember how I almost died? Well, 2022 decided to further kick me in the face! My company faced some financial hardships, and almost all of us were laid off. Suddenly I went from feeling confident in my future to worried about losing my house. It was tough. I have nothing negative to say about my time with the company. This is a great organization with great people. I’m honoured to have been part of it. I met really great people and I’m lucky to be friends with many of them. It was a rewarding experience. But, I have to pay bills and even when life gets you down, there’s a silver lining. One of my former colleagues works for another organization and she was gracious enough to offer me a position. I’m super excited to be part of this company. She’s a great leader and I feel like I can learn a lot from her. Most importantly, I’ve been reunited with colleagues and friends that I loved working with. It’s a really cool time for me work wise.

However, switching jobs means switching pay periods. Money is tight. Benefits are non existent for the next three months. Trying to scrape together money for medication has been tough. Speaking of medication, I’m still fighting my doctor for a referral to a specialist and I’m not getting anywhere. The tooth I had a root canal in has been feeling off (not painful, just weird), so anxiety says my tooth is falling out and I’ll be ugly. I’ve been afraid to work out since my pulmonary embolism. I’m just very down on myself.

I deleted my dating apps a few weeks ago. I got stood up and just decided that was it. But I’ve been noticing the way I look at myself hasn’t been great. I genuinely don’t see the point of trying to date when I feel genuinely ugly. Any time someone suggests that I date someone, I just say I am too ugly and crazy have WAY too much baggage. Whether or not i was interested was irrelevant; I was just too ugly to even consider it as an option. Everything is just about looks it feels. Even when I was explaining my frustration with my doctor, my friend kept bringing it back to my weight, even though it was about my doctor only wanting me to take one kind of medication. When I went into Lululemon I was asked if I was shopping for gifts because “we don’t accommodate plus size.” I realized my weight will always be my defining character trait until I lose it again, so there’s no point in putting myself out there to meet anyone. I just feel like the annoying person people engage with because they work with me or whatever. Hell, even some of my friends always tell me how I’m doing so great on my own and they see me as the type of person who will be happy with their cats, alone and don’t need anyone. They meant it as a compliment; I felt like it meant I’m not really a catch. I don’t think I’m a catch. It’s either that or reminders that the general population says me as some kind of airhead with no substance and talks too much. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “shut up Mary-Helen,” I’d never have money problems again. All of my report cards with “talks too much,” are now making me wonder if I’m really just…not partner material. All of a sudden dating just felt like a waste of of time so I just sort of gave up.

I get this is just anxiety. Deep down I know I’m not ugly or stupid and my tooth probably isn’t going to be extracted or fall out (but until the dentist says so, I’m gonna be a little scared). But I also have to internalize a lot because a lot of times, my feelings are sort of dismissed as “you’re fine,” or “it’s fine,” while I’m kind of expected to be there for everyone and it’s overwhelming. When I’m helping my kids with body image issues, I can’t really open up about my own. I won’t have benefits for three months so therapy is off the table for a bit. It’s also the feeling of not being in control of every situation to give myself the stability I need to thrive. So, I needed to figure out how do I pull myself out of this rut? I can’t just cry and I’m not allowed to drink so functional alcoholism seems to be off of the table for now. I needed a new plan to help pull myself out of this mental health spiral.

I’ve started goal setting using an app called Finch. It has all sorts of things to help with wellness and keep anxiety in check. One goal was to fill all of my Apple Watch rings in July. I need to build healthy habits. I get up thirty minutes before I have to so I can meditate and set the tone for the day. I went so long without putting on makeup or even trying to take pride in my appearance, so I make sure to at least do my eyes every morning, and do my hair as well. No more ponytails. I get to work forty minutes early so I can mentally prepare for my shift and make an action plan for the day. They’re baby steps, but hopefully they’ll turn into strides. It’s gonna be a journey, but I’ve pulled myself out of darker places. I just need to focus on the things that I need to thrive;

1. Fitness

2. Family

3. Friends

4. Ways to grow at work

This means getting over my fear of fitness. I have to remember that it wasn’t exercise that hurt me, it was the medication that caused the blood clots. I’ve taken steps to recover. I have to trust my body is healing and ready to get back into shape. I can start off slowly and eventually get back to the point where I’m seeing results. Obviously this situation has caused me to make some major dietary changes, so between that and the fitness, I should see the results I’m hoping to see, and I can celebrate my commitment to health.

As for dating, I’m gonna stay away for now. Until I can see myself as someone worthy of love, I can’t. That’s how I ended up with people who were abusive or mean before. I don’t want to settle, so until my response is no longer “no way, I’m way too old/fat/ugly/stupid” when anyone suggests a possible date for me, I can’t even consider it. I can’t be a good partner to someone else when my inner monologue is treating my psyche like shit. This way I can avoid being preyed on by some creep, and when the time comes, I’ll be emotionally ready to be a good partner…In theory.

Protected: Have It All

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Protected: Honest Man

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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.

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 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.

Thank U, Next.

I didn’t want to go to the gym today.

I was tired. My shift at work was long. I slept like crap. I’ve been stressed out about money, work, Xmas, etc. I wanted to go home, brew up a David’s Tea, and lay on my couch & do nothing. I definitely did not want to go to the gym. I had a headache and I didn’t want to get sweaty and more tired. I wanted to go to bed early, not go to the gym.

Nope, I did not. I sat in my car after work for five minutes, psyching myself up to go to the gym. I did not want to go to the gym. I got to the gym and finished the song I was listening to, trying to mentally prepare to go to the gym. Finally, I made it in and did the WOD and worked on my snatches and did the thing. As I drove home, I was so glad that I went to the gym. I felt better than I had in days; refreshed, rejuvenated, and much more optimistic. I felt like my normal MHC self. So when I got home & realized that I should clean the living room, I didn’t just whine and procrastinate. I just did it.

Sometimes you get bogged down by life and you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and mope around and be a big lame. Maybe your anxiety or your own brain tries to convince you that it’s not worth it and just give up and be miserable. That’s how I get sometimes and sometimes I let that feeling win. But, other times, like today, I did the thing that was necessary to help me feel better, both inside and out. I’m a happier person when I go to the gym. I’m less anxious, I’m more motivated. I smile more. So, even though today I didn’t want to go to the gym, some part of me knew I had to go to the gym, so I kicked my own ass to get there. Sometimes, the things that will make us better are the things we know are good for us, but we don’t want to do it because it’s hard or we don’t want to be accountable for our actions or we’re tired and hangry. But you still have to get up and do the damn thing because you’ll be better for it in the long run.

Next time I get stuck in a rut, I’ll have to remind myself how much better I felt after I got up off of my ass and went to the gym even though I was tired and didn’t want to go. Or when I cleaned my house even though I really wanted to watch Haunting of Hill House & eat leftover Halloween candy (the latter of which I did y’all. No regrets). However, the only way your life gets better is when you like yourself. I don’t like myself when I’m not exercising. So, I gotta make the time, even when I feel like shit. My body will thank me, because your body is like your car; it performs better when you take care of it. Take care of the body, and the spirit will take care of itself.

Next time you feel yourself wanting to be lazy and like you’re forcing yourself to work out or get to work or even something as simple as get out of bed and shower, focus on how much better you feel when you do these things & keep pushing forward. Your mental health will thank you. After all, the only thing that can quiet a negative mind is when a positive attitude chooses to push forward.

People Like Us

Sometimes, life is super rad and everything is awesome & you look at life like “damn, life is so awesome!”

…this is not one of those times.

I’m telling you kids, this month has been a struggle. First, I asked to reduce my workload as a result of a personal issue. My super awesome boss was all “yeah, for sure,” at first, but then he was like “LOL JK you run two stores now.” I’m not complaining. I’m grateful that I get to prove I can handle more responsibilities. My kick ass ASM’s are a big help, and it’s double money, so I’ve been planning a girls weekend with some girlfriends and the kids to go to Jasper at the end of October or early November. Hopefully, my best friend can come with, depending on her work schedule, because my best friend is moving to Edmonton. DID I MENTION MY BEST FRIEND WILL BE LIVING IN EDMONTON WITH ME (well, not in the same house, BUT VERY CLOSE TO ME)?! Hard work means I can save up for Xmas, and go on a little mini vacay to see mountains. But, I’d really like to find time for the gym. I love the gym.

LOOK HOW HOT MY BEST FRIEND IS

I’ve been struggling with some personal stuff. Sometimes it’s hard to put personal struggles aside and focus on the work. But, you’ve gotta do it, even when it feels like everything is crushing you and the weight of the world is breaking your heart. But you gotta push through. Your family depends on it & you have to do what’s best, even if it’s not popular. Sometimes that stress bleeds in at work and you’re crying in your back room because you don’t know how to navigate a situation like this. Fortunately, I have a great team of people that work with me. I have a great support team of managers and an understanding boss. So, we make it work somehow & the work is paying off. We won our “Holy Grail.” Every month we get a little better. Even when everything sucks, you’ve gotta smile and keep on moving.

Not pictured; the other half of my team. Also, my desire to look cute in a picture

Somewhere between the added workload, and article deadline, declining a writing opportunity I really wanted to take advantage of (and hopefully will in the near future, when I have more time), I sat on the glasses I need to wear at all times to read and drive and broke them. Again, look on the bright side MHC. Fix em with super glue. You have benefits. You can get new ones. The new ones are Coach. They are Hella cute. They aren’t scratched. Yay! So, let’s take a deep breath and be positive.

Which brings me to the story of my car.

I love my car. I have an unnatural attachment to my car. Her name is Wanda Maximoff. I refuse to let my car get below half a tank of gas. You can not eat or drink inside of my car. You must wipe your feet before getting inside my car. I’ve already booked my oil change/service, because it’s been almost six months. I freak if it is even a little bit dirty. Yes, I love my car. I’m also a SUPER cautious driver. I drive five below the speed limit at all times (unless it’s raining, then it’s ten). On my way home from an impromptu trip to West Edmonton Mall, I went through a roundabout, dropped my speed (it was raining), hit a pothole, and PUNCTURED MY FUCKING TIRE. MY BRAND NEW CAR HAD A FLAT TIRE.

That was it. The last straw. Everything came crashing down; my broken heart, my work stress, my lack of time management which meant no gym, and now my car had a flat tire. I was so angry. I’m a decent person. I work hard. I’m a good mom. I do my best. I try to treat people well. I am a ridiculously cautious driver. So, why was life continuing to fuck me without even buying me dinner first?! I could have spit blood. I was just so sick and tired of trying to be nice and be happy all of the god damn time only to have people stab me in the back and betray my trust and do hateful things to my family while the universe seemed to fuck with my peace of mind and MY BRAND NEW CAR. I did not want to “find the silver lining.” I wanted to throw shit and scream.

But, fortunately for me, the universe won’t let me wallow in self pity. I have to see the good, like my friend getting down on the wet ground to help me change my tire and helping me get my car to Canadian Tire to get it replaced. He also reminded me that my busted tire is a metaphor for life. I did everything right; I was cautious. I signaled. I slowed down to be mindful of the slick roads. I did everything you’re supposed to do and still hit a pothole. That’s life. You can do everything right, but something could still go wrong. The important thing is we learn and still look for the good. I had good friends who spent the evening with me while I replaced my tire. My staff helping me balance my time. My friends back home offering their love and support. Sometimes, you’ve gotta just search for that one good thing about your day & use it to be happy, otherwise you become a miserable sad sack incapable of finding joy.

When life craps on you, you’ve gotta find good. Sometimes it’s as big as the fact that you have a job, a family, great friends, and two kick ass cats and you can work your dream job while also working full time at a job you enjoy and feel empowered at. Sometimes it’s as important as having your friend teach you how to change your tire. Sometimes, it can be as little as you discovered a Taco Bell 12 blocks away & Becky Lynch is the Smackdown Women’s Champion. There’s something good in everything. It’s up to us to find it.

So, even though life is not ideal right this second; it will be. Everything gets better. While we are plugging along, I’ll remember that it’s okay to be stressed and sad, there’s still a lot of good to be found. Maybe it’s harder to find, but if you look hard enough, and make it a point to find it, you will.

She Loves Control

Two things I’ve never been good at are time management, and saying no. These constantly impact my day to day life.

For example, I super hate my body right now. I’ve gained some of the weight back since I moved to YEG and to lose it, I need to go to the gym more often. But my staff often delays their breaks until my shift is over. So, instead of working out, I stay late. But then I go home feeling like crap. Most recently, I signed up for the Festivus Games, but it’s the same day as the trade show I organized a booth for at work. So, I’m out money and even more frustrated because it’s all my fault. I didn’t check the dates.

I schedule my driver’s education classes with my few days off, but when you have two deadlines and are picking up extra shifts to earn money so your kids can go visit their dad because he isn’t contributing to his children, you get a window of 10 minutes between the lesson and the bus for class and it doesn’t work. So, I’m left so burned out that even my evening yoga doesn’t help.

But I find I’m constantly fighting for time to do what I want, to improve my life, but I never seem to do it because I am stretched so bloody thin, and yet not thin the way I want to be. I’m taking on writing assignments to supplement my income, as I’m still not receiving child support, and likely never will. I’m working full time and don’t want to upset my team, so I won’t just say “Take your break earlier, because I am leaving when my shift is over.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m also acting as mother and father to three children. I’m making sure that I have learned how to drive properly so that I can buy a car and improve my family’s day to day life. I’m doing as much as I can to make sure we are clothed and fed and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone that I find myself sitting in my tub hating how I look and wanting one damn hour to myself once a day to go to the God damn gym.

I need to make myself a priority.

I never have, and I never do. I’m always trying to be nice or be liked that I can’t just say no or take time for me. Obviously, the kids come first, but I can’t be a good mom if I’m burned out. I can’t be a good employee or manager if I’m constantly tiptoeing around everyone to be nice to everyone so that everyone will like me. I can’t please everyone and I’m the boss; I will never make my team happy all of the time and do my job well. I can’t meet someone if I hate how I look because that’s how you settle. I wouldn’t impulsively overbook myself if I felt like I could take time for me. But, in the end, the only person who can control these things is me. Why don’t I see myself as an investment? Instead, I allow myself to put me to the back burner so I can handle all of my responsibilities, but I feel like there’s too many and I’m about to freak out.

Actual footage of me and my responsibilities

I can get mad about why insert thing or person here doesn’t see me as valuable or worth putting time into, but I don’t see myself as worth putting time into anymore, or I’d just fucking do it. I invest more time into my store and my cats than I do myself. Then I get mad because nothing is going the way that I want. Maybe it would if I actually invested in myself.

I used to believe I was worth it, back in London, when I started Crossfit and had a core group of supportive friends. I have an amazing gym & great friends, but I always put myself last, because I don’t think I’m important anymore. I’m just there. Something happened to me in Alberta that I stopped feeling like I mattered. When I am willing to take care of my own needs, I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better. When I don’t, I eat nachos & drink mojitos.

I need to start reminding myself that my time matters. I deserve to be at the gym, I pay for it, I enjoy it, and it’s important to me. I deserve to take a day off to hang with the kids and play Pokémon Go and watch Season two of a Series of Unfortunate Events. I deserve to do things for me and not feel badly.

I’ll probably never perfect time management, but I’m certainly going to try, because my kids deserve a mom to look up to, and not a frazzled, stressed out mess that just wants one hour to go to the damn gym and maybe not have to budget my paycheques from the bathtub because that’s the only alone time I have…before a kid walks in.

I think sometimes we as moms try so hard to be indestructible that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Sometimes you have to say no to the extra shift, or let driving wait one more week, and just go to the gym. Or take a bubble bath. Or whatever works for you.