Do you hear that? It’s the sound of quiet.
My life always feels noisy. Between the loud music (speaking of music, I finally embraced streaming and got Apple Music. My world has changed for the better). But I’m always thinking, working, parenting, and obsessing about body image, finances, and trying to juggle what sometimes feel likes the whole world. It can cause a lot of noise in your head and that noise will make all the things I just mentioned harder. There’s a time talk about stuff, and a time to just be quiet and focus on each task one at a time. I chose this time to focus on quieting my mind and improving my life. When you’re trying to do a million things at once and still try to feel normal, eventually you just feel crazier. I desperately needed a reset.
I had a free week from work that was supposed to go to a vacation, but some much needed household repairs came first. I took this time to focus on my own mental health. I went to the gym. I worked out at home. I played a lot of video games.
But most importantly, I took a major step back from my life to be a parent and really look inward into how I can improve how I feel about myself. I’m back in that old pattern where I try hard, then fail, then gain more weight. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be the person who makes herself a priority so her kids see that it’s okay to take time for yourself to do what makes you healthier. I needed to shake up my life so I could really use fitness as a reward because I like myself, not feel like it’s a punishment for failing at weight loss. I needed to spend some time away from my world to reconnect with MHC and decide how I could really jump start the self love so I could get back on track. I never focus on me. It’s always my kids, my team, my boss, my friends, my mom, etc. but never “what does MHC want?” How can I become a happier person if I don’t even know what that means anymore? Truly I didn’t know. I talked a good game, but I’m always busy helping everyone else and feeling like an awful human if I couldn’t please everyone. The only person I wasn’t trying to please was me & that’s why all the things I love most were slipping away; fitness, job success, writing. So, I decided to do something to snap out of this repetitive cycle.
So I changed my hair.
I know it sounds stupid, but the first time I lost all of the weight and put myself in the happiest headspace I’ve ever been in, I realized I needed something I could control to get me started. So, I dyed my jet black hair blonde. It was a small, instant change that helped improve my self esteem. That change kick started other changes, which led to 100lbs weight loss. Ever since I gained some of the weight back, I’ve really just not liked myself. This made everything feel impossible. What was the point of working out? I just got fat again. Why bother dating? Working hard is important but feels futile because I’m just not good enough. I’ll never reach my time goal for my 10k because I’m too fat, and the list goes on. I was at the same crossroads I was before I moved to London, only moving to a random city isn’t an option because I love Edmonton and my house is the best. Maybe it was time to change up my appearance so I really love it and the rest would follow.
It worked too! I’ve worked out 14 out of 20 days this month, either at the gym or at home! That’s a major change from previous months. I’m enjoying it again too. I’m enjoying work again after my week off. I’m connecting with my kids and my friends in a better way because I’m not feeling so down on myself. A long time ago, I let depression and the feelings of unworthiness and self loathing cost me some good friendships. But, now I recognize when I’m feeling like this and I’m teaching myself that it’s okay to take some space from the world and get to know yourself again and figure out your own needs, not the needs of everyone around you. I’m still learning that it’s not my job to please everyone; just do my best for my kids, at my job, and for myself. The rest, the weight loss, the successes, will all come if I focus on one day at a time, whether it’s one work day, one workout, or just one day of quiet, letting my body and emotions tell me what I need.
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.
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.
Ever just freak out about money?
I do. A lot.
I’m not gonna go on the internet and cry about how I’m a miserable broke asshole. Mostly because I’m not. I work hard and maintain an okay standard of living. I’m not going to buy a beach house any time soon, but I’m doing okay. However, I’m trying really hard to improve my credit, pay off one of my credit cards, reduce my debt to income ratio, and put myself in a better position. While I am fortunate enough to receive some child support, it’s often late for weeks at a time, and the dad doesn’t seem to care enough to make sure that he’s contributing. But it is what it is. The important thing is that the kids live in a comfortable home & that I’m taking care of things. I think we’re doing okay.
I always feel guilty about spending money on myself. I bought some new makeup and felt really guilty, even though I used my freelance money. But still, I always feel like money is tight and I’m not being responsible and I could do better with my finances. Then I’ll stress, like somehow my makeup collection is ruining me financially, despite my only buying stuff every six months or so. But I’m always guilty, like how dare I want something. The kids need stuff. New glasses. New clothes. Food. Lodging. Slushies. I’ve got to provide. Makeup doesn’t provide.
I think right now I’m stressing more because I saved up all year to take the kids on a legit vacation, and not just flying them to see their dad. We’re going to Toronto to check out the sites and attend WWE Summerslam, so my children can live out their dream of meeting Becky Lynch…and I can also meet Becky Lynch (& Seth Rollins) hahaha. It’ll be nice to use my vacation time for an actual vacation. But that means cutting every corner, scraping every penny to cover bills, which gets harder when you’re doing it on your own because you’re basically a sole support parent as your support payments are hit or miss. This means every penny is accounted for, and everything, from the hair appointment I cancelled to save cash to my granola bars for lunches, makes me feel like a shitty person.
I guess I feel this way because I’m the only person who has to think about the collective & everything is on me. I’ve got to keep the family going. I’ve got to make sure the bills are paid, the food is on the table. I’ve got to make sure that everyone is taken care of. I’ve got to fly the kids out to see their dad every year. I’ve got to make sure the car follows the proper maintenance schedule. I’ve got to keep everything together and I scrape and claw to get a vacation together and feel badly because that could have been used elsewhere. Because of this, I end up thinking that anything I might want is bad or wrong and I’m a horrible person for buying my cup of tea or buying makeup with money that I make outside of our budgeted income. I spend so much time worrying that I end up stressed out and exhausted.
Am I the only person who feels like this?
Maybe this is a sign from the universe that I need to be smarter with my money. I’ve already spoken to a financial planner about how to reduce my debt and really make my money work for me so I can feel more secure about my finances. Continue to do smart things like keep the deductibles for my auto and home insurance in the account with my insurance so I’m not caught with my pants down in an emergency. But mostly, calm the fuck down. It’s okay to indulge a little, just don’t be stupid. Stick to your budget. Put away savings. Plan your budget in a way that will help you maximize your earnings. Easier said than done, but I’ve mastered slowing down on my impulse buys. But most importantly, if I’m so worried about money all of the time, it’s up to me to make changes to feel better about my finances. Whining and sacrificing and panicking has never improved anyone’s situation. Nor has complaining and blaming everyone else. What will help, is actually taking time to make financial management a priority. I thought I did well, but I could do better, and I will be better, one nickel and dime at a time.
I never realize how boring my life is until it gets shaken up a bit.
I work. I raise humans. I go to the gym. I go running. I sometimes go out with adults. I continue to search for a “hard working conservative ‘Berta oil mans,” because that is obviously my type.
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That’s my life in a nutshell. It’s honestly the most mundane life in existence. I’m about to plant a garden. I colour with chalk with the kids. My life is not interesting. Then, we had a shakeup at work and I was pulled from my comfortably boring life into a new location, with a new staff, and everything is different and you all know how I feel about change!
I’m always afraid of messing up. I love my job, and I want to do well. But I’m not good at coming in hot right out of the gate and I’m always afraid of disappointing everyone. I want to do well & be a role model to my kids and my colleagues and then I stress myself out. ALSO DID I MENTION I HAVE HAD NO CAFFEINE IN A WEEK AND I MAY POSSIBLY BE REALLY INSANE?!
Yes, change couldn’t have come at a better time, when I’m taking part in my annual “caffeine free, alcohol free, fast food free” May (with the only exceptions being Mother’s Day & McHappy Day). So, I have no vices to use to cope with stress. I have…tea.
Don’t get it twisted; David’s Tea is the absolute best place on Earth & Lavender Buttercream Tea is magical. But, as someone who stress eats, I can’t just go get some fries and feel better. I could, but I’ve made a commitment to seeing this through to myself, just like I made a commitment to be the best manager/cell phone boss lady. If I can’t put down the fries for 29 days, how am I gonna build a team and be awesome? I don’t have my vices. I’ll actually have to deal with the stress on my own! What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, literally everything. But, that’s not a good attitude. I need to learn how to actually cope with anxiety in a healthy way. Fries are never the answer. So, I made sure I got to the gym. I set a PR for my clean and jerk. That made me happy. I boosted my team’s morale. Came home and did yoga. I can’t keep going to the quick fix. Fries won’t help me be a better leader. Fries are just delicious. What WILL make me a better leader is actually being a better leader. Working on deficiencies. Getting team feedback. Feedback from colleagues. That’s what’s going to make me a better leader. Also, being confident. I was chosen for a reason & if I want to get to where I want to be, whether it’s personal or professional, I’ve got to carry myself like I deserve it. Then work to earn it. That’s the only way. But believe you can and you’re halfway there. Or something like that.
So, chin up buttercup, you’re gonna be fine, and while fries are delicious, you’ll never get to where you wanna be by stressing out and eating fries.
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.
This week I realized that I am SUPER bad at flirting. And dating. And gauging interest.
It’s been slow at work so I decided to reach out to businesses that get discounts through our carriers. One of those is the security team in our work. So, I took about seven of my super cool business cards down to them so they’d have a point of contact. Who answers? Hottie McHotGuard, the guy I’ve been working up the nerve to ask for his number for THREE. MONTHS.
I was not emotionally prepared for that! So, I cleared my throat, told him the reason for my visit (to sell phones and make money), and left. My best friend/coworker was dumbfounded. Why not flirt? Why not make conversation?! Why? Because I just wanted to sell phones dammit! But he now has my business card with my work cell number. We even made a bet that he’d text me (I said no, she said yes). As of this second, I win. She says it’s because I didn’t let him know that he should. I CANNOT INTERACT WITH MEN AND IT BE NOT AWKWARD PLEASE HELP ME.
I don’t know how to let someone know I’m interested without a million alarm bells going off in my head;
- what if he’s not interested & I have to look at his stupid gorgeous face every day?
- What if he’s a psychopath, as my track record indicates I have a type; fucking lunatics.
- What if the kids hated him?
- What if he’s actually a flat Earther or an anti-Vaxxer or thinks the lizard people are real?
- What if he’s actually like, 22?
Add in my millions of insecurities and I’m ready to rush home to my cats, who tolerate me as long as I feed them.
I just don’t know how to translate “work chat” into “Do you want to grab a beer & maybe see if we should start dating?” Mostly because I see this man for maybe thirty seconds a day, long enough for him to smile and wave so I can tuck my hair behind my ears and wave back like Amy Santiago-Perralta from Brooklyn 99. It’s very nerve wracking and scary and workplace relationships rarely work. Not to mention I need to focus on my store right now. I’ve got a family, a house, a car, and vacations to pay for. I just cannot lose focus…
…but a big part of me really wants to take the leap. He’s cute, he’s got an accent, he’s funny, and does the same goofy things I do. He finds me funny, not “loud and weird” (unless he’s lying and he actually thinks I’m loud and weird). But it’s nice to meet someone I actually want to talk to, and when we do talk, I have fun talking to. It’d be nice to explore that a little, but I’m too nervous about all the things that could go horribly wrong. I need a wing woman because I clearly have no idea what I’m doing here.
At work, when I need to shift from the presentation to the sale, or when writing, how to switch from light questions to deeper conversations, I know what signals to observe. But I don’t know how to do that with dating. But I need to figure it out. Checking out Hottie McHotGuard isn’t constructive. He’s either not interested, which would mean Thank U, Next, or he is, which would mean possibly going on a date & maybe not hating him by date three.
But I’ll never know unless I actually say something, so perhaps I should. What’s the worst that could happen? He says no? I just need some courage. Or a buying signal. Why don’t men have buying signals?!
Maybe they do! And maybe I can learn what they are by probing for needs using open ended questions and non-business conversation! I know, but it’s a start! Baby steps will help me get into the dating pool full time, whether it’s this guy, or a dude I’ve never met yet with a yellow umbrella at train station after a freakishly long wedding. You know, whatever.
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.
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.