You’re Not Sorry

It’s time for another episode of “what really grinds my gears.” 


Today: why people need to stop dismissing sexual assault as “just…”

I hear it all of the time. It’s just a cat call. Just a kiss on the cheek (in the case of a reporter at Osheaga last week). It was just a friendly comment. Last year, I tweeted about an old man that catcalled me and numerous men on my Twitter feed told me it was a compliment. I should be flattered. Let me tell you, there is nothing flattering about being catcalled. It’s degrading to both parties. But they’re probably “nice guys” that just aren’t appreciated *cue eye roll emoji*. 

This week, Taylor Swift is making headlines as she is in court, battling a lawsuit filed by David Mueller, a Denver DJ who lost his job after an incident where he allegedly groped her. Swift has countersued for $1, demanding an apology.  While the trial is ongoing, a lot of comments I see online are “it was just a butt grab.” So called feminists who preach about defending women when forced to confront someone who assaulted them are notably silent (Demi Lovato, I’m looking in your direction. Maybe you’re matching on Capitol Hill…?). Feminists stop being feminists when Taylor Swift is involved it seems. No support for her. After all, it was just a butt grab. No big deal. Right?


A similar statement echoed through social media when a fan attending a live event commented that a child had slapped the posterior of WWE Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. 


The kid was praised, fans wanted to give the kid a high five. She wears such short shorts, she had it coming! Besides, he’s just a kid and it’s JUST a butt grab. No big deal! Calm down feminists, it’s not sexual assault. It’s just a playful slap on the butt! 


Except it’s not just a butt grab. It’s not “no big deal.” It’s not “calm down.” It IS sexual assault. Taylor Swift is an entertainer, but she’s also a human being. She deserves basic respect. She doesn’t deserve to be sued because she didn’t stand for being molested by a DJ. All of the “she’ll write a song about it,” etc. jokes do not take away from the fact that this man allegedly sexually assaulted Taylor Swift. I commend this smart, strong woman for standing her ground, because the millions of little girls that look up to her are watching & she’s showing them that you do not have to dismiss sexual assault as “just a butt grab.”


I’ve been in situations where a guy took liberties. Last year a customer grabbed my ass while throwing something in my garbage can. I was furious, but when I called a friend back home & told him the story, he pointed out it was “just a butt grab.” I wear tight pants to work, right? I kind of accepted it, but I sometimes wonder how many women dismiss sexual assault or harassment as “just…” I’ve even been told by female relatives that as we age, the catcalls stop and we should be flattered that men still find us attractive. But is it flattering when it makes us feel gross? To me, flattering is something that makes us feel good, not super gross. I can’t imagine Taylor felt good, and considering she complained & Mueller was fired. I can’t imagine Alexa Bliss feels good when grown ass men teach little boys to slap her ass and catcall her. It’s not flattering, nor a compliment. We need to stop referring to this behaviour as such and refer to it as what it is; harassment. To those who do these things; it’s a funny story and a high five, but to the women involved, it’s a loss of trust, a loss of personal safety. As guys like Mueller become legends around the bar, women like Taylor become labelled as cold and standoffish, because they’re not comfortable in those situations anymore. Great trade off, right?

If it makes you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or unsafe, it’s not flattering and it’s okay to stand up for yourself and say that this is not acceptable behaviour. It’s not okay to tell a woman that it’s just a slap on the butt, or just a friendly catcall, be flattered. The more we diminish this very real harassment, the more we embolden others to think it’s okay. I commend Taylor for standing up for herself, not settling, and making this man accountable for his actions. Maybe this will encourage other women to speak up about harassment in the workplace, at a club, or even among friends when a joke went too far. After all, the only way this sort of behaviour will be stopped is when we as a society stop tolerating it, and kudos to Taylor for not just shaking it off, but standing her ground instead. 

11 Blocks

Today, I’m going to talk about the selfie. 

Yes, selfies. 

We all take them. We all share our cute outfit of the day with our friends, a fun moment with coworkers, or that super rad Snapchat filter. While a coworker and I once joked that there should be a ratio of 1:7 of selfie and non selfie photos on your IG to prevent narcissism (& a limit of four hashtags), mostly because he’s a model and it was a silly in joke, taking and posting selfies is a normal part of our culture. One of the questions I’m asked most at work is about the selfie camera. We all take them, whether we want to admit it or not. 

If you’re not following me on Snapchat (ASHMHC), you’re missing absolutely nothing

My teen daughter takes them with her friends. I don’t really think anything of it. She’s fully clothed, not shooting the finger, so who cares? As her birthday approaches, she’s asked me for an autobiography penned by her idol, retired WWE Divas Champion AJ Mendez Brooks. I’ve skimmed excerpts; for the most part, AJ writes a beautiful story of finding herself and learning to embrace mental illness. AJ is very honest and open about her struggles and successes and I commend her for her honesty. I think (for the most part) she’s a great role model for young women. But there is a passage in the book where she equates selfies with a lack of self respect and a desperate cry for attention. As a woman who was once an impressionable teen, I could only imagine how upset my daughter would be to read such a judgmental and self righteous passage, but I refuse to let that cloud my perspective of a moving and inspirational journey. 


I briefly touched on this on Twitter with another blogger and artist (who is rad af & I would totally throw a feminist Wrestlemania party in NOLA with her and the girls while we all sport Bayley ponytails), and she agreed that this one passage didn’t feel that great. It perpetuates the myth that women only do things to attract the attention of men, or need to be validated by men to be happy. For some, that may be the case, and I won’t judge them. I used to, but then I realized that I was part of the problem. If they aren’t hurting anyone, then more power to them. But why does it have to always be about wanting to attract a man? Why do brilliant and inspirational women continue to tear down other women?!


I take selfies. I post em on Snapchat. I never used to. If you look at my old FB photo albums, there was maybe five photos of me in 100. There is maybe one pregnant photo of me. Why? Because I was called fat and ugly every day. I woke up to hear about how I was skinny when we started dating and now his wife was a pig. He didn’t sign up for this. A few years later, one of my best friends told me that I was pretty in the face and didn’t look fat from the “tits up” so I could reasonably find a man. I was constantly told how unattractive I was because I was fat. So I started working out. I started running. I started crossfit. First it was to shake the nagging voice that said no one would love me or be my friend because I was fat. But then, it was because these activities made me happy. And the more these activities made me happy, the better I felt about myself. I wasn’t a size seven (the magic dress size that I equated with being acceptable to be seen in public), but I was confident. I was happy. Confident, happy MHC didn’t want to be in the shadows. She wanted to be visible. So I started using that front facing camera. I’d post the odd one to FB or IG. But it was a huge step for me to stop hiding behind a camera and hoping no one looked at me. Humans should want to be visible, part of the world. Now, there are photos of me & my girls, my friends, of me. My teenager was also brutally bullied in grades seven and eight for being too thin and too different. She and a good friend started taking selfies as a way of accepting themselves. For many women, that selfie is about empowerment, taking control of their self esteem and we need to stop dismissing photos as vanity & a cry for validation from men. If it’s not for you, don’t do it. There’s lots of things in this world that I do not do. I don’t watch Canadian football. I don’t listen to Nickelback. I don’t understand Zumba. But I’m not gonna trash humans that do. Just let people do their thing and you do what makes you feel good inside. 


So, take your selfies everyone. You’ll find no judgment here. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel badly about yourself or like you are somehow less intelligent, less interesting, because you took a photo with your front camera. And if you are one who belittles someone for taking a photo, stop that right now. You can’t bring up your self esteem by passive aggressively belittling someone else. 

Something Just Like This

It’s time for another round of “Things that Really Grind my Gears.”

Today’s topic; why people who hack phones and steal photos are disgusting people. Also, if you look at them, you’re fucking gross too. 

This week, a round of personal and private photos and videos made by WWE superstar Paige hit the internet. These were four years old. She was 19. But most importantly, they were hers. I will not link those photos. They are none of my business. I haven’t looked at them. Why? They’re none of my business. I had the privilege of meeting Paige a few years ago outside of a WWE live event. She was sweet and lovely to my 10 year old daughter. She told her they were best friends and gave her a hug. My daughter has never forgotten that day and tells me all of the time that she can’t wait for her best friend Paige to feel better and get back into the ring to win championships. Maybe it’s because I met her and saw a sweet young woman who adored her little fans that this whole thing upsets me more than usual. I don’t know her, but I caught a glimpse of Saraya Jade Bevis (Paige’s real name) that day and she was the sweetest and most authentic human being. She didn’t deserve this. No human being deserves to be violated and humiliated like this. I hope she has the support of family and friends and her fiancé & that the legal action she is pursuing protects her. 


Then came the memes. People sending the photos to Paige’s mom, Saraya Knight, her fiancé, & the wife of one of the men in the video. Then jokes were made. After all, this is just so funny, right? It’s not funny. It’s awful. If you follow me on social media and share this garbage, please unfollow. There is nothing funny about kicking someone while they’re down. 

The next day, WWE Superstar Summer Rae was threatened with badly photoshopped “leaks,” which forced her to respond. Apparently it wasn’t bad enough to humiliate one person; we needed to invent pretend photos to feel powerful and tear down a woman. 


 The women and men involved in these, real or doctored, are victims of a crime. They’ve been humiliated (or someone has tried to humiliate them). To the person who does this, you are fucking disgusting. If you are distributing them, you are just as bad as the people who stole them. 

Fun fact; I work with cell phones. I sell them for a living. I troubleshoot them when they get messed up. I see your search history and your photos. Glass houses friends. I see a lot of people claiming that they should know better, they shouldn’t take these photos. That this is what you get. Wait. What? Nope. That’s not how it works. That’s like me saying that if you bought a house and then got robbed, that you should have known better than to buy nice stuff. You did not have permission to see Paige naked. You didn’t have permission to see Summer Rae naked. Doctoring photos to pretend you saw Summer Rae naked is the equivalent of lying in high school about sleeping with a girl that said no. Every time you view these personal photos, or in the case of Summer Rae, pretend photos, you are just as bad as those who stole them. You are actively participating in the degredation of a human being in the attempt to humiliate them. When you post memes or jokes about the situation, you are basically saying that you’re cool with a gross invasion of someone’s privacy, or lying about another human being for your amusement. It’s wrong & gross. I’m pretty sure if the contents of your phone were dumped online, or those personal things you’ve sent your partner, you wouldn’t like it. So why would you be okay with it because it’s a celebrity? They’re humans, not trained zoo animals who owe you their dignity. 

When I go off on my soapbox about this (like I did a few years ago when this happened to Jennifer Lawrence), creeps always tell me that if a male celebrity’s nudes leaked, I’d be all over it. Well, you would be wrong. When WWE Superstar (& my celebrity crush) Seth Rollins’s private photos hit the internet, I made it a point not to look at them. Why? Because Seth Rollins didn’t want me to see him naked. Those photos were for his girlfriend, not me. I don’t want to participate in the degredation of a man who’s career I enjoy watching on TV. So, I refrained. It’s not that hard. It’s just called being a decent human. 


So, to my fellow browsers of the internet, I implore you; don’t be a douchebag. Stop making fake nude photos to attempt to humiliate someone. Stop distributing personal and private photos to humiliate somebody. Stop making memes to make light of the fact that someone was violated and the victim of a crime. Stop sending the photos to the victim’s mom, fiancé, etc. Stop throwing stones to shame these victims while hoping no one ever checks your glass house. Just be a decent human being. It’s not even hard. Before you look, think of the most humiliating moment of your life. Now, imagine if you’d want the entire world to be a part of that. 

I know it’s probably really tempting to go see a celebrity you think is attractive naked, but had they wanted you to see them naked; they’d have posed nude publicly. We need to stop acting like we own famous people and have the rights to their bodies, their privacy, their dignity, even their most personal moments. Everyone deserves dignity and control over their body. Stop taking it away from them. Don’t look; log off. 

Everything Is Easy

You ever have one of those nights where you’re tired af but your brain is like:

“Hey, member Third Eye Blind? They were fucking rad. You should listen to their entire discography at 1am. That’s SUCH A GOOD IDEA.”


(If this has never happened to you, then I’m sorry, but what kind of freak are you, just falling asleep the minute you go to bed without incident. Teach me your ways)

Truthfully, I’m probably wide awake because I ate a bunch of shit food to ring in the new year. I planned to avoid shit food because I’m working to cut some weight before the Crossfit Open. I couldn’t enter last year because my hip was injured, I had the kidney infection from Hell, and I hated everyone at my gym. This year, my hip is in great shape, and I love everyone at my gym! Because I love my gym, I go there at least three times a week and I’m seeing progress. I’ve built all of my strength back (except my squats are still at a 10lbs deficit) & even hit a new PR for my power cleans, push press and hang snatch. I lift heavy things and then do a happy dance because I am actually a nerd. But after a month of eating properly again, my body rejects shit food. My Fitbit also shames me. Yeah, I have a damn Fitbit. My boss gave one to the entire leadership team. We are challenging each other while also demonstrating the value of the Fitbit to customers. I think it’s quietly judging me. But, it’s helped me come up with a great story idea about wearables and the pros and cons of them, which is awesome. 

What my best friend and I talk about
That’s the big thing for me right now, I have so many ideas on the go that I think it’s hard to shut my mind off sometimes. Before, my goals were focused. They’ve been focused for years; get an article published by a major media outlet…& I did the thing I set out to do. When I got on the plane, I had tunnel vision; get the article published. And I did it in exactly 377 days. Then I focused on getting my story idea published. And I did that. Now I’m trying to build on that while also working a day job, raising a family, and gains. I have two stories on the go right now, one of which I’m super excited about. I have a third pitch ready and I’m brainstorming a fourth. My blog rant about the wrasslin got rave reviews, including by WWE Superstars. I’m wondering if I should strike while the iron is hot and pitch a column about WWE from the female fan’s perspective. I think it’s an untapped market and it could really help me slowly transition into covering other stuff, like MMA coverage. This would diversify my portfolio to include sports writing. I’ve managed to use social media for its intended purpose and have gotten my name out there a bit (if you want to follow me on social media, click here to find out how). I’m working my ass off at my day job to get the kids the life they deserve. And I’m allowing myself my time to do MH things like visit friends and crossfit. I finally have a full life out here. But I think I get so excited about my projects and ideas (now that they aren’t centralized) that I can’t. fucking. sleep. 

My friends are adorbs
I guess I can’t complain. How lucky am I that my only problem in life is that too many awesome things are happening all at once? I’ve worked so hard and it’s all finally paying off. My girls are seeing the power of hard work; it pays off. So, I keep doing it. I keep working harder. I also try to focus on how I treat people & how much I can give back to people. I once had nothing and now (while I’m by no means rich) I have the ability to help others. I need to give that back. I need to donate, to give, to help. I need to be a good person because the world needs more of them. So, I’ll be the hardest working nice person that I can be and a role model for my littles in the hopes that I can evolve into a woman they can be proud of. 

On the start of the new year, I’m wide awake thinking of all the stories I want to write and ideas I want to share and goals I want to meet. No “new year, new me.” New year, same old MHC, same old goals;

1. Be a good mom

2. Be a good person

3. Be the best mother fucking writer I can be. 

4. Never compete with the crossfitters, only compete with yesterday’s scores until I am a bad ass. 

And maybe, to have a voiceover introduce me with “From Concord, California, comes the most stylish, elegant, bewitching, eternally beguiling, contentiously charismatic, and fantastically fascinating woman to appear in this or any arena,” whenever I walk into public places. Or not. Whatever. 

My point is that it’s kind of nice to feel successful and settled into your life. When I got here, I was so afraid that I wouldn’t make friends, find a job where I fit with the company culture, or worse, I wouldn’t succeed as a writer. I shouldn’t have worried so much, because everything came together the way it should once I started trusting my instincts and putting in the work. So, I’ll keep putting in the work and life will only get better and better. 

Oh, and PS; Third Eye Blind put out an album in 2015 called Dopamine and it’s damn good. Check it out. 

Attention 

Looks like we’ve got another edition of “what really grinds my gears.”

Tonight, why the continued use of slut shaming in WWE concerns female fans like me. 

Before I get started, let me explain that this isn’t a shot on male fans who defend the angle. Male fans have a different perspective than female fans about certain things & we are going to identify a different way. I remember laughing when Chris Jericho called Stephanie McMahon THAT name as a kid because I didn’t understand what women go through every day. They don’t either. This is about informing, not attacking. 


My daughters love WWE programming, but most notably the women. They own piles of merchandise, they waited in the snow for five hours hoping to meet Sasha Banks and Bayley. My youngest has a countdown to the next live event where she hopes to meet her idol Nikki Bella. But one of their favourite personalities is Lana. Yes, Lana. Two years ago, they squeaked with delight, pledging allegiance to mother Russia if it meant she would take selfies with them. They cheered for Lana through her husband Rusev’s match. Lana was the best thing ever to them. When I asked why, it was because Lana was strong, unafraid, when she spoke, people listened & she wasn’t just another girl, she was Rusev’s equal & he treated her that way.  Lana was amazing. 


For little girls, Lana represented more than just a Russian woman that was hot. She was an eloquent speaker, Rusev listened to her, respected her, and everyone cared what she had to say. Men had Paul Heyman, women had Lana. Even during that disastrous love triangle storyline, my girls would plead with Lana to get back in her business suits and tear everyone apart.

“Mommy! Take a picture of Lana!”

Recently, WWE started a storyline where resident loudmouth Enzo Amore flashed Lana. Instead of apologizing, he flirted with her. Then, he spent weeks telling her husband Rusev that Lana wants him, fantasizes about him because he’s just soooooo manly. The story played out where Lana decided to show Enzo how it felt to feel ashamed, helpless, victimized. She offered him a chance to come to her hotel room, stripped him down, and Rusev beat him up, which of course in wrestling land meant Big Cass, Enzo’s partner needed to settle things by having a match, not like, calling the cops. 

Last night when I got home from work, the PPV event Roadblock had already started and I asked my girls what I missed. They proceeded to tell me it was awful, the New Day lost! But my nine year old also said “Enzo called Lana a bunch of bad names and I don’t like him anymore.”

When I read an excerpt of what he said, I was floored. 


How is he the good guy? Is it just because the character of Lana is Russian and Rusev is Bulgarian?! How does any man saying that to another human make him the guy to cheer?!

I understand for male fans, it’s hard to understand, but for female fans, we deal with Enzo Amore’s three times a month. I recently just wrote about how a man harassed me for WEEKS because I said no. When I decline a date, I get “well you weren’t that hot anyway,” “you led me on by saying you liked video games and wrestling,” “I bet you’re a cheap hoe.” This is the behaviour that Enzo Amore is exhibiting. He was told no and he proceeded to tell Lana for weeks that she didn’t mean no, she wants him. When she set up what many women have fantasized about, flipping the script on their harasser, she was the villain. Rusev is defending his wife from a creep, how is he the villain? He seems like a great guy, trying to protect his wife. But in WWE land, he’s a jerk and Enzo is just trying to have fun.  Okay.  


This sort of thing needs to stop. I’m all for TV and people getting it’s make believe, but it’s obvious that WWE doesn’t know how to write for women. Women don’t see Enzo as a funny guy. To us, he’s every guy at the bar that stalked us to our car (after calling us fat & a slut to get high fives from his friends) because we said no. Girls are watching and being shown this behaviour is okay. That if a woman says no, she’s the bad guy. Women fans deserve better. 

In WWE land, women are consistently marginalized when they are accomplished. Big Cass’s real life girlfriend (& former manager) Carmella was recently written as a catty girl jealous of Nikki Bella. Carmella was written to say a promo where she credited all of Nikki’s success to her boyfriend John Cena. And male fans nodded in approval. Yes, this is what happened. My seven year old screamed at our TV to stop because Nikki worked so hard to come back and girls shouldn’t say this about other girls. But this is considered status quo. 
Yes, Nikki got her revenge, by beating Carmella and proving that she is the better athlete (to the delight of my seven year old), but the damage is done. Places like Reddit belittle Nikki, talking about how she keeps her job by opening her legs. No mention of how she worked for months to come back to a full time schedule after a debilitating neck injury that could have left her paralyzed. More attention is paid to her two second hip wiggle. Nikki’s marketability as a role model is questioned. My youngest will tell you Nikki is strong and brave and athletic and she & her sister Brie could best everyone because they outsmarted them. No mention of a hip wiggle. But lots of mention of Nikki’s determination, bravery, kindness, athleticism. Maybe we need to listen to kids. 

You can have great storytelling without women bringing each other down. Sasha Banks & Charlotte Flair have done it for months. They just wanted to be the best. Carmella & Nikki could have done the same without the tired mean girl is jealous schtick. Rusev could have been praised by the announce team for being a stand up guy, defending his wife from inappropriate behaviour and condemning the frat boy antics. But alas, WWE went another way. However, I do hope male fans understand that while to them, it’s a funny storyline, for female fans, it’s a daily reality for us, that our success will always be marginalized to build up a man, or that when we say no to creeps, we are somehow in the wrong. Maybe, WWE will listen to the fans (and Lana herself, who has been very vocal on Twitter that she finds this distasteful) and we will see Rusev and Lana be celebrated for standing up to the bullies. But more likely, we’ll see a new shirt emblazoned with one of the catch lines designed to humiliate her. 

We’ve Come so Far

It’s the International Day of the Girl & as the mom of three awesome girls who will someday change the world, I wanted to take a moment to give mad props to women all over the world who are kicking ass and taking names & spin kicking glass ceilings. 

As a woman who never had it easy growing up, and wanted more than to be Stepford Wife and mom, I find that the most important thing we can do for each other is build each other up. I have no time for catty bitches. I have no time for women who tear down other women (although I was told I was a bad feminist for THIS TWEET, so I apologize to Maryse Mizanin for clearly ruining her life). Women were meant to build each other up, so I wanted to take a moment to give kudos to 10 women who are breaking down barriers, starting conversations & changing history. 


1. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. The wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done so much for women, from advocating for better mental health, promoting body image, healthy living, and working to support every woman in her country, from the newest baby girl to the elderly woman watching TV from her home. Ms. Gregoire Trudeau doesn’t sit behind her man; she raises a family, she champions causes that mean something to her, she promotes Canadian designers. She is visible and vocal and wants to see Canada succeed. 


2. Clara Hughes. In addition to being one of the very few athletes to win medals at both the summer and winter Olympic Games, Ms. Hughes has championed erasing the stigma of mental illness, helping form Bell Let’s Talk Day, where the Canadian Telecom giant helps raise funds for Canadian Mental Health initiatives. Hughes speaks at universities and other events about her struggles with depression, encouraging others to seek help as well. 


3. Kesha. This year, Kesha took on the world when she sued her label and her producer Dr Luke to escape her contract. Citing physical and sexual abuse, Kesha stood up for herself, started an uncomfortable conversation about assault in the workplace, with many other musicians, including Kelly Clarkson & Taylor Swift supporting the singer. Despite a public smear campaign & control tactics, Kesha didn’t back down & fought for herself. 


4. Sasha Banks. Don’t call her Diva. Sasha dreamed of being the greatest wrestler (male or female) alive & she is doing it. From main eventing to breaking down glass ceilings as one of the first two women in history to compete in the Hell in a Cell structure, Sasha is showing that women can go just as hard as the men. Last night, WWE’s top hero Roman Reigns was in the ring & fans screamed “WE WANT SASHA” at the top of their lungs. Women are no longer the sideshow, they are the whole show. 


5. Trish Stratus. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the women who put some cracks in that glass ceiling that Sasha Banks is breaking. Trish Stratus changed the perception of women in wrestling; beautiful, brave, strong, determined. After retirement, she built a fitness empire (which has helped me with my own weight loss) & transitioned into motherhood with son Max & baby Stratus 2 on the way in 2017. But she has become an icon for healthy living & positive mindset in Canada. 


6. Taylor Swift. In addition to being the most successful artist probably on Earth right now (& the only woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammy’s twice), she demonstrates the value of women building up others. Whether it’s giving Kesha $250 thousand for her legal fees, to helping with Louisiana flood relief, Taylor’s generosity and kindness is a value that cannot be taught, but perhaps more could emulate. She handled Kim Kardashian West’s attempts to humiliate her with class, another trait that more people need to possess. Taylor reminds us that the more successful a woman is, the more humanity tries to break her. But she rises above with class and dignity.


7. Michelle Obama. The First Lady of the United States has demonstrated more class and poise under the strain of abusive slurs and hate than any other woman in history. But here she is, championing causes to help her fellow Americans be active, healthy. There she is, supporting her country after another mass shooting. Crossing party lines to give George Bush sr. a hug to thank him for championing the National Museum of African American History and Culture. But more importantly, she gave all of us the mom advice that will resonate for generations to come; “When they go low, we go high.” Thank you Mrs. Obama, for being a beacon of light in a sometimes very dark time in history. 


8. Jana Kramer. Jana Kramer is once again opening the conversation to the uncomfortable subject of domestic violence and its aftermath, which helped me be more honest about my own poor relationship choices & how I’m hoping I’ve turned it around this time with the new person I’m seeing. Her real talk about how the scars on our self esteem last long after the blows stop & we allow ourselves to be mistreated by other men until we finally stand up for ourselves and it’s okay to be a single mom. It’s okay to admit that we struggle. What matters is we get back up. Thanks Ms. Kramer for getting back up. 


9. Nikki Bella. Nikki Bella may not have broken the glass ceiling, but she chipped it a few times. The longest reigning Divas Champion fought through injuries and disrespect to help usher in a new era for women in sport. In addition, she and her sister Brie have become motivational speakers, seeking to empower women & build them up. Upon her return from a broken neck, Bella even said she didn’t care if she ever won another match, as long as she was building up the latest group of women. It’s that kind of encouraging attitude that makes me okay with my seven year old daughter believing that Nikki Bella is truly Fearless, and calling Nikki her hero. 


10. Hilary Clinton. I saved the biggest and most bad ass for last. In a little under a month, Hillary Clinton could be the President of the United freaking States! What?! That’s right; a woman, leading the free world. And she’s not leading in polls because she’s a woman; she’s leading because she’s the best possible candidate in the eyes of American voters. Her policies, her platform, that’s what’s resonating with voters. Her calm demeanour while her opponent attacks her personally, her marriage, her daughter. Despite all of this abuse, Mrs. Clinton stands tall and discusses her plan for America, because all that should matter is her ability to run the country. Mrs. Clinton has been dragged through the mud far more than any other candidate in history, but when you go through Hell, keep on going. She kept on going and when I wake up on November 9/16, I may get to show my daughters that the ultimate glass ceiling has been shattered when Hilary Clinton is named the 45th President of the United States of America. 

While you may not agree with my choices, because of politics or whatever, these are 10 women who are standing up for themselves, for other women, for their countries. These are the kinds of women we should look to; the women who are making history. The women who want to help others make history. The women who defend each other, their beliefs. I hope to be the kind of women who builds up other women, who encourages my own daughters to be anything they want. And thanks to the women above, they have a better chance to become whomever they want, because they’ve opened doors…or kicked them down. 

And finally, here are women in my own life who inspire me every single day. They build up other women, stand up for each other, support me, fight for their goals & demonstrate class in the darkest of moments. I aspire to be more like these women every day. 

She Sets the City on Fire

As a WWE fan and a woman who prides herself on being a feminist, I often give WWE a bag of Hell when they get it wrong & turn their strong, powerful female characters into stereotypical catty bitches determined to undercut each other. Today, I’m going to give them props for getting it right.


Months ago, I lamented about the plight of Becky Lynch, WWE’s last true heroine. The Lass Kicker was betrayed by friends, humiliated & often left sobbing, while her fans sobbed with her. Many nights, my nine year old, decked out in her little goggles & Becky shirt, would ask why everyone would beat up Becky. Why did everything bad happen to Becky, why always Becky?


But the character of Becky Lynch didn’t become jaded or bitter. In fact, she would cut passionate promos about how she would finally win the big one & she’d do it the right way, with honour & integrity. Becky would tell her fans that all the struggles would be worth it & she would win the big one in a way that she could be proud of.

Fans waited for months and months, but last night, they finally got their wish. Becky Lynch finally won the big one & became the first ever WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion. The woman who was once molested by Ric Flair and tossed out of the ring sobbing like garbage FINALLY got to stand tall as the victor, making history to the delight of fans everywhere. 


Becky Lynch won & she won with integrity. She didn’t cheat or stab a friend in the back. She didn’t do anything duplicitous. She won with integrity & hard work & even though my two of my three daughters were rooting for different women (they were rooting for Nikki Bella & Alexa Bliss), they all jumped & screamed with joy when Becky Lynch was declared the winner.


But the other takeaway from this night was that some of the women in the match went onto social media to publicly congratulate Lynch. Nikki Bella & Natalya (Becky’s latest onscreen nemesis) took time to congratulate Becky, compliment her work ethic & even while reminding people that they wanted to be champion, they were proud of Becky. And Becky made sure to thank them for their words, and for a moment, everyone had to stand up and notice that all of these women were building up each other. There was no catty sniping, just a bunch of women proud of their body of work & proud of their friend, even in defeat. 

My other two daughters would have been so disappointed if I hadn’t added a pic of their “girls” in this match.

Even the women who may not have publicly congratulated Becky (but I’m sure they did privately) still showcased class & poise. They congratulated all of their opponents for a job well done, for a great match & Trinity “Naomi” Fatu gave a thoughtful statement, reminding her fanbase that long roads lead to beautiful destinations. No undercutting Becky Lynch’s abilities. No claiming that she’s ugly, fat or didn’t deserve to win. Just six women proud of themselves & what they were able to do. 


So congrats to all six of these women for showcasing a different kind of female superstar; classy in defeat, proud of each other & appreciative of opportunities given, or opportunities created. You showcased athleticism in the ring, but showed passionate fans that it’s okay to be happy for someone else, especially when you know they worked hard too. Six women built up other women, with not a single personal attack or childish catty insult. For once, a women’s match really was about who was the best, and the right woman won it the right way, teaching little girls at home that with hard work and integrity, there is nothing you cannot do. 

Sky’s The Limit

Welcome to the Misadventures of MHC!

I hope everyone updated their address books, as there is no more ASH Multimedia. You’re probably wondering “why the name change MHC?” Part of it is for reasons that I do not care to discuss. The other is simple; the name no longer fit the story that I was telling. There isn’t really a multimedia component, as my photography skills are average at best, unless it’s something basic white girly, and that name was chosen as a joint venture with my ex husband. While I’ve always tried to brand it, I’ve realized what I’ve actually branded is me. It’s my story, my terms, my way. Why not have the name reflect that?!

See? I kick ass at this type of photography!

I’m still not 100% comfortable continuing my story here right now, for reasons I’m not really okay sharing with anyone right now (except my dearest ones, they know), but the sixth anniversary of my online home this week and I wanted to acknowledge it. Normally, I’d impart some kind of mind blowing knowledge, but I have none. Sorry. 

I do know that this year started off with my greatest nightmare coming to life, and I turned that into achieving the dream I’ve had since I was eight years old. Since I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was publish an article in a newspaper and I mother effing did it. Yes, I’ve published over 200 magazine articles, but being a news reporter was the goal. When we pulled up my transcripts, we found magazine writing was my weakest subject. Newspaper reporter, that was the goal. AND I DID IT ALL ON MY OWN. 


To the rest of the world, it’s just an article in a newspaper, but to me, it’s everything I’ve worked for since I was a kid. I didn’t give up. I kept trying. I owed it to eight year old Mary-Helen, who tirelessly made newspapers for the neighbours out of lined paper to make this happen. And I did. I intend for it to be the first of many. But even if it’s one and done, I did it. My name is sitting there on a byline on a Postmedia newspaper. That means more to me than anything else in the whole wide world. That’s what I did this year. I accomplished the only thing I’ve ever wanted since I was eight years old. 


I’ll never be able to adequately explain how that felt for me, but someone else did it for me & that is Sasha Banks. Head on over to YouTube and look up Sasha Banks wins the Women’s Championship (or click here). Just like I owed it to eight year old Mary-Helen, she owed it to 10 year old Mercedes to keep going. And she did it. I guess, if I had knowledge, I would say just keep going. Keep trying. Remember who little you wanted to be & make them proud. Be the good person little you was, before the world’s harshness sucked it out of you. Keep going even when the road is cold & bleak & you’ve never felt more alone. When your heart is broken & you are utterly defeated, get up. Try again. Turn your nightmares into everything you ever wanted. 

The name may have changed, but the format has stayed the same. Song titles for titles. Positive life affirmations. Same dorky woman trying to be better than yesterday. And in the end, if all I ever become is Mary-Helen, the woman who is too nice, forgives too often, loves too much, and believes all humans are good and deserve one more chance, but most importantly, does not quit on her kids, her goals or herself, then I win. 

The moral of the story is that in a world of Kardashians, I choose to be Mary-Helen. 


Cheap Thrills

I work in customer service and media relations. I pride myself on my level of customer service. At my last workplace my customer service score was 100%. During my Target Mobile tenure, one of my customers sent an email to Target Canada’s head office praising my service. During my management team’s follow up calls, they tell me how my customers praise my empathy, genuine interest in them & product knowledge. There’s a reason my friends call me in the Cow Province instead of their cell providers in Ontario; because I take pride in my job & my ability to do it well. They call me “Cell Phone Jesus” (although I prefer the title “Queen of Telecommunications” as is in my Twitter bio). Thanks to this, I may never need to apply for a job again, for I’m often contacted by recruiters for open positions. In fact, I’m currently in the interview process for a new position that will help me transition my wireless career into a wireless/public relations career. I REALLY want this job, so if you could send all the happy thoughts, love, trend the #HireMHC tag on Twitter, prayers or sacrifices to Cthulu, that’d be GREAT (yup, I humblebragged. Fight me). 

Flashback to when Bossman Adam bought me a tiara

But customer service is super important to me, because as both a customer service representative & a person who buys stuff, I expect it on both sides of the counter. So, when I see an example of poor customer service in my travels, I tend to want to comment. 

This past week, lovable WWE jerk Kevin Owens made a comment online about a restaurant called Notre-Bouef-De-Grâce, claiming he waited quite some time & he and his wife Karina ended up leaving when they were told to wait even longer for their meal. The staff then proceeded to take catty shots on Twitter in a manner reminiscent of Owens’s in character tweets to fans & then somehow, the story ended up being relevant enough to be discussed on Ariel Helwani’s podcast, prompting Owens to post a rebuttal. While right now, it’s a source of annoyance for Owens, it’s a helpful lesson in good customer service. 

I always tell my team that we are representing a company and cellular brands. We are the face of them. If we do a good job, they tell their friends. If we don’t, they tell EVERYONE. Go to any restaurant or cell company’s Facebook & see the comments of “I went into _____ location & they were dicks!” Or ask someone what cell company/restaurant to recommend. They will lead with “don’t go here, they suck.” Why? Because humans naturally gravitate towards the negative. When I think of my first cell phone & the bad customer experience I received (I won’t name names), I know that bias slips into my work, as I lead with Rogers phones, as I’ve had great service with Rogers. Once again, that level of positive service reaps rewards. I’ve never met Kevin Owens, but I do know based on this, I won’t go to Notre-Bouef-De-Grâce next time I’m in Montreal either. Not because of the complaint, but the response & the continued attempts to embarrass Mr. Owens afterwards. That’s just bad customer service. That night, he wasn’t lovable jerk Kevin Owens; he was thoughtful husband Kevin Steen, a guy that really just wanted to take his wife out to dinner. He got poor service & made a comment about it on social media, you know, like everyone else ever. 


I think I empathized with him because I know how seriously Kevin Owens takes his role as brand ambassador for WWE. Last September, my mom bought my kids & I WWE live event tickets to celebrate my youngest’s sixth birthday (& mine, which is 10 days later). My youngest, dressed in her Nikki Bella gear from head to toe carefully made a sign saying she wanted to meet her hero, as well as her favourite wrestler, Seth Rollins. However, Nikki Bella was injured, but fellow Diva Natalya helped my child get a birthday wish from Nikki, which she did & is still on her IG. However, when Kevin Owens arrived, my then eight year old rushed over to the fence to try and get an autograph for her uncle, who’s birthday had just passed & a shy eight year old was drowned out by the “it’s still real to them” crowd & he didn’t hear her. She cried. My oldest suggested we put it on Twitter & maybe it could be funny promo fodder or we’d get a snarky tweet because she finds them funny. After all, it was an accident. Even my eight year old knew it was an accident & had moved on to seeing if she could wave to Cody Rhodes. Owens tweeted back asking what had happened, and even though I stressed it was an accident, she was fine, no harm done, he arranged for the girls to go backstage to the meet & greet, where they got to meet Seth Rollins (& they all nearly died of joy) & messaged a belated birthday wish to their uncle. By the end of the night, my eight year old was crying again, because she didn’t get to meet Owens to thank him.  But to say it didn’t stick out is an understatement. Many of my wrestling fan friends already liked Owens for his in ring ability, but his commitment to the fans made them respect him more. My kids adore Kevin Owens & can’t wait for his action figure to arrive (although it DOES have to apologize to their Sami Zayn for the whole being a jerk to Sami Zayn thing) & I have no problem lining his coffers with my purchases of Kevin Owens merchandise (even though I’m sure his gesture has more to do with him being a father of a child close in age than my buying his merch). The guy running the Notre-Bouef-De-Grâce Twitter could learn from him. 

For my family, Kevin Owens isn’t just a wrestler; he’s a guy who did a really cool thing for my kids. He didn’t have to do anything. But he did & my kids are forever grateful. Nikki Bella didn’t have to wish my daughter a happy birthday. She wasn’t even there! But she, Natalya & Owens went above & beyond & it’ll always stick out & I’ll never tank them enough. THAT is being a brand ambassador & something too few people seem to care about. Both situations started with a tweet about an experience. The difference is that Owens represented his company well & Notre-Boeuf-De-Grâce didn’t. 


It costs you absolutely zero dollars to be a good person, but being a douche can cost you many dollars. While the customer may not always be right, they are a person too & should be respected, even if the answer isn’t one they wanted to hear. A simple “sorry you had a bad time, did you want to DM us what happened?” Could have gone a long way. In this day and age of social media, restaurants can’t afford to be sassy to anyone because by day’s end, the universe will know & you will only have yourself to blame when your business looks bad. 

We all work with people every day. Treat them like they were your best friend, not like just another customer, or chances are, you won’t have any more. 

This is What You Came For

Let me tell you about my good friend Gleason. 

We have been friends for 20 years (Dear God). We’ve been friends through the best of times, the worst of times, marriages (both of us), divorce (mine), kids, depression, and that heartbreaking time that Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. I’m very fortunate to have maintained such an awesome long term friendship. We used to talk about TV & sports. Now it’s kids & fitness & life. 

Why Hogan…Why?

But when you’ve known someone as long as I’ve known him, they’re more apt to tell you when you’re not living up to your potential. Or, in my case, when I’m being a doormat. 

Awwwww!

For years, I’ve told him about my life, my kids, my plans, goals, etc. and the one question he’d ask me whenever I would talk about stuff is “Is that what Mary-Helen wants?” 

I know the hubby thinks you can afford that Van, but what do you think? What do you want?

I know he’s talking marriage, but is that what you want?

I know you say you’re fine with that schedule, but is that really what you want? Will it really work for you?

So you’re giving him what he asked for, despite him having no respect for you whatsoever. When does he care about what you want?

I would answer that I was doing what I wanted, because I was writing & crossfitting & doing my thing. But was I really getting what I wanted? I often said that I didn’t want to rock the boat at work, or make the Dad angry. Blank & I were together & happy & he worked so hard that I didn’t want to upset him. I would always say “I don’t want him to get mad & leave me,” and when I did assert myself, I would be afraid of the disappearing act. So, maybe I wasn’t. Or was I? I don’t even know anymore. 

I spend so much time making people happy that I end up sacrificing what I want. I would try to stand up for myself, but when it didn’t make things better, I’d stand down. Give in. Maybe I need to be more assertive and stop taking stupid people’s stupid shit. 


But, since winter turned into spring, I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. What does MHC want? What do I want for my life, my kids, my future? I’m in control of my life & deep down, I always have been. I just let my fear get in the way of that. And like a good friend, or Glinda, my friend wanted me to figure it out on my own. 

the first person to photoshop my friend Gleason’s head on Glinda’s body gets a cookie

Maybe I need to stop worrying about what everyone else wants and do what I want. I need to stop worrying about what the Dad wants & what my friends want & what he wants & focus 100% on what my kids & I want. And we want to continue to live our quiet life. Go to church. Go to Starbucks. Tomorrow we’ll go see Captain America. I want to go running after work every night. I want to crossfit & gains. And most importantly, I want to be the best damn writer & role model I can be. And with the awesome new changes at my magazine, I’m excited about what kind of writer I am going to become. And I’ve already taught my girls about forgiveness and compromise. Now I need to focus on teaching them how to stand up for what they want &I make their voices heard. If people don’t like that, then oh well. Your time in my story is over. I no longer stress about that. I have a world to conquer. 


Sometimes it takes reminding, but I do have a voice & I need to use it to stand up for myself at work, in life, and to myself. Because what I want matters too…and I intend to get it.