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. 

Big & Loud

This has not been my week. I’ve been sick. I’ve had xrays. It’s actually super shitty. But I will figure this out in a few days & all will be well. 

But I refuse to let dark times cloud my awesome life. My life is the raddest. I’ve lost six pounds this month. My gym dues are paid & I can train. My kids got rad report cards. Oh, and I got some much needed time with some friends this week. It was just what I needed. 

  
But enough about my life. Let’s talk about mindless drivel. Today’s mindless drivel is why the WWE Divas Division continues to piss me off. 

It has not been since 2014 that WWE has had a true babyface Diva in Brie Bella. Brie was beloved by fans, as they hoped she would defeat the evil Stephanie McMahon & avenge her husband Daniel Bryan & sister Nikki (she didn’t. She was defeated & aligned with Nikki to reign as bad girls in Team Bella & now is used to elevate the NXT Divas). 

  
Since then, all of the dominant women have been stereotypes. Bad girl Nikki Bella. Jealous geeky girl AJ Lee. Manipulative Paige. Daddy’s spoiled brat Charlotte Flair. All until the unexpected rise in popularity of Becky Lynch. 

  
Becky Lynch has gone through many phases since her debut, but the core of her main roster character has remained the same; she wants to be a champion of integrity. Someone little girls can look up to. She wants to win the right way. All three of my daughters watched the Royal Rumble with baited breath, to see if Becky would overtake Charlotte Flair & become the Divas Champion. 

She didn’t. 

Instead, Charlotte’s father forced himself on her, she was pinned in dirty fashion, tossed out of the ring like trash by villainess Sasha Banks & left to sob alone. 

  
As a mom & a feminist, I find it horrifying that male “advocates for women’s wrestling” like Jim Ross & Mick Foley are more concerned about whether or not the word Diva is problematic than the actual treatment of the women. An old man forcing himself on a woman is a humourous plot point in 2016. Every woman except Becky Lynch is a stereotype, from mean girl to cat lady. They are booked as catty, jealous bimbos who are self serving & petty. Even my 14 year old daughter, who wanted to be a Diva, no longer wants that. She feels like she would have to become a character that her sisters couldn’t be proud of, or end up humiliated like Becky Lynch. 

  

WWE has an obligation to their female fans to give them a hero. I’m not necessarily about kids role modelling from TV people, my kids look up to me, my strength, tenacity, my work ethic. But little girls deserve to see the heroine win in the story. Celeste Bonin’s Kaitlyn was humiliated by man eating villainess AJ Lee. Brie Bella was felled by her evil twin and then joined her. Paige fought the good fight, but turned bitter. WWE finally has a chance to give little girls a chance for their hero to win, like John Cena or Roman Reigns for boys, as Becky is still fighting the good fight against two evil stereotypes. As the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania approaches, I hope WWE finally shows that nice girls can finish first, and the big moment can go to the character who wants to show that you can become champion & keep your soul; Becky Lynch. 

  

Away

I used to be that person who was way too open with my life online. Then I got burned & now I’m not. 

My personal life isn’t “out there” on FB, with memes & sap. I’m not that girl anymore. There have been random tweets, but again, this is rare. In fact, I don’t even think I tell my friends when I’m dating someone (aside from my closest friends). I’m very guarded about my life, whom I trust, because it’s something I struggle with. This is why it weirds me out when people put their personal lives all over the Internet.

WWE Superstar Darren Young took some heat from fans this week when he posted screencaps of an Instagram DM (which can still be found on Young’s Twitter), where a cameraman for the E! series Total Divas sent a shirtless snap to the former Tag Team Champion. He then sent back a photo of his partner & put the man on blast for trying to “break up his happy home.” Young defended his airing of his dirty laundry in some other tweets after fans called him out on his poor behaviour. As my friend Matt Bastard & I discussed jealousy & whether it means a lack of trust in your partner, I thought this whole thing was sad & really embarrassing for Darren Young. 

  
I used to be a bit jealous. Not much, but there was one friend of my boyfriend’s that made me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it was the fact that they used to date. Maybe it was the fact that she was overly flirtatious. I’m not sure. But it bugged me. Now, I’m indifferent. Somewhere along the way I became more confident in who I am as a person. This helped me realize that he loves me. It doesn’t matter if she’s pretty, if they used to date, if they were neighbours, or if she hypothetically showed up at his house naked. He loves me & chose me. And he respects me enough to be faithful to me. I’m sure he notices pretty girls, but in the end, he loves me & chooses to be with me & demonstrates this with his actions.  And I need to be confident in his choice & trust him. After all, my being insecure in his choice makes him feel like he needs to do more to prove that I’m his choice. My questioning his choice makes him question it. Lack of trust brings more mistrust. Now, I understand that he chose me because he loves me & I have no reason to question this, because I know he feels it’s the right one. So, instead of being insecure; I’m proud to be the woman he chose. 

I’m sure lots of women hit on him. He’s a good looking, intelligent man who works around people all day. I’m sure girls send him flirty Facebook messages & texts. But he loves me, so it doesn’t matter. However, I would question his character if he put these women on public blast, instead of just politely telling them he has a girlfriend. This would show me a lack of respect for people on his part & an even less respect for me. If you need to put a human on blast to prove your home is happy, then your home isn’t that happy. I don’t know Darren Young or Nick Villa, his partner. But I do know that they don’t seem terribly secure, as they had to put humiliate a stranger to validate their love. Maybe this cameraman wasn’t aware that Young was in a relationship. I’m not married, I don’t wear a ring. I’ve had men ask for my number because there is no obvious indication that I’m with anyone. So, I tell them & life goes on. A simple “thanks for the invite, but I have a boyfriend,” would have sufficed. Maybe they could have become platonic friends? Now, some poor guy has been shamed & humiliated for what could have been a simple misunderstanding. 

The only thing I took away from Darren Young’s tweets was that his relationship appears to be full of insecurity, jealousy & a lack of trust. So much so that he needed to humiliate a total stranger to prove how “happy” he is with his partner. Anyone who needs to go to such immature lengths to showcase a happy relationship can’t be that happy. The fact that these two make such a public front to appear happy makes me think their private is actually stressful. 

A little bit of jealousy is normal, everyone who loves someone might feel a small pang of jealousy from time to time. It means you are protective of your relationship & (when discussed) can help you & your partner find a comfortable place. But when your jealousy & possessiveness leads to you attacking someone & hurting someone else to defend your “happy home,” then you need to evaluate your partner, because there is obviously no trust there, and you can’t have a successful relationship when you’re looking over your shoulder wondering who’s looking at your mate. 

  

Giants

I often joke that I’ve turned my 8yo daughter into a “crossfit douchebag” & it’s my proudest achievement as a parent. 

Maybe it’s not the GREATEST, but I like it. 

To balance parenting & fitness, I often bring my kids to the gym with me. My teen daughter is preparing to start crossfit soon, as she is getting ready to start her quest to become the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history. And my youngest builds forts out of foam rollers. But my middle child, whom we call the Overlord LOVES crossfit. 

When her dad told her that girls with big muscles weren’t pretty, she cited the “prettiest girl ever” was our West London Crossfit coach Lacey, who was “pretty like a princess & stronger than boys!” She’s already told me a Lacey-free gym won’t be as fun, despite my telling her that the new gym has girl coaches. She says when she grows up, she wants to be pretty & stronger than boys (& will tell you why kale is amazing). 

 

I don’t post photos of my daughters, so you’re stuck with my post-wod selfie with Lacey
 
This brings me to a hilarious story. 

When our cable provider messed up connecting our internet & TV, they gave us a PPV credit, & I asked them what to do with it. The Overlord shouted “I WANT TO WATCH BLONDE LADY FIGHT!” If you’re wondering who “blonde lady” is, allow me to show you!

 

from mmanews
 
That’s right; my 8yo idolizes Ronda Rousey. 

As a big WWE fan, she absolutely LOATHES the character of Stephanie McMahon. In fact, her Stephanie action figure only exists for her Brie Bella action figure to put in the Yes! Lock. When Ronda appeared at Wrestlemania 31 & tossed Triple H & put the hated Stephanie in the armbar, a girl crush was born. Ronda is strong. Ronda is tougher than boys. Ronda could probably whoop a boy. Ronda won an ESPY & BEAT OUT BOYS. Ronda is pretty much the coolest person on Earth to her. Ronda is sooooooo pretty. And after explaining that unlike WWE, Ronda fights for real & the fight might not be long (“because the other girl isn’t Ronda Mommy,”) & we NEVER imitate WWE or  Ronda, we are going to watch “Blonde Lady” fight tomorrow (cue all the sanctimommies questioning my parenting!). 

from mmanews

I also love Ronda; she takes no crap. She showcases an image that women have been told wasn’t a real thing; that strong women aren’t sexy. They are masculine & ugly. The thing the dad told my daughter. I stopped trying to be thin long ago; I started losing weight to be healthier for my girls, but now the goal is strong. Maybe I’ll always wear a size 10-12, but my thick thighs don’t bother me anymore. They are the product of hard ass work & strength. Those thighs can deadlift my body weight & squat in triple digits. And they’re only going to get stronger, as my goal is a 200lbs back squat by year’s end. A few years ago, a woman like Ronda Rousey would have been mocked relentlessly for her physique, called a dude, & yes, it still happens, but when she shuts the body shamers down, we cheer with her. When similar comments were made about Serena Williams, JK Rowling shut them down like a boss. It’s cool to be athletic, strong, & strong women can be beautiful! 

 

It’s pretty much an awesome time to be woman, as we can now be proud of our bodies regardless of size, whether the media agrees or not. Tess Holliday made “plus size” women stand up and say “we are beautiful too, not a fetish or a niche!” (While I think sexiness comes from self love, I’ll give Tess credit) Women of colour are celebrated for beauty, not “exotic looks,” thanks in part to Lupita Nyong’o. And Ronda Rousey made the world see that it’s cool to be strong. 

I’ll get “uh, MHC, body shaming still happens, it’s REAL. Just because it doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing.” Yup, still is a thing. I get accused of it all of the time because of my fitness posts on social media, but here’s the thing; you are in control of your body. If you love yourself, no one can shame you. My belly isn’t taut & my thighs have cellulite, but I am strong. And I’m proud of my strength. The definition will come if I work hard. I’ll always have double D’s & big hips. But I also have daughters & it’s more important that I embrace those double D’s & deadlift thighs than I fit in a size three. And no amount of body shaming will make me stop loving my body so my daughters emulate self love. Tess Holliday is successful because when she looks in the mirror, she sees beauty. When Ronda Rousey looks in the mirror, she sees beauty (& the knowledge that she can kick the crap out of anyone who thinks otherwise). You need to see beauty when you look in the mirror (as I’ve said before) & then no one can hurt you. 

 

from usa today

There’s something awesome about women being able to look at any body type & see beauty. My teen daughter is a 00. She will always be thin. She’s often mocked for her thin frame, but I remind her that her body is perfect, as she’s an athlete, a track star. She’s proud of her fast, long legs & doesn’t need to stress about her chest or booty because she’s built to be an athlete, the thing she wants to be. And if her idol, AJ Lee, can buck beauty standards & be a champion, so can she. 

from wwe.com

You can listen to body shamers who tell women they’re too thin, too buxom, too fat, too strong, or you can embrace your body, like women like Ronda Rousey. I love that my 8yo thinks she’s cool, mostly because she is cool. She’s confident & proud, and that matters more than how she looks on the outside. 
 

Dear Stephanie McMahon: A Letter From One Mom To Another

Dear Stephanie McMahon,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but we sort of grew up together. I’m only a couple of years younger than you and I grew up watching WWE programming and loved the entertainment your family brought into my home each week. As a teenager, I loathed your onscreen character for being married to my childhood crush, Triple H (although I promise I got over it haha) and much like you, I have three daughters of my own. You’ve gone from being the bane of my teenage existence to becoming a role model for women like me; you’re a hardworking mom who strives to be a role model. You don’t make excuses; you find time to keep in shape, run a company and still be there for your daughters. You inspire women like me every single day. I’m actually a huge fan of you and your work ethic.

The WWE Network is the most popular channel in my home, but it’s not for me; it’s for my three daughters, who are 13, eight and five. My eldest daughter’s goal in life is to become the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history and is already training for her goal. She runs 5Km with me three days a week, joins as many sports teams a possible and carries her replica title around as practice for when she wins the real thing, skipping like her idol, AJ Lee. The highlight of my eight year old daughter’s life was when she met WWE Diva Paige in our hometown in Ontario, Canada last year. Paige told her they were best friends and to this day, my daughter swears that she and Paige are best friends and begs to stay up late every week to see Paige wrestle and is waiting with baited breath for Paige to get her Wrestlemania moment @ Wrestlemania XXXI. My youngest loves the Bella Twins and sported her “Fearless Nikki” shirt on her birthday so she could be “Fearless Five.” They were excited beyond belief this past Summerslam, when you and Brie Bella co-headlined the second largest event of the year. They pleaded for Brie Mode and Fearless Nikki shirts so they could watch Divas kick butt just like the guys. They were so happy and as a longtime fan of WWE programming, I thought we were finally going to see a change, where women would get equal time to the men on programming and no longer would little girls all over the world wait all night to see the Divas just for them to be trucked out for three minutes and then leave…

..until last night.

from wwe.com
from wwe.com

Paige and fellow Diva Emma sat in the ring for several minutes while Raw aired a promo for male Superstar Sting. A promo that was long and unnecessary and could have aired at any point in the show. The Divas were given less than 10 seconds to wrestle and maybe three minutes to perform before they were shipped backstage. Ironically enough, you made a statement in a backstage segment questioning if male superstar Seth Rollins would defy you simply because you’re a woman. You make a bold, femminist statement and then have your Divas compete in less than 30 seconds with a promo in between. You stand up for powerful women, but your company disrespects their female athletes less than two hours later by saying that a video package for a male superstar is more important than their time.

I’m not talking as a disgruntled fan; I’m a mom just like you. My daughters adore the Divas, only watch WWE programming for the Divas (and Daniel Bryan. They really love Daniel Bryan) and each week they wait for hours for their beloved Divas just to see them for less than two minutes in storylines that insult their intelligence. The Bella Twins hate Paige because she looks different, AJ Lee hates the Total Divas because she wants to be on the show and wasn’t invited? Why can’t they have a storyline that is deep and meaningful? Trish Stratus and Lita had a rivalry that eclipsed their male counterparts, why can’t the current women? While I appreciate that Paige has sent a strong message about being true to oneself, why can’t women have storylines that make them strong, powerful women, and not high school bullies or jealous vixens?

I guess the part that confuses me is that you are such a strong woman and you take such pride in representing women in such a strong capacity. Why wouldn’t you want the Divas to be a reflection of your work ethic? My daughters as well as daughters all over the world look up to these women, they deserve more than two minute matches and storylines that demean them. When you became an active member of the creative team, moms like myself had such hope that you would show the world that the women were just as strong as the men. Total Divas is a successful franchise and brings new viewers to WWE. Why wouldn’t you capitalize on that and allow the viewers of Total Divas to see just how strong and athletic these Divas can be? We can’t see that in two minutes. The Divas work so hard. They deserve so much more. And you know how strong and talented they are, that’s why you chose to wrestle them yourself. Brie and Nikki Bella were talented enough to work a match with you, sell a pay per view event with you, and make history as the first women’s match to co-headline a PPV with you, but they’re not good enough for twenty minutes of airtime for Nikki to defend her title or cut a promo? That feels so hypocritical and I know that’s not how you would want fans to see you.

from wwe.com
from wwe.com

On behalf of every fan, I’m asking you to please let the Divas have airtime. Monday Night Raw is three hours long, surely you can give thirty minutes to the Divas. Every time you don’t, you cheapen the goals of little girls all over the world just like my teenage daughter, who want nothing more than to hold that title. You cheapen the hard work of women like AJ Lee, Paige and Nikki Bella, who work so hard and train so hard while working long hours and travel long days to hold that title and devalue Brie Bella, your handpicked opponent. You make them appear unworthy and beneath the men, and I know a woman like you, who conquered a man’s world would never want that for women.

I hope you’ll listen to the fans and #GiveDivasAChance, so my daughters will never have to say “Please let us stay up for the Divas, they’ll only be on for a minute!” ever again.

Sincerely,

MHC, A Mom Of Disappointed Divas Fans

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Because my life will not be allowing me to do a lot of writing for the foreseeable future (sigh), I’m adding my annual “year in photos” early!

This year was amazing. Full of lessons & beginnings & endings & new challenges & growth & it was another year that I got closer to being the most amazing MHC that I can be. So, as always, I’m going to post snippets of my year, the things that meant most to me & my daughters (that do not include photos of my daughters) & I hope you enjoy them.

While ASH Multimedia may be on hiatus for a bit, as I have two jobs, three kids, & an event to train for. I’m also not in the right headspace to be writing. My heart isn’t in writing right now, I keep deleting posts because I don’t feel comfortable sharing them, so I’m gonna stop. I hope you know how much I love all of you reading my garbage. It means the world to me. Thanks for that. I hope I made you smile as much as knowing you read it made me happy. Always be happy. That’s the big lesson in life.

Happy holidays from me!

MHC’s 2014!

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My favourite electronics teammate gives me team cards in Italian!
My favourite electronics teammate gives me team cards in Italian!
The view from my new home.
The view from my new home.
My daughter knows me so well.
My daughter knows me so well.

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Queen!
Queen!
The Prismatic world tour made my life better.
The Prismatic world tour made my life better.

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I don't post photos of my daughters, but they were very excited for "Bellaslam."
I don’t post photos of my daughters, but they were very excited for “Bellaslam.”
Ed Sheeran made all of my dreams come true
Ed Sheeran made all of my dreams come true

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The talented Gavin Michael Booth, my first movie review in so long!
The talented Gavin Michael Booth, director of Scarehouse! My first movie review in so long!

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Even though I won’t be updating ASH Multimedia for a bit, you can still follow my adventures on Twitter & Tumblr! It’s mostly positive & happy gibberish, but enjoy all the same & thanks again for being so rad.

– MHC

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