She Loves Control

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

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

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

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

I need to make myself a priority.

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

Actual footage of me and my responsibilities

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

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

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

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

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

Mic Drop

What an exhausting few days it’s been.

I attended the Alberta Magazine Awards gala and while I didn’t go home an award winner, I did get a chance to network with some amazing journalists & colleagues. Not to mention my brilliant editor took home an award for his piece, which was so deserving of this honour. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a link, but you can find more brilliant writing like this in the Magazine of the year; Eighteen Bridges. My 2018 writing goal is to have something published in this amazing journal.

But, I got to dress up nicely and go on a super fun road trip with one of my best friends. We ate donuts and had a blast. I’m so grateful to call her friend. But at the gala, I spent all night insecure about how I looked in my dress. I felt kind of big and insecure. Everyone said I looked great, but it just validated why I need to clean up my diet. I didn’t think I looked good. So I had to make changes so next time I wear that dress, for my friend Brie’s wedding, I will.

After that, it was time for me to tackle 18.3. When I read it, I knew I was screwed. I can’t do a pull-up unless it’s a jumping pull-up. I would not come close to finishing. But God damn it, I was gonna try and get one. One little pull up. Yes. This would happen.

For those of you new to the party, I attempted a pull-up once. I also fractured my tailbone. But I almost finished 17.1 afterwards so yay me! I cried through it and I was in more pain than I’ve been in for a long time, but I did it.

So, today, I made the attempt to do that damn pull-up. I fought for it. I tried so hard. I tried Kipping. Tried dead hang. Tried wide grip. Close grip. Tried everything. I did not do the pull-up. I said “fuck it!” And did some ring rows. My score was 220. I did the best damn single unders i have ever done. But I did not do the pull up. I didn’t come close to doing the pull-up. But, I tried really hard and did the best that I could & that’s all I can do. I also got the joy of watching my 11 year old (who is regularly bullied about her height) feel empowered watching one of my coaches do muscle ups because she is maybe five feet of fury & “was stronger than boys!” I love when my girls find empowerment in other women. She saw someone with her personal insecurity killing it and then decided that you can do anything in the world, even if you’re small. I was so excited to see my teammates kicking ass and taking names. I have the best team.

I also did some of my drivers ed training so guys, I can drive a car now. Big fuck you to everyone who said I couldn’t. Fuck. You.

As I hobbled home on my burning calves, I realized that if I wanted to do the damn pull-up next year, I needed to focus on the things that helped me get in better shape in the first place; better eating, working out, accountability. Mealife is AMAZING. Healthy, real food on the go. I’m so excited that this exists. And at home, it’s easier to eat better. Drink the water. Do the yoga. It’s all important. My best friend & I set goals for when I visit this summer. She’s my go to fitness guru (GO FOLLOW MY FRIEND ON INSTAGRAM. OKAY). My personal goal was wear shorts.

I haven’t worn shorts since my oldest was a baby. I’ve been so insecure about my legs. But I’m gonna do it. Just like I learned to drive, and moved across the country, and started Crossfit, I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone this summer and do the damn thing.

I decided if I’m going to do it, I’d have to stay the course. Cheat day once a month. Healthy food the rest of the time. More importantly, I wanted my first super cute pair of shorts to be shorts I was excited to wear…& also gym shorts because I only go to work or the gym. I have no life. Only work, kids, Crossfit. So, I grabbed the credit card and snagged me some BirdieBee!

BirdieBee is a clothing line dedicated to female empowerment. It’s run by my fitness idols, the Bella Twins! I’ve been wanting to buy some pieces from the line, but I haven’t felt confident. But the whole point of BirdieBee is to EMPOWER women, not make women feel badly about themselves. Anyone can wear BirdieBee. Just because my body won’t look like Brie or Nikki Bella, doesn’t mean I won’t look awesome in my own way. I love that all BirdieBee photos are untouched. No photoshop. These women show all of their own insecurities in their photos. If these women, who’s appearance is a major part of their brand, can embrace their flaws, much like how my daughter was inspired by seeing my coach slay a muscle up, I was inspired to embrace my insecurities, and this summer, I’ll show off my tree trunk, super strong legs in a pair of gym shorts…but only gym shorts because I have no life and only go to the gym.

The only way to get over your insecurities is to push through them. I used to be afraid to drive, but I do that now. I used to be afraid to hang on the bar at the gym, and today I tried to kip into a pull up. I used to be afraid to assert myself at work, but now I put myself out there by volunteering for projects (also the other Captains are adorbs and so much fun to be around). This is just one more time I need to put on my big girl pants and do the damn thing.

Breath

Oh, don’t mind me. I’m just wide awake coughing thanks to the never ending flu.

I’ve missed two weeks of Crossfit right before the Open, so I’m probably going to die. Of course, the last two weeks, I’ve felt like I was going to die. I’ve lived on a steady diet of NyQuil, soup, and tea. If you never learn anything from my blog, please learn to get a damn flu shot. You don’t ever want to feel this damn shitty. Forgetting my flu shot is my greatest regret in life right now.

However, I didn’t let a little thing like a super flu get in the way most of my life. I didn’t call in sick. I didn’t miss the Breaking Benjamin concert. I still took the kids to the movies & watched Olympic figure skating. I only missed the gym because it’s really hard to get anything done when you’re coughing until you puke. But I can’t afford to take time off from work. I can’t lay in bed and miss a valuable day off to spend with the kiddos. Breaking Benjamin rarely comes to Canada! Not to mention Adam Rippon is a damn treasure. I have to finish Driver’s Education. So much to do and I’m just one person.

But, whenever something like this comes up, I’m always reminded that I’m more fortunate than most people who are sick. I live in a country with free health care. I’m fortunate enough to have friends and coworkers that look out for me, whether it’s my boss kicking me out of my own store to cover the last four hours of my shift, or my friend driving the girls & I home from the mall, or the friend that insisted that we still go to Breaking Benjamin because they’re my all time favourite band. A member of my gym made it a point to tell me he couldn’t wait to see me at the gym next week. Even my 11 year old loaned me her stuffed bunny. I was feeling like crud and everyone tried to help in their own way.

I know you’re probably thinking that none of these gestures seem very significant. But one of the things I’ve been trying to improve upon over the last few years is to be grateful when someone does something to help me out. I think about how dark the world seems sometimes, especially when you read social media comments, or watch people interact in public. Everyone seems so cold. What happened to the days when people were there for each other and we really valued each other’s efforts? Maybe the world would be a little kinder if we all recognized that an effort to help you was a sacrifice on someone else’s part. My boss coming in to help me took time away from his work and delayed his Valentine’s Day plans. My friend risked catching the flu. That ride home took my friend out of her way. That’s how it works. Maybe if we really appreciated each other and looked out for each other, the world would be slightly less sucky.

Or, maybe I’m still really sick and babbling nonsense in my NyQuil induced haze.

Sick or not, I think we should all try harder to be more appreciative of the things people do for us. They’re going out of their way to make our lives easier. But don’t forget to pay it forward either. Help them when they need it. Be a good friend to those who need it. Help a stranger. Donate money. Don’t be a dick. The more we try to work to help others, the better place the world would be.

So, thanks again to all of the people in my life that go the extra mile to be a good friend to me and the girls. We appreciate how awesome you are. It’s always important that when things aren’t their best, that you find the things to be grateful for, so you can see life is always pretty rad.

From Now On

GUYS. I HAVE NEWS. GUYS. GUUUUYYYYSSSS.

Today, I was scrolling though the Twitter like normal, because in addition to today being my daughter’s 11th birthday, I have the flu.

I’ve actually lost my voice completely, so it’s a wonderful time to be alive, as Bossman said. But I can’t talk, outside of about 10 minutes today. So, while she was happily trying on her new apron and oven mitts (apparently the best gifts EVER, as she’s always wanted a nice apron with matching oven mitts and these are Nerdy Nummies, so even better), I was mindlessly scrolling. I saw a tweet from my editor at the Yards, and saw that he was nominated for TWO Alberta Magazine Awards! I was so excited for him, and went to issue a congrats until I saw something in the corner.

GUYS. I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN ALBERTA MAGAZINE AWARD AND I FOUND OUT ON TWITTER, WHICH IS COMPLETELY IN LINE WITH MY LIFE.

That’s right! I am an Alberta Magazine Award nominee! Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever heard?! (To read my nominated piece, CLICK HERE) I would have screamed if I could make sounds other than pitiful squeaks! So, I texted everybody I’ve ever met and told them! My friends are the best because they’re super supportive. My best friend in Cow Province agreed to be my date. My gym crew all took the time to “like” the news. My teacher and mentor said she was proud of me. It was a day of happy tears and ruined mascara, but I got to celebrate the fact that one of my best friends in the whole world turned 11 today and after all of these years of working and risks, I am finally making it in the world of journalism.

I didn’t submit this work for nomination. I had no idea this was even a thing that could happen. I’ve been a member of AMPA since 2015, when I started at Great West Newspapers. I never thought this could be me. I was proud of this piece because it was important and relevant and I was proud to be asked to write it. I probably won’t win this award. The other pieces are a zillion times better than mine. But for me, the girl in 80G who was part of the Convergence pilot program a million years ago, this is a huge deal and I’m super proud.

Ahh, fat MHC. How I hate you.

Hopefully I can get the time off and Carissa & I can go to the ceremony while I meet other journalists and maybe learn some new ways to improve my writing. Then I’ll lose, be disappointed, and move forward. But right now, I feel like one of those celebrities when they hear they’re going to the Oscars; proud and humbled.

Today I feel like I can really be a great writer, and make my daughters proud. They were proud today. For all those times I feel like I’m parenting wrong; today made me think I could really be a role model to them and be the kind of Mom that they can be proud of…at least until the next time I have to work late, or on my day off, or whatever it takes to keep us fed and housed because this house of four women are doing it for themselves. But for one day, all of those struggles seemed totally worth it.

Never Enough

Normally, the stories I tell on my blog are ridiculous things I do that make no sense and end up ending very badly for me, as well as all parties involved.

But today, I’m going to tell you all about my responsible adulting and why it freaks me out.

I’ve needed to consider buying a car for some time. I’ve been putting it off for some time. Last week, I began the preapproval process so I can buy a car! I also decided on a car, and test drove a car, and once I’m done making a six month budget to see if it works, comparing insurance companies, and if it works out, I will be the proud owner of a 2017 Hyundai Elantra at the end of February! At the latest, end of June! Isn’t that exciting?!

This is a stock photo. This is not actually my car.

I almost bought the thing today, because the sales lady was VERY good (if I could poach her, I would, but she’s actually better than me), I was so excited, but I decided to take a breather before I commit (& some friends suggested that I check the interest rate & maybe shop around). I promised I’d complete Driving school before buying a car because I want the price break on insurance. Speaking of insurance, I want to talk to my friend Paul from TD Insurance because he’s literally the only person I trust about cars, insurance, etc. But mostly, I got really panicky. This is a MAJOR life choice! You don’t just buy a car because you like to drive or you decide you want one, it’s a major commitment. It’s like a child; you have to take care of it! You have to make sure to get oil changes every 3000km, never let gas fall below 1/4 of a tank & follow the service schedule to the letter. If you don’t take care of your vehicle, you run it into the ground and then it’s more expensive. One of the biggest fights in my marriage was his obsession with owning a vehicle (as he claimed he had no self worth unless he owned a car), but refusal to maintain the car, prompting huge expenses for us. Am I ready to take on that responsibility? I should. I’m missing out on quality freelance gigs because I don’t own a car. The cost of the vehicle is within my budget, and maintaining the payments would help me continue to rebuild my credit. But I’m scared. What if I get in an accident? What if the girls are with me? What if I can’t afford to take them somewhere because of the car payments? Just this week I had to pay for a new pair of glasses for my 10 year old (my benefits will reimburse me but still) and the winter months aren’t known for big money in my line of work. What if I buy the car and I end up overextending myself and my car gets repossessed and the kids and I are ruined? I just got my promotion. Shouldn’t I wait a few months to make sure I’m going to do well? I have stressed more about this car than I did moving across the country (mostly because journalism made it a no brainer).

CARS ARE BIG DEALS GUYS. MUCH BIGGER THAN MOVING TWO TIME ZONES TO A CITY YOU HAD NEVER SET FOOT IN. PLEASE HELP ME.

I know it’s the best idea for my family, as the teen & I could split custody once she gets her class five license, and it would be easier to get to work, buy groceries, and get to the gym. Not having a car has held me back from working at newspapers. Unlike some people, who see cars as status symbols or toys, a vehicle is an investment into my future. But like all major adult decisions, I tend to over analyze and panic. I’m so worried about the payments and what if I have a bad month at my job and end up missing one or worse, my insurance! The whole thing makes me want to start drinking.

I guess the question I have is how do you get past concerns about cost and fears of killing everyone in your backseat to become a responsible driver? How does one justify the expense, because I’m freaking out about it? Owning a car has been my biggest fear in life and I’m about to grab that fear by the horns and conquer it, but I’m already breathing in the bag. How am I supposed to be a responsible driver when the thought of BUYING the car prompts a panic attack?

I’m not good with major life choices. I live in Alberta because magazines. But I guess the reason it’s so scary is that I remember all of those times we had car trouble, or had to scrape together gas money, etc. and I’m terrified that it’ll happen again. Cars always seem like more of a hindrance than a help, even if I do kind of need one. I likely won’t drive to places that I can walk to get bread or milk. But it’s a good idea that also feels like a scary financial burden…and I could accidentally kill a bunny or worse.

So, if anyone has any suggestions to help me get through the car buying process, or at least closer to deciding if this is the right time for me to buy a car, help your girl out. I’ll be in my blanket fort, comparing insurance quotes, and hyperventilating.

Gorgeous

Oh, Hello. Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the festive holiday break! I worked like a dog through it! But, it wasn’t all for naught. I love my jobs, even if journalism had to take a backseat for the month due to the craziness of the season. Fortunately, I’m working on an article that I’m super excited about, with some pitches out there. Things are quieter at the day job. 2018 is already amazing & I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.

My professional life is already off to a rocking start. As many of you know, last year I was asked to step down from my position and work as an assistant manager. It was demoralizing as fuck, but I wasn’t ready for the job. I had so much to learn and I actually saw it as an opportunity to learn how to be a good manager. I wanted to learn from my mistakes and become better. So I did. Thanks to a lot of guidance from my District Team Leader (whom I call my Jedi Master), I was recently transferred to a new location as acting sales manager! I’m pretty excited about my new role within my company. My staff is amazing and I’m so proud to have them as my team. Don’t worry though, I held onto that old nametag because I was pretty sure I’d use it again.

Meanwhile, my personal life is going pretty okay. I have the best friends who are with me through of the best and worst times. 2018 brings visits with them, including my friend’s wedding to her soul mate. Her joy makes me smile. I’ve been adopted into the best gym community. There’s no one else I’d rather hate my life during a WOD with. My kids are amazing and they’re super pumped for our trip to see Taylor Swift this summer. Breaking Benjamin has a new album coming out this year and my friend/favourite former co-worker are going to see them live in February, so that’s pretty awesome too. 2018 is gonna be rad yo.

My love life will always be ridiculous. I’ve been casually dating a guy we’ll call the teacher for about a month. He’s nice, attractive, we have a ton of things in common, and I should be head over heels…except I’m not.

I wanted to like him, but instead, Meh. The first red flag was that he goes dutch on every date, which is fucking rude. Before you get all “But MHC, you’re a feminist, what about equality?! I can’t believe that this bothers you! Think of equality!” Well, Captain jerkface, let me tell you something; except on very rare occasions; my platonic friends and I don’t even go Dutch on nights out. The person who invites pays. Why? Because it’s called having manners, asshole. Tonight I went out with my friend Carissa & I paid because I invited her. The guy asked me out every time. But every time, we split the bill. This to me screams lack of effort. If you can’t treat your guest, and make them pay for half the plate of nachos and a mojito, what effort will you put into a relationship? Not to mention it sends a mixed signal. Are we on a date? Are we dudebros? Life is too short for games in the early stages of dating. But more importantly, everything has a negative twist. EVERYTHING. Working late, not having plans on Friday, the Far Side. Everything had this dark attached to it. I look at the bright side of everything so the sigh and pessimistic side to everything was kind of meh. But we kept talking. I kept agreeing to go out again. I kept the conversation going. It was constantly me putting in the work & it bugged me. Unless he’s having a bad day, I don’t hear from him. Why do I bother? I guess I thought that you can’t ask for everything to be what you want. So what if he’s cheap, and kind of emo, and says things like “it’s too people-y out?” He’s interested and nice I guess?

Sure, I didn’t get butterflies, or kind of excited when he texted me. Just meh. But I’ll grow into romantic attraction, right? When was the last time the butterflies led me in the right direction anyway (if you need a friendly reminder of my horrible dating choices, click HERE)? Obviously it’ll be the right choice, I’ll just keep telling myself that.

Then I ran into the hot guy from my gym while I was out and about one day. I tried to talk to him once before. I tripped over my own barbell and contemplated dying there. Everything else can be summed up by my lord and saviour Jesus Swift by clicking here.

But we had a nice chat and said we’d see each other in class. Told my best friend; she may be planning the wedding because she was so excited that I’m so attracted to a human being. I’ve literally spent a year telling her about why the hot guy from my gym is so hot. This random interaction gave me an epiphany (& no, it’s not what one of my fellow managers thinks and that Jesus was showing me that I should make a move. Hot guys at the gym always have girlfriends, because they’re hot. And cool. And I’m a potato that sucks at burpees). I realized that I was wasting my time with the teacher.

I keep settling because I feel like I should date, or want to date someone, even though I don’t really care. Then I hate them after like a month because I realize they’re assholes. I choose guys (to shut people up) that I think are more “my league.” You know, losers, not “quality mans”. I always think maybe if I was in better shape, or wasn’t awkward and weird, I could land a great guy who would make me happy like in the movies. But I am, so I should choose guys more my level. You know, the guy who doesn’t pay for dinner and turns everything into an emo sigh.

Between well meaning friends and family who want me to meet someone, and my own feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my life, I keep settling for guys so I can be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. It’s not some item I want to check off of a bucket list, like the triathlon I want to participate in, or going to Vegas, or finally trying a donair. It should be because I genuinely want to spend time with someone. I’m tired of selling myself short in relationships. So, I likely won’t see the teacher again. I keep replying to be nice, but I can’t see accepting another date. Maybe we can be friends, or acquaintances? But a relationship is definitely out of the question. So is hot guy from the gym, because that would require actually talking to him, and I literally cannot do that.

For me, 2018 is about elevation. Elevating my team, empowering other women, including my daughters, building people up and watching them thrive. It’s obvious that I need to start with myself! Get to the gym more and have some work life balance. Attend the events we hold at the gym! Spend time with my friends, and make loving myself a priority. The more I love myself, the more I will see men like hot guy at the gym as “my league.” After all, I’m pretty dope. Four out of five Wireless sales managers would agree that I’m kind of cool. And I’m pretty when I make an effort. I’ll keep losing weight and build up my confidence and kick some ass at life & stop lowering my standards just to say I have a date. I deserve better, and I’ll need to remember that.

Maybe I need to look in the mirror and see a “quality womans,” and then I’ll stop wearing my “I attract losers” sign when I go out. Or learn how to talk to guys without looking like an idiot. Or both. Whatever.

New Year’s Day

Man, 2017 was wild.

As we say goodbye to another year, I like to post a little year in review, highlighting all the cool stuff that happened (excluding photos of my children). I always think of this as the conclusion of a chapter in the story of my life. This year, it was all about how I’d take the lessons I’ve learned out here and use them to become a better MHC. I went on grand adventures. I spent time with rad people. I accomplished a bunch of goals & kept building on the foundation of myself. I’m looking forward to this next chapter. New articles, new friends, and adventures with the people who have long been my tribe.

Thanks for continuing to read about my wacky life. I appreciate every one of you. Don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat to see more of my weird adventures! They’re not super entertaining, but why not?

Anyway, I hope this year was good to you & 2018 is everything you’ve ever wanted.

The time I taught my best friend how to Snapchat



Lumineers!


All hail crossfit Jesus

Ed Sheeran ❤️

When your article is a cover story. So honoured. So proud.

Cover story number two!

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I try to refrain from talking about my daughters on my blog because I have this thing about parents who blast their kids lives on display. It feels so ooky. Like, photos on social media is one thing; but bloggers posting stories about their kids or videos of coached kids doing “spontaneous funny things” and tagging Ellen feels so gross to me. I choose to be a blogger and share my life publicly; the kids have no say. So, I never post photos and keep stories about them to a minimum.

But, they will be mentioned a bit today, although I’ll keep the deets high level.

Yesterday, I was stressed out. I had worked from open to close on Black Friday & was on hour six of what was supposed to be another 10 hour day. I was tired, terrified that we wouldn’t beat last year’s numbers, and generally cranky. I was kind of stressed because the guy I’ve been getting to know seems almost too nice, too perfect. Too many “I love that too,” and too many compliments, and it makes me feel like it could be too good to be true and after a few weeks I’ll find out he’s a serial killer. I was stressed because I hadn’t been to the gym in a week, and I had planned to try a barre class, but I couldn’t find the time. I was stressed out about finances, because it’s Xmas and I’m a sole support parent. I was stressed because I’m trying to get the girls their gifts, as well as hopefully surprise them with tickets to Taylor Swift and a fun trip to Toronto to go to the zoo and my 10 year old will perhaps finally get her dream of seeing kangaroos that hop and aren’t depressed like the ones in Detroit.

I was stressed and pushing myself too hard, and then I got a phone call that my two oldest daughters had been hit by a car during a hit and run. I ran out of my mall, panicked and thinking the worst, with my only thought being how I could get home faster to get to them. The good news is that everyone is fine, injuries are minor and they’re only shaken up. I insisted that they all sleep in my room last night because I didn’t want them out of my sight. Today was spent with doctors and taking steps to have the case investigated, but also to eat pizza and go to Toys R Us, play Super Mario Run and listen to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Swift.

The most important thing you can do when things are shitty is make your day as normal as possible, to remind ourselves that nothing is ever as scary as it seems. I don’t want my girls to live in fear of the world around them. I want them to focus on good things, like the neighbour who went out to help them, or my coworkers, who all called to make sure they were okay. Focus on the fact that Aunt Kiki called and checked in every few hours, not that dad dismissed it as no big deal and didn’t call to check in on them, just a quick call at 8pm to fume about my upgrading a phone, never asking if they were okay. Focus on what’s good; the rest sorts itself out.

In the end, the store hitting budget, the guy being too nice, or my bank balance didn’t matter. What did matter was that I could have lost 2/3 of my whole world because some dude in a Honda Civic was speeding in a school zone. What matters is that they’re okay and safe. They get to grow up into women and make me proud every day. What matters is that somewhere there’s a parent who isn’t as fortunate as we were and their story doesn’t have the ending mine does. They would kill for a chance to call out of work to take their teenager to the doctor to check for concussion symptoms, or rearrange their shifts to walk the kids to school because they’re scared to cross at that crosswalk. I’m fortunate af that I get to do those things. Sometimes being a sole support mom means you have to work so much to give them a good life that you miss stuff, like parent teacher night. But what matters is that you put them first, whether it’s working that 16 hour day, or rushing out into the night to protect them. That’s being a parent; not a handful of phone calls or a visit every now and again. Being a parent means supporting your kids emotionally, financially, protecting them and being there for them 24/7. That’s what matters. If you’re not doing those things; you’re not a parent.

I hope no parent ever has to have that kind of shock to the system. Let’s not lose focus on why we work so hard, or do so much. We’re doing it for them. We can’t take even a second for granted because an asshole in a Honda Civic could take it all away. I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m stressed about sales numbers, or my bank balance, or because someone did some stupid shit to piss me off. I’ll remind myself that what really matters is making time to hang with the kiddos, play Super Mario, and be grateful that I have the chance to do so.

So It Goes…

I’m a very lucky human being, because I’ve had a core group of friends to see me through most of my life.

There’s something so comforting about the fact that my best guy friend at thirty something is the same one I had when I was 17. That my roommate at 21 is still my friend today. That my best friend at eight years old is still someone I connect with on social media while we navigate the world of single parenting three girls. It always makes me feel like I can’t be that bad of a person, because the people who knew me then still like me now. It’s nice to know that the people who saw you when you loved Barbie, or listened to KoRn, or went with you to get eleven different piercings have evolved with you and you still love each other.

Also, look how cute we were at prom.

I will also be the first to admit that I once relied too heavily on people to look out for me. My wonderful friends did that, mostly because my track record with life choices is pretty terrible. They still do, and I love them for it. Last week was a shit show (which I mentioned here), and every one of my friends (save for one), suggested that I move home. Sometimes I even think about it. But the teen has her heart set on attending a university here, and my job as a mom is to help her get to where she wants to go in life. But, after a long chat with the best of all the guy friends, I realized why I need to stay with the Cow People in the Cow province.

He casually brought up someone that I used to know, who I haven’t thought of in months. I called him “the Dude.” Mostly because for a good two minutes, I couldn’t remember his name. I once believed that the dude was my happily ever after; now I had to pause to remember his name. I’ve realized that I have no idea who my soulmate is, because I have no idea what I want in a mate. I know what I don’t want; but I’ve spent so long listening to what people think I should want that I have no idea what I want. But I know I need to stop getting caught up in a type and just let what’s meant to happen strike like lightning. Maybe instead of a Seth Rollins, I belong with a Dean Ambrose (gross). Maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.

However, I do know that my adventures to the land of cows have helped me realize that life evolves when you do; the thing you wanted a million years ago, might not be anything you would recognize now. I don’t want to be the person pretending on FB, posting the happy family pics to pretend I’m happy when in reality, I’m not because I’m walking on eggshells. You know what I mean, one half of the couple has everything about how in love they are and happy photos and the other, not so much, and you KNOW neither one is happy. I don’t want the complacency of my life in London; where I was content at my job and didn’t really push to get my written work published because meh. I don’t want to be the person who settled: for the house on Felix, for the call centre job because it paid the bills, for the husband that made me cry because no decent human would want me. I don’t want to be the woman that relies on her friends to prop her up; I want to be a person that can stand on her own while holding up others.

In the Cow Province, I don’t settle. I grow. I wanted to achieve my goals and I am. I am growing as a journalist; my Great West Newspapers editor is really helping me evolve as a writer. I want to move up at work; not just because a promotion means more money, but because I want to be challenged. I want to develop into a better leader and coach. I want to push myself to be better, so the friend who knew me at eight, or dated me at 17, or lived with me at 21, can be proud of me. More importantly, so I can be proud of me.

I needed to go on my grand adventure so I could learn how to push myself harder. I needed to learn that my weirdo personality is not for everyone; but I need to own it. I needed to learn how to stop being some simpering victim and own my shit. But most of all, I needed to learn that every single thing that pops up on FB memories about my life from this time a few years ago isn’t the life I really wanted at all, and I don’t miss any part of it, except the house I lived in while in London, and that my friends lived in same area code.

As much as I sometimes want to go home and settle back into Ontario life, I realize that for me to become the type of person I want to be, I need to follow the path I’m making, not the one anyone built for me. Maybe this grand adventure was a lesson in throwing my very sure and certain guidebook for life out the window and actually work to become a better person. Maybe I needed to change for the better, and the things that stayed (Crossfit, journalism, an unhealthy obsession with pancakes) were meant to stay, along with my best friend in the eighth grade, the friend I met working at Target, or the hippie that dragged me to college with her, and always reminded me that just because it’s not the path everyone would have taken, doesn’t mean it’s not the one I’m meant to follow.

For Now

In the never ending story that is my life, we’ll call this chapter “the time everything absolutely fucking sucked.”

I’ll keep the major details to myself, as there are a great many things that I still choose not to share with the internet, but trust me when I say this week absolutely fucking sucks. Because it sucks, I’m seriously contemplating functional alcoholism (despite the fact that I rarely drink), or maybe full Brie Mode (for those of you that don’t watch Total Divas, click here for the definition of Brie Mode).

Despite the fact that I have the most amazing friends back home, sometimes I feel like I can’t talk to anyone, because they all tell me “you’re so strong, you’re Superwoman.” I want to be a superhero, and that bad ass woman they all tell me that I am, but am I? I don’t feel very super. I feel more like “pitifully average human who is drowning under the pressure to be a good mom and a good writer and a good employee and a good Crossfitter and pay bills while still looking pretty and maintaining a social life, despite having one friend that isn’t a coworker.” Being a one woman operation is tough kids.

We live in a FB filtered world; no one wants to admit that their life isn’t perfect and maybe they aren’t the superhero that their inner circle thinks that they are. No one wants to admit that they sometimes think they’re a shitty parent or looks at their bank statement, which is currently negative $36 and wonders how Xmas will be wonderful when cheerleading fees need to be paid and the gas bill is due and one kid needs new glasses and another has a field trip & it all costs money. No one wants to admit that sometimes they just want a night off from trying to be the best and just go out with friends, but since you don’t really have any, it’s hard to go places (sometimes I feel like I’m in the ninth grade again, where I wonder if people actually like me, or if they just want me to help them with the grownup equivalent of helping them with their English homework). No one ever admits that they feel like their very personality is somehow deficient, and you are somehow too weird or annoying for people to actually like, so you feel like you can’t really be yourself around anyone. These are things we just don’t do. Instead, everything is perfect. Everything is fine. Life is awesome.

In my life, everyone is counting on me to be so damned inspirational. Spoiler alert: I’m not inspiring; Beyoncé is inspiring. I’m just me. I’m a mostly unimportant writer and kind of okay assistant cell phone manager who talks too much.

Sometimes I wonder why it’s not socially acceptable to admit you’re not killing it at life right now. That maybe you’re lonely, or stressed out, or you just don’t really feel very good about yourself. Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to say “I hate literally everything. You ever felt like that?” And someone relate to that? Maybe then we wouldn’t feel like it’s somehow not okay to have moments of self doubt, or sad, or stressed. Instead, we push ourselves to be the superhero we’ve made ourselves out to be and you don’t want to let anyone down. I think it’s harder for women, because we’re taught at an early age that we’re in competition with each other to be the prettiest and the smartest, meeting all of the Game of Life checkpoints while also never getting angry, or feeling less than confident, and God forbid you aren’t a size six! So, we all kind of compete for the best highlight reel and you can’t really live up to the hype.

Sorry guys, I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m just little old me; a plain, boring human who struggles with self esteem and time management, and sometimes is overwhelmed by the enormity of her responsibilities. I’m actually not sorry. If I’m going to be some inspirational ray of fucking sunshine, I need to be an authentic human being. Authentic human beings sometimes hate everything and feel like they suck at everything and look to someone they think has their shit together and goes “man, I wish I had my shit together and was half as awesome as they are.” I look at another manager in my company and wish I was half as cool as she was! She doesn’t care what people think; she just does her thing. She doesn’t second guess every word or thought, hoping she didn’t do something wrong by being herself. She just slays. Who knows? Maybe she gets days where she feels like I do too and looks to someone else to inspire them. Maybe it’s Beyoncé. Who knows?

So, if you ever feel like that, let me be the first to tell you it’s totally okay. Humans are not meant to live by the standards of social media. Humans are messy, complicated beings who sometimes aren’t happy. So, embrace those moments where you feel like the world is crushing you. Allow yourself to feel it, so you can get back up again. It’s okay to feel down; it’s just not okay to stay there, not even for me. In order to be on top, sometimes you’ve got to slide back down a bit. Since I’m feeling down, there is nowhere else to go but up! So, I’ll focus all of my energy on accomplishing all of the things that I’ve set my mind to…

…if not, there’s always functional alcoholism, right?! Brieeeeee Mooooodeeee!