Sinners

I’ve kept this blog for seven years. Why? I dunno. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I have a sort of map of where I’ve grown. My biggest fear in life is that I’ll stop evolving. So, I feel like blogging is my reference point, like “hey, I don’t do that stupid thing anymore! Go me!” But sometimes I like to talk about stuff to kind of remind others that they’re not alone in the world. Maybe they feel like I do sometimes. Or, I just like to hear myself talk. Maybe both.

Lately, my life has been constant stress. Work stress. Money stress. Life stress. I actually just want to go on vacation because I genuinely feel like my life would exponentially improve if I wasn’t part of it for two weeks.

This isn’t actually true. This is the anxiety. Anxiety is the elephant in the room of my life. I know it’s there, everyone around me knows it’s there, but I like to pretend if I ignore it, no one else will see it.

I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder five years ago. I can’t take medication, as anti depressants cause very dangerous side effects. But, I manage it through fitness and therapy. Fitness is a big part of how I cope, so when I can’t work out, I’m especially anxious. I used to have my core group of friends to help keep me grounded. Out here, I have maybe three friends, mostly because of my fear of getting close to people. It’s been so long, but that dark period of loneliness from when I knew no one except for someone who wouldn’t speak to me as a way to control me like a dog always sticks out. If I’m not close to anyone, they can’t hurt me. Or, I’m overly nice to everyone in the hopes that I’m a valuable person because anxiety tells me I’m not. Anxiety likes to tell me that I’m annoying and I talk too much & no one likes me, so I need to prove I have value. Anxiety tells me I’m too weird and everyone laughs at me, not with me.

Anxiety is the reason I both attempt to socialize at the gym while also trying to keep to myself. Anxiety is there to remind me that I stick out like a sore thumb. Slow. Fat. Too old. Too awkward. It doesn’t matter that I’m putting in the work and when I’m done, I’ve been able to shut anxiety up for a few hours, anxiety wants to remind me that I can’t do the bar muscle ups and double unders. I love fitness because that’s the time when I do feel most confident. Sure I’m sweaty and tired and I kind of wanna die; but that feeling of accomplishment when I’ve run a little further, lifted heavier, or finished a little faster is so gratifying. Anxiety is what keeps me at home on days when everything feels like too much. The desire to conquer it is what drives me to sign up for a 10k run.

Also, my team is dope. I work out with good peeps.

Anxiety is why all of my relationships stop before they start. I beat myself up about my “flaws” and end things before they get too serious. I talk too much. I eat too much. I’m too loud. I wear too much makeup. I’m ugly underneath the makeup. I’m a single mom. I work too much. I put my writing first. I’m a nerd that watches wrestling and plays Pokémon Go. I am not a catch. No one tells me these things, other than that nagging voice that reminds me I’m not good enough.

The big thing about anxiety, or any other thing that affects your self esteem, is that the only person who can shut up that voice is you. Only I can stop anxiety from ruining my life. It’s why I push myself to go running on days I don’t want to. It’s why I do yoga & meditate instead of getting drunk in the bathtub on days when I feel sad. It’s why I go to therapy, because we could all use lessons in self care. Sometimes we all need an outside, unbiased voice to help us find our way. But only I can love myself enough to feel good about myself. I have to teach my girls about self love. Not to mention, you can’t be happy with someone until you’re happy with yourself.

But, maybe most importantly, the only well to build a healthier life is to be a healthy person. That’s not just going to the gym or eating greens. That’s also keeping your mind healthy. It’s okay to admit there’s an elephant in the room that keeps you from being your best self. It’s okay to ask for help getting the elephant out of your head once and for all. It’s also okay if that elephant is in the room forever, as long as you aren’t listening to it when it talks shit.

If you are reading this, and you relate to this in any way; I hope you know that you are enough. You’re probably super bad ass. You deserve to be happy and you’re not the only person with anxiety trying to tell you that you’re not good enough. It’s okay to go to therapy. It’s okay to sometimes take space and put yourself first. It’s okay to admit you need help to navigate life. But most importantly, the right partner, the right friends, the people who will never see you as too much (or not enough) will find you once you love yourself enough to let them in.

Sky Full Of Song

A couple of years ago, I was starting a new job, which was kind of an old job. I was going back to a company I loved & I was gonna kill it. I was going to do a great job. I was going to be the best cell phone boss lady in the whole world. Except that I wasn’t, and I was actually demoted after four months. So, I cried in my bathtub with a bottle of wine, wallowed in self pity for an hour, then resolved to get better. I did, got promoted again a year later and now I’m running my store much better than I did before. Sometimes the best lessons come from failure. I wasn’t prepared for the job and I wasn’t very good. It’s a blow to the ego, but sometimes you’ve just gotta take the L and learn from it.

This was the lesson I had to remind myself of this week when every single thing went wrong in my life. I struggled with EVERYTHING, including my road test to upgrade my license. I was feeling discouraged and miserable, like I let everyone down. I injured my foot, so walking was a chore. My feelings of sadness and inadequacy were impacting my work, my life. Fortunately, my best friend Erica is the most bomb ass bitch alive and reminded me that we grow from failure. No one grows as a human from kicking ass all of the time. No, we grow when things suck.

Also, how hot is my best friend? Like, it’s not fair to the rest of us.

I think the universe recognizes that I need to constantly be growing, which is why it kicks me in the face sometimes. We all need that moment where life tells us that we ain’t shit. Otherwise we’d simply float through our lives as stagnant humans. I don’t want to be stagnant. So, I needed that smack with the reality stick to help me stay humble and refocus. That momentary setback will help me become better.

I know it sounds weird, welcoming setbacks? That’s so stupid! They suck! This is true. They do. Trust me, it was soul crushing! My ego was bruised, my self confidence was shattered. But if you wallow in that feeling of defeat, you don’t grow. I wasn’t going to get better sitting around moping. All of the best decisions I’ve made for my life came from being kicked in the proverbial dick. I went back to school after my divorce & met some of my best friends. I moved to London after I let depression get the best of me, and finally found my independence. I moved to YEG after Target closed & I decided to put my writing career first. I learned to drive when my personal life fell apart and I realized my failure to learn was holding me back. I became good at my job after I was told I was bad at my job. All of these setbacks this week are just stepping stones to get better, whether it’s driving, managing, reporting, or fitness. By embracing failure, I can become more successful.

You’re probably thinking “sure MHC, it’s easy for you to say that failure can be positive, but I’m depressed & failure is all that’s happened to me. What then?” Well, I’m not a therapist or professional, but my hippie friend once told me that a mistake will repeat itself until you learn what the universe wants you to learn. Maybe your life is a series of fuck ups because you didn’t learn what you needed to do to evolve, so you have to take the test again. I wouldn’t assume I’m right, but I do know that, in my life, setbacks have gotten me to brilliant destinations. So, I choose to be the eternal optimist and see the good in the worst sorts of things (including Mr. Emotionally Unavailable…call me 😉).

So, I’ll keep on plugging away and keep on trying to get better at every part of my life. Sometimes it’ll all work out. Sometimes it won’t. But the important thing is that I’ll learn how to become a better person along the way. Sometimes things just have to knock you down, not just to test your strength to get back up. Sometimes you need it to remind yourself to be humble and grateful of the opportunities you’ve been given, so that you’re ready to take on more.

No Tears Left To Cry

So, for those of you that have been readers for awhile, you know the backstory; I went from an emotionally abusive marriage to a super controlling string of relationships where I would walk on eggshells so they wouldn’t leave me. I’d trip over myself trying to obey and after years of therapy, fitness, and focusing on discovering who I am, I am doing things on my own, my way. Life is pretty good when you know who you are and what you want out of life. Once you like yourself, you can open yourself up for someone else to love you & you can love them in return. I’ve talked about this many times…

…this is not one of those times.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, there are two things that I’m absolutely terrified of; the dentist…and geese. Geese are evil Canadian fuckers that need to all fuck off. They ruin my running routes, they ruin my afternoon walks. They are all probably actively plotting to kill me. Geese are the absolute worst.

The only thing I hate as much as geese is the dentist. I’m terrified that they’ll pull all of my teeth out. I have no idea why. Maybe the early nineties ruined dentists for me when Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS was threatening to pull out Bret Hart’s teeth for some reason. Maybe I had a vivid nightmare as a child of my teeth falling out. Maybe that excerpt from the Vampire Diaries where Elena’s teeth fell out scarred my fragile tween psyche. Maybe it’s because my best friend was married to a dentist and he’s an ass. Either way, screw the dentist.

Last week, I had a filling fall out. It’s been there for years, nothing hurts, and I had knocked it loose some months ago when I slipped at work and smacked my face against a desk. But I feel really self conscious about it, so I made an appointment with my dentist to have it looked at and replaced. Turns out I need a root canal! What fun! Obviously, I overcame my irrational fear of the helpful dentist and I’ll be perfectly fine.

Nope.

While I enjoy my life on my own, I’m also not an invincible super hero. I get super scared sometimes, especially of stuff that involves my mouth being numbed and someone drilling into my face. It’d be nice to have someone pick me up and bring me home and maybe make me a cup of tea after my mouth is no longer numb. It’d be nice to have the option to take time off from work (my company would give it to me no problem because they rule) but I know I can’t afford to take an extra day off. In times like this, I wish I had someone around to help, or convince me that the dentist isn’t an evil monster who’s going to ruin my face.

I suppose the upside of dealing with unpleasant things on your own is that you master handling unpleasant things so you’re not relying on others to do it for you. That way, even when you do have a partner, you’re emotionally equipped to handle trying times. While it sucks right now, in the end, you’ll be better for it. So, you tough it out, even if it’s terrifying. So, I’m going to be a brave role model to my kids and get the scary root canal and everything will be fine. I’ll also be scared shitless and will need a hug and reassurance because while I can be brave, I am also a huge baby. It’s about balance.

Ashes

GUESS WHAT GUYS?! I BOUGHT A CAR!

That’s right! As of July 20/18, I will be the proud owner of a 2017 Hyundai Elantra. It took me six months, but I finally did the thing & I bought the car!

Meet Wanda Maximoff the car!

Yesterday I was super excited; I texted everyone I know except for my boss, mostly because I’m sure I drive him crazy enough, I don’t need to be like “HEY YOU HAVE IMPORTANT STUFF TO DO, LET ME INTERRUPT IT TO TALK ABOUT ME.” I felt like a responsible adult. I asked my friends Paul (who works at TD Insurance. He’s knowledgeable and super rad), and Damanda (who works in a law firm that specializes in traffic violations) for suggestions, test drove them, asked owners of those models of vehicles for reviews, drove the dealer nuts asking more questions (Also, HUGE shout out to Jade from Automaxx for setting me up. If you’re in the area and want a pleasant, knowledgeable, passionate person to help you find a car, go see her), and decided on a vehicle. I was so excited that I made this major purchase on my own & chose what was best for me & the girls. I started thinking about how much easier groceries will be, and traveling to the mall, or work. I won’t miss out on classes at the gym because I was late leaving work and didn’t catch that bus. Now that I own a car, more journalism jobs are open to me. Yup, I was feeling pretty good about myself.

But, after the initial excitement wore off, I did that thing I always do when I make a major life choice; panic.

What if my store stops doing well and I cannot afford to pay for my car? What if I can’t afford gas?! Sometimes I’ll zone out while listening to music; WHAT IF I ZONE OUT AND CRASH MY CAR?! WHAT IF I CRASH MY CAR WITH THE GIRLS?! What if I forget how to back out of my driveway and my car is stuck in it forever?! WHY WON’T PEOPLE ACCEPT THAT PINEAPPLE DOES GO ON PIZZA?!

(You all laugh, but I am very concerned about all of these things).

I guess I’m just scared. Shit just got real. I’m a car owner and a driver. How does one get over the fear of killing yourself and everyone you know with your shiny red death machine so you can enjoy driving? I want to enjoy my car. I’ve waited my entire life to buy one. But I’m also terrified that I’ll kill my self by crashing into a semi or something. Is this a normal concern when you become a full time driver? How do you get more confidence? Is it like, running, where the only way to get better is to just keep running?

I’m sure once I get driving, I’ll feel fine. I’ll probably really enjoy it. But right now, I just feel like I’ve made a major investment and, as you all know, that is both exciting AND terrifying, leaning more towards terrifying right now.

Perhaps by the time I can drive my car, I’ll feel differently. I’ll be super excited to drive it again. I just have to focus on the positive aspects of driving, and not just, everything is about to go horribly wrong.

The Night We Met

What could be better than your computer requiring a system restore the night before a deadline, so you have to wait to proofread it before submitting it?! What, being punched in the face?! Perhaps!

Actual footage of me vs. my computer tonight

Oh well, while I wait for the system restore, I’ll just sit here in my bathtub wearing a detoxifying mud mask because this skin isn’t gonna look healthy on its own. I’ll also take this time to ask a question that’s been the subject of an argument between myself and my friends (& my teenager, who is determined to marry me off to some handsome hunk so her little sisters have a father figure in their lives & she can convince imaginary new stepfather to buy her a puppy);

Is it possible to be too busy to date?

My friend is getting married this August, and I’ve been asked back home if I’m bringing a plus one. I haven’t been on a date since December so…no. Besides, who brings someone they’ve dated less than six months across the country to meet everyone & attend a wedding? That’s way too soon! I’m constantly asked when I’m going to finally meet someone, or start dating someone seriously, and I always ask myself “Excuse me, when am I going to have time for this?!” I mean, I work 50 hours a week at my store, then I’m writing articles for three publications. The only places I go to outside of work is the gym or Starbucks. No one meets their soulmate at the gym or at Starbucks, despite what romcoms tell you…do they? Personally, when I’m at the gym, I’m just focused on not getting injured. Seth Freaking Rollins could walk in and propose and I would likely be too focused on my kettlebell swings to notice.

I work six days, I hit the gym three days a week, go running three days a week, work on my articles in the middle of the night, and use my one day off as family day for the girls. Where exactly am I gonna fit “develop a functional interpersonal relationship?!”

I keep being told to “make time.” But I don’t want to unless I’m making time for someone of value. Otherwise, it’s straight up wasting my time. People say I’m not willing to give men a chance, but in reality, I’m not willing to give all my time and attention to some Tinder dude that hasn’t proven himself worthy of my time yet. I’m busy. I’m not gonna drop a gym class to go out for drinks. I’ll gladly make plans in advance with you, and if you’re not willing to make them, then chances are you don’t respect my time. Why should I lower my standards like that? If I asked to make plans, and the dude said he was busy, I would understand he has a life too. But women in general are expected to fall head over heels because a guy showered them with attention.

The other issue I take is “MH, you’re a single mom. You have baggage. You can’t be expecting to land a charismatic, successful, career focused man. You need to settle.” Bitch, no I don’t. Kids aren’t baggage. They are part of the package. Unless they have chosen to remain child free (a decision that should be respected BTW), we’re in our thirties. Lots of divorced single parents out there. Much like I had to learn to embrace that I might be a stepmom (something I was previously not open to, because of past experiences), most men in my age group understand its part of the deal. Why are single moms supposed to reduce ourselves to emotionally unavailable jerks because “the good ones won’t want a single mom.” Then how are they “good?” A good person embraces every part of you, and that includes kids. I always want to scream that I’m not too busy to date; I’m too busy to settle.

Every relationship I’ve ever been in was me settling for someone I thought would love me because I’m obviously so difficult to love. When my old blog post pop up on my Facebook memories, and I re-read about how grateful I was that cowardly, spineless, twats “loved” me because I was so impossible to love, I want to puke. Not just because it reads like a pathetic wimp, but because I allowed myself to think that I didn’t deserve to be happy with someone because I sucked as a person. Everyone deserves to be happy. That is a basic human right. And everyone deserves a relationship that helps them feel good about themselves. A relationship where you feel like you have to be grateful they’re with you because you suck isn’t one of those.

I don’t want to look at myself in a negative space anymore. So, I refuse to waste time on things or people that will only bring negativity to my life. Instead, I fill it up with things of value; my girls, my job, my career, Crossfit, a 10k run, my best friends. You know, stuff that really matters and will help me improve as a person, so I can be a better role model to the girls. Settling isn’t really doing that.

I guess when I say “I’m too busy to date,” I also mean, “I’m too busy to settle.” I’m also too busy, mostly because I only go to work, Starbucks, and the gym (which we have established are not ideal places to meet people), because I’m trying to do my best to live a life I’m proud of, while teaching my daughters to live life on their terms and be happy with themselves, so when they’re ready to love someone, they’ll be capable of a mature, healthy relationship without the trial by fire that we all had. Maybe if I meet someone who is also busy, and wants to compromise with me so that we fit into each other’s lives comfortably, things will change, but until then, I’ve gotta focus on the girls, that 10k run, my byline, and helping my store succeed.

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.