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.

…Ready For It?

Welp, another spin around the sun for me, as yesterday I celebrated another birthday!

Still not mature

I celebrated my thirty something-th birthday with the coolest bunch of coworkers ever, cheesecake made by my littles, and this weekend, I’ll be a true Albertan, heading to an Oilers game, and some friends & I will be hosting a girls night get together the next night! Yup, being alive is pretty rad.

However, I’ve been using this time in my life to make some change. My place, which was a great “starter” place here in YEG, isn’t right for my family anymore. With the teen attending school in a different part of the city, we need to look at living closer to her school. So, I put myself on a waiting list to move to a condo closer to her high school. Come spring, we’ll be living in a newer, nicer place. While I’ll miss my lakes for running, I’m sure I can find running in a residential area just as fulfilling (narrator: she will not), but the needs of the family need to come first. I’m also finishing up driver’s education, so come spring, I will be buying my VERY FIRST CAR. That’s right bitches, I will be buying an automobile. I’ve got some great suggestions (thanks to every one on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for their vehicle suggestions! The best part of being a slightly well known blogger is the awesome product suggestions from readers). I’ll be test driving all of your suggestions, as well as my first choice, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 (big thanks to my good friend Paul at TD Insurance, for letting me know which cars body shop techs and rental agencies recommend. When it comes time to insure my new baby, I’ll be talking to you for sure!) & should have narrowed it down by spring! This is kind of a big deal. I’ve always been afraid to drive full time and buy a car. But I’m really excited to be a car owner. It’ll make getting to the gym easier, and easier for the girls and I to go places without having to wait for a bus. I don’t plan on wasting gas; I’ll still walk short distances when need be. But it’s another major step for the famjam.

It’s really important to me to continue to check off boxes and grow and evolve. As I continue to be happier in my life, it’s only better for the girls, right? I need to teach them the importance of self growth, self love, never settling, and hard work. So, over the next few months, I’m going to do just that; grow, evolve, love myself a little more every day.

So, thanks everyone for your birthday well wishes. I super appreciate them all. I’m pretty much the luckiest person ever to have so many cool people in my life. This year is going to be even better than last year and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my girls, my crew, and even you, random person taking the time to read my blog.

Raised On It

So, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been reading about the Ashley Madison hack and I find it completely hilarious.

I’m not one to revel in the misfortunes of others, but watching guys like Josh Duggar, who for years have tried to make LGBT families, divorcees and anyone who doesn’t fit into their traditional mold of marriage feel like they are somehow deficient try to squirm their way out of this makes me giggle. Watching them try to blame Satan for their hypocrisy warms the cockles of my tiny black heart.

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However, the fall of the Ashley Madison website brings me a personal joy for a more personal reason. During my year as a newlywed, my former husband & I had a million and one problems, most of which stemmed from the fact that we were far too young and not ready to be married. But he worked midnights and my roommate and good friend had discovered that this website was real. So, we looked it up and were horrified at the number of people we knew that were on this site trolling for affairs, one of which was my ex husband. In the infancy of our marriage, maybe even before we had said our I do’s, had been looking for an affair. I chose to stay with him for the next seven years, and I’m glad I did as we later had two beautiful children, but the shock and betrayal stayed with me, as our marriage was marred by a lack of trust, which was pretty valid as he cheated on me pretty much all the time. After our first year of marriage, I discovered that the weekend he sent me to visit friends in our hometown was so he could meet a friend in a hotel for a tryst. About two years ago, he admitted to me (while heavily drunk) that he had slept with the stripper next door. I received an email from his former friend’s wife confirming they had been sleeping together while I was pregnant and on bedrest with our second child. And he was once banned from working as a photographer at two separate bars in our old hometown for sexually harrassing the staff. These all stuck with me for years, negatively impacting my future relationship. I would remember the female friends who weren’t platonic friends, the comments about how if he didn’t think I’d get mad, he would be trying to get with our female friends, or the time he propositioned my best friend to have a three way with him and our friend Sarah. It bothered me so much that I didn’t know how to trust a man who said he loved me and it took three years of therapy to feel okay and accept that not every man on Earth was out to hurt me or cheat on me.

I sent an email to the creator of Ashley Madison and blasted them for providing this service. I asked them how could they sleep at night knowing that they were making it easier to break the hearts of so many trusting souls. The reply I got was that maybe I should have been a better wife and lover, and my husband wouldn’t have wanted to stray, a sentiment he would tell me when I would put him on blast for his flirting, or whatever I caught him doing (that he would always say was misunderstood, or he was misunderstood, because he was the victim and why wouldn’t I just do *insert sex act here* and he wouldn’t have to want to cheat?).

This is why I laugh when I see the cheaters on Ashley Madison squirming and crying about their privacy.

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I feel for the victims, and by victims, I mean the actual victims. The spouses who used the tool on Wired and got the unfortunate surprise of “Guess who’s email address was compromised?!” or the stammering conversations where they explain their behaviour. I don’t feel the tiniest bit badly for the “victims” who’s privacy was breached. Oh, I know the dark side, this could happen to anyone and boo hoo and credit cards aren’t secure and the like. But a bunch of horrible people are going to be exposed for betraying their spouses and I’m glad. I hope they feel violated and like their integrity is compromised and awful. You know, the way their spouses have felt for months when they have suspected for months that their partner was cheating, or when they found out the truth.

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I have had a few friends who have said to me that since I was a staunch defender of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence when they had their private photos leaked online last year, I should take the same stance on this. I disagree. There is a big difference between private photos that were meant to be viewed by one person privately (such as Jennifer Lawrence’s photos for then partner Nicholas Hoult) and cheating on your mate. While yes, cheating isn’t illegal and having your credit card information compromised totally sucks, you were betraying your partner, and in the case of a guy like Josh Duggar, you were doing it while condemning other people for not living life according to a belief system that you yourself weren’t following. So, I don’t feel totally badly for these “victims,” just the people they have been victimizing, for having to learn that the person that they are with actually sucks in such a public way. Even if you didn’t pick anyone up on Ashley Madison, you had an account, the intent was there and you sir or madam are a raging douchebag. Your partner deserved a million times better and you should feel violated, because you are walking a mile in their shoes and I hope you wear them well.

  
Maybe I’m biased, because I know how it feels to find out that your spouse has an account with a website designed to help him cheat on you and I know how people like Anna Duggar feel. I hope Anna Duggar takes her kids and leaves him and finds happiness with a man who recognizes how beautiful and special she really is, but I doubt her religion will allow it. Ironically enough, her church will likely badger her with the same answer that Ashley Madison gave me and she will stay with her unfaithful husband. If she does, let’s not shame her or call her stupid. We are not walking in her shoes. We don’t know what her “church” has done to devalue her. But for all of those who are scrambling to “save” their marriage and blaming the Ashley Madison hack, I don’t feel one bit sorry for you, because you already destroyed your marriage when you strayed (or attempted to stray) from your partner; it’s just now everybody knows you were doing it.

  
And to those encouraging people not to check the list for their partner; I disagree (although I haven’t for reasons that make sense to me). Chances are, you won’t be shocked by the answer. My Texan bestie looked up her own email & hubby, even though she knew the answer just for the lolz. But most people who are checking are either;

a) bored like me or

b) confirming an answer they already knew subconsciously, an answer they have every right to know. 

Bright

Have you ever been happy, but not that happy? 

I’m not unhappy, or sad or anything, & I’m still generally happy with my life. But, I have been in this weird funk for the last few days. Almost mopey even. Even listening to the Overlord’s favourite song on repeat hasn’t helped. 

I wonder if it’s because I’ve been doing nothing but work & prepare my house except for two days this past month. Maybe it’s because my District Manager has expectations for me I don’t think I can live up to & the more I’m prepped to take over my store as manager, the more unsure I am that this is the right position for me. I’m excited about my latest article, an entertainment piece on an up and coming Canadian artist, but even my ever growing cow province portfolio isn’t making me upbeat. Can fatigue do this? After all, I haven’t been sleeping well. My youngest isn’t sleeping well because she doesn’t like when I go to work, she wants to be with me every second. So, after she falls asleep, I wrack my brain with trying to help her adjust, as well as what more I can do for them, for work, my life, etc. So, perhaps the lack of sleep caught up to me?

Maybe. There’s also that I’m homesick af. 

When you’re a person who thrives on social interaction, taking yourself far away from everyone you know maybe isn’t the best idea. I get so lonely, because I’m used to having friends around. I never really appreciated my break time chats with my friend/former coworker, or when my friend Bonnie would randomly invite me to lunch. I stayed away from home (Windsor) for so long to avoid someone I didn’t actually want to avoid, but was afraid of being let down if I went home & I didn’t see them, that I find myself missing it. It’s not a person or a thing I miss. I miss the feeling that I am “home.” 

 

The Detroit Skyline reminds me of home
 
It’s just stupid things, like wanting chicken wings & fries & a pint without having to check Yelp, because I know Hurricane’s & the Loose Goose have them & they’re yummy. It’s the idea that if I wanted to go out for said chicken wings, I could call Sarah & Nic, or Rena & we would just go (Damanda would just eat fries). Now…I know two people & we rarely have days off at the same time. It’s this weird feeling of “I don’t actually belong here & I’m kind of a floating island that no one knows & I want this place to feel like home.” I know it will, once I find familiar haunts (besides a lake) & meet people & maybe make friends with someone. But how does one make friends when they only have two coworkers & go to the gym? I’m so glad the girls have school, because adults trying to make friends sucks. 

 

my lake is really pretty though
 
Of course, I’m not completely alone. I have the girls. I have the two people I know. I have the person who I care more for than anyone else in the world. But I’m afraid that I’m heading towards a turn of events that feels like I’ve been there before (because I have…twice) & I know how they end. Spoiler alert: it never ends well for me. And no matter how many times I tell myself it’s not rational, it’s not going to happen this time because that’s what my gut instincts tell me, the far more emotional part of me, that sounds a lot like my best friend’s husband says “you’re dumb. You keep blindly whistling along, super happy & the ground is gonna fall out because you know what’s gonna happen next.” And no matter how much I focus on present tense, that nagging fear clings to me & I don’t like it. It just adds to my feeling of being an outsider. Because, as I’ve been reminded, if history repeats itself, I am completely on my own. I’ll have no support system to help me through, because they’re all waiting to say “I told you so.”

I was totally prepared for being far away until I actually was. Now I just feel like a spectator in the world I knew, spending way too much time on FB trying to feel connected, while simultaneously trying to feel like my new world is home. It’s weird; because I know if I was in my London house or home in Windsor, I’d probably just be doing the same thing; chilling with the littles, going to crossfit, blogging about my life. I guess it’s just a matter of building a life as we go. 

Fortunately, there are days off that I spend with the littles that things feel like they could be home (like when I finally got to see penguins or out audience with Taylor Swift) & I get excited because this could be home someday. It’s just not yet, & that’s a weird feeling. 

  

Day 14: A Year of Change

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The challenge was to post a photo from last year & discuss how I have changed. Normally, I’d say I’m the same girl I’ve always been, but that’s not true.

Last year, I felt life was hopeless. My daughter was mad at the world & I felt like a failure as a mom. My education wasn’t going well. My friendships were strained. My magazine folded & life without journalism felt bleak. I was healing from a breakup. I was freaking miserable.

But, I kept going. Sometimes, when life feels hopeless, all you’ve got are the little victories. I went to school today. I got my kid in therapy. I handed in my assignments. I went to placement & did well. Soon, those little victories become big ones. I finished school. I found a job. I did well at my job. I helped my child cope with anger & she’s doing well & doesn’t need counselling anymore. I became stronger & more self aware. All of these things helped me be happier.

Then there are the physical changes. I’m 15 lbs lighter. My arms are thinner. I wear a smaller size, and of course, the most obvious; my hair. My once jet black hair is now a warmer brown. The change brightened my face, made my eyes stand out & dare I say I feel like I’m prettier.

The year was hard but I’m grateful because once again I learned what I can accomplish if I try, which is a lot. So, I’m stronger, wiser & more at peace. These lessons I will take to my shiny new home, that I will move in to in 75 days.

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This is What it Feels Like

I come up with some of the stupidest ideas EVER. The latest? I was so inspired by my latest life changes that I decided to ditch my signature black locks for a light brown, more natural look. It’ll take a long time, but it’ll be awesome when it’s done.

But right now, it’s weird & kind of…orange. The orange awkward phase got me thinking, so here are Life lessons from bleaching my own hair:

Change is painful. It damages you, sucks you dry & makes you wish you could go back to the beginning. There’s awkward phases where you want to hide & you bit by bit pull every ounce of darkness. Then, after the process, you’re left with something you’ve always wanted; brighter, warmer & beautiful. So don’t fret if you’re in the awkward parts or the painful parts of life. It’ll get easier & you’ll like who you are when it’s done.

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