Maybe You’re Right

FINALLY, the last few weeks are ALMOST OVER!

Hooray!

It has been a long ass month of sales, training a new hire, packing, getting ready to move to my dream home, and pretty much never sleeping ever. I’m hosting a housewarming party at the end of this and we’ve unpacked (with many stuffed mushrooms), because I’m literally in awe of my home. All my life I’ve wanted a home that I could be proud of, that the girls could be proud of, and in London, we had one, but not much else. Here, I have a job I’m good at, a freelancing career, a car, and the house I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl and I’m so grateful that my girls & I get to call it home.

I’m working with a renewed sense of purpose, because I have the house of my dreams, I have to take care of Wanda Maximoff, and now I’ve got to save up for some trips to Ontario for the summer, as well as a trip for my birthday. I was planning a trip to Vegas, but with Britney taking a hiatus, why even go? Exactly! No point at all!

Since Vegas is out, I’ll go to the one place I’ve always dreamed of visiting; New Orleans. I’ve tried to go twice; once for my Honeymoon (we didn’t go anywhere because he lost his job right before the wedding…twice) and once with an ex boyfriend (we broke up). Perhaps the lesson is to stop trying to do kick ass stuff with shitty men. So, whether I go alone, or find a travel buddy, imma try to save up and go to NOLA! I’ll need to fritter all my extra pennies, and buckle down at the gym (I’m down 12lbs since December), because I want to do this vacation, but also feel good about myself while I’m there.

One part of feeling good about myself is trying to make dating an option and actually mean it this time. For years I’ve kept myself closed off because I’ve been afraid of getting hurt. Then I’ll go out on a few dates, decide the guy is probably just an asshole and leave before I get hurt, rinse repeat. But my BFF’s keep reminding me that when I take risks with my work and other aspects of my life, they pay off. I took my kick down the ladder at work and worked hard to prove myself to be a capable manager who CAN do a good job. I took risks with my house hunt and I now live in the most awesome house in the whole wide world. Why don’t I take risks with my love life, and I don’t mean Tinder.

I mean actually making moves to let men know I’m interested in them, or at least make eye contact.

For this, and other pearls of wisdom, follow me on SC @ashmhc!

I keep telling myself I’ll meet a guy organically, but I also don’t do anything to do that, like leave my house to go anywhere except work, the gym, and Starbucks. Then while at those places, I refuse to acknowledge anyone outside of a quick greeting and retreat into my insecurity and lose myself in my phone. I refuse to even approach the hot security guard my best friend swears is flirting with me because I say he’s definitely not flirting, he’s just being friendly. He’s hot with an accent and hilarious. I am…me. I can look at my life and think “Damn I’m so awesome,” until it comes to dating. Then I instantly think

  • Too old
  • Too Fat
  • too weird (definitely too weird)
  • Too much baggage
  • Too loud
  • Too basic (My personal and work cell phones have matching pink sparkly cases ffs!)

I always just look in the mirror and think;

What self respecting man wants a single mom of three in her thirties that talks too much, swears too much, is WAY too bubbly, watches wrestling and loves Crossfit, Taylor Swift, and thinks that nachos and mojitos is the best date ever? None. That’s who.”

Let’s be real; there are beautiful women in their twenties with careers, cute friends that take insta photos of their feet on tropical islands, no kids, no divorce, wearing a size four. An attractive, intelligent man would definitely be more interested in. Why? Because they’re awesome! I’m not knocking beautiful twenty something women. They’re the coolest! They have jobs and visions and deserve to be praised for being amazing & deserve to be loved and appreciated just like anyone else.

Women need to stick together and they aren’t to blame for my insecurities. I am. It’s my fault that I refuse to make eye contact. It’s my fault that I feel awkward and weird and like I’m not good enough…and it’s up to me to fix it.

When I carry myself with the same confidence I have when it comes to my job, people notice. Men notice. They talk to me, smile, and even flirt. But I’m so concerned that I’m not good enough that I close myself off from meeting, as my ex boss/current friend says, “quality mans.” But that’s not on them, it’s on me. Sure, I have baggage, but I can lose weight if I put in the work, I’ve done it before. I have a good job, a great support system, a car, no criminal record. All good things. Maybe I’m too basic, but I’m also pretty funny. I’m smart. I have strong opinions and I can totally hold a conversation because I NEVER SHUT UP LITERALLY EVER. But for anyone else to think I’m a catch, I have to believe I am. But that’s the problem; I don’t believe I am. I do, until I want to approach a guy I’m interested in. Then I clam up and close off because there’s no way I’d be good enough for him and end up depressed for three days because I’m a lost cause with cats. I’m going to die alone as a spinster…with. cats.

When I get like this, and decide that I’m probably gonna die alone, ugly and fat, with cats, I usually eat ten pizzas and skip the gym and do all the things that don’t improve my life. This time, I channeled my insecurities into something that would make me feel better about myself. I carried on, getting my new house ready. I went to the gym as often as I could. I changed up my sales strategies at work. Went for Korean food with my ASM squad. But most importantly, spent time with the family catching Pokémon or watching the Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix and relived our magical evening with our Lord & Saviour Jesus Swift.

A mate can’t help me love myself and I can’t have a mate unless I love myself. So, if I’m going to use 2019 as the year that I FINALLY make my love life a priority, I need to silence my insecurities by making myself a priority. Once I truly love myself, I can let someone else love me.

Maybe I won’t have the courage to ask for the hot security guard’s number, but if I keep working on loving myself despite all of my weirdness, I’ll talk to the right guy. And he’ll think I’m great just the way I am. But the best part will be that I’ll think I’m great just the way I am too.

Last year, I attended a beautiful wedding & I caught the bouquet. I jokingly told my friend that it was hilarious that I caught it, because I’m the one person who will never get married next…or at all. Her new husband told me “if you told me two years ago that I’d be here now, married to (friend) and building a life and family with her and the kids, I’d have laughed at you. But I’m here and I’m so happy. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you that in two years, we’ll be dancing at your wedding.” It was so optimistic and cute. But maybe he’s right. Maybe all these years I’ve closed myself off because I’ve felt unworthy of love, and I’m missing out on the joy they had. So I promised I’d carry that bouquet as my “something borrowed” at my future wedding. I just have to remind myself that I deserve love and joy just as much as anyone else and its out there if I’m willing to put myself out there.

But I learned you’ll never love yourself if you keep blaming your past, your experiences, acting like a victim, or making no efforts to improve your circumstances. Change doesn’t work unless you do. I keep making changes; I work out to feel better about my body. I found a home I’m proud of. I work hard at my job so I can grow. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m trying. But if I want to be a person that someone else will fall in love with, I have to make sure that I love every aspect of who I am, and continue to grow. I’m not there yet, but I’m working at it. Maybe, once I fully love me, I’ll meet someone who does the same.

Everything I Need

It’s that time of year. You know, New Year, New Me, and that bullshit. This year was something. I learned that to be the person my family needs me to be, I have to make sacrifices. I learned that people will exploit those sacrifices to manipulate, and exploit your kindness to try to hurt you as much as they can just out of spite. But, I learned that you need to forgive those people, because family trumps all.

I learned how to reconcile with my past relationship failings and move forward as a healthy, happy, human being, so that I can finally be emotionally available in a relationship. I learned my priorities will always be my family, my job, and Crossfit and that’s okay, because I don’t need to change for anyone.

I also finally reached a point in my career where I feel successful enough to make changes. I bought a car. I conquered my fear of driving. I have a new home. 2018 was a year of learning. 2019 will be the year that the lessons I’ve learned blossom into joy; professionally, personally, and mentally.

As always, here’s a snapshot of my year, featuring photos that don’t involve my children. 2018 was a magical, painful, challenging year. But I hope I always keep growing, optimistic for the future.

Finally got to see Breaking Benjamin!

We don’t discuss this evening

Another cover story!

I did not panic (lies, I’m panicking now). My new home.

After five years of never making hair changes, I finally did something different to my hair.

People Like Us

Sometimes, life is super rad and everything is awesome & you look at life like “damn, life is so awesome!”

…this is not one of those times.

I’m telling you kids, this month has been a struggle. First, I asked to reduce my workload as a result of a personal issue. My super awesome boss was all “yeah, for sure,” at first, but then he was like “LOL JK you run two stores now.” I’m not complaining. I’m grateful that I get to prove I can handle more responsibilities. My kick ass ASM’s are a big help, and it’s double money, so I’ve been planning a girls weekend with some girlfriends and the kids to go to Jasper at the end of October or early November. Hopefully, my best friend can come with, depending on her work schedule, because my best friend is moving to Edmonton. DID I MENTION MY BEST FRIEND WILL BE LIVING IN EDMONTON WITH ME (well, not in the same house, BUT VERY CLOSE TO ME)?! Hard work means I can save up for Xmas, and go on a little mini vacay to see mountains. But, I’d really like to find time for the gym. I love the gym.

LOOK HOW HOT MY BEST FRIEND IS

I’ve been struggling with some personal stuff. Sometimes it’s hard to put personal struggles aside and focus on the work. But, you’ve gotta do it, even when it feels like everything is crushing you and the weight of the world is breaking your heart. But you gotta push through. Your family depends on it & you have to do what’s best, even if it’s not popular. Sometimes that stress bleeds in at work and you’re crying in your back room because you don’t know how to navigate a situation like this. Fortunately, I have a great team of people that work with me. I have a great support team of managers and an understanding boss. So, we make it work somehow & the work is paying off. We won our “Holy Grail.” Every month we get a little better. Even when everything sucks, you’ve gotta smile and keep on moving.

Not pictured; the other half of my team. Also, my desire to look cute in a picture

Somewhere between the added workload, and article deadline, declining a writing opportunity I really wanted to take advantage of (and hopefully will in the near future, when I have more time), I sat on the glasses I need to wear at all times to read and drive and broke them. Again, look on the bright side MHC. Fix em with super glue. You have benefits. You can get new ones. The new ones are Coach. They are Hella cute. They aren’t scratched. Yay! So, let’s take a deep breath and be positive.

Which brings me to the story of my car.

I love my car. I have an unnatural attachment to my car. Her name is Wanda Maximoff. I refuse to let my car get below half a tank of gas. You can not eat or drink inside of my car. You must wipe your feet before getting inside my car. I’ve already booked my oil change/service, because it’s been almost six months. I freak if it is even a little bit dirty. Yes, I love my car. I’m also a SUPER cautious driver. I drive five below the speed limit at all times (unless it’s raining, then it’s ten). On my way home from an impromptu trip to West Edmonton Mall, I went through a roundabout, dropped my speed (it was raining), hit a pothole, and PUNCTURED MY FUCKING TIRE. MY BRAND NEW CAR HAD A FLAT TIRE.

That was it. The last straw. Everything came crashing down; my broken heart, my work stress, my lack of time management which meant no gym, and now my car had a flat tire. I was so angry. I’m a decent person. I work hard. I’m a good mom. I do my best. I try to treat people well. I am a ridiculously cautious driver. So, why was life continuing to fuck me without even buying me dinner first?! I could have spit blood. I was just so sick and tired of trying to be nice and be happy all of the god damn time only to have people stab me in the back and betray my trust and do hateful things to my family while the universe seemed to fuck with my peace of mind and MY BRAND NEW CAR. I did not want to “find the silver lining.” I wanted to throw shit and scream.

But, fortunately for me, the universe won’t let me wallow in self pity. I have to see the good, like my friend getting down on the wet ground to help me change my tire and helping me get my car to Canadian Tire to get it replaced. He also reminded me that my busted tire is a metaphor for life. I did everything right; I was cautious. I signaled. I slowed down to be mindful of the slick roads. I did everything you’re supposed to do and still hit a pothole. That’s life. You can do everything right, but something could still go wrong. The important thing is we learn and still look for the good. I had good friends who spent the evening with me while I replaced my tire. My staff helping me balance my time. My friends back home offering their love and support. Sometimes, you’ve gotta just search for that one good thing about your day & use it to be happy, otherwise you become a miserable sad sack incapable of finding joy.

When life craps on you, you’ve gotta find good. Sometimes it’s as big as the fact that you have a job, a family, great friends, and two kick ass cats and you can work your dream job while also working full time at a job you enjoy and feel empowered at. Sometimes it’s as important as having your friend teach you how to change your tire. Sometimes, it can be as little as you discovered a Taco Bell 12 blocks away & Becky Lynch is the Smackdown Women’s Champion. There’s something good in everything. It’s up to us to find it.

So, even though life is not ideal right this second; it will be. Everything gets better. While we are plugging along, I’ll remember that it’s okay to be stressed and sad, there’s still a lot of good to be found. Maybe it’s harder to find, but if you look hard enough, and make it a point to find it, you will.

Vega

This morning, I did the normal day off routine; get kids off to school, take a nap, leisurely skim Twitter (if you’re not following me on Twitter, feel free to click HERE. Mostly fitness, bad WWE takes, and rambling about current events), then empty stomach cardio because winter has finally gone back to Hell where it belongs. Anywho, this morning, one of the trending topics was from a man giving real life “love advice.” It was obviously so great and not at all terrible. Here, let me show you & you can see for yourself.

Great, right?

This is always so irksome to me, because it’s always so one sided. It’s always about how women should learn men’s interests and hobbies, and let them teach us how to do stuff, because men aren’t happy unless they are exerting their intellect over stupid, stupid women, right?

Barf. Barf. Barf.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with sharing in your partner’s interests. But this guy perpetuates the idea that women only like sports and video games to attract men. They obviously wouldn’t do it because they like it! Also, it’s one sided. It’s always about how women should learn about their man’s interests and learn to love them, but never the other way around. I have never once read where a man is told to learn about his lady’s interests, or pick up a fashion magazine and learn all about how to pair a skirt with a cute pair of heels.

I’m sure a lot of women can relate to the idea that we must always be interested in what our partners like, but our interests are considered secondary. I remember reading the Sword of Truth series, but I don’t recall my ex husband ever picking up Gatsby, or any of my favourite books. I tried Grand Theft Auto and Halo, but they never played Zelda past the Great Deku Tree in Ocarina of Time. Throughout my life, I have sat through hours of baseball games, listened to Drake albums, and watched One Tree Hill because I wanted to take an interest in my man’s hobbies and interests. But never once have I gotten an offer to play Street Fighter, read a book I recommended, come to a Crossfit class, or watch Wrestlemania (of course, even if they did offer to play Street Fighter, they’d get mad if I won). Some of it wasn’t all bad; I developed my love of the Lord of the Rings after my ex husband asked me to go to all of the movies with him (I later read the books and loved them). While there are lots of great guys out there who really care about their partners and take an interest in their hobbies and interests, the general consensus is always it’s up to women to sacrifice, change, support, adapt. We must giggle and twirl our hair and ask men to teach us how to understand sports, while they never need to learn anything about our interests or hobbies or what we do to make us happy.

Relationships are supposed to work both ways, but you rarely see men encouraged to read Pride & Prejudice, or listen to their girl’s favourite band, or watch Mean Girls and learn the entire dialogue. It’s always up to us to embrace their hobbies and assimilate into their world. But I think it’s just as important that a guy should want to get to know his mate’s interest. I don’t expect you to love it, but I do expect any potential mates to at least take an interest in some of my hobbies. Ask how my class went at the gym; maybe even check out a class with me & try Crossfit. Attempt some yoga with me. Stream some Taylor Swift and Breaking Benjamin on Apple Music. Ask me about the articles I’m working on or my day at work. But I refuse to be in a relationship with someone who expects me to take an interest in their life and take no interest in mine. Relationships are about compromise. If you don’t, then you’ll end up like John Cena, who refused to budge on anything and lost his fiancée (or it’s all a ploy for Total Bellas).

So, don’t expect a woman to pretend to give a shit about your fantasy football league if you’re not going to watch the Bachelor. Women like to feel respected and valued just as much as men do. In fact, you’ll likely find that the more invested you are in what she enjoys, she’ll probably show more interest in yours. Then you’ll actually be merging your lives, instead of asking her to stroke your ego.

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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.

Too Good at Goodbyes

Ain’t life some shit?

A couple of days ago, I went to bed shortly after midnight. I had written a positive little blurb about my attempts to get healthier. I posted it, then lights out, as 8am comes early. Then, I woke up to read about a terrorist attack within my city. Five people were injured, but the suspect, an alleged radical sympathizer of ISIS was detained. He is facing charges and will be brought to justice.

Maybe it was because I slept through it, or because I knew everyone I love was safe. Maybe it was because Commonwealth Stadium still felt removed from me. I didn’t feel like the world felt darker, or scarier. I went to work. The kids went Halloween costume shopping. I had no fear, in fact, quite the opposite. I felt proud that my city’s fine police officers and first responders resolved this in such a way that nobody died. I was thinking “wow. How lucky am I to live in Edmonton, where our police officers know how to quickly rise to action and protect us.” I drafted my fantasy hockey team, and went to bed feeling grateful that the victims were expected to recover, that Constable Mike Chernyk was safely back home with his family and my city chose to rally for peace. Sure, a few bad apples on social media went on some racist tirades, but for the most part, I feel like we were grateful that everyone was going to be okay.

Photo credit: Andrea Ross (CBC)

Then I woke up to read about another terrorist attack in Las Vegas, one that killed 59 people and wounded over 500 others. My heart breaks for all of these families. They went out for a night of fun, and now their families are grieving. Going out to a concert should be fun, not a night of fear and terror. For those of you who read regularly, you know my stance on gun control. I once wrote an entire article about why you can shove your thoughts and prayers up your ass. I won’t beat you over the head with my stance. Instead, I’ll share with you a little chat I had with an old high school friend.

Even though there were two terrorist attacks less than 24 hours apart, no one died in Edmonton. 59 died in Vegas. The idea of 59 families grieving and so many injured souls is gut wrenching. I have friends that are huge fans of Jason Aldean. The idea that they could be injured or killed because they wanted to enjoy a concert is a terror is one that my mind cannot comprehend, but it’s a reality. My friend & I talked about that every time this happens, every American citizen loses a little piece of who they used to be, whether they buried a loved one or not. They don’t get the warm feeling of knowing they are safe; because they aren’t; not at any point in time. You can be shot at a Jason Aldean concert. You can be shot watching a movie. You can be shot in your first grade classroom. You could be walking down the street minding your business and get shot. I recently took my eight year old to a hockey game. Our biggest concerns were that the Canucks might score and that she shouldn’t eat the entire bag of cotton candy before the end of the first period. But my cousin, who lives in Michigan, doesn’t have the same luxury. She has to worry whether or not Detroit will win, whether her young son will eat too much cotton candy, and where the emergency exits are, and her exit strategy in case of a mass shooting. Wikihow has a detailed guide with instructions on how to survive a mass shooting. That’s the new normal, and that’s terrifying.

I am grossly under qualified to discuss tragedies. But I guess if there was anything I could offer, as an Edmontonian who’s city was impacted by terrorism the night before tragedy struck Vegas, is that I’m sorry that you don’t get to feel safe. I’m sorry that you don’t get to go to work feeling safe because police caught the bad guy because, in a few months, there will be another bad guy with a gun. You’ll need support then too & I promise to offer support then. I’m sorry that you’ll never feel safe at a concert or a movie or a football game. I’m sorry that you’ll always be wondering in the back of your mind if today is your turn to be shot by the bad guy. I hope someday laws change and you won’t have to feel that way, but until then, this unimportant Canadian blogger sends love, donations, and will use my space to encourage those in the area to donate blood and help out in any way that they can. I’ve posted some numbers below. If you live in the area, please call.

During dark times, we should focus on the good in the world. Do a good deed. Be kind to each other. But also, never forget to thank the brave EMS teams and medical personnel, who tirelessly work to save us when we are impacted by the worst of us. Change doesn’t come through violence or finger pointing; it comes through patience, understanding, and love.

Anyone Else

I get asked a lot why I love crossfit. Let me tell you a story. 

Thursday, I went to the gym. The workout was tough. I had to scale some of the movements & weights. I was huffing and puffing through the WOD, envious of those who can get there every day, and were executing handstand push-ups flawlessly. Halfway through, I questioned why I was even there. But as they finished, they were rooting for me and congratulating me for making it through. That kind of teamwork, along with the results I see at Crossfit is why I continue to go. We celebrate each other’ successes and support each other. It’s such an amazing thing, to see people coming together to help everyone succeed.  That success helps me in my day to day life. The next day, I went to work and had a great shift. Then I really pushed myself and managed to run 0.4KM more than my Tuesday run. When I feel good mentally, it helps me push myself physically. It’s a cycle of wellness.  

But crossfit has also helped me embrace my body. I’m never gonna be a size six again. My thighs are always gonna be big. I’m gonna have a booty from squats. That teeny waist and dress size isn’t a realistic goal for me. But part of loving yourself is loving your body. I may never be thin, but I will be strong. My fellow crossfit ladies are strong, sexy, beautiful women. They have powerful bodies that are healthy and ideal for their body type. My goal is to get to their level, but with my body. I can’t worry about a scale number, or the size on a clothing tag. Just my own health. I will teach my girls that being healthy is more important that a body type. As their mom, it’s important for me to be the role model. I can’t have low self esteem & teach them to love themselves. I have to embrace my curves, my thick thighs. It’s been a hard road, but I’m getting there. 

I’m so glad that we are now celebrating healthy body types of all sizes, and not a “one size fits all” sort of beauty. We’re celebrating healthy, active, strong women. For the longest time, Nikki Bella was my fitness inspiration. She still is. Maybe I won’t have her body, but I can develop her commitment to fitness, her enthusiasm, the way she supports all women & wants everyone to succeed. I think we all need that type of attitude. We need to love our bodies. We need to build up other women. We need to get excited about fitness & health.  I may never be a size four like Nikki, but her journey as an athlete inspires me to continue to work on my own health. 

But lately, I’ve found myself really inspired and motivated by WWE Superstar Nia Jax. Her IG feed is loaded with body positivity. She doesn’t look like the average WWE woman. She’s strong, powerful, and unlike the Bertha Faye’s & Bull Nakano’s, she’s presented as more than just a one note monster character. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, witty, and assertive. Nia Jax is not a personality free monster designed to prey on the beautiful ingenues. She’s a fleshed out character, focused on her goals, which is to be a champion. My own daughters are big fans of Nia (and while they rooted for Bayley & Sasha, were LIVID that Nia didn’t get a special Wrestlemania entrance like her opponents. They said she deserved Tinashe singing her theme, and fireworks like the others). They think she’s beautiful, strong, and funny. When I was a kid, she’d be a mute monster. But my girls get to see a powerful woman portrayed as smart, sexy, as well as dominant. 


But more importantly, she’s not like most girls. She’s strong, athletic. She is in the best shape of her body type. And representation matters. Not every woman looks like Nikki Bella, and that’s totally okay. Some women are built like Nia Jax. Some women work their asses off like I do with the knowledge that size four is never gonna happen. Instead of feeling embarrassed, women should embrace their healthy. That’s why women like Nia Jax are so important. It’s important to see that healthy and fit mean something different to everyone.  

But that’s why I love crossfit. I remember working out at the GoodLife gyms, and hearing the snickers while I was on the treadmill or when I set my machine to a lower weight, as I was a beginner. I heard the giggles in the change room, as if a fat girl had no business there. It kept me out of a gym for four years. I don’t hear that at my gym anymore. It doesn’t matter if I scaled the workout, or finished last. There’s no mockery, just encouragement and acceptance. I’m sure women like Nia hear your mockery too. They see your tweets calling her fat, calling her Nia Snacks, etc. A friend of mine has come back to wrestling fandom after 10 years off and he called her “the fat chick.” His wife (who works in fashion), commented that she looked like a strong, powerful, woman. But those comments are why women like Nia are so important. We need to teach little girls that every woman’s body is different. A dress size or a scale number can’t be your goal (My Fitness Pal said my goal weight should be 118lbs!), but being in the best shape for your individual body should be. 

If you’re a woman who is actively working on her health, celebrate that work. Celebrate your body and what it can do. Celebrate your strength, your movements, your accomplishments. Hell, even celebrate that cheat day where you ate a large pizza with extra cheese. But celebrate your body, not the number on your dress tag or on a scale. 

You’re Not Sorry

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

A Better Place

Over the last few months, I haven’t had much faith in humanity. Mostly, because humanity hasn’t given me much to have faith in.

It all started about three months ago, when some teen girls tried to rob my teenage daughter. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as safe in my neighbourhood. Then, I was blindsided and abandoned, subjected to some of the most manipulative mind games & cruelty from a man who claimed two days earlier that he loved me & to remind me of a conversation we were having once we were married, because he couldn’t wait to marry me. Fast forward to 48 hours later, when I woke up extra early for my long commute to get ready for a date we had planned for when my shift was over. 48 hours earlier, he told me he couldn’t wait for date night. I was so excited to finally have time alone with him without work, as I was beyond over work taking over our romance…only to find he erased me from his life, and a cold text saying he was angry & if I gave him space & a little time & did what he said, everything would be fine. I began obeying his commands, both stated and unstated. I felt like a dog, like I was being punished. And nothing I did made it better. He still wouldn’t talk to me. I apologized for what he said was bothering him, because I am a firm believer in owning your shit, I  offered to take steps to resolve the slight, even transferred at my job to help give space, but not a word. I’m not perfect, but no one deserves this treatment. I used to believe he could never hurt me. But it was like the man I love; the kind, gentle, man who sought me out & begged for my affection & loved me so much died and a monster stole his face. It shattered me in ways that I still haven’t really recovered from, and sometimes I’m afraid I never will. I refuse to be a victim, I knew better but I wanted to believe he had changed & would allow us to communicate when he was angry. Bad shit happens, you get up, you kick ass. But it leaves scars. Horrible scars. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust another man again, as I am absolutely terrified of this man I loved. I built up huge walls to keep him away from me, as well as anyone else.

When I build a wall, I make sure its impenetrable. I also have thirty people blocked on Twitter. And emails. I also block your personal, work & even some coworker’s phone numbers. I don’t play
Sometimes I’m still in denial, like there is no way this man that swore I knew him best could do this. He couldn’t be this hateful. I keep thinking he’ll want to fix it like before, but the thought of him coming near me actually terrifies me, something it never did before (even though he would never harm me).  And sometimes, while my friends, therapist, all insist he is emotionally abusive (sending me article after article to back it up), I still squeak out tiny defenses. He’s not mean. He just can’t do anger. I bet he feels badly & just doesn’t know how to come tell me. They ask me how he’d feel if someone treated his daughter as he treated me, because he’s teaching her that this is okay & I still try to defend him. Sometimes at night, I still cry confused tears because I literally just don’t understand how a man went from holding me and telling me that I was the love of his life to never speaking to me ever again in 48 hours & was seemingly proud of destroying my heart & self esteem while I sobbed on his voice mail to please just talk to me. How did we go from looking up engagement rings on New Years Day to feeling like I needed to change everything about me (even though I didn’t want to) just so he’d speak to me. I would delete blogs after minutes for fear of offending him. I would have done anything just for him to talk to me & I still just want him to talk to me, even though I know I deserve a man who would never dream of treating a woman this shamefully. But I still sometimes feel worthless because he won’t talk to me & even though I’m terrified to let him near me, I just want him to fix it like he said he always would. But I don’t ever want to be a woman who meekly kowtows to a man. That is NOT who I am not who I will EVER be. I don’t want to be controlled. So I move forward, focused on being the most bad ass MHC I can be. And despite how harsh this may sound, I don’t believe he’s a bad person. I think he’s a good person who struggles with anger management and commitment & conflict. He made some very poor choices & they are on his conscience, not mine.

A few weeks later, I was robbed, my purse stolen from my workplace. I lost all of my ID and I’m still trying to get it all back. The whole experience left me reeling, I had just transferred and now I didn’t trust my own coworkers. The mall security didn’t help. I have little faith in the police. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly feel safe at work or walking home from work. I feel violated and I look over my shoulder a lot. But I focus on the good things I have; my family, my health, crossfit. My amazing friends who rallied around me during those tough few weeks, including a really cool coworker who became my bodyguard & protector. My super cool therapist. So many awesome people who made this whole experience bearable. By focusing on the good, I could get through the bad. I have so many good things. I am lucky to have these things. I am happy.

(This isn’t a pity me trip. Bad shit happens every day, you get up & keep on going. But I just talked about why we need to be our authentic selves. That means I need to be able to talk about the times life kicked me in the metaphorical balls. It just sometimes takes me a bit, until some of the hurt subsides.)

This isn’t all of you, but you know who you are
But to say it didn’t make me question my faith that people were essentially good would be wrong. It did. I didn’t trust anyone. At one point, after a particularly cruel trick he played,where he messaged Erica claiming he wanted to talk to me, which never happened, I almost stopped trusting Erica & shut her out for a few days, even though she’s the most important person in my life. I shut out everyone for awhile, except for those good friends who forced me to talk. I stopped writing, I had nothing to say. I felt like everything I had believed about humanity was wrong. People aren’t good. I watched people get busted for shoplifting many times a day, road rage assaults, murders on the news & my neighbours got robbed.My house got egged. And I waited for a conversation that I was told he wanted until I realized it was just another manipulation to keep me hanging on to nothing. Everything I had ever staked my beliefs on felt wrong.


Then, little things happened to help me see that most people are good & not to let some bad apples spoil that. My girls & I started attending a new church here in the city. We were welcomed with open arms. My teenager attends youth group. She’s learning and growing. The pastor drove her home because it rained. Suddenly, we felt like part of the community. My district manager, who did everything she could to make my work life tolerable, pulled me aside on one particularly trying day and said “I sought you out to hire you because you are a strong, talented, energetic, genuinely kind hearted person. If he can’t see your value, then he’s missing out.” My new manager did all he could to make me feel welcome. He’s been great fun to work with. My teenager’s teacher went above and beyond to help her with math. My coworker drive me home after working 15 hours. And when my cat went missing this past week, my neighbours formed a search party to help me find my beloved kitty. Each day, something new happened that helped me see that people are good.

If you live in Edmonton, keep an eye out for Peachy
Each day, I saw a little more kindness from people. The cab driver that didn’t charge me because I looked tired. The coworker who gave me a hug because I was so drained I burst into tears at work. The crossfit coach who called me the day after a hard class to check on my hip. The stranger who walked an old lady down the street. The principal who consoled my nine year old when she got sick at school. All restoring my faith in humans. How could you not have faith in the planet with so many cool people around?!


Finally, this weekend, I saw how truly good people could be. After a forest fire displaced many of my fellow Albertans, I saw kids with lemonade stands. People paying for the groceries of the person behind them. A man donating $200 to Red Cross. The same people who were cussing each other out in the street were helping each other. WWE Superstars Kevin Owens & Tyler Breeze created a GoFundMe to help bring people together to raise funds during their personal time (Mr. Owens once did an amazing thing for my daughters during a WWE Live Event last year, so I already knew he was a great guy). And my dearest Bree reminded me that humanity is good, I just need to remember where to look.

This is the wisest person that I know
It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring out the best in humanity. We should all aspire to be good to each other every single day. And we also need to not lose sight of the good things people do for us, who’s there for us, the random strangers who have your back. Don’t lose sight of them because of a few bad people. Don’t let the bad people of the world take away your belief in humanity. People are good if you believe they are good. And even if they aren’t, be a good person because it costs you absolutely nothing to be a good person, but you will gain so much from it.

Humans ARE good. Yes, some are bad. Some are good, they just do dumb things. But you’ve gotta look around & see the good. It’s there; you’ve just gotta make sure you see it…and live it.

Stay With You

As I’m starting to settle into my life here, I’m realizing that I need to scale back on my social media.

Last night, my daughter asked if our cat could have an Instagram, and my older daughter is now the cat’s social media manager. This kind of made me realize how dependent we have become on social media. Maybe we are way too invested in it, keep people on our Facebook accounts that we don’t like for no apparent reason or we post our whole lives, etc. 

 

feel free to follow my asshole cat @peachy.the.cat
 
I’m super guilty of this, especially since the move. I’m on social media & blogging far more than I used to, mostly to stay connected. But perhaps I’m also inviting negativity into my home, which is causing me unnecessary anxiety. I am blessed with amazing friends. I am also friends with those who love to be right, at the expense of my happiness under the guise of helping. And by inviting people into my personal life as much as I do, perhaps I’m allowing them access to make me feel less than happy with my life. 

I refuse to walk on eggshells. I want my life to be positive and joyful & happy. So, I’ve started distancing myself from people who do not make me happy, including family members. If you do not contribute to my life, my home in a positive way, then you are welcome to leave. I know who contributes positively to my life; Erica, my best friends Melissa, Doug, Sarah, Gleason, Bree & Damanda. My brother. My boyfriend. All of these people enrich my life & make it better. Crossfit enhances my life. But, my heavy social media presence is allowing others to analyze my life. Same with my blog. I write because, to be honest, I don’t have much else to do. But perhaps I need to be more mindful about what I put out there. I write about my failings because I’m human. I feel like being honest about my humanness will help people see me the way I want to be seen; as a resilient, beautiful, kind hearted person who is not perfect. And they can love me in my imperfections, because people on pedestals fall down. I just want to be a regular person who tries her best & makes mistakes & is deeply loved by those she loves. And those I don’t know personally can take some refuge in the fact that others are not perfect either. But, I also don’t want to be analyzed like a specimen or my blog used as a substitute to engage with me. Maybe I invite that by writing about my life so candidly. So, perhaps I need to scale back my social media involvement & keep more of my life offline. 

Maybe this is a sign that I’m finally starting to embrace this as home. I don’t need my lifelines at home to make me feel connected to human beings. I have a great life here, I was just too afraid to see it, because I was afraid to lose it. I love my work. The stuff I’m writing is so cool. And I’m building contacts, which will help me later.  I’ve gotten rave reviews for some of my articles & even my editor is impressed by my growth as a writer. My kids love it here so much. They love their school & their friends. I’m making friends. My new job is both exciting and terrifying. And for the first time ever, I’m really happy in a relationship & I’m not analyzing every move wondering if it’s gonna fall apart. I trust him completely & it’s such a good feeling to know you’re with someone & they make you happy & even months later you’re happy & you’re content with where you are. I have never had this & it scared me, but now I’m just so happy. And maybe, because I’m settling into my life, I don’t really need to advertise on social media that I’m doing well. Maybe I just want to do well. 

 

Maybe I need to focus more on this instead of social media
 
However, social media is an addicting thing, so I’ll probably still post on my FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr & Snapchat (all of which you can find &  follow by clicking here), but less frequently. I want to catch up with friends, but we can text. And if we can’t text, maybe we aren’t that super close. Either way, I will not damage my happy life with doubts or negativity. I’ve worked too hard to make my life epic. Even if you don’t agree, just be happy with me, because that’s what I want for everyone I know.