First Train

GUYS!

I FIGURED OUT WHY I SUCK AT DATING!

Well, actually my friend did. But I’m taking credit for it because I can.

I suck at dating because I hate dating!

A friend and I were discussing how we both hate the awkward, getting to know you phase of relationships. Some people recycle exes (a lot of people. It’s super common) I date my friends.

(Also, as someone who did the ex-cycle, I wouldn’t recommend it. It never ends well. If the man goes, let him goes. If he comes back, toss him in the recycle bin.)

I hate that awkward first date and weird first few weeks of awkward dating. So, I always dated my friends. There’s a pre existing relationship, you’ve already gotten to know each other, there’s less weirdness. But, much to my chagrin, I HAVE RUN OUT OF QUALITY MAN FRIENDS!

NOW WHAT?!

I’ve never been good at meeting potential mates, and I’ve run out of male friends. This means I need to make new friends, but making friends as an adult is so weird. I don’t want to recycle my exes because either;

A) they live in Ontario

B) I hate them and never want to see their faces again for as long as I live.

C) both

This is why online dating, or regular dating throws me off. I’m trying to awkwardly build a friendship that might turn into something and they’re looking for a spark. I focus so much on self improvement that I rarely think about logging on to Tinder or Hinge (I log in when I get a notification). I don’t know how to meet someone and build a purely romantic relationship. Don’t you need to be friends? These bitches need to realize I’m weird af and go through the five stages of grief before they commit to dating me! Dude, no one is gonna meet this ball of insanity and be like, yes, this is the one. You gotta ease into that, like a frog in boiling water, or a warm bath, or the fire swamp.

No one is gonna jump in with both feet without at least several months or years of realizing I’m pretty much insane and then deciding to be okay with it! When there are sane, baggage free options, you never pick the weirdo with the kids and the crush on Seth Rollins. You pick the normal one. That’s why I date my friends. They’re desensitized!

Now I have to meet someone who has to deal with my insanity on the fly and then still have want to date me? Or make more male friends?How does one make new friends as an adult? I’m only friends with my coworkers and everyone knows you NEVER date a coworker, I don’t care what Jim and Pam said. You don’t (with the exception of my coworkers that are dating, y’all are cute as Hell and I love it). You can’t make friends on Tinder, so do I continue to suck at dating? Or get more cats? Help a sister out.

I guess I could get out of my preconceived notions that you can’t just meet someone and be smitten with them, and that romantic feelings are something that must bubble under the surface for years. I could stop crushing my own self esteem by pointing out why I’m not loveable and focus on why I could be. I’m a pretty okay amateur chef (check out my food IG), I’m a pretty solid writer, people seem to like me, I’m a pretty decent cell phone boss lady. I’m a damn fine parent. I’m okay looking. I’m getting ready to start a podcast with my best friend. I understand sports now. Like, you could do worse. I guess.

Or I’ll let my friends fix me up until I get pissed off and get 100 cats. Whatever works.

Don’t Let It Break Your Heart

How’s everyone holding up? Still doing okay? Sad? Poor? Sad and poor? Consider this your mental health check in.

I’ve always prided myself at using my writing as an honest look into my life. This will be no exception. Folks, I’m damn tired.

Times have been tough man. My mom took ill at the start of COVID, adding some new financial and emotional responsibilities. My brother has been here to help, but I’m still calling the doctors, making the appointments, picking up the medication, the girls and I are cleaning the house and cleaning her room, and guys, that’s a lot when you’re raising three kids. There’s the emotional toll that comes with your parents getting older. Things feel darker, like maybe they won’t see your kid graduate. Maybe they won’t be a great grandparent. There’s all this guilt because you need to be home to cook dinner because you don’t want to burden the kids and you sleep through your alarms until you are running behind and end up skipping breakfast.

There’s the financial setbacks. Paying some of the back bills from the shutdown while paying current bills, all while the Family Responsibility Office reduces you to tears by screaming at you that it’s not their job to make sure your support payments come so accept reality that it’s not coming and stop bothering them.

This means sacrifices must be made. Those gym passes? They gotta wait girl. That’s grocery money now, because the support money you earmarked for groceries isn’t coming ever. The Halloween costumes your kids picked out? Nada. You’re now explaining to them that we’re gonna use last year’s and stuff from home because that money is now earmarked for insurance. Meanwhile you’re scraping every cent to make sure that you can get your oldest’s university application fee together. It’s not like you can make it to the gym because there’s so much to do at home and sometimes you volunteer to work late or a sixth day, or a seventh, because you want to give back to the good people you work with and those sales mean a chance to get ahead. That’s my reality my dudes. I’m tired and my weekly weigh in is sub-optimal, so I binge watch Drag Race for six hours after everyone is in bed and then lurk on the Bachelor on Reddit (despite never having watched the Bachelor) wallowing in my own depression and feeling like I’m failing at every aspect of my life.

I’ve stopped wearing makeup, because what’s the point. I’ve felt fat & ugly. I’ve felt bad at fitness. Bad at parenting. But mostly, because I’m not living up to expectations. There’s only so many times you can tell the kids next time/next year before they just stop asking. They know it’s not happening, and it’s because I let them down. Fitness is a losing battle. I know at 4:30 someone at home will call about an issue, and now it’s just not in the budget. I go for 3.5 km walks every other night and use my home fitness app, but it’s not the same. I feel like Sisyphus, pushing the Boulder up for it just to roll back down. I decided writing about it may help some other person feeling so overwhelmed know they aren’t all alone. Rona is making everyone’s mental health hard.

I cope by practicing gratitude. Maybe that’s dumb, but I feel like the only way to push through times that aren’t ideal is by reminding ourselves of all the good around us. For example, my family is rad. I have the best kids in the world and we have made this life thing work. I have an amazing job that paid me during Covid. I have a great team of reps and support from others to help so I can recharge with some time off. I live in a beautiful neighbourhood so I can go for walks. I have a home app I can use for my fitness until I can lift heavy things again. My mom’s health has improved significantly. She has a helpful nurse. My friends are always there for me. Life will never feel bleak if you can look and be grateful for what you’ve got.

Life isn’t all sunshine and roses, and pretending it is will only destroy you the minute it stops going well. Tough times are gonna happen. For me, that time is now. But if I waste my time and space dwelling on those things, I’m never going to get out of that black hole. My best friend always says to choose your attitude, so each night before I go to bed, I make a mental list of everything awesome in my life and thank the universe for it. This way, when these tough times are over, I can remain grateful. I’ll appreciate the gym more once I can get back. I’ll cherish that time more. I’ll go back to work with a renewed focus and help my team be better. I’ll look in the mirror and see someone to invest in, not to feel disappointed in. I’ll be more appreciative of little things, like that colleague that was kind enough to cover a shift for my vacation, or how my friend and I always take turns buying Starbucks. Maybe I’m naive, but I’d rather always search for good ever when everything feels less than good. I’ll build on all the good things until these times pass and there is only good. For me, it’s the best way to keep my bubbly spirit up while navigating tough times, and I’d rather be grateful than let depression rule my life. It’s a tough road, but I’ll get there.

The Last Great American Dynasty

I generally don’t write about my kids, but sometimes they’re hilarious.

My teenager has made it her personal mission to marry me off. None of you are off limits apparently!

  • Platonic friend? Possible husband candidate!
  • Guy at the gym? You too!
  • Recently single colleague? Step right up!
  • My kid’s fourth grade teacher? Absolutely a front runner.
  • Random dude I bumped into at Hot Topic? Yes! You are an option!

I feel like I’m living in my own personal episode of the Bachelorette, only I didn’t choose this, and Chris Harrison is really pushy.

It’s actually really cute that the kids are living their own personal version of an Olsen Twins movie. They obviously care about me. They want me to be happy. But they also want a father figure they can look up to. I can’t blame them for that. Every kid wants a father figure to be there for them, and they don’t have that. I didn’t, but then I was fortunate enough to have a foster dad that gave me someone to look up to. And I’ve been so focused on trying to do well at work and be healthier so I can be in a healthy relationship that I didn’t see how much they wanted me married off so that they have a stepdad. They’re craving having a full time father figure that doesn’t come and go or only talks to them when they make an effort. They want someone who’s all in on our family.

If we’re being honest, some of their choices are great. They’d be great partners (maybe not for me), and one made me take pause and really think it over, as if it would be a good idea. I think I actually thought it would have worked out with someone by now. I caught the bouquet at my friend’s wedding and decided it was a sign from the universe that my life was finally ready for a partner. Instead, it blew up. So, I sort of gave up for a long time. I gave up on myself and decided I wasn’t worth investing in. Then I gave up on dating. I just sort of decided this was how it was. It impacted my health, my self esteem, etc. I just didn’t care anymore.

I realize now this needed to change. I’m getting out there. I went on a first date, but the guy and I decided we’d be better off as friends. I went on another where I didn’t feel any connection. But I’m not hiding away in my hobbit hole either. It’s a start. My weight isn’t where I want it and my career isn’t either, but if I keep making excuses, I’ll keep wasting the best years of my life because I’m waiting for the perfect window to be in a relationship. So, I’ll keep going on socially distant outdoor dates with masks on and no physical contact until a swab is done. I’ve spent a long time afraid of relationships because the last long term relationship I was in was ended in such a cruel, heartless, and confusing way that I didn’t want to put myself out there again. Even my last short term relationship I felt like an afterthought, only good enough to share the dark and depressing sides, never anything positive. But nothing changes if I’m not willing to put myself out there. Obviously the kids are craving a male role model. I need to be open to creating a blended family unit, so much so that they are willing to pair me off with any dude I remotely get along with!

Basically I’m living in my own romcom. It always works out for them, maybe it’ll work out for me! If not, at least I know my family is invested enough in my happiness to make the attempt. It’s super flattering…as long as they don’t put me on the Bachelorette for real.

Be Kind

Hey guys! We get to go outside again! Isn’t that cool?!

While there are still restrictions, it’s nice to have a little bit of normal back in my life. I’m back at work and it’s been positive. I had some friends over for a barbecue potluck and it was so nice to entertain again. I’ve been back at the gym & going for walks. It’s been awesome.

After being cooped up for three months, I really want to step outside my comfort zone a little bit. Part of that is taking control of my weight. I’ve been really down on myself, but I started posting daily updates to a group on FB my friends & I use to stay accountable. I started intermittent fasting, which has helped too. But the big ones are stepping out of my comfort zone at the gym and trying to cure my unhealthy relationship with food.

Intermittent fasting and setting aside one cheat meal has really helped with this. I’m not denying myself food anymore. Instead, I’m learning what I need to fuel my body so I can be healthier. So much of my mental health is tied into diet and exercise, not necessarily to be “thin,” but to feel healthy and confident. Junk food just makes me feel badly about myself in general, but when I’m stressed, I eat. Now I’m teaching my body that we don’t just eat when I’m bored, but when I’m hungry. I’ve cut out all alcohol (not that there was much, save for that case of White Claw I would have over a month long period), save for social events, and I’m careful about junk food and fast food. It’s important that I teach my kids to have a healthy relationship with food; enjoy an occasional treat but never forget to learn the right way to nourish your body.

As for fitness, I’m trying to stop avoiding the harder workouts. Whenever I see something with a lot of running, or skipping, or a lot of burpees, because I was slow before. Now, after gaining weight during quarantine, I’ll be slower. I get so insecure about finishing last and everyone quietly waiting for me to finish so I don’t go. But part of getting healthy again means no more skipping “the hard ones.” Even if I finish last, or have the worst time, I’m not gonna get better if I let my insecurities get in the way. So, yesterday I went to the gym and did one of the “hard workouts.” I finished last. It was awful. But I did it and I went home feeling really good about the work I did. I felt empowered, like the next time I could do that style of workout better if I just keep pushing. Sure, I’ve gotta push back against the fact I’m not a morning person to get to those 6am classes, but I won’t hit my goals skipping workouts, so I need to hold myself accountable to my wellbeing and do them.

Finally, I stepped the furthest out of my comfort zone and went on a date. Yes, I left my house and met someone. He’s a great dude and I think we may go out again. I’m not setting any expectations, but I’m also putting myself out there a bit & it went okay. I didn’t let my insecurities about my weight or my age hold me back. I just did it. My weight will be fixed, I’m working on it. I’ll never be “the right age,” so I’ve just got to open myself up for romantic possibilities and not let my life pass me by. Also, my coffee was fantastic. I always forget how great the coffee shop by my house is. Will this turn into something? I dunno. If not, then maybe it will with someone else. But, I’m trying, something I hadn’t done in almost two years, since I broke up with Debbie Downer the Teacher. I’d go on a first date every quarter and not make a real effort to get to know them, and then stopped all together and used dating apps for the lolz. I figure even trying is a step in the right direction.

The only way to get better is to get uncomfortable. I promised myself I’d use this year to get better. Quarantine didn’t help, but refocusing will. The second half of 2020 is about accountability, growth, and success. I’m going to take steps every day to get better, surround myself with people who are driven to improve too, and soon we’ll be toasting to our successes…

…unless of course the murder hornets destroy us all.

Fall On Me

Oh, hey everyone.

Anyone been outside? Enjoyed life? I hope you have been. It’s been nice. Kids and I have been driving to St. Albert to enjoy our favourite trail. It’s been nice to get out and enjoy the sun, which as you know is my favourite thing. I’ve been doing a lot of walking to get my Vitamin D fix. In the province of cows, we only get so many nice days, gotta make em count.

I haven’t been sharing much, mostly because nothing much has changed. I’m back at work, but my mom has been struggling with her health, I stayed inside a lot, and I’m hella depressed. Quarantine has been tough tbh. Can I admit it’s tough? I’m a social person by nature and being home all the time with no one to hang out with has been hard. My gym was closed until this week and workouts at home are hard when you have kids that need all of your attention. When you are a person that takes pride in your work, not having a lot of work to do is a stressor. Skip the dishes is easier than cooking and I’ve gained weight. I’ve been really depressed and disengaged from my life. I’m normally very positive, but lately, I haven’t been. I just kind of want to do nothing, which is what I do.

I feel guilty even talking about this. The world is full of real problems. There is a plague. People are unemployed. There are people getting killed for the colour of their skin. There could possibly be murder hornets. My mom isn’t well. My friends are worried about money. There are real issues plaguing the Earth and mine feel very small. In the grand scheme of things, they are very small. I think lately I’ve been caught up so much into my life, that I’m missing that it’s all very small. Sure, there’s big stuff, like caring for an elderly parent and the stuff that goes with it. But the rest is so small. Money worries, work worries, feeling fat and inadequate, all small things. There is so much going on in the world that needs our attention, and our assistance, that this stuff is just small shit that can work itself out. As lonely and isolated as I feel, or helpless and hopeless, it’s still so small. The world just feels very dark right now, and I guess it’s taking a toll on my mental health. I’m burned out and emotionally exhausted & I feel just very hopeless about the world around me & I don’t really want to participate in the universe right now.

If my friends called me and told me they were depressed and felt like they were a lonely speck in the universe in a sea of real issues, I would remind them that the only way to help the world heal is to make sure you are healthy enough to make a difference. I wouldn’t let them sit miserable while they let the best of themselves fall behind. But that’s what I do to myself; I put myself last. My kids, my mom, my job, it all comes first. So, now I’m trying to give from nothing. Guys, I’ve got nothing to give. I’m exhausted and my self esteem is so low it’s sad. I can’t empower others if I’m eating chips and wishing I wasn’t completely apathetic towards my own life. So, right now, I need to pull myself out of the depression spiral and try to get back to me again.

My gym reopening will help. I’ll get an hour three times a week where I don’t need to be “on.” I don’t need to be super mom or the daughter doing everything or whatever. I can just be an athletes doing exercise things. I need to make time to go running and not just binge watch Naruto. These things are how I re-charge my batteries so I can live my life. The only way to be mentally well is to stop putting garbage in my body and actually take care of it, and allow myself time for me.

I’ve also taken up cooking because it’s cheaper and healthier than Skip. Some of its been good. Other stuff needs work. But it’s something to keep me busy and help me live better. Also, food tastes better when you make it all yourself.

The world does have a million problems, and sometimes it’s hard to see that there’s still good in the world when it’s hidden by the plague, the fact that people of colour are still being targeted for hate, or the Tracker Jacker murder hornets. It’s hard, but we all need to summon all the strength to do our best to show up and be present so we can do more together. Let’s all be good to each other…

…and wash your damn hands.

2016

Hey there all you cool cats and kittens, how y’all holding up on quarantine day 672?!

Yeah, I totally watched Tiger King. Mostly because I HAD LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO DO. Also, it’s a train wreck and awful and right up my alley. But in all seriousness, how y’all doing? Still good? Found something good to watch on TV? Worked out? Played Jenga? Completely cracked the fuck up yet? COOL ME TOO.

It has been a damn week. I’m really worried about finances while I work from home. Like, genuinely scared. I’m a single parent and not receiving any support. The dad told me “you’re on your own,” when I asked for some financial help, then whined that he doesn’t even own an Xbox. Meanwhile, I’m worried that I’ll fall behind on bills to support our kids. My mom went through some major health issues this week (unrelated to COVID-19) and the kids and I had little support from our family. My friends stepped up to be my support system because they’re the best. The kids are doing their best and their teachers have been amazing, running conference calls to help them learn and grow. But I’m working from home and helping them and trying to keep the house clean and the kids alive and be mom, daughter, therapist, teacher, manager, and I’m really tired and really scared.

I’m trying my best. I’m working out, I’m meal planning (at one point my Snapchat was MHC’s dinner hour), we have family movie night. But the reality is I’m tired and I’m scared that I won’t be able to afford our home or bills or I’ll get laid off. I’m scared my mom is gonna have another health issue. I’m scared we’re all gonna crack up. It’s a lot to handle on your own & I’ve never felt more alone. I’m a social person and we are on week three of quarantine. When times got tough, I could always take a break and go to the gym or out with a friend, but now, it’s sit at home and obsess & it’s so easy to fall into the mental health trap of doom and gloom. Not gonna lie, I’m in full doom and gloom. All of this is hard and it’s even harder when you’re doing it alone. When you’re the parent, you have to stay strong and you can’t show them anything but super mom. It’s even harder when you don’t get that moment to feel afraid or vulnerable because they’re watching you every second, relying on you to make it okay. There’s no turning it off and you feel burned out and like an empty vessel with nothing left.

So, I try to stay positive by looking for the little things that can bring me joy even when everything feels bleak. For example, I’m super grateful that WrestleMania is still happening because for a few hours, I get stupid fun entertainment.

I’m also super looking forward to sitting on my porch and drinking spicy margaritas with my friends when this is over.

I’m optimistic that Vegas may still happen. I’m excited to go back to work, hopeful that my customers will have a new found appreciation for wireless devices, I know I have. This baby is keeping me connected with the outside world. It’s my lifeline right now and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’m appreciative of everyone from grocery store workers to teachers and nurses who have done so much to help everyone, and we have a leader who’s doing his best to help us. It’s not much, but it’s something that will get us through this. Finally, every night I focus my energy on reminding myself that I can do this and we will be okay.

Even though everything feels hard and scary, and it’s day eleventy million of quarantine, I’m trying my best to stay positive so I can be a good role model to my girls, a strong presence for my family, and keep the crazy to a six out of ten so I can be ready when the time comes to go back to work. I hope you’re doing the same. Just keep on going. It’ll all work out and it’ll all be okay. Just stay home, focus on your family and yourself, and do your best to stay positive during the never ending isolation. Also, it’s okay to admit you’re scared or overwhelmed. I struggle so hard with that, but part of being mentally well is admitting we aren’t. So, right now, I’m not doing so fantastic, but I hope eventually it’ll be okay.

Famous Last Words

I realized this month that if people asked me what I’ve been up to, they’d realize my life seems outwardly boring.

I’ve kind of retreated into a bubble of family, work, fitness, friends. It’s been really nice. I took the kids on a mini vacation to Banff. I’ve finally gotten a chance to explore this amazing place I call home and spend real quality time with my family. Everyone had a blast and we made some amazing memories. Also, I drove four hours by myself on a road trip and lived. I feel so much more confident about driving, which is nice. I’m really trying to get my work life balance in order, so that I can be mentally healthy and successful. So far, it’s working out okay.

My view from the hot springs

My family has always been my number one priority, but I always had to work ten times harder to support us so I wasn’t getting the time we needed as a family. Now, I’ve learned to balance those things so that I’m getting that quality time in, while also doing okay at work. Because I’m happier at home, I’m doing better at work. Also, because I’m doing better at work, I’m stress eating less. Thanks to better eating and intermittent fasting and Deadboys Fitness and Capital City Athletics, I’m down 10lbs in two weeks! That’s 1/6 of my goal! Tonight at the gym during the WOD, my working weight was my 1RM from three months ago! I’m getting stronger! Things feel attainable: success at work, success at the gym, happiness in life. I feel like the luckiest person; I have an incredible family, the best friends who are willing to run 10km with me, an awesome gym family, and a beautiful home. Life is dope.

Speaking of friends, my friends has inadvertently helped me set some long term goals of my own. One of my best friends is engaged! She and her awesome fiancé are getting married! I love these two; they’re just the best couple. They’re loving and patient with each other, and really changed each other for the better. I’m so happy for them and the next step they’re about to take. I used to think the perfect couple didn’t exist until I met them, but they are just so perfect for each other and I know they are going to have the most incredible life together.

But this means a wedding, even a small one. Six years ago, I got myself in shape because I wanted to look good at my friend’s wedding. This is no different. But, this time I’m not just trying to get in shape for the sake of wearing something. I’m getting in shape to wear this damn dress.

I bought this dress to wear to a holiday party with a guy I was dating at the time…and then broke up with because he sucked at communicating and I was sick of dealing with it (and then took him back again because why not date your own stalker…twice, you know, in case you were wondering about where my taste in men used to be like. Everyone is better off now, and there’s no hard feelings, but I need to preface that I got this bomb stress in the wake of some very stupid decisions). This beautiful wool dress (in size six) has travelled with me across the country, survived being put in the dryer and revived with fabric softener and warm water, but has never been worn. Ever. Why? The last wedding was a summer wedding. This is a winter dress. It’s four sizes too small right now, but I have two years to fit in this damn dress. The goal is that I can wear it around Xmas time. That’s 10 months to lose four sizes and finally take this baby out for a spin.

The other goal is that I am NOT going stag to this wedding. Fuck. No. I’ve gone out on a couple of Tinder dates, but I’m slowly but surely putting down my walls and getting to the point where I’m ready for a serious relationship. It’s been a long time and I’ve run away from good guys because I was so scared to get close to someone, because what if I do and then I’m ghosted again? Every time a guy talked about anything more than a casual coffee, I’d Usain Bolt out of there. You can’t get hurt if you don’t get attached.

Me when anything gets serious

The thought of putting myself in a position to fall in love with someone only to find out they’d never talk to me about what’s wrong, never be really honest, and then just cut me out of their life like I never existed was too much. But thanks to therapy, and really getting to know and love myself, I’ve been chipping away. Go on a few dates, not take rejection to heart, allow the conversations, and make sure to end things properly so everyone gets closure. And for once, I really like my appearance regardless of my weight. I’m comfortable in my skin, with my family and my job. I finally feel like a catch…most days. But loving oneself is a work in progress. But, I am not going to this wedding solo. I’m going to make myself more open to dating. I’ll work on reading signals better, because right now dudes, unless you walk up and say “Hi, I am interested in you. Would you like to go on a date?” I will not understand. I do not get flirting, or dating. Or any of it. But I’m gonna have to learn, so if there are any quality mans whisperers who would like to help me understand all of this, help a sister out. More importantly, I’m finally confident enough to actually engage with people like a human being, without fear of rejection or abandonment. I almost know my worth.

My life may seem boring, but it’s happy. My family is healthy and happy. I’m emotionally healthy and happy. I’m finally getting my body the way I want so I can rock the Lululemon 10k for the third time. I feel good about my job. I live in a beautiful city in a house I’m proud of. Almost all of the pieces are coming together, even if I only catch up with friends once every two months. All of the trying times and stress just prepares you for what’s next, and for me, what’s next is a really happy time in my life, with all of the things that matter most working out in the best way possible

Darkside

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of quiet.

My life always feels noisy. Between the loud music (speaking of music, I finally embraced streaming and got Apple Music. My world has changed for the better). But I’m always thinking, working, parenting, and obsessing about body image, finances, and trying to juggle what sometimes feel likes the whole world. It can cause a lot of noise in your head and that noise will make all the things I just mentioned harder. There’s a time talk about stuff, and a time to just be quiet and focus on each task one at a time. I chose this time to focus on quieting my mind and improving my life. When you’re trying to do a million things at once and still try to feel normal, eventually you just feel crazier. I desperately needed a reset.

I had a free week from work that was supposed to go to a vacation, but some much needed household repairs came first. I took this time to focus on my own mental health. I went to the gym. I worked out at home. I played a lot of video games.

But most importantly, I took a major step back from my life to be a parent and really look inward into how I can improve how I feel about myself. I’m back in that old pattern where I try hard, then fail, then gain more weight. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be the person who makes herself a priority so her kids see that it’s okay to take time for yourself to do what makes you healthier. I needed to shake up my life so I could really use fitness as a reward because I like myself, not feel like it’s a punishment for failing at weight loss. I needed to spend some time away from my world to reconnect with MHC and decide how I could really jump start the self love so I could get back on track. I never focus on me. It’s always my kids, my team, my boss, my friends, my mom, etc. but never “what does MHC want?” How can I become a happier person if I don’t even know what that means anymore? Truly I didn’t know. I talked a good game, but I’m always busy helping everyone else and feeling like an awful human if I couldn’t please everyone. The only person I wasn’t trying to please was me & that’s why all the things I love most were slipping away; fitness, job success, writing. So, I decided to do something to snap out of this repetitive cycle.

So I changed my hair.

I know it sounds stupid, but the first time I lost all of the weight and put myself in the happiest headspace I’ve ever been in, I realized I needed something I could control to get me started. So, I dyed my jet black hair blonde. It was a small, instant change that helped improve my self esteem. That change kick started other changes, which led to 100lbs weight loss. Ever since I gained some of the weight back, I’ve really just not liked myself. This made everything feel impossible. What was the point of working out? I just got fat again. Why bother dating? Working hard is important but feels futile because I’m just not good enough. I’ll never reach my time goal for my 10k because I’m too fat, and the list goes on. I was at the same crossroads I was before I moved to London, only moving to a random city isn’t an option because I love Edmonton and my house is the best. Maybe it was time to change up my appearance so I really love it and the rest would follow.

Seriously, look at this place. I still can’t believe I live here. It’s a dream come true.

It worked too! I’ve worked out 14 out of 20 days this month, either at the gym or at home! That’s a major change from previous months. I’m enjoying it again too. I’m enjoying work again after my week off. I’m connecting with my kids and my friends in a better way because I’m not feeling so down on myself. A long time ago, I let depression and the feelings of unworthiness and self loathing cost me some good friendships. But, now I recognize when I’m feeling like this and I’m teaching myself that it’s okay to take some space from the world and get to know yourself again and figure out your own needs, not the needs of everyone around you. I’m still learning that it’s not my job to please everyone; just do my best for my kids, at my job, and for myself. The rest, the weight loss, the successes, will all come if I focus on one day at a time, whether it’s one work day, one workout, or just one day of quiet, letting my body and emotions tell me what I need.

One Thing Right

It’s funny how sometimes one thing can just snowball and really deflate you and destroy you…if you let it.

Shortly after I finished my 10k, I was feeling better than I ever have. I was feeling empowered and excited for the first time in a long time. I was starting to feel good about my body. I was really believing I could lose these pounds and look the way I wanted to. I was finally overcoming the dark cloud and pushing forward.

Then I was out with some friends and one of them was telling a story. During the story she said “there was no way I’d fit in it. She’s so big even YOU couldn’t fit in her clothes!” I remember balking at the comment and the friend was like ” you know what I mean, you wouldn’t fit in them because she’s really big, so I definitely wouldn’t!” But the damage was done. I had just talked to people about how I work out because I enjoy the work, only to be told that I looked fine and at my age, the window to find love was closing anyway, and finding someone would only complicate my life, couldn’t I just be happy as the solo friend? I realized that my closest friends don’t look at me as someone who loves fitness or is desirable or has great traits; I’m the fat, single friend. I make people feel better about their lives because they’re not the fat, single friend. I didn’t mind being the single friend, but when I’m just confident enough to really take dating seriously, being told that the window is closing so stop working out and accept your fate, solo loser, was a little off putting.

Suddenly, I felt like the “f” word was EVERYWHERE. That’s how everyone saw me; fat and old. I’d be at the gym, but I felt like there was a sign on me that screamed “you don’t belong. You are fat and old.” Even though my gym mates are super supportive, it was like a mantra now “fat and old. Window closing. Best days behind you. Fat and old.” I was my biggest fear; the fat old single mom that dies alone meddling in their kids lives because they are unlovable. I’d work late. I stopped running, because every step screamed; “FAT. OLD. FAT. OLD. NO HOPE. WINDOW CLOSED.” I stopped wearing makeup. I stopped trying. Even my work slipped. But it didn’t matter. I gained the weight back. I’m old and fat. Sephora doesn’t make enough makeup to fix that. Old. Fat. Old. Fat. Window closed.

I saved up all year to take the kids to Summerslam. I pinched pennies and stuck to a budget and used all my PC Optimum points for snacks. They had the best time, and met their heroes, Becky Lynch and Carmella. We watched Crossfit Jesus become the Master of the Universe from our nosebleeds. I felt like after a year of second guessing, I finally did one thing right.

Even then, I avoided photos on vacation, until the girls insisted I was in one. Then, a random Twitter user called me fat.

Even on vacation, old and fat followed. This was who I was. All those years I spent trying so hard to be a good role model suddenly felt pointless. Dating, which was never a big priority, suddenly felt useless. Sure, hundreds of people said otherwise, but I didn’t feel pretty, or even good about the fact that I saved up all year to take my kids to Summerslam and give them that memory. I just felt defeated. I came home and my washer broke. The repair is way beyond my budget. I was so depressed that I slept through my gym alarm…twice. When it rains, it pours, and I felt like a failure trying to balance work and life and something as simple as liking myself when I looked in the mirror seemed impossible. So I just stopped trying.

Carmella is the sweetest and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise

But, life doesn’t stop when you’re sad. Life doesn’t end because you’re moping about. And kids still need good role models even when you feel fat and old and like you’re unloveable and unworthy. So, when today’s crisis (internet went down) barred me from open gym, and I had to do laundry at a friend’s house, I still went running. Was it a good run?! Hell no! I ran a kilometre. But I ran, and it felt good to run. On Wednesday, I’ll run two. Three on Saturday. I’ll keep it up until I get back to 5km.

I talked to my ASM about making sure i could leave on time to hit the gym. That’s the one place I feel empowered. The only person who tells me I don’t belong is me. That voice can kindly STFU ten times. Washing machines break. It happens. We’ll pull through. Daphne Zuniga got married for the first time at 56. The window doesn’t close. The only way it closes if you keep telling yourself you’re too old and fat.

It’s not going to be easy; when you feel depressed, it’s hard sometimes to shake off the negative self talk and push forward. But I know that to love myself, I’ve gotta invest in myself. Push past that voice that says I’m too old and too fat and do the work and invest in myself. The reason I was so happy wasn’t just because I lost 100lbs. It was because I was investing in my own happiness. My kids need to see that happiness doesn’t come from a relationship; a relationship comes when you are happy. I had a great talk with my boss about the quadrants of time management. I spend so much time trying to be in Q2 (important but not urgent) that sometimes I forget that Q1’s (urgent and important) happen, or Q3’s (urgent and unimportant). You gotta roll with the Q1’s so you can get back to Q2. Don’t panic, just push though. The washer will break. Money will be tight. A Twitter troll will call you fat. But I’m not old and fat. Or maybe I am. But I’ll work at it until I feel happy with my body. But most importantly, I’ll remind myself that I’m beautiful and work at my life until I believe it, because no one is gonna do it for me.

When I took this picture to show my friend the new colour, all I could see was wrinkles and thin lips. Now, I choose to think I’m beautiful.

Bridges

Second 10k in the books y’all!

I went a friend/coworker & we killed it. Our schedules didn’t allow us to train as much as we could. We didn’t finish as fast as I’d hoped, but we still worked hard and got our medals and Doughnut Party donut and banana and feel pretty good about ourselves. I was worried we wouldn’t enjoy it, but some other friends are gonna work towards a 5k race with us in the fall, and we’re going to go back next year! I’m so excited that my friends are getting invested in my weird fitness stuff. Maybe someone will finally want to Crossfit with me! No? Anyone?

We almost didn’t finish together. My friend got a cramp in her calf (maybe we should have paid better attention in the warm up haha). I noticed after 1.5km she wasn’t with me anymore. So, I turned around & found her. She gave me shit because I had talked so much about wanting to beat last year’s time, etc. But we signed up together. We should do it together. Maybe I’m missing the point of the whole fitness thing, but it was really important to me that we pushed ourselves and finished together. We would have funny stories (like when my glasses got all foggy from sweat and I couldn’t see) and a sense of accomplishment. Now we’re going to do something in the fall together, but more friends are coming. Everyone is going to work together to become better.

I’ve been very fortunate in my four years in the land of cows to meet some great people that I can call friends. Some of us work together, some don’t. Some I brought from Ontario because they’re the best. But the best part is, in their own way, everyone is super supportive of everyone else. It’s so freaking nice to be surrounded by positivity. My friends are supportive and always pushing me to be better. My coworkers are always driving me to get to the next level. My gym family keeps me motivated even when I feel like I’m too uncoordinated or out of shape to try. When you’re surrounded by the right people, you are elevated to become better too.

I have never in my life felt so motivated in both my personal and professional life and it’s because I have a great support system of friends and colleagues who challenge and inspire me. Last year, I finished the 10k and didn’t decide to do anything else. Now I’m training for another race so we can all feel accomplished together. It’s nice to know you’ve got great people in your life, who actually want to see you succeed. I’m fortunate because I have people like that here, back in Ontario, and even in cities I’ve never been to. If you don’t feel like your friends/family/coworkers are on your team and want to see everyone succeed, then it’s time to evaluate if they belong in your life, because everyone deserves a tribe of people who want to see you succeed just as much as you want it for them.