Two things I’ve never been good at are time management, and saying no. These constantly impact my day to day life.
For example, I super hate my body right now. I’ve gained some of the weight back since I moved to YEG and to lose it, I need to go to the gym more often. But my staff often delays their breaks until my shift is over. So, instead of working out, I stay late. But then I go home feeling like crap. Most recently, I signed up for the Festivus Games, but it’s the same day as the trade show I organized a booth for at work. So, I’m out money and even more frustrated because it’s all my fault. I didn’t check the dates.
I schedule my driver’s education classes with my few days off, but when you have two deadlines and are picking up extra shifts to earn money so your kids can go visit their dad because he isn’t contributing to his children, you get a window of 10 minutes between the lesson and the bus for class and it doesn’t work. So, I’m left so burned out that even my evening yoga doesn’t help.
But I find I’m constantly fighting for time to do what I want, to improve my life, but I never seem to do it because I am stretched so bloody thin, and yet not thin the way I want to be. I’m taking on writing assignments to supplement my income, as I’m still not receiving child support, and likely never will. I’m working full time and don’t want to upset my team, so I won’t just say “Take your break earlier, because I am leaving when my shift is over.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m also acting as mother and father to three children. I’m making sure that I have learned how to drive properly so that I can buy a car and improve my family’s day to day life. I’m doing as much as I can to make sure we are clothed and fed and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone that I find myself sitting in my tub hating how I look and wanting one damn hour to myself once a day to go to the God damn gym.
I need to make myself a priority.
I never have, and I never do. I’m always trying to be nice or be liked that I can’t just say no or take time for me. Obviously, the kids come first, but I can’t be a good mom if I’m burned out. I can’t be a good employee or manager if I’m constantly tiptoeing around everyone to be nice to everyone so that everyone will like me. I can’t please everyone and I’m the boss; I will never make my team happy all of the time and do my job well. I can’t meet someone if I hate how I look because that’s how you settle. I wouldn’t impulsively overbook myself if I felt like I could take time for me. But, in the end, the only person who can control these things is me. Why don’t I see myself as an investment? Instead, I allow myself to put me to the back burner so I can handle all of my responsibilities, but I feel like there’s too many and I’m about to freak out.
Actual footage of me and my responsibilities
I can get mad about why insert thing or person here doesn’t see me as valuable or worth putting time into, but I don’t see myself as worth putting time into anymore, or I’d just fucking do it. I invest more time into my store and my cats than I do myself. Then I get mad because nothing is going the way that I want. Maybe it would if I actually invested in myself.
I used to believe I was worth it, back in London, when I started Crossfit and had a core group of supportive friends. I have an amazing gym & great friends, but I always put myself last, because I don’t think I’m important anymore. I’m just there. Something happened to me in Alberta that I stopped feeling like I mattered. When I am willing to take care of my own needs, I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better. When I don’t, I eat nachos & drink mojitos.
I need to start reminding myself that my time matters. I deserve to be at the gym, I pay for it, I enjoy it, and it’s important to me. I deserve to take a day off to hang with the kids and play Pokémon Go and watch Season two of a Series of Unfortunate Events. I deserve to do things for me and not feel badly.
I’ll probably never perfect time management, but I’m certainly going to try, because my kids deserve a mom to look up to, and not a frazzled, stressed out mess that just wants one hour to go to the damn gym and maybe not have to budget my paycheques from the bathtub because that’s the only alone time I have…before a kid walks in.
I think sometimes we as moms try so hard to be indestructible that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Sometimes you have to say no to the extra shift, or let driving wait one more week, and just go to the gym. Or take a bubble bath. Or whatever works for you.
I try to refrain from talking about my daughters on my blog because I have this thing about parents who blast their kids lives on display. It feels so ooky. Like, photos on social media is one thing; but bloggers posting stories about their kids or videos of coached kids doing “spontaneous funny things” and tagging Ellen feels so gross to me. I choose to be a blogger and share my life publicly; the kids have no say. So, I never post photos and keep stories about them to a minimum.
But, they will be mentioned a bit today, although I’ll keep the deets high level.
Yesterday, I was stressed out. I had worked from open to close on Black Friday & was on hour six of what was supposed to be another 10 hour day. I was tired, terrified that we wouldn’t beat last year’s numbers, and generally cranky. I was kind of stressed because the guy I’ve been getting to know seems almost too nice, too perfect. Too many “I love that too,” and too many compliments, and it makes me feel like it could be too good to be true and after a few weeks I’ll find out he’s a serial killer. I was stressed because I hadn’t been to the gym in a week, and I had planned to try a barre class, but I couldn’t find the time. I was stressed out about finances, because it’s Xmas and I’m a sole support parent. I was stressed because I’m trying to get the girls their gifts, as well as hopefully surprise them with tickets to Taylor Swift and a fun trip to Toronto to go to the zoo and my 10 year old will perhaps finally get her dream of seeing kangaroos that hop and aren’t depressed like the ones in Detroit.
I was stressed and pushing myself too hard, and then I got a phone call that my two oldest daughters had been hit by a car during a hit and run. I ran out of my mall, panicked and thinking the worst, with my only thought being how I could get home faster to get to them. The good news is that everyone is fine, injuries are minor and they’re only shaken up. I insisted that they all sleep in my room last night because I didn’t want them out of my sight. Today was spent with doctors and taking steps to have the case investigated, but also to eat pizza and go to Toys R Us, play Super Mario Run and listen to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Swift.
The most important thing you can do when things are shitty is make your day as normal as possible, to remind ourselves that nothing is ever as scary as it seems. I don’t want my girls to live in fear of the world around them. I want them to focus on good things, like the neighbour who went out to help them, or my coworkers, who all called to make sure they were okay. Focus on the fact that Aunt Kiki called and checked in every few hours, not that dad dismissed it as no big deal and didn’t call to check in on them, just a quick call at 8pm to fume about my upgrading a phone, never asking if they were okay. Focus on what’s good; the rest sorts itself out.
In the end, the store hitting budget, the guy being too nice, or my bank balance didn’t matter. What did matter was that I could have lost 2/3 of my whole world because some dude in a Honda Civic was speeding in a school zone. What matters is that they’re okay and safe. They get to grow up into women and make me proud every day. What matters is that somewhere there’s a parent who isn’t as fortunate as we were and their story doesn’t have the ending mine does. They would kill for a chance to call out of work to take their teenager to the doctor to check for concussion symptoms, or rearrange their shifts to walk the kids to school because they’re scared to cross at that crosswalk. I’m fortunate af that I get to do those things. Sometimes being a sole support mom means you have to work so much to give them a good life that you miss stuff, like parent teacher night. But what matters is that you put them first, whether it’s working that 16 hour day, or rushing out into the night to protect them. That’s being a parent; not a handful of phone calls or a visit every now and again. Being a parent means supporting your kids emotionally, financially, protecting them and being there for them 24/7. That’s what matters. If you’re not doing those things; you’re not a parent.
I hope no parent ever has to have that kind of shock to the system. Let’s not lose focus on why we work so hard, or do so much. We’re doing it for them. We can’t take even a second for granted because an asshole in a Honda Civic could take it all away. I’m going to try to remember that next time I’m stressed about sales numbers, or my bank balance, or because someone did some stupid shit to piss me off. I’ll remind myself that what really matters is making time to hang with the kiddos, play Super Mario, and be grateful that I have the chance to do so.
In the never ending story that is my life, we’ll call this chapter “the time everything absolutely fucking sucked.”
I’ll keep the major details to myself, as there are a great many things that I still choose not to share with the internet, but trust me when I say this week absolutely fucking sucks. Because it sucks, I’m seriously contemplating functional alcoholism (despite the fact that I rarely drink), or maybe full Brie Mode (for those of you that don’t watch Total Divas, click here for the definition of Brie Mode).
Despite the fact that I have the most amazing friends back home, sometimes I feel like I can’t talk to anyone, because they all tell me “you’re so strong, you’re Superwoman.” I want to be a superhero, and that bad ass woman they all tell me that I am, but am I? I don’t feel very super. I feel more like “pitifully average human who is drowning under the pressure to be a good mom and a good writer and a good employee and a good Crossfitter and pay bills while still looking pretty and maintaining a social life, despite having one friend that isn’t a coworker.” Being a one woman operation is tough kids.
We live in a FB filtered world; no one wants to admit that their life isn’t perfect and maybe they aren’t the superhero that their inner circle thinks that they are. No one wants to admit that they sometimes think they’re a shitty parent or looks at their bank statement, which is currently negative $36 and wonders how Xmas will be wonderful when cheerleading fees need to be paid and the gas bill is due and one kid needs new glasses and another has a field trip & it all costs money. No one wants to admit that sometimes they just want a night off from trying to be the best and just go out with friends, but since you don’t really have any, it’s hard to go places (sometimes I feel like I’m in the ninth grade again, where I wonder if people actually like me, or if they just want me to help them with the grownup equivalent of helping them with their English homework). No one ever admits that they feel like their very personality is somehow deficient, and you are somehow too weird or annoying for people to actually like, so you feel like you can’t really be yourself around anyone. These are things we just don’t do. Instead, everything is perfect. Everything is fine. Life is awesome.
In my life, everyone is counting on me to be so damned inspirational. Spoiler alert: I’m not inspiring; Beyoncé is inspiring. I’m just me. I’m a mostly unimportant writer and kind of okay assistant cell phone manager who talks too much.
Sometimes I wonder why it’s not socially acceptable to admit you’re not killing it at life right now. That maybe you’re lonely, or stressed out, or you just don’t really feel very good about yourself. Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to say “I hate literally everything. You ever felt like that?” And someone relate to that? Maybe then we wouldn’t feel like it’s somehow not okay to have moments of self doubt, or sad, or stressed. Instead, we push ourselves to be the superhero we’ve made ourselves out to be and you don’t want to let anyone down. I think it’s harder for women, because we’re taught at an early age that we’re in competition with each other to be the prettiest and the smartest, meeting all of the Game of Life checkpoints while also never getting angry, or feeling less than confident, and God forbid you aren’t a size six! So, we all kind of compete for the best highlight reel and you can’t really live up to the hype.
Sorry guys, I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m just little old me; a plain, boring human who struggles with self esteem and time management, and sometimes is overwhelmed by the enormity of her responsibilities. I’m actually not sorry. If I’m going to be some inspirational ray of fucking sunshine, I need to be an authentic human being. Authentic human beings sometimes hate everything and feel like they suck at everything and look to someone they think has their shit together and goes “man, I wish I had my shit together and was half as awesome as they are.” I look at another manager in my company and wish I was half as cool as she was! She doesn’t care what people think; she just does her thing. She doesn’t second guess every word or thought, hoping she didn’t do something wrong by being herself. She just slays. Who knows? Maybe she gets days where she feels like I do too and looks to someone else to inspire them. Maybe it’s Beyoncé. Who knows?
So, if you ever feel like that, let me be the first to tell you it’s totally okay. Humans are not meant to live by the standards of social media. Humans are messy, complicated beings who sometimes aren’t happy. So, embrace those moments where you feel like the world is crushing you. Allow yourself to feel it, so you can get back up again. It’s okay to feel down; it’s just not okay to stay there, not even for me. In order to be on top, sometimes you’ve got to slide back down a bit. Since I’m feeling down, there is nowhere else to go but up! So, I’ll focus all of my energy on accomplishing all of the things that I’ve set my mind to…
Welp, another spin around the sun for me, as yesterday I celebrated another birthday!
I celebrated my thirty something-th birthday with the coolest bunch of coworkers ever, cheesecake made by my littles, and this weekend, I’ll be a true Albertan, heading to an Oilers game, and some friends & I will be hosting a girls night get together the next night! Yup, being alive is pretty rad.
However, I’ve been using this time in my life to make some change. My place, which was a great “starter” place here in YEG, isn’t right for my family anymore. With the teen attending school in a different part of the city, we need to look at living closer to her school. So, I put myself on a waiting list to move to a condo closer to her high school. Come spring, we’ll be living in a newer, nicer place. While I’ll miss my lakes for running, I’m sure I can find running in a residential area just as fulfilling (narrator: she will not), but the needs of the family need to come first. I’m also finishing up driver’s education, so come spring, I will be buying my VERY FIRST CAR. That’s right bitches, I will be buying an automobile. I’ve got some great suggestions (thanks to every one on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for their vehicle suggestions! The best part of being a slightly well known blogger is the awesome product suggestions from readers). I’ll be test driving all of your suggestions, as well as my first choice, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 (big thanks to my good friend Paul at TD Insurance, for letting me know which cars body shop techs and rental agencies recommend. When it comes time to insure my new baby, I’ll be talking to you for sure!) & should have narrowed it down by spring! This is kind of a big deal. I’ve always been afraid to drive full time and buy a car. But I’m really excited to be a car owner. It’ll make getting to the gym easier, and easier for the girls and I to go places without having to wait for a bus. I don’t plan on wasting gas; I’ll still walk short distances when need be. But it’s another major step for the famjam.
It’s really important to me to continue to check off boxes and grow and evolve. As I continue to be happier in my life, it’s only better for the girls, right? I need to teach them the importance of self growth, self love, never settling, and hard work. So, over the next few months, I’m going to do just that; grow, evolve, love myself a little more every day.
So, thanks everyone for your birthday well wishes. I super appreciate them all. I’m pretty much the luckiest person ever to have so many cool people in my life. This year is going to be even better than last year and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my girls, my crew, and even you, random person taking the time to read my blog.
It’s been seven years of crazy stories, a name change, three cities, two provinces, 19 million jobs, and for some reason, you’re still reading! That’s awesome! That’s also longer than I’ve ever been able to commit to a human being, a house, a city, pretty much everything but my cell phone company.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my adventures these past seven years. I know I’ve enjoyed every step of them, as they helped shape who I am as a person. I’ve learned to live life on my terms, and that it’s okay to march to the beat of your own drum & do things your way. I’m sorry I don’t have some inspirational junk, but I’m not really an inspirational person. I’m just a regular human, trying to raise a family, be a decent person, and super loves Taylor Swift. But I hope you’re all living life on your terms as well, and I hope it makes you happy.
I guess that’s what we all need to do; live life for us. On our terms, & if people don’t like it, fuck em. Maybe my life isn’t the way you want it to be, but it’s mine and I’m so utterly in love with my life, my family, my job, and my portfolio. It’s mine and I made it for me, my terms, my way. When people feel the need to question your choices, or call you names, you’ve gotta remember that’s all that they have; talk. While you’re out there doing your thing, they’re talking. I used to care about the talk. I tried so hard to bend to please everyone; friends, lovers, bosses. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve learned that while I’m doing stuff, they’re just talking. While I’m raising my kids, writing my articles, working, exercising, and living life to the fullest, they’re sitting in bachelor apartments calling me a cunt on Tumblr whining about things that don’t matter instead of moving forward or doing something about it. I recently had this same conversation with my middle daughter, when she wanted to return the shoes she asked for because kids would make fun of her. I reminded her that people who talk about you aren’t friends. You’ve gotta be who makes you happy; not your friends, not your sisters, not even me. In the end, an insult is just a word. It only hurts if you let it. Much like Taylor Swift embraced the insults her detractors threw at her & will use those monikers to make a fortune, everyone should remember that the best revenge is living well. I choose to live well & set a good example for my girls.
My girl Pink summed it up so nicely at the MTV VMA’s, in her beautiful speech to her daughter Willow. No matter what you do, people will talk their shit. But every one of us is meant to change the world, whether it’s redefining beauty standards, using their voice for change like Pink, setting an example as a strong female artist like Taylor, or just making a difference to your inner circle. We all have it in us to make things better. But to do that, we can’t alter who we are to fit society. We change to become who we’re meant to be to make society better. So, as Pink said, take the gravel and pressure and become a pearl. Let them whine on Tumblr with their funions. Do your thing; shine your light.
Maybe that’s why I like to keep up the blog; maybe I like reminding myself that while my life isn’t perfect, it’s the life that makes me happy. I get to see how I’ve evolved. I’m not inspiring, that’s Beyoncé. But I hope you’re all living your happiest life too.
Thanks for reading this for seven years. I hope to entertain you for seven more, even if it is just you feeling better about your life because it’s not ridiculous like mine.
You ever have one of those nights where you’re tired af but your brain is like:
“Hey, member Third Eye Blind? They were fucking rad. You should listen to their entire discography at 1am. That’s SUCH A GOOD IDEA.”
(If this has never happened to you, then I’m sorry, but what kind of freak are you, just falling asleep the minute you go to bed without incident. Teach me your ways)
Truthfully, I’m probably wide awake because I ate a bunch of shit food to ring in the new year. I planned to avoid shit food because I’m working to cut some weight before the Crossfit Open. I couldn’t enter last year because my hip was injured, I had the kidney infection from Hell, and I hated everyone at my gym. This year, my hip is in great shape, and I love everyone at my gym! Because I love my gym, I go there at least three times a week and I’m seeing progress. I’ve built all of my strength back (except my squats are still at a 10lbs deficit) & even hit a new PR for my power cleans, push press and hang snatch. I lift heavy things and then do a happy dance because I am actually a nerd. But after a month of eating properly again, my body rejects shit food. My Fitbit also shames me. Yeah, I have a damn Fitbit. My boss gave one to the entire leadership team. We are challenging each other while also demonstrating the value of the Fitbit to customers. I think it’s quietly judging me. But, it’s helped me come up with a great story idea about wearables and the pros and cons of them, which is awesome.
That’s the big thing for me right now, I have so many ideas on the go that I think it’s hard to shut my mind off sometimes. Before, my goals were focused. They’ve been focused for years; get an article published by a major media outlet…& I did the thing I set out to do. When I got on the plane, I had tunnel vision; get the article published. And I did it in exactly 377 days. Then I focused on getting my story idea published. And I did that. Now I’m trying to build on that while also working a day job, raising a family, and gains. I have two stories on the go right now, one of which I’m super excited about. I have a third pitch ready and I’m brainstorming a fourth. My blog rant about the wrasslin got rave reviews, including by WWE Superstars. I’m wondering if I should strike while the iron is hot and pitch a column about WWE from the female fan’s perspective. I think it’s an untapped market and it could really help me slowly transition into covering other stuff, like MMA coverage. This would diversify my portfolio to include sports writing. I’ve managed to use social media for its intended purpose and have gotten my name out there a bit (if you want to follow me on social media, click here to find out how). I’m working my ass off at my day job to get the kids the life they deserve. And I’m allowing myself my time to do MH things like visit friends and crossfit. I finally have a full life out here. But I think I get so excited about my projects and ideas (now that they aren’t centralized) that I can’t. fucking. sleep.
I guess I can’t complain. How lucky am I that my only problem in life is that too many awesome things are happening all at once? I’ve worked so hard and it’s all finally paying off. My girls are seeing the power of hard work; it pays off. So, I keep doing it. I keep working harder. I also try to focus on how I treat people & how much I can give back to people. I once had nothing and now (while I’m by no means rich) I have the ability to help others. I need to give that back. I need to donate, to give, to help. I need to be a good person because the world needs more of them. So, I’ll be the hardest working nice person that I can be and a role model for my littles in the hopes that I can evolve into a woman they can be proud of.
On the start of the new year, I’m wide awake thinking of all the stories I want to write and ideas I want to share and goals I want to meet. No “new year, new me.” New year, same old MHC, same old goals;
1. Be a good mom
2. Be a good person
3. Be the best mother fucking writer I can be.
4. Never compete with the crossfitters, only compete with yesterday’s scores until I am a bad ass.
And maybe, to have a voiceover introduce me with “From Concord, California, comes the most stylish, elegant, bewitching, eternally beguiling, contentiously charismatic, and fantastically fascinating woman to appear in this or any arena,” whenever I walk into public places. Or not. Whatever.
My point is that it’s kind of nice to feel successful and settled into your life. When I got here, I was so afraid that I wouldn’t make friends, find a job where I fit with the company culture, or worse, I wouldn’t succeed as a writer. I shouldn’t have worried so much, because everything came together the way it should once I started trusting my instincts and putting in the work. So, I’ll keep putting in the work and life will only get better and better.
Oh, and PS; Third Eye Blind put out an album in 2015 called Dopamine and it’s damn good. Check it out.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
I’ve started to realize that when you’re in love with someone, there are various types of love.
There’s the super giddy, romantic, “Oh my God you are so incredibly perfect,” love. There is the super sad “I miss you so very much” love. There is the unconditional love that comes from realizing your lover isn’t perfect but you embrace their flaws. There is the friendship love that comes before you are in love, and now I’ve discovered a new one;
The “I like living my life with you” love.
It’s no secret that I don’t do relationships well. Or commitment. Or love. Or anything involving feelings. I hate feelings. They’re dumb. They make me anxious. They freak me out. Just the mere mention of marriage makes my teeth clench up a little bit. However, I’ve realized that I’ve always skipped steps in relationships & I don’t want to skip them anymore. I want to enjoy every single phase of my life with this person & let things evolve organically.
Previously, my relationships were fast paced. I was engaged after three weeks. We didn’t live together before the wedding, but we worked together and he was at my house pretty much every waking second except to sleep…and all we did was fight. Or I cried about the fighting. So, I always equated that part of a relationship where the honeymoon stage ends and you just get comfortable as “omg he’s losing interest, he doesn’t love me anymore because we’re not all lovey dovey and pukey and what is wrong?” Or “Dear God, what happens if we get in a fight? It’ll get violent or ugly or he’ll leave!” I was terrified for the chaos, the fighting, the violence. The only love I’ve known was chaotic, except for the person I am with now. I didn’t know how to effectively convey that I was afraid of that and I had never been in a relationship that just progresses when we are ready and not because it was essential. My friends at the time were all fast movers when it comes to love, so they too had skewed views of relationships. The questions of “it’s been six months, have you had the talk about where this is going?” This exacerbated my fears of what marriage represents to me, which is fighting and anger and a loss of identity. My married friends tell me that the right person will fix all of these things. But why do they need fixing? I feel like the right person gets that the piece of paper just freaks be out. I don’t want to talk about it, I want to live life until we’re ready to make a change. And my love should mean more than a piece of paper that signifies commitment. Does that really make me selfish?
Anywho, I’m rambling on. Let me get back to my point.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve spent time with my partner doing domestic-type stuff. We bought a table from Ikea for my home & put it together. He drove me to the gym. We spent a good hour laying in each other’s arms not talking, just enjoying that moment. I enjoyed it immensely, but it helped me realize something very important; that I finally understand that comfortable “I’m in love with you, but I genuinely just enjoy your company,” kind of love.
I am crazy about my significant other. There is no one else I would rather be with. He is smart, he’s funny, he doesn’t find my random bouts of panic or crazy frustrating, he thinks they are just a part of who I am. He’s loving and kind. He listens when I talk. He’s affectionate. He knows how I think. He respects my boundaries and understands that my fears when it comes to love are very real and he’s patient enough to walk through them with me. But I have no desire to marry him. I have no desire to change any aspect of this right now. I love right now. Right now is wonderful. We are building our respective careers. I am adjusting (sometimes very poorly) to my new province. I want to work on my portfolio and learn to drive & have built a successful career at my day job. I like that I get my space to do my own thing sometimes. But I no longer fear the “this is good, let’s stay here.” I like here. I like that here will progress when we are ready to move from here and it’s okay that I have no idea when that will be. Truthfully, I don’t want to know, I don’t really think about it, I want to be just as surprised as you are. I like random days of nothing. I like that we don’t talk every day, but when we do we pick up the conversation right where we left off. I like that we can talk about everything from our careers to our deepest thoughts, or laugh about stupid things.
But mostly, I like that I’m not afraid.
For the first time in my romantic history, I am not afraid. I cannot promise that this will continue forever, or even until next week, but in this exact moment, I am not afraid. I am not afraid of the future, because I know who I’ll be with. I’m not afraid of the present because it’s a really lovely present. I’m not afraid of the past because I know things are very different now, not just with him, but with me. I was afraid, but when I was overwhelmed with my life & terrified that he’d leave, I turned to him & he listened & helped me feel loved & for the first time in my romantic life, I feel safe. I understand that men resent this label, but I think it would be the best thing. I feel secure with this person. He builds me up. Celebrates my accomplishments, from fitness (even though he thinks Crossfit is dumb) to my career. He helps make me the woman I want to be. And I’m really happy with him. And because I am happy, I want to enjoy being happy. I don’t need to change anything. Not every moment needs to lead to something deeper. Sometimes it’s just a good day or a great conversation.
You can love someone very much, you can know you belong with them, but also not be ready for the end result. I always thought there was something so wrong with that, but now I know there isn’t. I know who I should spend my life with, but that doesn’t mean that has to start right now. Right now, I just want right now. I don’t just love my boyfriend; I like him. I like his company. I like talking to him about mundane, day to day things. I like joking with him. I like that I can tell him anything & vice versa. I like all the coupley stuff we do. But I learned that not every relationship needs to be a whirlwind. Sometimes it can just be a gentle breeze that guides you along, and that suits me just fine.
Over the last few months, I’ve gone through a plethora of emotions ranging from euphoric to miserable. This past week has just been beyond stupid. I’ve considered closing my blog because I wasn’t comfortable writing about my feelings & I sometimes wonder if I’m using my writing because I’m rather lonely out here in Cow Province & I miss regular chats with friends back home. I had this grand vision that I would get out here & my editor would love my work, I’d land a full time gig & my new gym would be as awesome as my old gym & everything would be perfect.
Instead I’ve been miserable at my gym, hating my job & trying to overcome years of mistrust in a day. So, I’m homesick & sometimes contemplate just moving home in the spring (my friend Damanda is sending a U-Haul). But, I realize I’m not giving myself any time to adjust to anything. Like, at all.
I’m such an ambitious little creature, that I assume it’ll be easy to adjust when most people say it takes a year to adjust to a new community. I get better at trusting people, but it’s a process & I can’t rush that process. I’ll warm up to the gym, it’ll take time. There are some cool people & some not cool people. But I’ll get used to it. It’ll never be as awesome as my old gym, but still good. My new job isn’t journalism, but again, new audience, it’s a process.
I keep trying to rush to get to the part where this feels like home, but it’s gonna take time. The difference is I’m going to allow myself that time to get used to how things are done here. If you’ve ever switched provinces/states, you’ll understand. Some days it just feels weird. And I just want to fit in with the cow people (maybe I should stop calling them cow people). But I realize it’s not as easy for some people. And I’ve got to allow myself time to get used to my life here. It’s okay to feel homesick. It’s okay to feel lonely. It’s okay to miss my gym & my friends & DECENT DAMN PIZZA. WHY IS THERE NO GOOD PIZZA?! But I kept trying to think it was wrong to go through periods of sadness. My birthday was a great day, but I’ve been lonely ever since. It was the first year it wasn’t a clusterfuck, which was nice. But it was also the first year I didn’t have belated drinks with Melissa, or dinner with Rena & Damanda. And it was just kind of sad. And over the past few days, as things have been sucky, I realized how much I missed having nearby friends who could watch the older kids while I took the littlest to the Voodoo Witch Doctor, as she’s allergic to every medication ever made, or Bree hugs. Or the fact that people here call shopping carts baskets. NO. THEY ARE SHOPPING CARTS. But I didn’t want to adjust to the culture shock. I wanted to be awesome. Now, I’m going to focus on making Cow Province my home…& maybe stop calling it Cow Province.
***However, I have only seen geese once, so good job Cow Province****
Same with everything else, I need to give myself time to open up, time to build trust, time to get comfortable. And it’s okay to want to do that slowly. It’s okay to not want to rush. It’s okay to have moments of doubt or fear. All of these things are fine. People who love me understand why I’m a bit batty & love me anyway. They get it & will let me muddle through on my own until I get to a place where I can fully trust people the way I want to. But it takes time.
The good thing about time is we have a lot of it. Every day is another day to make awesome. So, that’s what I will do. Make tomorrow awesome. And the next day. And the next. But the only way to make this place home is to work on it. So, I’m going to put up curtains, pictures & BUY A DAMN KITCHEN TABLE NEXT WEEK. I’m very excited about my table. And each day I wake up I’ll feel better & better about living here, until one day, it’s home. And everything else will come in time, so I won’t rush the process anymore.
My house is oddly quiet, except for the prattling of the not so angry teen who is currently enjoying a warm reunion with…her clothing.
My children are home and my heart is full. I can’t remember the last time I have been this happy. I revel in my role as mom, I love being there for my children and raising them and spending my days with them. They’re my favourite people in the entire world and after 28 miserable ass days, they are finally home where they belong, although two of them have been fast asleep since they got home. But they’re resting and recouping after a long journey. Even the cat is happy.
Now we can focus on the adjustment period, where the girls adjust to the new time zone, the new house, etc. I wanted to do this during the summer so they have time to feel comfortable. I sort of flung myself into everything and ended up feeling overwhelmed and a huge emotional wreck. Fortunately, I had friends (home and away) that have been there or me, whether it’s FaceTime chats, or texts, or sobbing phone calls, or even just holding me and reminding me that everything will be fine and they’re right here beside me and they’re not going anywhere. I want my children to have an easier transition. So, I want them to have time to play at the park, learn their way around, enjoy the city, etc. Then we can add school and friends and life. Oh, but first, our audience with Queen Taylor.
Now, our lives in cow province can begin. I’m excited to build a comfortable routine with my daughters. Something where we can be happy and have adventures and enjoy our little existence. It’s going to be nice to have “our” lives again, not to mention it’ll be awesome for them to learn more about our country by living in more than just Southwestern Ontario. They’re excited for the next chapter of our lives and I’m excited too. I used to just be terrified, but the fact that they are here and I no longer have to worry about what’s happening with them makes it easier. I no longer have to wonder about if they’re around something questionable, are the caregivers drinking to excess, are people smoking near them, are they being kept up too late? Now we can go back to our happy life of tea parties, learning and adventures. I start back at the gym full time on Wednesday, so the girls will see a normal schedule again. All of these things are essential to helping them adjust, which is my primary focus right now.
Being reunited with my children makes it easier to focus on why we are here; to continue to build my career. I like my day job and I understand it’s essential, but I came out here for a full time gig. Rome isn’t built in a day, so it’s time to continue to focus on building that portfolio so I can get a permanent position…and learn to drive. You know, perfectly normal things. But I’m very thankful that I have even this sliver of opportunity to build my dream career. I went to school and worked hard and have continued to work hard to get this far. Now, I just need to keep working. Of course, part of that means I need to stop being so hesitant to consider a long term career in entertainment media. I know I want to write human interest stuff and stuff that I feel makes a difference, but I’m really good at music reviews, and editorials about pop culture. Maybe that’s what I’m meant to do? I guess I need to stop bucking the idea and just enjoy writing! Maybe I’ve been a bit of a snob and felt like pop culture wasn’t a long term career plan. Maybe I need to just focus on finding that solid writing job and let the rest fall into place. After all, I guess as long as one person is reading my drivel, it means I’m a success, right?
In the interim, I’m going to enjoy my life. I have always led a pretty charmed existence and each move I make seems to make it better. I have beautiful children, I’m making strides in my career, and I finally know what time it is. I’m blessed with wonderful people who love me. My house is looking pretty nice. Not a bad gig. And I’m going to enjoy watching it play out and see what wonderful things happen next.