She’s a mom, manager, wife, fitness guru, and blogger (read her stuff. It’s rad. Also, follow her on Twitter). She’s the most patient, understanding, and all around coolest person that I know. For 15 years she’s been my other half & we’ve been through everything together. Even though I’m like, a bazillion time zones away, she’s still got my back and we talk all day every day about fitness, parenting, family, and really deep things.
But the big thing we talk about is career. We both work in similar fields and want to move up the corporate ladder. It’s important to us to be successful working moms. We need to be good role models for our kids. We have bills to pay. We’re boss bitches. Yesterday, we both messaged our respective DM’s with ideas we had to grow our businesses. I always get super nervous when I do that. I’m always afraid I’m going to overstep my boundaries, or my idea is bad, or I’m undermining someone. I was walking through WEM (on the never ending search for a Finn Balor Pop Vinyl), and I kept wishing I was like Melissa. I wanted to be logical and articulate and super smart. I wanted to feel confident when I spoke to my boss, not like an awkward weirdo. I admired her for being so brave and bold and cool when she hits me with a truth bomb;
Here I was admiring Melissa for being the most bad ass person that I know and she thinks everyone loves me?! What?! I was so confused; how does this confident, cool, level headed, goddess look to weird, scatterbrained, delightfully dim ME as someone people love and admire?! It floored me. But then I realized how women look at each other and then ourselves.
I looked at my best friend as the coolest person on Earth. She saw me as someone people admire. I saw myself as a big fucking weirdo. She saw herself as Michael Scott from the Office. We saw each other as amazing, and looked down on ourselves. It’s so amazing that so many women are rejecting the idea that all women secretly hate and compete with each other, but why are we selling ourselves short? Why aren’t we building ourselves up while also celebrating how great our girlfriends are. We always joke that there would be world peace is everyone treated each other like drunk girls in a bathroom, but maybe we also need to add that we need to look at ourselves with the same lens we look at our best friend. Maybe then we wouldn’t feel so awkward. We’d be confident. We wouldn’t be competing by way of admiration; we’d embrace self love and build up others.
I’m not sure if everyone loves me. But I do know that someone I admire thinks I’m confident and strong, so maybe I should respect their opinion and own it. I hope she totally owns being awesome too. We respect our friends; let’s respect their opinions and stop selling ourselves short. Ditch that critical internal lens. Let’s start building up all women; including ourselves.
Let me tell you the story of MHC’s terrible, awful, no good, very bad day.
Actually, it’s probably been about a month of terrible, no good, very bad, but let’s focus on today.
Today, I woke up, fully planned to kick today’s ass. I really did. I had my game face on, I was excited. Truthfully, despite some personal setbacks, I’ve been super jazzed about life. I’ve been writing some really great articles. I’ve been pitching some awesome stories. I’m currently working on something I’m really excited to share with the community. I’ve been transferred to another location as part of a business restructuring and I’ll be starting at my new store in March. It’s closer to my house and the girls’ school. And then I’m treating myself to a week’s staycation to rest and recharge from my crazy February schedule. I’ve been enjoying the gym. It’s been awesome.
Which brings me to today.
Today my kid had an epic tantrum. Like EPIC. I left for work feeling a shitty mom, a shitty neighbour, and a shitty human being. I spent all day in kind of a funk because I felt like the WORST MOM EVER. I work so damn much to keep us fed and clothed that I feel like I’m not giving enough time to them. I mean, I pay someone to clean my house now because I want it done and I have no time. Then they act out sometimes because they are kids & kids do that sometimes. And sometimes I yell back because moms yell sometimes. And in the end, I just feel like an asshole.
Sometimes I get caught up in the social media trap. I see everyone’s seemingly perfect kids and lives and no one worries about money, their kids always behave and everyone’s house is immaculate and I think “why can’t I be that person? Why am I not the person with the dream job and the perfect car and kids who never ever talk back?” Sometimes I just feel like I can’t measure up. I’ll always be white trash trying to make good. My self esteem takes a hit and I just feel awful. Good moms balance. They do it all right. No mistakes ever. Not like me, who just keeps fucking it all up.
Then I come home, lay in my tub, do some yoga, and recognize that this is total bullshit.
Everyone has a bad week or month. Everyone has one of those days where they took a time out to bawl their eyes out because they are so burned out and feel like they handled it all wrong and sit up late at night thinking they are a horrible parent/partner/friend. But if you keep thinking really positively and focus on the good things while making changes, you’ll make it through.
Today, I was lucky enough to have my friend Paul call me to help me feel better. Bad days happen. Shake it off. Another friend texted me a positive affirmation. My best friend Melissa texted me positive Seth Rollins memes because she gets me. But when I asked each of them why I was failing as a mom, they all reminded me of a time that they did not win parenting. Or housekeeping. Or relationships. Or jobs. It’s easy to feel like you won’t measure up when you’re constantly comparing yourself to invisible competition and FB highlight reels. But I’m not failing as a mom. Or a person. It was just one no good, very bad day.
When I feel like the world is gonna crush me, I immediately think of everything good that has happened, big or small (a trick I learned from Katniss Everdeen). I think of the nice ladies at Hudson Bay who gave great customer service. I think of the feel good story I found on Reddit. I think about the cool things my kids do. I think about how much I’ve improved at the gym. How rad my friends are. And suddenly, I don’t feel like my life is garbage anymore.
There’s no instruction manual on how to juggle single parenting, career, home, and being a decent human being. Sometimes I’ll get it right. Sometimes I won’t. But I can’t spend my days beating myself up about the days that I don’t. If I do, I’ll never have any good days. So, the next time there is a no good, very bad day, I’ll take thirty seconds to remember that I’m not competing with the highlight reels, it’s okay to not know how to handle everything and sometimes you just need to learn on the fly and forgive yourself if you didn’t do it right and learn for next time.
My bestest friend Erica told me to post this on my blog today. I told her I had nothing to write about, but she threatened to be a ghost writer if I didn’t write about something. So, I’ll write about why she’s so great.
She’s the coolest, least judgmental person in the world. She respects my decision making. She trusts my judgment. She feels the same way I do about grammar. If you hurt any of her friends, expect her to go full mama bear. We promised my teenager that we’d go to Texas to hang with her daughter if she got straight A’s, & she is kicking ass at school. She’s pretty rad. And she knows I’m not totally comfortable blogging lately, so she tells me to write stuff or she’ll do it for me. She knows how important my blog is to me, that it was the first place I found where I thought what I said mattered after years of being silent and Stepford like. So, like a good friend, she challenges me to be better, a better writer, a better friend.
Mostly, she finds things & thinks they’ll speak to people. I know, because they speak to me. And she wants everyone to be happy, even if she doesn’t agree with it. Oh, and she REALLY hates anyone who treats people poorly. Chances are, if she wants nothing to do with you, that’s why.
Any who, this was her super cool meme that she wanted me to share. We had a whole chat about it on FB. We both thought it was something lots of people might want to read. You can totally read it (unless one or both of us have blocked you on FB). And since she’s having a cruddy day, maybe it cheered her up. If I missed the mark, she can expand in the comments while leaving her meme for you to enjoy. But any opportunity to discuss why Erica is great works for me.
I’m starting to think I’m spreading myself too thin & I’m pretty sure I don’t give a fuck.
I’ve been offered another freelance position with TWA Entertainment writing for one of their entertainment blogs. I’m reviewing a book for Great West as well as working on another piece. My story pitch was well received by another editor, but he’s not sure if it works in the paper I suggested, so he’s taking more time to think on it. But most importantly, I have a meeting next week with the editor of Metro Edmonton. I’ve met the guy before…and emailed him. And texted. And sent resume after resume. I’ve pretty much proven I can be VERY tenacious when I need to be. But I finally got a meeting for my sixth freelance position & I am so nervous that I may throw up. My best friend Erica calls him “Editor hottie” and said she “ships it” but I ignore her. This is a big opportunity for me & I REALLY don’t want to blow it. This would give me real newsroom access & it would mean so much to me. And I could still work my day job, which means I’ll get to keep doing such amazing things such as live & pay bills. Yay!
…oh, and I finally got a better work phone, so win for me. My boss asked how I got such a solid device as my work phone (which I now carry 24/7), I said because I’m awesome & everyone fucking loves me. He laughed. He gets me.
That’s my fear; that I’ll spread myself so thin between management, journalism, raising my family, and fitness that I’ll burn out like I did in the winter. I keep reminding myself that I cannot allow that to happen. I’ve worked too hard for this & I need to keep my work life balance in check. So far, I’m doing alright. My friend Jannik jokes that I’m much easier to stalk now, as my schedule is so precise.I can’t complain about my work schedule; I build it because I’m the boss hahaha. Monday, Friday, Saturday are day shifts in my store, and running. Tuesday – Thursday are night shifts in my store & crossfit (with a floating day off in there). Sundays off. Always (except for next weekend, where I’ll be reviewing Fringe Festival plays for Vue Magazine! How cool is that). I keep asking him if it counts as stalking if I know he’s there & leave him snacks and binoculars. We have an odd rapport. But my point is that I’ve built myself a balance. I worry if I keep adding to my plate like a fat kid at a buffet, if it’ll all topple down.
But I guess I know that this is how it has to be. No one ever achieved success by sitting on their ass. I need to work hard. I’ve always worked hard, but this time it’s paying off in spades. I’m passionate about writing. It’s literally all I know how to do (oh, and kick ass in wireless. I’m good at that too) & work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like me doing what I have to do in order to become the successful woman & role model for my daughters I need to be.
When Fong, the weird pyramid scheme guy (who I thought was asking me for a three way when he asked me if I was open minded, proving that I’m super messed up) asked me if I could scale back & focus on having an easier time making money, I told him no. I like working. I like working hard. I like doing things that make me happy. Why would I trade that in for an easy path?
So, I push myself by reminding myself that I earned these opportunities & I have to earn the right to keep them. I force myself to the gym when I’m tired or don’t feel like running by reminding myself that I need that self care, and I keep my day for me, my family, my sanity. Last week, I chose to spend part of it by my favourite place in Edmonton reading. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be in the exact same spot reading a book I’m reviewing.
It’s a lot of work, but the best things come to those who put in a lot of work. So, I go into each day with the understanding that I need to put in that work to continue to succeed while balancing work, life, & fitness & being the kindest possible person I’m capable of being.
My best friend Melissa is my other half. She’s one of the most important adults in my life & I’ll be home with her soon for my annual visit, as I donated a week to bring my kids to see their dad (since he didn’t ask to see them & I’m basically handing them off & saying “THESE ARE YOURS. REMEMBER?”). We’ll have a great catch up (& I’m getting a HUGE tattoo. Like, HUGE).
She’s come up with an idea for a business/social media brand that is completely rad. As the resident social media guru/Queen of cell phones, I’ve been helping her with ideas. While brainstorming, I came up with a story idea that I thought was really interesting. But it doesn’t fit my demographic at Great West Newspapers. So, after much discussion with my friend Toni, who is as passionate about radio as I am about print (and shares my disdain for WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte), I decided to pitch it to a newspaper.
I didn’t just pitch it. I started. I conducted interviews. I did research. I networked. I put my guts into this little idea that suddenly meant so much to me while also working on my next Edmonton Senior piece (also an idea I pitched.I love that my latest pieces are mine, from the initial idea to the finished product. If you want to read my latest article, click here). I asked friends & colleagues about interest. I drove Matty the Bastard nuts trying to come up with a place to shop it to (since my last pitch to a different paper didn’t pan out). But I go by a certain building every day & it was almost challenging me to take my writing career into my own hands. Finally, I said “Fuck it, go big or go home.”
After my disastrous first encounter with the Deputy Editor of the Journal (who thankfully has a sense of humour & finds my complete inability to make a good first impression funny), I decided to strike while my hilarious but awkward memory is fresh & put together an intelligent & well thought out pitch. He forgot to reply to that part of the email, which means that either;
a) it was fucking terrible
b) he is still mulling over it
c) it was so amazing that he died of joy that someone suggested it.
d) the next paragraph explains why it might have been forgotten.
But the bigger story is that he had another proposition. One that puts me right on the path to achieving everything I’ve wanted since I was eight. I don’t want to give too much away until it materializes, but stay tuned, because I may have epic news to share with you that I am so super stoked about that I just want to scream with giddy glee.
But of course, that’s not the only professional part of my life that’s taking off. My new job is fantastic. My staff is extremely talented, bright, funny & eager to learn to be the best possible sales people they can be. I don’t have to wear a terrible work shirt (even though I didn’t for the last week BECAUSE SOMEBODY STOLE IT FROM MY LOCKER). I remembered more than I thought I would, & I may be taking over the store faster than I thought. But my role as cell phone boss lady has been fantastic & I am so excited to work with this team & help them meet their goals.
I think I have finally reached the point in my life where I have almost everything I’ve ever wanted. My day job & writing are working together nicely, and I still have enough of a work life balance to watch the littles at their church play, movies at night & work out five days a week. I have loving and supportive friends. I have great hair. It’s all finally come together & soon I’ll be able to share some exciting news that will make me even happier. I’m so happy with my life right now & that I put it all together on my terms. It’s a really good feeling to know that you’re on the path where good things are happening & it’s because you worked hard, were kind & never gave up.
I’m sorry if I’m being braggy, but I have worked hard. I didn’t sit complacent. I didn’t stab people in the back. I devoted my life to being a good mom, writer, friend, employee & woman & it’s paying off. So, I’m gonna enjoy it & work towards what comes next.
Do you know how much easier it is to go to your job when you know you only have to go 11 more times?!
Seriously. Super awesome. I’m like “let’s hit this target guys so I can get out of here!” I MAY be excited to start my new job. I am so grateful for the opportunities that this gig has afforded me, but it’s time to move on and I’m REALLY excited to move on. Haha. However, this is not my old universe, so I’ll have to remember some very important managerial rules;
I am not friends with my boss, so I can no longer say bitch on conference calls…unless of course, I become friends with him and find it is socially acceptable to use the word bitch in conference calls. I probably should limit my use of the word bitch in my store. Maybe. I can’t promise miracles yo.
I am the manager in training, which means in a few months I will be running my ship, which means I can no longer pin my hair on my head however I feel like. I must actually make the bitch bun look nice, and look like the cell phone boss lady that I am about to become. That means waking up early to do my hair AND run. Boo lol.
I will once again get to say “I AM the manager,” when someone asks for a manager.
Many of my new team members are new to wireless, so I get to add “Bad ass cell phone trainer/boss lady,” to my list of skills.
Seriously, stop saying the word bitch so much MHC.
But the thing I am happiest about is the outpouring of love, congrats and support I received from my former co-workers, friends, and family. I received a message from my former co-worker/quasi-sibling/pretend nemesis Chaddy Chad offering to revive our friendly rivalry, as well as congratulating me, saying he knew I deserved to take the lead. My old boss reminded me that yes, he made a phone call, but I’m the one who earned the job and he was happy for me…but if I don’t kick butt, he will hunt me down. Texts from friends, colleagues, etc. wishing me well. I am so incredibly fortunate to have so many people who love me and want me to succeed. It’s funny; when you surround yourself with people who love you (and you love right back) & want to support one another, how far you can go. My people are a zillion miles away (except for about three people), but they still have my back in all things. Those are the kinds of people I want in my life. Thank you for being those kinds of awesome people.
I’m just utterly in love with my life right now. I have the wireless career plan that I had worked so hard at Target to build (and then ended) back on track. I am part of a company that has a culture and people that I love. I’m part of an organization that I respect and admire and I want to build a long term career with (if a long term journalism job doesn’t ever pan out). But while right now it’s the Dave & MHC show, once I prove myself, it’ll be my store, my team. I get to cultivate people & help them reach their goals! I’m freelancing with a National Newspaper Award winning editor who sees a lot of potential in my writing and my story ideas. And as I learn to drive and buy my own car, I can keep working towards the goal. I’ve been doing home repair, putting up curtains and hanging pictures and making my home feel like MY home. The kids are doing well. I was afraid I’d have to start over at Crossfit, but no, I still have a lot of strength in me. I guess life is a little like running. Running is stupid, but it’s necessary to remain healthy and active. But there’s a big ass hill by my house. When I moved here, walking up that stupid hill was enough to wind me. This week I ran up that hill as part of a 5.5 KM run. Even after running almost 4.5 KM first, I made it up the hill and still managed to finish the run. And when you run uphill, your legs get stronger. I guess, as always, I’ve gotten stronger. And because I’ve gotten stronger, I have gotten almost everything I’ve ever wanted, which makes me the happiest MHC in the whole wide world.
We have been friends for 20 years (Dear God). We’ve been friends through the best of times, the worst of times, marriages (both of us), divorce (mine), kids, depression, and that heartbreaking time that Hulk Hogan joined the nWo. I’m very fortunate to have maintained such an awesome long term friendship. We used to talk about TV & sports. Now it’s kids & fitness & life.
But when you’ve known someone as long as I’ve known him, they’re more apt to tell you when you’re not living up to your potential. Or, in my case, when I’m being a doormat.
For years, I’ve told him about my life, my kids, my plans, goals, etc. and the one question he’d ask me whenever I would talk about stuff is “Is that what Mary-Helen wants?”
“I know the hubby thinks you can afford that Van, but what do you think? What do you want?“
“I know he’s talking marriage, but is that what you want?“
“I know you say you’re fine with that schedule, but is that really what you want? Will it really work for you?“
“So you’re giving him what he asked for, despite him having no respect for you whatsoever. When does he care about what you want?“
I would answer that I was doing what I wanted, because I was writing & crossfitting & doing my thing. But was I really getting what I wanted? I often said that I didn’t want to rock the boat at work, or make the Dad angry. Blank & I were together & happy & he worked so hard that I didn’t want to upset him. I would always say “I don’t want him to get mad & leave me,” and when I did assert myself, I would be afraid of the disappearing act. So, maybe I wasn’t. Or was I? I don’t even know anymore.
I spend so much time making people happy that I end up sacrificing what I want. I would try to stand up for myself, but when it didn’t make things better, I’d stand down. Give in. Maybe I need to be more assertive and stop taking stupid people’s stupid shit.
But, since winter turned into spring, I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. What does MHC want? What do I want for my life, my kids, my future? I’m in control of my life & deep down, I always have been. I just let my fear get in the way of that. And like a good friend, or Glinda, my friend wanted me to figure it out on my own.
Maybe I need to stop worrying about what everyone else wants and do what I want. I need to stop worrying about what the Dad wants & what my friends want & what he wants & focus 100% on what my kids & I want. And we want to continue to live our quiet life. Go to church. Go to Starbucks. Tomorrow we’ll go see Captain America. I want to go running after work every night. I want to crossfit & gains. And most importantly, I want to be the best damn writer & role model I can be. And with the awesome new changes at my magazine, I’m excited about what kind of writer I am going to become. And I’ve already taught my girls about forgiveness and compromise. Now I need to focus on teaching them how to stand up for what they want &I make their voices heard. If people don’t like that, then oh well. Your time in my story is over. I no longer stress about that. I have a world to conquer.
Sometimes it takes reminding, but I do have a voice & I need to use it to stand up for myself at work, in life, and to myself. Because what I want matters too…and I intend to get it.
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.
As I’m starting to settle into my life here, I’m realizing that I need to scale back on my social media.
Last night, my daughter asked if our cat could have an Instagram, and my older daughter is now the cat’s social media manager. This kind of made me realize how dependent we have become on social media. Maybe we are way too invested in it, keep people on our Facebook accounts that we don’t like for no apparent reason or we post our whole lives, etc.
I’m super guilty of this, especially since the move. I’m on social media & blogging far more than I used to, mostly to stay connected. But perhaps I’m also inviting negativity into my home, which is causing me unnecessary anxiety. I am blessed with amazing friends. I am also friends with those who love to be right, at the expense of my happiness under the guise of helping. And by inviting people into my personal life as much as I do, perhaps I’m allowing them access to make me feel less than happy with my life.
I refuse to walk on eggshells. I want my life to be positive and joyful & happy. So, I’ve started distancing myself from people who do not make me happy, including family members. If you do not contribute to my life, my home in a positive way, then you are welcome to leave. I know who contributes positively to my life; Erica, my best friends Melissa, Doug, Sarah, Gleason, Bree & Damanda. My brother. My boyfriend. All of these people enrich my life & make it better. Crossfit enhances my life. But, my heavy social media presence is allowing others to analyze my life. Same with my blog. I write because, to be honest, I don’t have much else to do. But perhaps I need to be more mindful about what I put out there. I write about my failings because I’m human. I feel like being honest about my humanness will help people see me the way I want to be seen; as a resilient, beautiful, kind hearted person who is not perfect. And they can love me in my imperfections, because people on pedestals fall down. I just want to be a regular person who tries her best & makes mistakes & is deeply loved by those she loves. And those I don’t know personally can take some refuge in the fact that others are not perfect either. But, I also don’t want to be analyzed like a specimen or my blog used as a substitute to engage with me. Maybe I invite that by writing about my life so candidly. So, perhaps I need to scale back my social media involvement & keep more of my life offline.
Maybe this is a sign that I’m finally starting to embrace this as home. I don’t need my lifelines at home to make me feel connected to human beings. I have a great life here, I was just too afraid to see it, because I was afraid to lose it. I love my work. The stuff I’m writing is so cool. And I’m building contacts, which will help me later. I’ve gotten rave reviews for some of my articles & even my editor is impressed by my growth as a writer. My kids love it here so much. They love their school & their friends. I’m making friends. My new job is both exciting and terrifying. And for the first time ever, I’m really happy in a relationship & I’m not analyzing every move wondering if it’s gonna fall apart. I trust him completely & it’s such a good feeling to know you’re with someone & they make you happy & even months later you’re happy & you’re content with where you are. I have never had this & it scared me, but now I’m just so happy. And maybe, because I’m settling into my life, I don’t really need to advertise on social media that I’m doing well. Maybe I just want to do well.
However, social media is an addicting thing, so I’ll probably still post on my FB, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr & Snapchat (all of which you can find & follow by clicking here), but less frequently. I want to catch up with friends, but we can text. And if we can’t text, maybe we aren’t that super close. Either way, I will not damage my happy life with doubts or negativity. I’ve worked too hard to make my life epic. Even if you don’t agree, just be happy with me, because that’s what I want for everyone I know.
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.