Thank U, Next.

I didn’t want to go to the gym today.

I was tired. My shift at work was long. I slept like crap. I’ve been stressed out about money, work, Xmas, etc. I wanted to go home, brew up a David’s Tea, and lay on my couch & do nothing. I definitely did not want to go to the gym. I had a headache and I didn’t want to get sweaty and more tired. I wanted to go to bed early, not go to the gym.

Nope, I did not. I sat in my car after work for five minutes, psyching myself up to go to the gym. I did not want to go to the gym. I got to the gym and finished the song I was listening to, trying to mentally prepare to go to the gym. Finally, I made it in and did the WOD and worked on my snatches and did the thing. As I drove home, I was so glad that I went to the gym. I felt better than I had in days; refreshed, rejuvenated, and much more optimistic. I felt like my normal MHC self. So when I got home & realized that I should clean the living room, I didn’t just whine and procrastinate. I just did it.

Sometimes you get bogged down by life and you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and mope around and be a big lame. Maybe your anxiety or your own brain tries to convince you that it’s not worth it and just give up and be miserable. That’s how I get sometimes and sometimes I let that feeling win. But, other times, like today, I did the thing that was necessary to help me feel better, both inside and out. I’m a happier person when I go to the gym. I’m less anxious, I’m more motivated. I smile more. So, even though today I didn’t want to go to the gym, some part of me knew I had to go to the gym, so I kicked my own ass to get there. Sometimes, the things that will make us better are the things we know are good for us, but we don’t want to do it because it’s hard or we don’t want to be accountable for our actions or we’re tired and hangry. But you still have to get up and do the damn thing because you’ll be better for it in the long run.

Next time I get stuck in a rut, I’ll have to remind myself how much better I felt after I got up off of my ass and went to the gym even though I was tired and didn’t want to go. Or when I cleaned my house even though I really wanted to watch Haunting of Hill House & eat leftover Halloween candy (the latter of which I did y’all. No regrets). However, the only way your life gets better is when you like yourself. I don’t like myself when I’m not exercising. So, I gotta make the time, even when I feel like shit. My body will thank me, because your body is like your car; it performs better when you take care of it. Take care of the body, and the spirit will take care of itself.

Next time you feel yourself wanting to be lazy and like you’re forcing yourself to work out or get to work or even something as simple as get out of bed and shower, focus on how much better you feel when you do these things & keep pushing forward. Your mental health will thank you. After all, the only thing that can quiet a negative mind is when a positive attitude chooses to push forward.

Used to Be

My life seems to run on two speeds; nothing is happening or everything is happening all at once. There will never be an in between.

But hey, I guess that’s okay, as long as I know what I’m doing…

…spoiler alert, I do not. But I’m slowly getting there and that’s the key.

Work takes up a lot of my time, but that’s okay, because I’m mastering work life balance. I’m learning how to leave when my shift is over to go home or to the gym most days. I’m learning it’s okay to take my days off and use them for personal time with the fam jam. I can be boss lady, but also take time to be MHC too. I’m also training my new neighbour, who happens to be my best friend y’all! So, I can focus on one workplace and not two. Plus, she’s killing it right now and once she’s fully trained, is gonna rock this business! So, I’m prioritizing myself sometimes, and that’s okay.

I’m learning that it’s okay to make yourself a priority, something I often forget. I always feel like I have to be “on.” I have to be the best mom, the best partner, the best friend, the best employee, the best boss lady, and I need to constantly give and give and give and give. But then, I’m like the Giving Tree. There’s nothing left, but you still need to give. You can’t give everything and then wonder why you’re drained. It’s okay to take time for yourself and replenish so you can give to the people that rely on you. I’ve been forgetting that for so long, trying to please everyone, that I’ve been an empty, drained, vessel, and that’s impacted my work, my home life, my interpersonal relationships. I need to remember that it’s okay to sometimes put me first and it doesn’t make me a bad mom or partner or employee or boss lady. It makes me human.

So, I’ve been making the gym a priority at least once a week. I’ve been taking my Sundays for the kids (except this Sunday, when I’ll be working at a trade show. Check my IG for details). I’ve been taking time at home to declutter my basement and do housework and keep my space the way I want it. Speaking of space, I’ve been putting out feelers for new spaces to call home when my lease is up next spring. I keep talking about finding another home (within YEG guys, I’m not planning another cross country trek. This is permanent), but I never take the time to do it. So, I’ve been looking at a few rentals close to my work or near the high school I’ve chosen for my seventh grader to attend when the time comes. Perhaps a new space that I feel more comfortable in is what the doctor ordered. I loved my London house, and I’ve never felt the same about this one. Perhaps I need to find a place I loved as much. I didn’t like London, just my house. I love Edmonton, but not my house. I need to stop being lazy and find “my” Edmonton house. By acknowledging I have my own needs and choosing to address them, I can continue working to be the happiest, healthiest MHC I can be.

I think sometimes women are taught that if we put ourselves first, then we are selfish and not thinking about our kids/mates/job. But if you don’t make yourself a priority and focus on making yourself happy, no one else is going to. Not your mate. Not your parents. Not your kids. Not your job. It’s a one person job. You can’t give if you’ve given everything away. Sometimes, you’ve gotta love yourself and put your needs first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s selfish. You deserve a fulfilling, happy life too.

Salute

Another bucket list item checked off!

I completed a 10k run!

My time wasn’t what I hoped it would be, but I set a personal best, and that was pretty exciting. My coaches cheered at the finish line and that meant a lot to me. It’s a small thing, but I felt so supported by my gym crew. I have been so swamped that I haven’t been able to train as much as I wanted, but I did it and I’m pretty proud of that. Next year, I’ll aim for an hour. I think with training and dedication, I could do that.

I was feeling pretty good until I got my marathon pics. While everyone was happily sharing theirs, I was crying in my back room because I couldn’t believe how big I looked. I wasn’t proud of myself anymore. All I could see was that I was this big fat blob running. It sounds depressing, but it was a really healthy moment because I keep pushing down and ignoring the feelings that stem from the fact that I really don’t like myself right now. I keep saying I’m going to do things and put me first, but I never do it. Here I was, fresh off of a major accomplishment and I was heartbroken because I felt so fat.

I haven’t been happy with my training level this year. I feel like I could be doing more, but it seems like work, family, life bogs me down more than I’d like. Lack of training leads me to eat like crap. This makes me get fat again. None of this is good, because it all just makes me unhappy. So I decided I need to find another goal to work towards. My coach suggested a half marathon, but no thank you. I’m not ready for that yet. But Crossfit goals might be a good idea. It would help kick my ass to train. I’d hopefully get to know my gym community better, which is positive. Basically, I need to learn to like myself again, and I know exercise is a big part of it.

I thought about some goals I wanted to set. A few things I could work towards to help me feel better about myself, both physically and mentally. I want to get healthier, be a better role model to the girls, and get out of my comfort zone and not let work take over my life. I love my job, but I need work life balance. The gym is an important part of that for me, as I like the people at my gym, and I like how I feel after a workout. With my car, it’s easier to get to the gym, which means fewer excuses, and also, a better butt.

I thought long and hard about the goals I wanted to set. What would help me improve and also help me like myself better? Here’s what I came up with;

1. Attend classes five days a week every week for a minimum of one month.

2. Attend at least one strongman class.

3. Push myself a little harder each week so I can start completed RX WOD’s.

4. Complete one Open workout RX’ed in 2019.

5. Give up caffeine for thirty days.

6. Sign up for a Crossfit competition and actually do it.

They all sound like they’d be hard. But that’s the point. I’ll have to make it a point to leave work on time to get to the gym. Now that I have a vehicle, it’ll be easier. I’ll have to push past insecurities to attend a class that (right now), is out of my skill level. I’ll have to break my morning routine and not get my morning Starbucks & shake up how I start my day. I’ve always been able to change my life to keep doing positive things, but lately I’ve been stuck in a rut. Last time I felt this way, I packed up, moved to London and lost weight. Then I packed up, moved to Edmonton and began a freelance career. I can’t pack up again, but maybe I can shake up my life just enough that I can kickstart positive changes again.

If you don’t like yourself, no relationship, no friendship, nothing will fix you. Only you can fix you. I’ll never be good for anyone else if I’m not happy with myself. I need to teach my girls fitness is about loving your body enough to take care of it, not punishing it for liking pizza. So, I’ll work on my goals, so that the next time there are photos of me accomplishing a cool thing, I’ll actually be proud of them.

Fall In Line

Have you ever just felt like you are putting in work but not seeing any real return on it?

That’s how I’ve felt lately about pretty much my entire life. I put in work, but I feel like I’m not really seeing a return on the work.

It all started when I started shopping for an outfit to wear to a friend’s wedding. I had narrowed it down to to two options, thinking I’ll have lost the last of the weight I’ve gained since moving out here before the wedding. But after trying them on, I didn’t feel terribly sexy or pretty. I just felt like a fat, unattractive, mess. It didn’t help that despite working out four to five times a week & eating cleaner, I still wasn’t seeing a real change on the scale. I know it can take up to eight weeks to see a change, but my self esteem has been taking a huge hit. I just want to like what I see in the mirror again, and lately, I haven’t.

Also, I still need help picking between these two outfits. Please send your suggestions.

I’ve been getting really down on myself lately, and my body image has a lot to do with it. Stress makes my skin break out (thanks Cystic Acne!) so I’ve been trying to cover it with makeup.

I always feel insecure everywhere I go, because I always just feel out of place. Then I weigh in weekly and see no changes and it stresses me out, which starts the cycle all over again. I often wonder if all women struggle this much with body image, or is it just me?

I keep reminding myself that change doesn’t happen until you do. So, as insecure as I feel, or as uncomfortable as it makes me, I have to make changes so I feel comfortable in my own skin. That means going for my nightly runs to get ready for the 10k even if I don’t feel like it. It means not eating junk food. It means telling myself that I can do the damn thing even when I can’t do the damn thing. It also means pushing myself a little more each day, like signing up for 2/3 of the Mock Regionals at my gym and pushing myself to try to finish the workouts that are far beyond my skill level because it seemed like it’d be fun (because my level of fun is currently “masochist”). Sure I couldn’t lift my arms over my head this morning, but the whole experience really helped me reset and feel less like a fat slob and more like an athlete who may very well be capable of kicking Crossfit ass and finishing a 10k race.

I also need to remind myself that one’s self worth or return on work isn’t determined by a number on a scale. If I keep working, my pants will fit how I want them to. The return is the work. A few months ago, the weights I was using as my working set were my one rep max. The time it took me to run 5k was longer than it is right now. I can lift heavier. I can run faster. All of this is the return on the work. But I’ve been letting my scale tell me how I feel about myself instead of letting my body show me what it could do. Sometimes I forget being healthy is a marathon, not a sprint. If I keep working, I’ll see changes. But if I rely on a scale to tell me that I’m an arbitrary number, I’ll never be happy. I should celebrate how my body is improving, and worry less that a number is shrinking.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in what we think success looks like that we forget that sometimes it’s about what success feels like. So, I’ll take my little victories as they come, and use them to build up my self esteem so when the physical changes are noticeable, I can appreciate them.

The Night We Met

What could be better than your computer requiring a system restore the night before a deadline, so you have to wait to proofread it before submitting it?! What, being punched in the face?! Perhaps!

Actual footage of me vs. my computer tonight

Oh well, while I wait for the system restore, I’ll just sit here in my bathtub wearing a detoxifying mud mask because this skin isn’t gonna look healthy on its own. I’ll also take this time to ask a question that’s been the subject of an argument between myself and my friends (& my teenager, who is determined to marry me off to some handsome hunk so her little sisters have a father figure in their lives & she can convince imaginary new stepfather to buy her a puppy);

Is it possible to be too busy to date?

My friend is getting married this August, and I’ve been asked back home if I’m bringing a plus one. I haven’t been on a date since December so…no. Besides, who brings someone they’ve dated less than six months across the country to meet everyone & attend a wedding? That’s way too soon! I’m constantly asked when I’m going to finally meet someone, or start dating someone seriously, and I always ask myself “Excuse me, when am I going to have time for this?!” I mean, I work 50 hours a week at my store, then I’m writing articles for three publications. The only places I go to outside of work is the gym or Starbucks. No one meets their soulmate at the gym or at Starbucks, despite what romcoms tell you…do they? Personally, when I’m at the gym, I’m just focused on not getting injured. Seth Freaking Rollins could walk in and propose and I would likely be too focused on my kettlebell swings to notice.

I work six days, I hit the gym three days a week, go running three days a week, work on my articles in the middle of the night, and use my one day off as family day for the girls. Where exactly am I gonna fit “develop a functional interpersonal relationship?!”

I keep being told to “make time.” But I don’t want to unless I’m making time for someone of value. Otherwise, it’s straight up wasting my time. People say I’m not willing to give men a chance, but in reality, I’m not willing to give all my time and attention to some Tinder dude that hasn’t proven himself worthy of my time yet. I’m busy. I’m not gonna drop a gym class to go out for drinks. I’ll gladly make plans in advance with you, and if you’re not willing to make them, then chances are you don’t respect my time. Why should I lower my standards like that? If I asked to make plans, and the dude said he was busy, I would understand he has a life too. But women in general are expected to fall head over heels because a guy showered them with attention.

The other issue I take is “MH, you’re a single mom. You have baggage. You can’t be expecting to land a charismatic, successful, career focused man. You need to settle.” Bitch, no I don’t. Kids aren’t baggage. They are part of the package. Unless they have chosen to remain child free (a decision that should be respected BTW), we’re in our thirties. Lots of divorced single parents out there. Much like I had to learn to embrace that I might be a stepmom (something I was previously not open to, because of past experiences), most men in my age group understand its part of the deal. Why are single moms supposed to reduce ourselves to emotionally unavailable jerks because “the good ones won’t want a single mom.” Then how are they “good?” A good person embraces every part of you, and that includes kids. I always want to scream that I’m not too busy to date; I’m too busy to settle.

Every relationship I’ve ever been in was me settling for someone I thought would love me because I’m obviously so difficult to love. When my old blog post pop up on my Facebook memories, and I re-read about how grateful I was that cowardly, spineless, twats “loved” me because I was so impossible to love, I want to puke. Not just because it reads like a pathetic wimp, but because I allowed myself to think that I didn’t deserve to be happy with someone because I sucked as a person. Everyone deserves to be happy. That is a basic human right. And everyone deserves a relationship that helps them feel good about themselves. A relationship where you feel like you have to be grateful they’re with you because you suck isn’t one of those.

I don’t want to look at myself in a negative space anymore. So, I refuse to waste time on things or people that will only bring negativity to my life. Instead, I fill it up with things of value; my girls, my job, my career, Crossfit, a 10k run, my best friends. You know, stuff that really matters and will help me improve as a person, so I can be a better role model to the girls. Settling isn’t really doing that.

I guess when I say “I’m too busy to date,” I also mean, “I’m too busy to settle.” I’m also too busy, mostly because I only go to work, Starbucks, and the gym (which we have established are not ideal places to meet people), because I’m trying to do my best to live a life I’m proud of, while teaching my daughters to live life on their terms and be happy with themselves, so when they’re ready to love someone, they’ll be capable of a mature, healthy relationship without the trial by fire that we all had. Maybe if I meet someone who is also busy, and wants to compromise with me so that we fit into each other’s lives comfortably, things will change, but until then, I’ve gotta focus on the girls, that 10k run, my byline, and helping my store succeed.

The Dark In You

Despite being a ray of fucking sunshine, apparently, people don’t always like me.

It’s not really that big of a deal, because I mostly don’t care, not to mention I don’t like to discuss it, because I feel like by giving faceless online strangers attention, I’m feeding into their ego. But it ties into something that’s been bothering me for some time now, so here we go.

I visit a website to discuss the pro wrasslin, because I enjoy the product and most of my friends don’t care for it, so I would rather discuss it with like minded people, just like my friends who watch the Bachelor go to Reddit instead of trying to talk to me about it.

However, pro wrestling has a huge group of misogynistic fans that like to police the fandom, because they hate themselves and project their hatred onto others. They use this as a way to spew their venom on others. Usually I laugh. But there’s one or two that take it too far. They stalk my social media. Attack my appearance. Look up my personal address and my employer. Send death threats. Imagine being this butt hurt because someone really didn’t love Samoa Joe. But last night, this same dude decided to post this pic and tell everyone, wait for it, that I am fat.

First of all, holy shit, no way. Literally 90% of my blog is dedicated to why I’ve worked to change everything about how I eat and live so I can look and feel better about myself. The other 10% is all about embracing that how I’ve chosen to do that doesn’t lend to a stereotypically thin frame. I’ll never be a size two. Instead I’m a 10-12. My legs are strong. Maybe I don’t have a six pack abs, but my body is healthy for my body type. That 31 inch waist is the result of exercise and healthy living. Maybe it can’t wear sample sizes, but when you used to wear a size 22, it still feels pretty damn good. Is there still work to do? Of course! But I’m not going to undo all of the work I’ve put into improving by getting all depressed because someone who hates themselves is mad.

But it always makes me laugh that this is somehow the only insult people can come up with; you’re fat. My ex husband (who was twice my size) would use it whenever he was having one of his tantrums; you’re fat. You’ll never amount to anything without me, because you’re stupid and fat. As if this word somehow detracts from a woman’s worth. When WWE superstar Paige was bullied by the same idiots, it was always the same; she’s fat. As if being healthy and overcoming so much to finally feel comfortable in her own skin doesn’t matter; SOME DUDE THINKS SHE IS FAT. She no longer has worth, or beauty, or value.

What a load of crap.

Fat is a word. It only holds the power you give it. I believe every woman should aim for healthy for their body type, but I also think words mean only what you want them to. Technically, Ashley Graham is “fat.” But she’s known for being one of the world’s most beautiful women. There is no one size fits all for women & we need to aspire to reach our healthy body type.

For too long, fat was the word to cut me to my core. As if being fat meant all of my good qualities had no merit at all, because I was FAT. Meanwhile, the only person giving that word power was me. I chose to let fat make me feel badly about myself. But it’s still the go to for every insecure little puke on Earth, regardless of size. Besides, the same people who call women fat are the same guys who cry when women check out guys that look less like them and more like Chris Evans. Why can’t women stop being so superficial? Maybe they don’t like you because you’re an asshole that calls women fat on the internet.

I guess the point is that words only hurt if you let them. As summer comes (in theory), we’ll be surrounded by fad diets and cleanses, telling us how we can get a bikini body. How if we aren’t a certain size, we should be ashamed of how we look and who we are. As long as you’re doing your best to live in a way that’s the most healthy for your body, you should be proud of yourself and not let a word define you or hurt you. Be proud of all the things that matter; your dress size will rarely be one of them.

She Loves Control

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.

Are We All We Are

Just like most women, I struggle with body image.

I used to be so good at exercising six days a week. Now it’s two days, sometimes three. I’m aiming for four, but it’s all dependent on my schedule. I’ve been working on meal planning better as well. One of my fave IG superstars (& my former employee, go follow him, he’s adorbs) posted some bomb recipes that I’m going to try for post gym meals. I’ve also signed up for Mealife, which delivers portion controlled meals to your door! Amazing, right? I want to make positive meal choices, so I’m not ruining my workout with garbage. I’ll still have cheat days, but abs are built in the kitchen as well as the gym.

I’m also participating in the Crossfit Open. I’m currently the 28073 fittest woman on Earth. I mean, that’s kind of cool, right?

Ppppp

I finished 18.1 and for the first time in a long ass time, I felt accomplished af. I beat the goal I set for myself. I pushed myself. I was feeling awesome. One of my coaches mentioned she took pics and I was on the fence, but I contemplated taking them to show my progress, that anyone could push their boundaries if they wanted to. But then, I got a text from a friend back home teasing me about my shirt. After that I decided not to post them. I went from feeling accomplished to feeling like a giant, fat lemon. Only fit, bad ass people get to post their competition photos. Not me. I am still overweight. I still scale everything. I do not belong in the cool kids fit club.

No one at my gym would make me feel that way. They’re a welcoming bunch. During the workout, the coaches were cheering me on, as were the kiddos, who like to come with. It was a trusted friend that made me feel like a big, fat, lemon in my yellow shirt. Even though he commended my progress and made it a point to watch the competition on our gym’s Instagram story, I didn’t feel encouraged. I felt like a fat yellow lemon trying to fit in with people that are infinitely fitter than me. I stuck out even more than my shirt. That wasn’t his intention, but it’s what happened. Why? Because I still struggle with body image.

Even though I weigh a lot less than I used to and I work really hard at the gym and I’m training to lose that last 40 lbs, I don’t see myself as a work in progress. I still see fat MH, with the dark hair and the big butt and the low self esteem. That seeped into poor relationship choices, poor diet, behaviours that continued my low self esteem. I’m still likely to eat a bag of chips when I’m stressed at work. But that’s up to me to work on. If I want to be healthy & happier, I need to do the work. If I don’t want to feel like I stick out, I need to do the work to get to the level of RX WOD’s and super bad assery. But it’s all up to me.

Words can hurt, even if they were well intended. But too many people point fingers and blame and act like victims to derail progress. In the end, it all comes down to you & what you want to accomplish. If garbage eating is holding you back, then take control of your diet. The Zesty cheese Doritos aren’t making you eat them (even if they are amazing). No one can take away the effort you put in. Most importantly, no one can make you feel like a fat yellow lemon. I chose to interpret it that way. In the end, goals only work if you do & the only way to stop feeling badly about yourself is accept yourself or change it. I may never be a size two, but I know I’ll never be truly comfortable in my own skin when I’m overweight. So, I work on changing it so my girls will see a mom who loves herself completely.

Most of the time, the idea that you’re not good enough is all in your head. We are all capable and strong enough to accomplish anything we put our minds to. I let my self doubt get in the way of being proud of what I did, and I shouldn’t have. So, next time, I’m going to focus on what I did, not what I didn’t…yet.

From Now On

GUYS. I HAVE NEWS. GUYS. GUUUUYYYYSSSS.

Today, I was scrolling though the Twitter like normal, because in addition to today being my daughter’s 11th birthday, I have the flu.

I’ve actually lost my voice completely, so it’s a wonderful time to be alive, as Bossman said. But I can’t talk, outside of about 10 minutes today. So, while she was happily trying on her new apron and oven mitts (apparently the best gifts EVER, as she’s always wanted a nice apron with matching oven mitts and these are Nerdy Nummies, so even better), I was mindlessly scrolling. I saw a tweet from my editor at the Yards, and saw that he was nominated for TWO Alberta Magazine Awards! I was so excited for him, and went to issue a congrats until I saw something in the corner.

GUYS. I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN ALBERTA MAGAZINE AWARD AND I FOUND OUT ON TWITTER, WHICH IS COMPLETELY IN LINE WITH MY LIFE.

That’s right! I am an Alberta Magazine Award nominee! Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever heard?! (To read my nominated piece, CLICK HERE) I would have screamed if I could make sounds other than pitiful squeaks! So, I texted everybody I’ve ever met and told them! My friends are the best because they’re super supportive. My best friend in Cow Province agreed to be my date. My gym crew all took the time to “like” the news. My teacher and mentor said she was proud of me. It was a day of happy tears and ruined mascara, but I got to celebrate the fact that one of my best friends in the whole world turned 11 today and after all of these years of working and risks, I am finally making it in the world of journalism.

I didn’t submit this work for nomination. I had no idea this was even a thing that could happen. I’ve been a member of AMPA since 2015, when I started at Great West Newspapers. I never thought this could be me. I was proud of this piece because it was important and relevant and I was proud to be asked to write it. I probably won’t win this award. The other pieces are a zillion times better than mine. But for me, the girl in 80G who was part of the Convergence pilot program a million years ago, this is a huge deal and I’m super proud.

Ahh, fat MHC. How I hate you.

Hopefully I can get the time off and Carissa & I can go to the ceremony while I meet other journalists and maybe learn some new ways to improve my writing. Then I’ll lose, be disappointed, and move forward. But right now, I feel like one of those celebrities when they hear they’re going to the Oscars; proud and humbled.

Today I feel like I can really be a great writer, and make my daughters proud. They were proud today. For all those times I feel like I’m parenting wrong; today made me think I could really be a role model to them and be the kind of Mom that they can be proud of…at least until the next time I have to work late, or on my day off, or whatever it takes to keep us fed and housed because this house of four women are doing it for themselves. But for one day, all of those struggles seemed totally worth it.

So It Goes…

I’m a very lucky human being, because I’ve had a core group of friends to see me through most of my life.

There’s something so comforting about the fact that my best guy friend at thirty something is the same one I had when I was 17. That my roommate at 21 is still my friend today. That my best friend at eight years old is still someone I connect with on social media while we navigate the world of single parenting three girls. It always makes me feel like I can’t be that bad of a person, because the people who knew me then still like me now. It’s nice to know that the people who saw you when you loved Barbie, or listened to KoRn, or went with you to get eleven different piercings have evolved with you and you still love each other.

Also, look how cute we were at prom.

I will also be the first to admit that I once relied too heavily on people to look out for me. My wonderful friends did that, mostly because my track record with life choices is pretty terrible. They still do, and I love them for it. Last week was a shit show (which I mentioned here), and every one of my friends (save for one), suggested that I move home. Sometimes I even think about it. But the teen has her heart set on attending a university here, and my job as a mom is to help her get to where she wants to go in life. But, after a long chat with the best of all the guy friends, I realized why I need to stay with the Cow People in the Cow province.

He casually brought up someone that I used to know, who I haven’t thought of in months. I called him “the Dude.” Mostly because for a good two minutes, I couldn’t remember his name. I once believed that the dude was my happily ever after; now I had to pause to remember his name. I’ve realized that I have no idea who my soulmate is, because I have no idea what I want in a mate. I know what I don’t want; but I’ve spent so long listening to what people think I should want that I have no idea what I want. But I know I need to stop getting caught up in a type and just let what’s meant to happen strike like lightning. Maybe instead of a Seth Rollins, I belong with a Dean Ambrose (gross). Maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.

However, I do know that my adventures to the land of cows have helped me realize that life evolves when you do; the thing you wanted a million years ago, might not be anything you would recognize now. I don’t want to be the person pretending on FB, posting the happy family pics to pretend I’m happy when in reality, I’m not because I’m walking on eggshells. You know what I mean, one half of the couple has everything about how in love they are and happy photos and the other, not so much, and you KNOW neither one is happy. I don’t want the complacency of my life in London; where I was content at my job and didn’t really push to get my written work published because meh. I don’t want to be the person who settled: for the house on Felix, for the call centre job because it paid the bills, for the husband that made me cry because no decent human would want me. I don’t want to be the woman that relies on her friends to prop her up; I want to be a person that can stand on her own while holding up others.

In the Cow Province, I don’t settle. I grow. I wanted to achieve my goals and I am. I am growing as a journalist; my Great West Newspapers editor is really helping me evolve as a writer. I want to move up at work; not just because a promotion means more money, but because I want to be challenged. I want to develop into a better leader and coach. I want to push myself to be better, so the friend who knew me at eight, or dated me at 17, or lived with me at 21, can be proud of me. More importantly, so I can be proud of me.

I needed to go on my grand adventure so I could learn how to push myself harder. I needed to learn that my weirdo personality is not for everyone; but I need to own it. I needed to learn how to stop being some simpering victim and own my shit. But most of all, I needed to learn that every single thing that pops up on FB memories about my life from this time a few years ago isn’t the life I really wanted at all, and I don’t miss any part of it, except the house I lived in while in London, and that my friends lived in same area code.

As much as I sometimes want to go home and settle back into Ontario life, I realize that for me to become the type of person I want to be, I need to follow the path I’m making, not the one anyone built for me. Maybe this grand adventure was a lesson in throwing my very sure and certain guidebook for life out the window and actually work to become a better person. Maybe I needed to change for the better, and the things that stayed (Crossfit, journalism, an unhealthy obsession with pancakes) were meant to stay, along with my best friend in the eighth grade, the friend I met working at Target, or the hippie that dragged me to college with her, and always reminded me that just because it’s not the path everyone would have taken, doesn’t mean it’s not the one I’m meant to follow.