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.

For Now

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…

…if not, there’s always functional alcoholism, right?! Brieeeeee Mooooodeeee!

Anyone Else

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Sorry Not Sorry

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but my coworkers are pretty much the raddest people ever. I’m so lucky to work for a company that encourages growth from within, a one team mindset, and celebrates individual accomplishments. There is no “follow my coaching and become a mini me.” My boss encourages everyone to learn from everyone else until they become a superstar. It’s refreshing to see a team so focused on helping everyone succeed. 


The women on the leadership team know we are islands in a male dominated industry. We know we’re the minority. We have our own unique challenges (our trainer, who is arguably the most intelligent and interesting person I’ve met since moving here, was recently given sexist feedback by an ASSOCIATE), and we’ve stuck together. We celebrate each other, stand up for each other, and we’re fortunate to have each other. But most recently, I’ve learned more from one of these amazing women about self love in one night of cocktails then I have in a long time. 

There’s no denying that I’m an odd duck. I talk a lot. I like a lot of nerdy things. I’ve been known to live tweet WWE PPV’s. I tell bad dad jokes. But that’s who I am and it took me a long time to get comfortable in my skin. My colleague marches to the beat of her own drum. She’s unconventional, over the top, creative, and driven. I once said she was like a living meme; she drives the point home in a hilarious manner. At our last training, she said that if she could be an animal, she would be a giraffe. Why? So she could be majestic, but also eat her grass and mind her business. She’s also successful af & super interested in helping the business grow, so I love learning from her. 

As we were downing shots of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey (I may not drink often, but I drink whiskey now. Somewhere my high school bestie is so proud), I mentioned how I was told by a manager to turn down my personality so that I could better fit in. She straight up said “fuck that.” 


She then tells me about how she felt the same way when she had to go to her first manager’s meeting. What if they didn’t like her ideas because she was new? What if she was too over the top? What if no one liked her? When she told her boyfriend, he told her “show them you belong.” So, she showed them she belongs. And she did it by not giving a fuck and being herself. 

I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin, but there are times if I wonder am I  just too much or not enough? Am I ever going to be good enough to get that promotion, find the right person, achieve that 200lbs back squat at the gym? But my coworker’s “show them you belong” mindset reminded me that if I’ve changed everything about who I am to get that promotion, to meet someone, then I’m settling. I should be earning these things on account because of who I am, not through becoming a lesser version of me. If you sell out your authentic self to win a person or a job, then it’s a false victory. I’m not about that. So, instead, I’m going to put on my big people pants & show the world that I belong. 

I promised on Twitter that this gif would be in my next blog post, regardless of context. Pretend it has context

Whether it’s at work, in your personal life, or any other aspect of your life, show the world that you belong, that you are valuable, and that you can be successful and happy exactly as you are (unless you’re a racist or a serial killer, then you should probably go to jail). The best times of your life will come when you embrace who you are and use your strengths to your advantage, instead of hiding them behind a wall. So, shine your light, and show the world that you belong. 

Green Light

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not one for complacency. 

I can’t just sit in the same place, with the same life, the same relationship, the same friends, the same old TV shows, etc. I’ve been known to chop off all of my hair just because I could. I moved across the country on a whim. Sometimes I contemplate jetting off again. I look at jobs in Vancouver or Victoria & contemplate moving. Sometimes I think about packing up and moving to New Brunswick. But this is the longest I’ve stayed in one spot since I got a divorce. Perhaps there’s enough adventure here in the province of cows to settle my gypsy heart for awhile. I’m still discovering cool buildings and interesting things. The photo below I took while waiting for my favourite co worker before the Lumineers concert. Edmonton is a rad place y’all. 


But I still get bored and want to switch things up. I want to change my hair, my look, meet new people and introduce them to my old people and build a tribe. I want to learn a million new things and then share my knowledge with others. I want to constantly grow and evolve and expand my horizons. But I can’t just pack up my life and find a new city every time the urge strikes me…can I? 

No. Kids need roots. I need a support system. But I also need constant change. Maybe not constant change, but constantly working towards goals. I’m feeling very complacent in my life right now. I love my day job, but right now, I’m not seeing a lot of room to grow. I know there will be, but right now, I’m in a holding pattern. I am fortunate enough to have a manager across the hall that can help me learn everything to know about manager-ing, which is nice. When you have someone in close proximity who’s super rad at their job, you take the time to learn. My biggest mistake at my old mall was not taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from someone who’s really good at their job. I love freelancing, and I love fitness, but I’m at my best when I’m working towards a goal. But what goal? What’s something that could help me feel super motivated and help me accomplish something without just packing all of my shit and moving halfway across the planet?

I found my answer today while mindlessly scrolling Twitter en route to work (PS if you’re not following my boring ass on Twitter, you probably should do that);


Yes! A triathlon! I write for a fitness magazine, obviously getting healthy and staying healthy is important to me (PS; check out YEG Fitness. It’s pretty amazing). And I loathe running, but I need to do something on days I don’t go to crossfit. I was much better at staying motivated when I had a goal to work towards. Now I do. I’m going to train for a year, then my friend & I are gonna tackle the Edmonton triathalon (give him a follow over at Lift Bitches)! This also inspired me to look at buying a bike and riding to work on nice days. I’d save money and really enjoy it. Of course, I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, how hard can it be? 

So, tomorrow starts my preparation. Eating better, working smarter, and working towards this goal. I can’t wait to show my littles how to work towards a goal and stay healthy, and I’ll save money by packing a lunch every day. I write for a fitness magazine and go to a great gym, I have a bunch of resources at my disposal to get ready. Not to mention that working towards a goal will improve my self esteem! I’m really excited about it. 

A year is a long time, but it’s just the right amount of time to get ready. By going for a long term goal, I’ll be less likely to get discouraged. And I have a friend to keep me accountable. All exciting things, and this excitement will bleed into the rest of my life; improving my work performance, my writing, and my interactions with others. I’ll get in better shape. There is literally no downside! It’ll be a great challenge and I can’t wait to tackle it. 

The Danger In Starting A Fire

Moving is stupid. Never do it.

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.

Yeah, nope. 

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.