11 Blocks

Today, I’m going to talk about the selfie. 

Yes, selfies. 

We all take them. We all share our cute outfit of the day with our friends, a fun moment with coworkers, or that super rad Snapchat filter. While a coworker and I once joked that there should be a ratio of 1:7 of selfie and non selfie photos on your IG to prevent narcissism (& a limit of four hashtags), mostly because he’s a model and it was a silly in joke, taking and posting selfies is a normal part of our culture. One of the questions I’m asked most at work is about the selfie camera. We all take them, whether we want to admit it or not. 

If you’re not following me on Snapchat (ASHMHC), you’re missing absolutely nothing

My teen daughter takes them with her friends. I don’t really think anything of it. She’s fully clothed, not shooting the finger, so who cares? As her birthday approaches, she’s asked me for an autobiography penned by her idol, retired WWE Divas Champion AJ Mendez Brooks. I’ve skimmed excerpts; for the most part, AJ writes a beautiful story of finding herself and learning to embrace mental illness. AJ is very honest and open about her struggles and successes and I commend her for her honesty. I think (for the most part) she’s a great role model for young women. But there is a passage in the book where she equates selfies with a lack of self respect and a desperate cry for attention. As a woman who was once an impressionable teen, I could only imagine how upset my daughter would be to read such a judgmental and self righteous passage, but I refuse to let that cloud my perspective of a moving and inspirational journey. 


I briefly touched on this on Twitter with another blogger and artist (who is rad af & I would totally throw a feminist Wrestlemania party in NOLA with her and the girls while we all sport Bayley ponytails), and she agreed that this one passage didn’t feel that great. It perpetuates the myth that women only do things to attract the attention of men, or need to be validated by men to be happy. For some, that may be the case, and I won’t judge them. I used to, but then I realized that I was part of the problem. If they aren’t hurting anyone, then more power to them. But why does it have to always be about wanting to attract a man? Why do brilliant and inspirational women continue to tear down other women?!


I take selfies. I post em on Snapchat. I never used to. If you look at my old FB photo albums, there was maybe five photos of me in 100. There is maybe one pregnant photo of me. Why? Because I was called fat and ugly every day. I woke up to hear about how I was skinny when we started dating and now his wife was a pig. He didn’t sign up for this. A few years later, one of my best friends told me that I was pretty in the face and didn’t look fat from the “tits up” so I could reasonably find a man. I was constantly told how unattractive I was because I was fat. So I started working out. I started running. I started crossfit. First it was to shake the nagging voice that said no one would love me or be my friend because I was fat. But then, it was because these activities made me happy. And the more these activities made me happy, the better I felt about myself. I wasn’t a size seven (the magic dress size that I equated with being acceptable to be seen in public), but I was confident. I was happy. Confident, happy MHC didn’t want to be in the shadows. She wanted to be visible. So I started using that front facing camera. I’d post the odd one to FB or IG. But it was a huge step for me to stop hiding behind a camera and hoping no one looked at me. Humans should want to be visible, part of the world. Now, there are photos of me & my girls, my friends, of me. My teenager was also brutally bullied in grades seven and eight for being too thin and too different. She and a good friend started taking selfies as a way of accepting themselves. For many women, that selfie is about empowerment, taking control of their self esteem and we need to stop dismissing photos as vanity & a cry for validation from men. If it’s not for you, don’t do it. There’s lots of things in this world that I do not do. I don’t watch Canadian football. I don’t listen to Nickelback. I don’t understand Zumba. But I’m not gonna trash humans that do. Just let people do their thing and you do what makes you feel good inside. 


So, take your selfies everyone. You’ll find no judgment here. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel badly about yourself or like you are somehow less intelligent, less interesting, because you took a photo with your front camera. And if you are one who belittles someone for taking a photo, stop that right now. You can’t bring up your self esteem by passive aggressively belittling someone else. 

The Sound of Silence

I get asked the same question a lot; “when do you find time for yourself?”

When men ask, they specifically mean “how are you going to find time to sleep with me and cater to my every need while I ignore yours (or at least this has been the case of every man I’ve ever known)?” When my friends ask, it’s because I haven’t spent any time with them in weeks, mostly because I have no time. I guess I have spread myself pretty thin. I’m working on four different pieces for three different publications. I work full time. I’m raising the kidlets. I’m getting better at getting the gym in there. But I could understand why an outsider would think I never have “me time.” 

The truth is that I’m finding more and more that my “me time” is running. Yes, running. That thing that I used to hate is quickly becoming my personal time. Don’t get me wrong, I still love me my crossfit, and my post WOD yoga, but running is the best for clearing my head. 

I work a lot. I’m kind of a workaholic. I love my family & I want to be the best kind of mom. Well, it’s hard to be the best kind of mom when you’re constantly trying to squeeze 100 things into one 24 hour period. I’m answering emails on the way to work. I’m coming up with ideas that I think are great (spoiler alert; are probably weird) & story pitches while signing permission slips and hearing about how Kiara is mad at her boyfriend because reasons and Jade took the boyfriend’s side and now the teen is in the middle and “OH MY GOSH MOM. YOU HAVE NO IDEA.” That’s a lot of information to be cramming into one mind. When I go running, I get 35 minutes to decompress. I listen to my running playlist and enjoy the music, while getting a great sweat sesh in (arms too, thanks to Stratusphere FitGloves!), and no one is calling or emailing me or asking me where their phone charger is. It’s just my alone time. 

All of my bomb playlists
I can understand why this wouldn’t seem terribly soothing to some; running is sweaty, tiring, and just kind of gross. But it is the one time of day that I get to disconnect from life and recharge. It helps my self esteem, as every time I finish a bit better than the day before, I’m pretty proud of myself. I feel accomplished and proud (& then I text my best friend, who’s started her own blog that I think you should all read) & tell her and we share our common interest. I find that my professional writings come together much better after I’ve gone running. My closing shifts are better after my morning run because I’m in a positive headspace and I’m more focused. I eat better because I don’t want to undo my run with the frappucino or Thai Express. I’m stronger at the gym. There is literally no downside, as no one regrets their workout!


I know I need more of a social life (I miss my friends too hahaha), and there is more to life than family, work, and fitness. But it works for me. I’m the happiest I’ve been since I lived in London (and my life was family, work, fitness). It works for me. Maybe I need to stop letting everyone tell me what works for me & let me just do what works…& this works. Running is my alone time (as crossfit has coaches and a class hahaha). Fitness is always going to be my downtime, whether it’s to relieve stress, or just to be happy, fitness is my key. And anything that helps me feel good inside, look good outside, and keeps me healthier longer, can only be a good thing. 

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. 

Hearts Don’t Break Around Here

A few months ago, I was invited to meet with the editor of a newspaper to discuss a freelance position, one that could turn into a full time position. I rushed from work to the meeting, only to find that he forgot. The next day, we had a great chat, but I got the feeling that he didn’t really take me seriously…probably because he had no idea that my post secondary institution was a real school and flipped through my writing samples nonchalantly with no real interest. 

I left the meeting feeling flat. Not unhappy, but not feeling super jazzed about it. I didn’t really think about it at all actually. I kept on doing my thing. Writing cool stuff, getting to know cool people, selling phones and generally being awesome. I figured maybe it wasn’t my place, or my time. He’s a great writer and human, I just wasn’t the writer he was looking for and he was up front enough not to waste either of our time. So, I was rather surprised when this editor contacted me the other day and asked me if I wanted to do some work for him. It wasn’t a puff celebrity piece either. It was real news, with real meaning. This person I thought had no interest in my body of work took me much more seriously than I thought & I feel honoured that he thought I could write this piece. I intend to knock it out of the park. 


I think sometimes we forget that not everyone receives information the same way as we do. I’m an overly enthusiastic person; I sometimes misread calm and tranquil people as cold or detached. I’m sure they misread me as a vapid valley girl. The most important thing is to not get offended when people don’t respond the way you’d like. I could have taken his questions about my education as a personal slight; but it was obvious genuine interest. By not letting it get to me, I didn’t burn a bridge and now it’s become opportunity. 

I used to be so afraid that things wouldn’t work right when I wanted them to that I would make a mess of the things I truly wanted. Now I’ve learned to just go with it. Things didn’t work out? Oh well, pick yourself up and try from a different angle. Bad run? Don’t stress; just take a different route tomorrow. Did the editor not ask you to work on something right away? Don’t stress; just keep on building the portfolio. It’ll all work out when it’s supposed to. It may not be on my timeline, but it will be when it’s right. 


By not forcing life to adhere to my timeline, I’m accomplishing more than I ever thought possible. My writing career is growing, my day job is amazing & my team of women are so very bad ass. I can deadlift more than my body weight and I have a bunch of great friends and an active social life…


…okay maybe not the last one. But you work full time and raise a family, while freelancing and working out six days a week and tell me how social you are. But I’m getting it done. I’m living my happiest life and it’s all because I’m allowing life to happen when it’s supposed to,  not because I’m afraid it’ll all go away. 

I can’t promise I’ll know what project I’ll be working on next, but I can tell you it’ll be awesome and it’ll arrive at just the right time. 

Happier

Welp, another Crossfit Open in the books! 

LOOK AT THIS PERSONAL BEST. LOOK AT IT. LOOOOOOK

I can officially call myself the 26187 fittest person on the planet. That’s up 32K places on the leaderboard and I’m pretty proud of this. Last year, I had to miss the Open because I was sick af and the arthritis in my hips made everything unbearable. This year, I went in just wanting to get to know my gym family. I did, but I also pushed myself and remembered how strong and confident I can be. I’m feeling so inspired that I entered a crossfit competition designed for novice members. I may place last in everything, but it’ll be a fun day. It was so nice to have members suggest that I register because they wanted me to feel welcomed. So, I’ll bring the girls and crush some fitness (& then introduce them to coconut chips. Seriously, so good)!


This confidence has passed over to my work. I’m getting more confident when it comes to pitching stories (and out of the box ideas at work). I’ve always been a believer that no one will see the value in who you are if you don’t. So, I decided to take control of my career. It’s been working so far, as most of my kooky ideas have been successful. The store is growing. The team is successful. When I’m not here, I’m just writing for magazines. There is no downtime. When there is, it’s for the girls and crossfit. This is my life and it’s rad. 


I know when I last posted, I was struggling with how to tow the line & be true to myself. It’s hard when people tell you that being yourself somehow makes them look bad or detracts from their role. But I’ve realized after a chat with one of my bestest friends in this city that one person cannot dim someone else by encouraging them, or by trying to elevate others. You can only dim a person’s light by holding them back. I’ve been with people who hold people back. I’ve been with people who credited themselves with my cover stories, people who credited the respect I received from coworkers to “they must really want to make me happy at work.” I’ve been around friends who wanted to feed negativity under the guise of “telling it like it is.” One doesn’t dim by suggesting improvements for their workplace or being bubbly. I don’t deny that I’m a difficult human being with my stubborn streak, passionate opinions, and fiery temper. I’m sure my scatterbrained thought process & random singing in public places is frustrating to the super serious types out there, but I’d rather be unapologetically myself before I become someone else. 

Even though I’m a grown up, I still struggle with self esteem just like everyone else. Some days, when it seems like people don’t like you, just because you’re you, it can feel frustrating. You’ll doubt yourself and think you can’t. My friends and family can tell me I’m awesome, but I’ve got to believe it. It’s up to me to build myself up, not those around me. Too many people think if they have a relationship, they have a car, if they have the right job; they’ll be happy. But the truth is that they’re settling for unhappy relationships, unhealthy relationships, and unhealthy senses of self. My happiness is an inside job. So, when I start wondering if I’m enough, it’s my job to look self doubt in the face and give it a sassy ass stare down. 

But I don’t mind moments of self doubt. They’re good reflectors. And each week at the Crossfit Open, I would push myself a little harder. And through that I reminded myself that I am totally capable of being super bad ass. No one was lifting those weights or doing those walking lunges for me. I did it, on my own. And I used that feeling of accomplishment in that part of my life to help with my emotional strength. This paid off at work, with my writing, and even building my interpersonal relationships. 

So, don’t feel badly if you spend a couple of days thinking you suck and can’t do it. Just find whatever it is that you use to help you find your mojo. I use crossfit. A dear friend of mine hikes. My best friend hits the gym. Another friend paints. But find the thing that brings out your “youness” and embrace yourself, with every difficult part of you, flaw, and imperfection. 

Eraser

Oh hey. I swear I didn’t die. 

I think I fell into a rabbit hole. I took my staycation to unwind and recharge…and save the magical land of Hyrule from Calamity Ganon. I also dyed my hair rose gold to match my phone. That’s a thing that I did. 


But mostly, I’ve reached a point in my life where I may be too busy. I’m currently working on several articles, including one highlighting an upcoming event for the city, which is really cool. I’m integrating into my new store (with the coolest staff EVER). I’m a hands on single mom. I’m crossfitting. I’m juggling a lot of stuff, and most of it actually pays me. So, the writing that pays me takes  priority to the writing that does not & my blog fell off of the map a little bit. Of course, so did my social media. So did anything that wasn’t journalism, my kids, my store, and crossfit…or my Nintendo Switch. I’m very focused on my goals and in order to achieve them, everything else needs to take a backseat. Sorry not sorry. 

I’ve built my life to my perfect specifications. My writing career is coming along wonderfully. My phone career is getting there. When I’m not at work, I’m doing interviews and writing. Even on weekends. Literally every day of my life involved pitching, researching, writing articles. My team and my colleagues respect me & that means the world to me. My kids are doing well. I finally found a gym where I’m happy and I’m not willing to let anything upset the apple cart. This means sometimes things get neglected because I’m simply too busy, like my blog, or that hockey game with my coworkers, or that date with the guy who works at my old mall. My girlfriends tell me that I’ll never find a mate because I never put the guys I’ve dated recently first. I don’t. In fact, the last guy I dated back in the fall was so low on my totem pole that it’s why it didn’t work out. But the kids, my career, and fitness all come first. Everyone and everything else needs to take a backseat. I’m not going to expand my portfolio, help my store reach target, or hit a 200lbs back squat if I’m putting things or people who don’t matter, or can wait, ahead of it. Truthfully, I’ve never really been “wife” material. I’m not the “surrender my identity and goals at the altar of a man to be Mrs. Not my last name.” I want to be more. I want to be a role model to my girls. I want to be someone that achieves her goals and is changes the world in some way. I want to be seen as someone who is strong, brave, tenacious, and not someone who settles. As a wise woman once said, “I want so much more than some provincial life.” I have goals and I’m not going to waste my time on frivolous things when I could focus my energy on achieving those goals. 


I’m sure that I sound like a super bitch. Truthfully, I don’t care. I’m finally putting all of the pieces together to build the life that I want for myself and I’m not willing to settle for substandard or mediocre; whether it’s people or performance. I’m not going to let anyone in my life unless they are amazing. I’m not going to devote my time to any projects unless I think that I can do an incredible job. I’ve stretched myself pretty thin, so I’ve prioritized my life to make sure that the things that matter take precedence over stuff that can wait, because my kids, my goals, they cannot wait. 


But there’s nothing more exciting than working towards your dreams. I am so in love with my life. I’m getting everything I’ve ever wanted, I have the best family, I have made the most supportive friends. It’s awesome. I’m so happy. So, while I may fall down the rabbit hole sometimes, you can still find me on Twitter if you need to know what’s up with me. Chances are, I’ll be overjoyed with life while continuing to build it the way I want it. 

How Far I’ll Go

Sometimes, I think the universe kind of likes me. 

Last week, I was met with some disappointment at work. I was feeling depressed, despondent, and ready to peace out of this place (okay not really. Moving is expensive and I’m too lazy for that shit). 

But I felt like I sucked at my job. I felt under appreciated and seriously contemplated getting hammered in my bathtub and crying like a little bitch. 


But before I went to the liquor store to buy the booze required to get drunk in the bathtub, I got a lovely Facebook message from a lovely young woman named Rachel Woznow. I wrote an article about her last year. She’s a beautiful and talented woman and you should probably buy her song Firestorm on iTunes (I listen to it when I go running). But she told me she’s been following my career and my life through my blog and she was inspired by my journey to finally become the reporter I was meant to be. I cried. In the moment where I felt least valued professionally, a random message popped up telling me that someone thought that I talent and deserved to go far. 

courtesy: rachelwoznow.com

Next came an email from a publisher in rural Alberta suggesting that I apply for a temporary contract position with their newspaper! Had I known how to drive, I would have jumped all over that. But alas, I’ve had to wait until the new year to learn to drive because driver’s ed costs money & requires time and I pretty much live at my store. Hachem did offer to teach me, but he’s busier than I am (& also a pain in the ass and would likely piss me off more than anything else), and I don’t like asking people for help with stuff because I’m a boss ass bitch who does it for herself. But I figure six months is enough to learn to drive before my road test. It won’t be THAT hard, right?

Regardless, once again, the universe reminded me that I am where I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be here, writing articles and creating interesting stories. I’m meant to be here, with my good friends and my girls. If I keep working hard & building my portfolio (and possibly bribe the editor of the Journal with delicious baked goods), I’ll finally get to where I want to be. No matter how hard things get, the universe will remind you that you’re in the right place and on the right track (& maybe kick your ass to learn to drive a car). 

I guess it’s all about outlook. My day job had to potential to be a disaster, but I went in to this new development with a positive attitude and a determination to learn. I’ve gained a lot of positive feedback from my peers, but more importantly, an ally in the workplace and a great new friend (seriously she’s so awesome). I may not always feel like people are reading my work or care, but obviously someone is and they kind of dig it. And the only person holding me back from success is me & my lack of driving skills…and car. But if you go into life or a situation feeling like shit and claiming it’s all doom and gloom, you’ll never get anything out of it. Even when things are super shitty, there’s an opportunity to make it not shitty. You’ve just gotta allow yourself that time to feel your anger, sadness, etc. And then listen to the world around you. It’ll let you know if you’re on the right track. 


As for me, I’ll keep going down my path, which doesn’t have much of a path. It’s more of a jungle that I have to navigate through. But it’s my path & mine alone and I’m excited to see where it’ll take me. 

Gold Medal Ribbon

I’ve always said that the true test of a person’s character is during times of disappointment. 

It’s easy to be humble and grateful when everything kicks ass, but what about when things are hard and kind of sucky? That’s what separates the successful people from the bitter bitches. 

This week I suffered a minor workplace disappointment. I’ve been in way over my head and my boss called me on it. Fortunately, I work for an amazing company that wants their employees to succeed, grow. So, together, we found a solution to help my store grow and me thrive. Work disappointments hurt the ego, but ego isn’t important. What’s truly important is that the collective succeeds. I have an amazing team. I have a great group of colleagues. I want them all to succeed and I’m lucky that we came up with a solution. I’m lucky that I’m part of a company that wants to help me grow and learn. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters. 


I could be one of those bitter bitches and blame my struggles on lack of training, or my boss is mean (he’s not) or some other bullshit. But lack of accountability makes you a bitter bitch. I am not a bitter bitch. Bitter bitches never grow. I see hard times as an opportunity to grow and evolve. So, I’m going to take the negative and turn it into a positive and use it to learn and grow from it. After all, that’s the keys to success, right?

I think the most important thing a person can do is accept disappointment with humility, with poise, dignity, and an open mind. No one grows if they just dig in their heels and stubbornly refuses to accept that maybe they need help to get to where they need to be. It takes just as much effort to be optimistic as it does bitter. But one gets you further in life. 

So, I’ll continue to focus on the positives and work harder to become better, both professionally and personally. When you fight setbacks, you fight growth, and I always want to grow. 

Today I Saw The Whole World

I swear, I didn’t die. 

I know I kind of fell off of the blogosphere for a bit, but I was really busy listening to Pierce the Veil. 

More importantly, I was hyper focused on work. Between my store commitments and the articles that I receive money for, my focus was on the jobs that pay me. At my day job, I was taking several recruiting and training classes, so I can hire better people and train them to become successful. I was also working on several articles, including this piece, which was a top news story for Edmonton Prime Times. I’m also working on a mental health article that means a lot to me. 

Oh, and I was learning to twerk. 

I literally cannot tell this human anything

Nope, didn’t make that shit up. 


I’ve been researching an article for one of the magazines I’m working with, an article about alternative forms of fitness. The form was dance. So, I took some classes! First of all, as someone who hasn’t been as fitness focused as she used to be, and has only been attending regular workouts (aside from running) for the last six weeks, I was nervous enough, but I’m also a power lifter. I train for strength. How hard could dance be?

Spoiler alert; really fucking hard. 

As the tiny human (who is incredible) led me through the movements, I learned that A) this is a really effective workout & B) that I am too white and too awkward to ever twerk, or move in any way that could ever be viewed as sexy. My abs really hurt and my thighs were on fire. I certainly burned a lot of calories and also discovered a whole new level of shame by attempting to twerk. My ass jiggles, but never in time with music or in a way that is sexy. Everyone else rolls their hips and looks sexy af. Me? I awkwardly rock back and forth while praying for a meteor to kill me. Now let us never speak of this ridiculousness ever again (except to read about it in the January issue of YEG Fitness). 

I wanted to try as many styles as possible, so next, I moved on to pole dancing. My best friend was a dancer for years and often talked about the strength and intensity required to pole dance. I laughed at her, because I’m mean. But it honestly does require a lot of hard ass work. My legs were battered and bruised after that class, but I left feeling so empowered. Here was a group of women cheering each other on and working hard and also embracing their own sexuality. It’s super cool and every Wednesday, I’ll be attending pole class, as I’ve decided that I’ll be the pole dancing, crossfitting, article writing Queen of Telecommunications. A year ago, I was afraid to pitch an idea to one magazine. Now, I’m confident in my talents and abilities. None of those abilities involve twerking. 


I am not a good pole dancer. But I wasn’t a good crossfitter when I started. But I trained and got better. But I learned the environment helps too. The women I train with are super bad ass. This helped me realize that I hated the gym I have gone to for a year, but kept going to because I felt like it was me, I just was a bad athlete and didn’t fit in. But I realized that I pay to go there and if I’m not happy, I need to find a gym that makes me happy. And I found one. Smaller classes, engaged coaches, and programs designed to see progress. I freaking love it and my new fellow athletes. It’s been a great switch and I would definitely recommend my new gym to anyone looking to get stronger. 

Make sure you are following my ridiculous adventures on Snapchat (ASHMHC) unless I have blocked you on Snapchat

It’s been nice to get back to me, the happiest MHC. The happiest MHC needs to be working towards goals and growing into a better woman. Taking risks, trying new things, new adventures. The happiest MHC loves fitness and wants to get stronger, setting those PR’s, like the one I just set for power clean (90lbs!). I need to be pitching ideas and seeing them come to life. That’s who I want to be. And that’s who I’ve become again and it’s so rad. I’d rather take the risk than never try. So, I keep taking the risks. Sometimes, it goes horribly wrong (like trying to twerk). Others, I discover something new about myself or a skill I’d like to try. But either way, it makes me a better woman & a better role model for my girls, as they are learning to take risks and find themselves, and not let anyone else tell them who or what they are supposed to be. 


So, go out there and try the new thing. Go on the adventure. Move across the country to become successful. But don’t be afraid to do it your way, on your terms and on your own. Even if it all goes to Hell, you’ll have learned and come out stronger, which will only make you better. 

Naturally

One thing that has changed this year is my ability to step outside my comfort zone & really branch out as a writer and a woman. This has helped me become a better writer and a better, more confident woman. 

I had managed to do this back home, but after eight months out here, I was a skittish, fragile, broken person. It was like something or someone had sucked the life out of me, made me feel like I had to walk on eggshells because if I displeased him, he’d leave like he did every other time. I stopped feeling confident in my own interests, because they were stupid to him, all but my writing. But I started feeling insecure at the gym, I had never felt that way before & I don’t now, I stopped talking about it, then I got hurt so I just stopped going. I stopped feeling proud of my work performance, as I was once told that my coworkers only liked me because it made him happy & everyone just wanted to please him. It was like a vampire had sucked every ounce of my soul out of me & I was too deliriously in love and too physically ill to notice. But everyone around me noticed my trip to Stepford & would remind me of the woman they knew in the hopes to snap me out of it. 

Literally Never me

No one should be afraid to speak at work, make friends, ask for help, for fear of being abandoned. I felt like I had to hide constant pain and kidney issues because if I wasn’t well, he’d leave me. When he needed me, I was there, but told to stay away. Then I was punished for not being there. I would cry myself to sleep for months trying to figure out what I did wrong, because everything I did seemed to be the wrong answer. The woman who challenged herself and others to do better and be better was being dismantled and reshaped as an obedient girl, and I’ve never been very good at following orders or obeying. I need to conquer mountains and change the world, even if it’s just my little corner of it. I wasn’t a simpering victim; I made the conscious choice to take the trip to Stepford. I allowed myself to be controlled. 


I’ve been in counselling for months. It’s helped me see that I have value & I deserve better than what I’ve allowed & will never allow again. By letting go of Stepford MHC, I’ve been able to grow so much over the summer, & I am proud of that. I am so hesitant to say anything negative about people, even when it’s deserved, but Jana Kramer’s People Magazine article made me realize that, like her, I’ve picked controlling men, abusive men, narcissistic men, because I’ve been so ashamed of the fact that my relationship with my former fiancé was violent or my husband used to assault me. Who would want me? I should be thankful that this man came back when he was done partying or cast his latest conquest aside & needed an ego boost because MH would always forgive him. But I kept reminding myself that if he loved me, he’d have never left. And part of making better choices is accepting that this happened & I am not broken or damaged. I am someone who allowed multiple men to hurt me physically or emotionally and I can no longer allow it. As I read Jana’s words, so like my own story, I realized she had nothing to be ashamed of and neither do I.  As women, we are afraid to be honest about our experiences. I was afraid that people would think he was a bad person. I didn’t want to hurt this person who had no problem hurting me or my children & was proud of how shamefully he treated us. I was more afraid of upsetting someone than I was being honest. But, like Kramer, perhaps by being open about how I felt those first few months, I can allow other women who have felt ashamed of their pasts feel like they aren’t the only one. 


Part of snapping out of it was allowing myself to admit I spent the better part of four years (off & on) in a controlling relationship with someone who repeatedly left me, stalked me for months, camping outside of movie theatres & hotels & using my social media to track my whereabouts for months after the breakup that wasn’t even a break up, I was just erased like I never even existed  (including as recently as a month ago, when a friend brought their concerns to my attention, which caused me to contemplate shutting down my blog), repent, repeat. I was so damaged that I told Erica I wanted to apologize for asking him to stop if he didn’t want to talk to me. I had been mean by asking for boundaries to be respected. I allowed him to manipulate me & abandon me & come back. And I put up with this because I thought it was the best I deserved because of my past. But I deserve better and I deserve it from myself. It was up to me to put Humpty Dumpty back together. I needed to put me first. And if you’re a regular reader, you would have read my journey to put myself first. If you’re new, please feel free to go back and read as many of my adventures as you wish. 


Part of that involved taking control of my career. I love my store and my team. We’ve turned our location completely around and we’re considered a Glentel success story. I’m so proud of my team. We put in the work and success was found. I took control of my writing career. I pitched stories, did the interviews & many of my stories got rave reviews. I have more money to support my family. All good things. At first, I was afraid to assert my authority. But another manager reminded me that I was the boss and hired on MY merits. Take charge. Be a leader. For once, I was being told to lead, not back down. It was so great to hear. 

Actually me

I also took control of fitness. If I didn’t have time to get to crossfit, I worked out at home with Stratusphere Sculpt (a circuit workout). It’s important to me to work out every day. Much of my confidence, my self esteem is tied into fitness. I want to be stronger, physically, mentally, and to do that, I need fitness in my life. Not to mention, I write for a fitness magazine, so it’s important for me to be focused on fitness. It’s important to show my daughters a healthy lifestyle, a woman with a strong self esteem. I need to show them that I can build my career, my body, my happiness, all by myself. 


The more confident I became, the more risks I was willing to take in my personal and professional life. I started dating again, met some interesting people (the last guy I dated I did not write about as I did not have permission) & I’ve been seeing the guy (who will be known as the guy until I can come up with a better pseudonym) for a couple of weeks. I’m taking it slow, but it’s exciting. I pitched a story about alternative fitness styles, these are things I never would have considered six months ago, but I’m doing them now. When flipping through the pages of the magazine I’m working with, I noticed that we had a huge opening for alternative forms of fitness. I remembered how my friends balked at crossfit and wanted me to stick to the same old thing; leg day, arm day, yoga. Maybe barre. But what if that’s not you? Maybe you don’t feel like you fit in with fitness because you want to do something else? I mean, it’s not me. I like doing something different. I want to write for people who maybe want to get in better shape but are also wanting to challenge themselve. So I looked up alternative fitness classes and discovered a whole different facet of fitness classes! So, I pitched it to my editor. What about pole fitness? What about incorporating dance? These classes seem like so much fun and anyone could try it.  He was excited and suggested I try a class, so even though I am so very white, I am going to attend a twerk fit class and a pole for class…all in the name of journalism. 


Eight months ago, I wouldn’t have dared pitch a fitness article to anyone, let alone one that would take me so far out of my comfort zone. But I’m not afraid of rejection & I’m in a position in my career & my personal life where my ideas are respected. I’m finally confident enough in who I am and what I’m capable of to push myself to become a better writer, a healthier person…and to attempt to learn rhythm. But when I look at my life, it’s so much fun. My kids & I have fun. My friends and I have fun. My workplace is fun. Crossfit is fun. And my blog, my writing, my life is super fun. And when life is fun, it’s easy to be happy. 


In order to have the life that I want, I needed to kill off the last of Stepford MHC, and if she ever tries to reanimate like in the Walking Dead, shoot that bitch in the head & focus on the evolution of MHC. So, imma keep pushing myself to be the kind of woman I am proud of, one I would want my daughters to be like, not one who is afraid of her shadow like a groundhog. As Erica says, focus on being the sun that I’m meant to be, not the shadow I end up hiding in.