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!

…Ready For It?

Welp, another spin around the sun for me, as yesterday I celebrated another birthday!

Still not mature

I celebrated my thirty something-th birthday with the coolest bunch of coworkers ever, cheesecake made by my littles, and this weekend, I’ll be a true Albertan, heading to an Oilers game, and some friends & I will be hosting a girls night get together the next night! Yup, being alive is pretty rad.

However, I’ve been using this time in my life to make some change. My place, which was a great “starter” place here in YEG, isn’t right for my family anymore. With the teen attending school in a different part of the city, we need to look at living closer to her school. So, I put myself on a waiting list to move to a condo closer to her high school. Come spring, we’ll be living in a newer, nicer place. While I’ll miss my lakes for running, I’m sure I can find running in a residential area just as fulfilling (narrator: she will not), but the needs of the family need to come first. I’m also finishing up driver’s education, so come spring, I will be buying my VERY FIRST CAR. That’s right bitches, I will be buying an automobile. I’ve got some great suggestions (thanks to every one on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat for their vehicle suggestions! The best part of being a slightly well known blogger is the awesome product suggestions from readers). I’ll be test driving all of your suggestions, as well as my first choice, a 2015 Toyota RAV4 (big thanks to my good friend Paul at TD Insurance, for letting me know which cars body shop techs and rental agencies recommend. When it comes time to insure my new baby, I’ll be talking to you for sure!) & should have narrowed it down by spring! This is kind of a big deal. I’ve always been afraid to drive full time and buy a car. But I’m really excited to be a car owner. It’ll make getting to the gym easier, and easier for the girls and I to go places without having to wait for a bus. I don’t plan on wasting gas; I’ll still walk short distances when need be. But it’s another major step for the famjam.

It’s really important to me to continue to check off boxes and grow and evolve. As I continue to be happier in my life, it’s only better for the girls, right? I need to teach them the importance of self growth, self love, never settling, and hard work. So, over the next few months, I’m going to do just that; grow, evolve, love myself a little more every day.

So, thanks everyone for your birthday well wishes. I super appreciate them all. I’m pretty much the luckiest person ever to have so many cool people in my life. This year is going to be even better than last year and I can’t wait to share those experiences with my girls, my crew, and even you, random person taking the time to read my blog.

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. 

This Town

Time sure flies when you’re on an adventure. 

It’s been two years since I decided to pack up my life and move across the country to build my portfolio. Its been a interesting journey, full of highs and lows, victories and defeats, but through all of it, I’ve met some of the best people and gotten to do some of the coolest things. I’ve accomplished so much and (until the next adventure calls) this feels like home. 

Because it’s home, I have a life here. So, today, I’ll be going to my favourite salon so my girl Tess can brighten up the blonde. If you need a YEG stylist, feel free to email me & I will give you some deets, because there is no better stylist than Tess and the rest of the stylists at my salon. If not, then check out some photos of my various adventures in YEG (without photos of my children to protect their privacy). It’s been quite an adventure, but I wouldn’t trade the friends I’ve made, my beloved coworkers, and the lessons I’ve learned for anything. 



Since we’re talking about Tess, here’s a look at how she keeps me looking fab




The Lumineers 😍
I’ve met some of the best people here

It Ain’t Me

One thing I talk about frequently is my love of fitness. I super love it. Fitness is my favourite thing in the entire world. I love running. I love crossfit. I love yoga. But even though I love it, work, parenting, and life prevents me from working out as much as I want. I’m starting to realize that I need to work my way up to “the people at my gym go five days a week! I need to find time for six workouts or imma be a Mighty Morphin Failure Ranger!” 

When I started working out, it was six days a week with Stratusphere yoga. Then six days with Stratusphere Sculpt. But once I started running, I found six days to be too much. I ran every other day. So, three to four days a week. Then I added Crossfit. I went twice a week. During the winter I added some yoga at home twice a week. But as I added intensity, I found I needed downtime. Then I took six months off for an injury and three more because I had lost that WLCF loving feeling, where I would grab my gear and make a 7am class because those were my favourite people, outside of ones that shared my DNA. I’m so fortunate to have captured that again at my new gym. They are the best people in YEG. But sometimes I only get there once a week. And I might not want to run the next day. Then I look at the Fitbit that says I’ve only worked out twice and get down on myself. Then I eat shit…and feel like shit. 


Last night, I decided to FaceTime one of my two BFF’s, you might know him as heavy lifting outlaw Lift Bitches (give him a follow on the IG, you won’t be disappointed. PS I totally named his YouTube channel. Totally remind him that it’s great)! I love having a competitive powerlifter friend. I can talk about my progress, fears, etc. He gave me some real talk; yoga for six days (even bad ass yoga) is a lot less intense than two 5K runs and two WOD’s. Stop comparing myself to the guys in the competitors class and compare myself to last week’s MHC. Is she better? Eating better? Living better? Could I add more weight to my bar? Did I do an extra hanging knee raise before I felt scared? That’s the progress that matters. 


I keep forgetting that in October, I was basically starting my crossfit journey all over again. I can’t compare my progress to the competitors. I can’t even compare myself to WLCF me. I have to only focus on here and now MHC. My workouts have changed. Four days a week of crossfit and a 5K run followed by a half hour yoga cooldown is okay. No, I may not achieve my goal of a handstand push up by the end of the year. I may not hit a 200lbs back squat. But if I keep pushing forwards instead of stressing that I’m obviously not cut out for crossfit because my time was the slowest and my burpees were sloppy and I needed a rest day after a hard WOD, I’ll actually do those things. I need to be proud of the little victories, not kick myself. 

And always remember selfcare.

I sometimes wonder if my desire to be the best is hindering me. I fell in love with Crossfit because it’s a limitless journey to become healthier. Why am I always looking for the quick fix? Why do I feel like “the scale didn’t move this week. Am a fat failure. Break out the pizza.” I also wonder if I’m the only Crossfitter/person trying to be healthy who feels this way. 


So now, I’m going to focus on realistic goals. A realistic workout routine. In a few months, we’ll add a day or two, but right now, this is where I am, and that’s okay. I have to set goals that are right sized for me, not for the guy who can deadlift a million pounds and has been training without stopping for five years. He was probably struggling to get through that power snatch just like me once. But I’m never gonna deadlift a million pounds if I keep beating myself up for not working out six days a week. I’ve gotta trust the process…and myself. 

Bright Lights

I have a confession to make.

Despite my attempts to get in shape, I no longer weigh myself.

I know I’ve gained a little bit of weight since I moved and attempted to adjust to a new time zone and schedule and gym, etc, but I don’t worry about how much. Instead, I focus on making little changes here and there to ensure that I’m staying healthy. Packing lunches, working out, etc.

  
I used to weigh myself every single morning. My day would be made by what that number said. That was the first six months of my weight loss journey. Every morning, that number. But I realized that I was letting that number define me instead of my progress. My pants were smaller, my face was thinner. I had more energy. My back no longer hurt. I don’t get migraines as often anymore. Why did that number mean more than all of those things? So, I stopped weighing myself and focused on building a healthy body in a way that still promoted body positivity for my daughters.

  
I believe in health, not thin, or “fat positive,” as I keep seeing on Tumblr. I think we as women need to buck society’s image of beauty, as it is skewed on both sides. Being morbidly obese or too thin is not good for you. We need to stop focusing on those numbers and focus on the healthiest body type for us. When I started going to crossfit, I wanted to work to be thinner. After a few months, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted; I wanted my aesthetic to be strong. I like the feeling of knowing I was stronger than I ever thought I could be. When I finish something that a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do, I feel very proud and I love that feeling and I like working towards that feeling of accomplishment. But I’ve also learned that strong =/= thin. I had to change my thinking. So, if my thighs are bigger, or my arms not quite lithe, that’s okay. I will never be the fashion industry definition of “thin.” But, I will be healthy and strong and a good role model for my daughters, as I’m not just embracing my body, I’m loving it enough to put good food into it (most of the time) and work on it to keep it running so I’ll be a part of their lives for a long time.

  
Which is why I ditched the scale. That number was hindering my progress. I was letting it define me instead of why I started working out in the first place; to build my self esteem and like myself better. If that number was hindering my progress, and becoming the source of my self worth. I’ve long made it clear that only I determine my self worth, not my friends, my boyfriend, or a number on a scale. Me. So, I decided that I didn’t care. I’d just keep on doing what I wanted to do in order to feel stronger and be healthier and that scale could just gather dust. As long as I’m happy in my own skin, that’s all that I need.

  

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. 

  

Wildest Dreams

I can only describe this week in one word;

Stupid.

Yes, this week was stupid.

Every single thing about my week (professionally) was super stupid. Between hiring and interviewing and being challenged by my editor, I honestly just kind of wanted to punch something in the face. Add in the realization that I’ve gained 10lbs since I moved here because my fitness mojo has been all off and you had a down right bitchy MHC (just ask one of my reps when he told me “I think I know why you’re gaining all of your weight back,” while I was eating a piece of banana bread. He’s still alive, I promise).

Fortunately, my spirits were lifted today with a series of events that made today not stupid, from snuggles with my five year old, and early access Pumpkin Spice Latte and a helpful pep talk with Matty the Bastard, my journalistic BFF. I even got my replacement cell phone boss lady phone, complete with a screen protector, because apparently you break ONE phone with your ass and Sony doesn’t trust you or something.

 

DO NOT put a Sony Z3 in your back pocket. Just DON’T DO IT
 
I guess I didn’t realize how much pressure I was putting on myself to be successful, and that caused me to make rookie mistakes that a nine year journalism veteran like me should know not to make. The hiring process at my store had me on edge. I mean, hiring the right person feels like it should be some kind of precise science and hiring the wrong person could spell disaster. And if I screw up either of these things, then I pretty much uprooted my family for nothing!

(If you’re thinking, Gosh MHC, I feel like you’re being a little bit melodramatic. I’m going to assume you’re new)

This made me pretty much the least tolerable human being for most of this week. I don’t like venting to people about why my life feels stupid. Hell, I don’t even like it when my significant other tries to pay for milk (although it’s very sweet and I need to learn to be more appreciative of his attempts to do nice things for me and not just flip out because I’m independent God damnit), so I’m especially not going to go crying like a little baby because I’m feeling overwhelmed about stuff that is largely made up and actually stupid. I need to handle stupid stuff on my own, without being melodramatic or crying. Why? Because I’m a grown ass woman, or so I’ve been told.

Instead, I decided to focus on finding GOOD in this situation. This involved changing my thinking. If this magazine doesn’t work out, there are others. I wouldn’t be the first writer to realize the first magazine offer I got isn’t the right one for me. I need to think of my editor calling me out as a positive thing. After all, she must see some potential in my writing to challenge me to do better. Otherwise, she would have just cut me loose. Freelancers are easy to come by. I should be grateful that she is trying to get my best out of me, because when she gets it, I’ll be a better writer! It’s okay that I’ve gained a little, this helps me remember why I started going to crossfit in the first place; to get in better shape and be healthier. Maybe I needed that bitchslap from the scale to get some motivation mojo, as I’ve been so bummed that the new gym isn’t as welcoming as my old one. Also, the girls will be in school, so I won’t feel guilty that I missed a month of their lives so I feel like if I go to the gym before work, that makes me a bad mom.If anything, I’ll be teaching them good habits that make me a good mom. I was chosen to be the boss, I need to act like it and start making decisions and standing by them.

But most importantly, I need to stop thinking that everything I do here, good or bad, means this whole thing was for nothing. I did this to better my family and that’s what I’m doing. I’m gaining management experience, which I can use to continue to move up in the world and earn a better living for my daughters. I’m growing as a writer and improving every day. I’ve made some rad new friends and I’m really happy with the current state of my life. I just need to stop worrying that if I don’t become the most successful person that I know, then I’ve somehow ruined my life. My success as a person is not defined by how quickly I became the best writer in Western Canada. My success as a person is defined by my being a good person and role model for my daughters, so that’s what I’ll do.

Success is rad, but success comes when you work for it, not stress over it. So, I’ll put in the work and the effort and the success will come when the work is done and in the interim, I’ll take stupid days and find the positive, even if it seems like there is none to be found.

  

That’s What You Get

I am starting to think that I am simply afraid to be happy.

I understand that all humans have a basic right to be happy. I am generally a happy person. I find ways to be happy even when everything is actually stupid. I pride myself on this. But when things play out in a way that makes me truly happy, I start to feel guilty, like do I deserve this? Is it fair that I’m so happy when other people aren’t, etc.?

I lead a very charmed existence. My life used to be very challenging & I’ve worked very hard to build myself in a way that I can be happy regardless of what’s happening in my beautiful life. I have been fortunate to have been blessed with three wonderful children. I have a talent I am passionate about and I’m growing as a writer every day. I’m building connections and career opportunities in my field and I’m super excited about that. My home is slowly becoming a lovely little house where I can raise my family. The girls love their new surroundings and like to chase the bunnies in the yard, they’ve already made friends their own age, and are always outside enjoying their new hometown. Business is even picking up at my day job, so I’m worrying less and less about money and focusing more on becoming a good manager and leader. You know, why I was hired in the first place. My friends back home are always supportive and my friends here are super fun. My girlfriend & I are setting up a playdate with her boys and my girls once the boys get home from camp. My frazzled nerves are often soothed by three words, sent by text message almost every day. They give me peace & security. I’m beautiful and smart and for the first time in my life, I don’t feel anxious and my self esteem doesn’t suck.

But I also find myself worrying that something is going to go terribly wrong. I find myself feeing increasingly sorry for the Dad, who seems to be miserable and that’s my fault. I know you could rationalize that if he wanted to see his kids, he would find a job here, or he would have actually spent time with them when he had them for the month, but I can’t help but feel badly that his life has gone so far downhill and mine seems pretty rad. Kids deserve two hands on parents and I keep hoping he’ll finally get it together and focus on being a good father for his children, but it never happens. And I just keep thinking that I’ve ruined his life somehow. I worry all of the things that are making me happy will suddenly be taken away and it won’t be here anymore. I hadn’t planned for certain developments, and now that they’re in play, it scares me that the other shoe will drop and it’ll go away & the thought scares me so much. I worry that maybe they prefer me as a zoo animal to be observed & watched than a woman to be loved & respected. I can see the girls are adjusting nicely, but I’m still worried that they won’t be happy or that I’m making choices that will impact them in a negative way, despite everything being positive. I also wonder WHY I feel badly that he’s miserable. If the shoe were on the other foot, he would revel in my misery. But I keep worrying that he won’t handle the transition okay, which causes me to distance myself from other aspects of my life so that I can try to help him adjust.

 

I understand all of these feelings are super normal. I understand that change is scary and letting people in is terrifying and trusting people is hard and people have free will and they choose to love you and they can choose to self destruct and there’s nothing you can do about it. I guess it’s all part of the adjustment; learning to trust your gut instincts (which currently tell me to relax and enjoy my life, it’s the overthinking that gets me) and learning to accept that feelings of self doubt and even fear are normal; especially when every other time you’ve been really happy, it seems to go away. You’ve just gotta remind yourself that it won’t go away. I’ll just continue to focus my efforts on raising my girls, self improvement, and most importantly, the written word. I apply for jobs I’m grossly underqualified for, just so I can get my name out there while I continue to work with my current magazines. I’ll continue to revel with my time with my girls. I’m doing every day crossfit, which means my body hurts like mother effer, but I’m feeling more like myself which means I’m much happier here. It finally feels like this is home. London never really felt like home. It felt like a stepping stone to someplace else. Maybe this was that someplace else? Or maybe this is a stepping stone to someplace else and in two years or so I’ll end up in BC working at some rural newspaper in some hick town, or I’ll actually go to the arctic. Who knows? All I know is I need to do what my Queen Taylor Swift says and “shake it off” and not allow guilt or feelings that the other shoe will drop spoil the happy life I’m building.

But it’s easier said than done & it’s something I need to work on to help me be a more confident person. But as we slowly adjust into a comfortable routine here, and as time passes, it’ll be easier for me to settle into my comfortable place & just be happy.   

I Wish You Would

If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you’ll know that I have an almost childlike love of Taylor Swift. 

I adore all things Taylor Swift. I preordered her album the second iTunes would let me, I rock out to her discography daily & I may have paid some criminal @ StubHub almost $1000 to replace my Toronto tickets with ones more local to the new city & on August 4/15, the girls & I will get to see our Queen. We’re all very excited. The girls have a countdown, the not always angry teen has her outfit ready, the overlord has looked up the setlist & my IG has an amazing video of my five year old’s epic performance of Bad Blood. We REALLY like Taylor Swift. 

Remember when Target (RIP) had a Taylor Swift selfie stand & I dedicated large chunks of my shift to posing with it? Because Pepperidge Farm remembers.
Remember when Target (RIP) had a Taylor Swift selfie stand & I dedicated large chunks of my shift to posing with it? Because Pepperidge Farm remembers.

I also REALLY like Apple. During a job interview for the Apple Store, I was asked what set me apart from other candidates & I said I’d give them a kidney. When new Apple products launch, I sing “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I am a proud iSheep with my gold iPhone 6 & I regret not one thing. So, imagine my basic white girl horror when my favourite artist & favourite brand appeared to have an issue (I may have cried. Okay not really. But I thought about it). 

To keep things fair, I also sometimes pose for photos with my beloved iPhone
To keep things fair, I also sometimes pose for photos with my beloved iPhone

When Taylor Swift wrote her open letter to Apple, she said what everyone who considers themselves an artist has always thought, but never been able to drive home; expecting artists to work for free for the exposure is ripping them off. We should all be compensated for our work, whether it’s digging ditches or selling out stadiums. 

I have had the pleasure of getting to know many indie artists over the years, and I would suggest you check them out. I built my career interviewing these artists & they are all talented & creative people & I’m so grateful that I was afforded the chance to get to know them. Check out Mic Lordz & Sauce Funky, Inoke Errati, Gypsy Chief Goliath & Cowboys in Cardigans (front man Jamie Reaume’s Way Back Home is still one of my favourite songs). Most of these talented artists are on iTunes. But they wouldn’t have been paid had you streamed their music. Taylor was right when she said it wouldn’t affect her, but that’s a lot of free streaming for the artists above. These guys have homes, families. They worked hard. Why shouldn’t they be paid? 

You wouldn’t ask your doctor to work for free, or a lawyer. You wouldn’t tell your hairdresser that your free cut & blowout would help them get business. So, why do it to those lucky people who are willing to risk it all for their one goal of entertaining you? Seems like a jerk move. 

And Taylor Swift knew it. 

Taylor Swift is aware of her power. She knows how influential she is & that she has the power to speak for the guys playing open mic nights on the weekend while recording awesome new stuff…

…and she used it. And Apple will pay artists. Taylor Swift brought change. 

All hail the Queen
All hail the Queen

Call her greedy. Call her selfish. Call her whatever you want, but you missed the point. Taylor Swift’s motives may not be 100% altruistic (but I believe they are), but she spoke up & made things change. She used her voice, something so few of us do. She saw something wrong & called the big bad company out on it (I’m sorry Apple) & made a difference. She opened discussion about why artists deserve compensation for their work. One person made a difference. 

But most importantly, Taylor Swift is a role model to millions of little girls all over the world, including mine. My eight year old daughter thinks “Queen Taylor changed the world yesterday!” Maybe not, but she taught millions of girls that when something is wrong, you stand up & speak out & one girl CAN change things. One person can spark change so don’t be afraid to be that one person. 

So, thank you Taylor. Thanks for defending your fellow artists. Thanks for showing little girls to use their voices. You’re a true role model & inspiration & I’m glad my kids look up to you. But most importantly, thanks for being someone deserving of that praise.