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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve always been a big believer in picking oneself up after a tough time, brushing oneself off and moving forward.
It’s why I keep applying at newspapers. It’s why I ask for feedback about articles. It’s why I thank people for criticism and try to grow. Even if life knocks me on my ass, I can come out of it stronger.
Sometimes that includes when I literally fall on my ass.
For those of you that are new to the party, I love me some crossfit. I’ve been training and preparing for the 2017 Crossfit Open. It’ll start this week and I’ll get to push myself and really focus on getting stronger. I’ll also get to know my fellow gym members. It’s gonna be great.
But sometimes I get cocky. I think I’m more bad ass than I am and then bad things happen. This past week, we were practicing our chest to bar pull ups. I was feeling so bad ass, finally having mastered my beat swings. I was improving and I decided that I must be ready and instead of going up, I fell down, flat on my ass. Instead of achieving my first pull up, I sustained a bruised and slightly fractured tailbone (but I DID scale that WOD AND FINISH IT. Yup, finished the workout with a mangled back. Be proud). Fortunately, my gym peeps are super cool, so my ego wasn’t fractured as well as my tailbone. Everyone was really quick to ask me how I was, even checking in the next day. I missed the brutal birthday WOD & was so disappointed, but I can’t lift when I can’t stand. Or sit. Or function. Doctor said sit out for six weeks, & no standing for long periods of time, but I heard “with lots of yoga, you’ll be training again on Tuesday!” I’ve worked too hard to get Open ready, I am not missing it because of a (literal) pain in the ass.
Life doesn’t stop because you have an ouchie. I can’t take time off from work. I have to get everything ready for my transfer to my new mall, conviently located much closer to my house. I can’t stop training because I’m a little sore. I can’t not take the kids to the WWE Live event I bought them tickets for on my one day off this month because I’m sore. That’s not how life works. You gotta keep doing your thing, even if you feel like a pile of shit.
Part of self improvement means you’re gonna get knocked down a peg a time or two. You’re gonna have a shitty run. You’re gonna have a crap workout. Or, you’re going to literally fall on your ass. But you can always tell the people who are gonna succeed; they get back up. I could have just sat out the WOD, gone home, and decided that even though I’ve been doing it for two years, crossfit is too hard. But I thought about all of my fitness role models. Trish Stratus didn’t let a herniated disc in her back stop her from living an active life. She used yoga and homeopathy to get better. Nikki Bella didn’t let a broken neck stop her, she recovered, adjusted her style, and got back in the ring. No one succeeds by staying down. So I got up, dusted myself off, and plugged along.
You don’t just throw in the towel because you tried something once and it didn’t work. You get up and try again. If JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before a publisher accepted Harry Potter, then I can pitch a story to another newspaper, I can attempt that pull up. I can put together the project my boss tasked me with. I can continue to apply for media jobs and learn from each experience until I accomplish the goal.
So, while I may not break any records, I’ll be going into the Crossfit Open, broken ass and all. I may feel like shit, but I’ll feel accomplished, not to mention I’ll have all of my rad Crossfit CCA peeps kicking ass with me. And I’ll continue to work on my various projects, and towards helping my new staff at my shiny new location, because life doesn’t stop, no matter how much you’re hurting. All you can do is press forward and reach your physical and professional goals.
You ever have one of those nights where you’re tired af but your brain is like:
“Hey, member Third Eye Blind? They were fucking rad. You should listen to their entire discography at 1am. That’s SUCH A GOOD IDEA.”
(If this has never happened to you, then I’m sorry, but what kind of freak are you, just falling asleep the minute you go to bed without incident. Teach me your ways)
Truthfully, I’m probably wide awake because I ate a bunch of shit food to ring in the new year. I planned to avoid shit food because I’m working to cut some weight before the Crossfit Open. I couldn’t enter last year because my hip was injured, I had the kidney infection from Hell, and I hated everyone at my gym. This year, my hip is in great shape, and I love everyone at my gym! Because I love my gym, I go there at least three times a week and I’m seeing progress. I’ve built all of my strength back (except my squats are still at a 10lbs deficit) & even hit a new PR for my power cleans, push press and hang snatch. I lift heavy things and then do a happy dance because I am actually a nerd. But after a month of eating properly again, my body rejects shit food. My Fitbit also shames me. Yeah, I have a damn Fitbit. My boss gave one to the entire leadership team. We are challenging each other while also demonstrating the value of the Fitbit to customers. I think it’s quietly judging me. But, it’s helped me come up with a great story idea about wearables and the pros and cons of them, which is awesome.
That’s the big thing for me right now, I have so many ideas on the go that I think it’s hard to shut my mind off sometimes. Before, my goals were focused. They’ve been focused for years; get an article published by a major media outlet…& I did the thing I set out to do. When I got on the plane, I had tunnel vision; get the article published. And I did it in exactly 377 days. Then I focused on getting my story idea published. And I did that. Now I’m trying to build on that while also working a day job, raising a family, and gains. I have two stories on the go right now, one of which I’m super excited about. I have a third pitch ready and I’m brainstorming a fourth. My blog rant about the wrasslin got rave reviews, including by WWE Superstars. I’m wondering if I should strike while the iron is hot and pitch a column about WWE from the female fan’s perspective. I think it’s an untapped market and it could really help me slowly transition into covering other stuff, like MMA coverage. This would diversify my portfolio to include sports writing. I’ve managed to use social media for its intended purpose and have gotten my name out there a bit (if you want to follow me on social media, click here to find out how). I’m working my ass off at my day job to get the kids the life they deserve. And I’m allowing myself my time to do MH things like visit friends and crossfit. I finally have a full life out here. But I think I get so excited about my projects and ideas (now that they aren’t centralized) that I can’t. fucking. sleep.
I guess I can’t complain. How lucky am I that my only problem in life is that too many awesome things are happening all at once? I’ve worked so hard and it’s all finally paying off. My girls are seeing the power of hard work; it pays off. So, I keep doing it. I keep working harder. I also try to focus on how I treat people & how much I can give back to people. I once had nothing and now (while I’m by no means rich) I have the ability to help others. I need to give that back. I need to donate, to give, to help. I need to be a good person because the world needs more of them. So, I’ll be the hardest working nice person that I can be and a role model for my littles in the hopes that I can evolve into a woman they can be proud of.
On the start of the new year, I’m wide awake thinking of all the stories I want to write and ideas I want to share and goals I want to meet. No “new year, new me.” New year, same old MHC, same old goals;
1. Be a good mom
2. Be a good person
3. Be the best mother fucking writer I can be.
4. Never compete with the crossfitters, only compete with yesterday’s scores until I am a bad ass.
And maybe, to have a voiceover introduce me with “From Concord, California, comes the most stylish, elegant, bewitching, eternally beguiling, contentiously charismatic, and fantastically fascinating woman to appear in this or any arena,” whenever I walk into public places. Or not. Whatever.
My point is that it’s kind of nice to feel successful and settled into your life. When I got here, I was so afraid that I wouldn’t make friends, find a job where I fit with the company culture, or worse, I wouldn’t succeed as a writer. I shouldn’t have worried so much, because everything came together the way it should once I started trusting my instincts and putting in the work. So, I’ll keep putting in the work and life will only get better and better.
Oh, and PS; Third Eye Blind put out an album in 2015 called Dopamine and it’s damn good. Check it out.
Despite my fascination with pop culture, I must admit I do not keep up with the Kardashians, mostly because everything they say and everything they do annoys the shit out of me.
From Kim’s baby talk to Kris’s whining, whenever I see them on social media or TV, I immediately flip to something else. If I had to pick one that didn’t annoy me to no end, it would probably be Kendall, as she at least to have a job of some kind, as well as some talent or a skill (modelling is a skill). I feel like Kendall may also be smart. The rare times that I hear them speak, she seems to be the only one that has her shit together. So, good for Kendall.
Now that I’ve made it clear that I don’t keep up with Kardashians, I am also late to the party when it comes to their “projects.” I casually flipped over to People Magazine’s website to read the gossip (because celeb gossip is my guilty pleasure, fight me) and I discovered that Khloe Kardashian has a show called “Revenge Body!” Basically Khloe plucks people from obscurity to teach them health and fitness tricks so they can get a slamming body to get back at an ex boyfriend, mean parent, or childhood bully. Wait till they see how HOT YOU ARE?! THAT WILL TEACH THEM!
What. The. Fuck.
As a someone who worked to lose a ton of weight, gained some of it back and am working to lose it again, it must sound weird that I’m saying this show’s concept sounds bloody God awful. Well, here’s why. The concept of a “revenge body” is fucking stupid. Do you really think a shitty ex boyfriend is gonna magically say “I shouldn’t have been the shittiest boyfriend ever because she has a fantastic squat ass!” No. He’s probably playing house with the girl he was cheating on you with while you were trying to save the relationship or on Tinder swiping right. You shouldn’t give a shit about what that guy thinks. Or your high school bully. Or your douchebag dad. Why? Because not a single one of these people matter in your life. “Shamers” are not real. Words only have power over you if you allow them to. And besides, by losing weight to “shut them up,” they’ve won! They made you feel badly until you changed! Don’t be that person. Change to grow.
When I chose to get healthy, I chose this to be a role model to my girls and for me. Not the shitty ex husband who abused me. Not the shitty ex boyfriend who treated me like shit and abandoned me. Not the shitty guy who lied about getting a colonoscopy to go out with another girl. Not the asshole coworker who shit talked me when I left the room. Not the girl who bullied me in grade nine math so much that I refused to try out for basketball because she made me feel badly. Why? Because these people are irrelevant. They are simply chapters in my life that I’ve closed. I wanted to get in shape for me. I wanted to live longer. I wanted to look cute in leggings. I wanted to feel more confident. I wanted to be the best MHC ever so that I was happy with me. But it was my choice for me & I want everyone in life to be confident in their choices for themselves. When you need revenge, you are letting someone else take up space in your mind. Every second you waste on them is a second that you could be loving yourself. Why waste those seconds on shitty people who treat you badly when you could use them on yourself!
Maybe I’m totally off base, and Khloe Kardashian is helping these people let go of their painful pasts and focus on their incredible futures, but the promo shows people announcing who they’re getting “revenge” on. But from one human to another, the best revenge is letting go, moving on, and investing in you, for you. You don’t need revenge. You need to love yourself enough to invest in yourself. Because if you do it for revenge, once you get the killer body, you’re still empty. They still treated you badly. You didn’t get back at them, or get them back. Chances are you don’t really want them back because they are sucky people! The shamers won’t be impressed. Instead, they’ll piss on you for something else. Then you’ll go right back to your destructive, unhealthy habits because nothing changed. You need to change. Change your habits and your mindset so that you can be better for yourself. When you do that, you’d be surprised at how far you’ll come.
Khloe herself admits she started working out to stop people from calling her the fat & ugly sister and stick it to them. That’s so sad. She’s a beautiful woman and while I don’t keep up with her or her family, I believe everyone is good somewhere. She’s a sister, aunt, friend and tried very hard to make a toxic marriage work. I’m sure she’s a lovely person. I just hope she’s found better motivation. Maybe she’s learned to love herself. But I’d hate to think that with all of her success, loving family, wealth and the like, she’s letting faceless internet trolls or the ghosts of husbands past rent space in her mind.
So, screw the idea of the revenge body. How about we focus on healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy hearts?! I’m gonna keep working on mine. I hope you work on yours too, but because you want to, not to stick it to someone else.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(SERIOUSLY. CLICK THE DAMN LINK. CLICK IT. LIKE NOW)
It’s up! It’s published! I did it! Isn’t that the coolest thing?! I had an idea and it became a reality! And now I have a freelance gig where I get to share my passion for healthy living with the citizens of Edmonton as well as on social media (unless I blocked you on social media).
I know to you, it’s just a story. A magazine article. But to me, it’s the knowledge that my story ideas are good. They are interesting. They deserve to be heard. It’s the culmination of my hard work. And I’m so happy and proud.
I’m sure you’ve all worked hard at something and you’ve accomplished it and the feeling that comes with it. At least I hope you have had that. If not, keep on working at it, you’ll get there. Just keep on working at it, be positive & everything will come together as it should & I wish you all the best in your journey.
As for me, I’m going to work on the next idea, the next article that I’d love to share with you.
Today I got to spend some much needed time recharging in nature & enjoying fall.
Unlike those who hashtag every season as their favourite to get those social media likes for the external validation that they need to feel whole, fall really is my favourite season. The colours, the cold breeze and the warm sun, sweaters, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes, there’s something about fall that makes me so happy. There’s no deep meaning, I just super like it. I’ve always loved apples (I wear apple perfume every day of my life), Halloween, and the geese go back to Hell from whence they came.
Fall always represents endings to people, but to me, it always feels like a beginning of sorts. School starts & all the social missteps of the year before were forgotten by the summer; months of not speaking. Now it’s just compliments of hair and shoes and a new start. My birthday sometimes lands on the first day of fall, so maybe because my life actually began on the first day of fall, it represents a new beginning, the next chapter in my crazy life.
Today, while I wandered through the scenery, I was purposely ignoring my work phone, because as much as I love my job, I need work/life balance. That helps me focus when I am in the building & can support my team. This month we are the most successful team for our banner in the district. Not too shabby for a team that was second last a month ago! My boss told me he was proud of me. I told him I didn’t do anything. I just told the team I believed that they could. My DTL tells me to stop downplaying my role & embrace my role as the leader, but I’ve seen too many managers take credit for successes and blame the team for failures and how it impacted the team (it happened often at Walmart, mostly about their credit card applications & the team would HATE their managers after awhile. I never want my team to feel that way about me. They don’t have to like me, but they do have to know we’re all working for the same goal) & I never want to be that kind of boss or person. But I didn’t realize how comfortable I was in my role until this week. But not just at work; I’m comfortable in my world, in my place in the universe as MHC.
I used to wear a lot of eye makeup to play up the only feature I thought was pretty. I used to fake my personality to please my friends, my partner, whatever. But over the two years, I’ve rejected that. I’ve changed what I didn’t like and embraced what I did like about myself. Crossfit helped me get physically stronger while helping me feel accomplished whenever I finished a workout and lived (that’s exactly how I feel when I workout). And I got healthier; physically, mentally. And for the first time in my life, I am completely in love with my life, with my personality. I see myself as a whole person, that needs no mate, no human, job title, or reputation to complete me or make me into someone I’m not. I’m just me. And because I’m okay with being just me, the right relationship, the right friends, the career goals will all be there. In fact, my professional life has never been better. I’ve never been this successful as a writer or a leader. My role as mom is improved because I learned from the commute from Hell the importance of work life balance. And I look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman. I no longer feel like I’m missing something. The more you love yourself, the more successful you become, because your happiness no longer relies on it. You are happy simply because you make a conscious choice to be happy.
I used to be defined by my marriage. I was defined by my occupation. I let my friends define my value. And finally, after many years and struggles and victories, I define my worth & I love the woman I’ve chosen to be so much. She’s smart, and strong, and brave. She’s damn near unbreakable. She’s learned to be patient. Let life happen on its own time. She’s kind. Gracious. Forgiving. And I know where I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be here; writing, working, teaching my girls how to become women that change the world. The only way to do that is to believe that I can change the world, even if it’s in a small way that impacts maybe one person. But lead by example. Be active. Be brave. Be a warrior in a world that wants women to sit quietly & not be heard. That is who I want to be, so that is who I will continue to become.
For the first time ever, I’m in complete control of my life & my destiny. That’s not true, I always was, but much like Dorothy in Oz, the power was always in me, I just didn’t realize it at the time. But I do now. And I intend to use it to continue to kick ass at everything I set out to do with the knowledge that no one can take that power away. After all, I create my own happiness, simply by choosing to be happy every day. What I build for myself, no person can ever take from me.