One for the Rocks & One for the Scary

Oh hai.

I know I sort of fell off of the Earth lately, but I haven’t felt particularly motivated or inspired to write lately. I haven’t really been motivated to do anything, except let my anxiety run wild and create insane scenarios in my head about how everyone actually hates me because they’re cooler, better looking, and smarter than me, and I’m the fattest, most annoying loser that ever lived.

I find myself constantly trying to balance if I’m being too much, or talking too much, or being too “me.” I’ve spent most of my life being told that being myself won’t always leave the best impression, and I really want to fit in with my new team, because they’re all so awesome. It’s dumb, but ever since one of my friends told me I’m only fun to be around in small doses because otherwise I’m overwhelming, I tend to obsess that I’m always gonna be too much and eventually I’ll annoy everyone until they don’t want to talk to me anymore. Every time I spend time with anyone, I wonder how I could have done that better. Could I have talked less, about myself less, could I have been nicer. What could I do to be less annoying. When I get home from work I wonder how I could have been better. Could I have interacted better. Do my coworkers like me. Am I dragging the team down. This is my head every night.

I thought getting out of a toxic work environment would fix my self esteem issues, but I still feel like I’m too annoying to be a real person. I’m doing well at work and I’m excited to be working on a project that I’m super passionate about. But it also triggers insecurities. I wonder if someone else should present it because my coworkers are cool and kick ass. Deep down I know I have no reason to feel that way. I love my new job. I’m getting to know amazing people. I’m part of a team of colleagues I admire and respect. I’m working on projects where we get to do more for our community because it’s the right thing to do, not just to get a point on scoreboard. I love being home more with my family. I love that I have more free time to see my friends. I love that work is fun again. But just because you remove yourself from toxicity doesn’t mean you don’t have to check yourself for your own toxic behaviours and correct them. I’ve realized that my insecurities and anxieties are impacting my life and I need to make healthy changes so I can be a better MHC.

The negative self talk has helped me realize that my anxiety is out of control. It’s dominated every aspect of my life. I’m constantly comparing myself to the highlight reels of others, wishing I was confident like them. I’m constantly putting myself down in my head, letting those comments from friends, my old boss, and even my third grade teacher play back.

– Too much

– too big of a personality

– too domineering

– no one wants a strong woman, a fat woman, an old lady

– talks too much.

The truth is that I’ve neglected myself for so long that all I can focus on anymore is the negatives about my life, appearance, etc and I need to bust out of the rut of feeling ugly and stupid. So, I’ve made a conscious decision to shut down the negative thoughts by putting me first. I’ve been blocking off time to work out, and some friends in Ontario are keeping me motivated to get in shape for a wedding in the summer. I’ve rebooked that hair appointment I’ve cancelled four times. I’ve blocked off time to do yoga every night. Most importantly, I recently took time to talk to my doctor about my mental health. While I’ve been seeing a therapist for months, I’ve been referred to a psychiatrist to help me with my anxiety and PTSD. My therapist has been amazing, but I think it’s time I get to the root causes of my anxiety and how to effectively cope with my PTSD triggers to be my best self again.

Part of getting out of toxic environments is really looking at yourself and taking ownership of how you can avoid these situations in the future. Part of my issue was needing validation from my boss so desperately made me like myself a little bit less every time I didn’t get it. The more I got torn down, the more I would resolve to be better instead of accepting that this was a sick cycle carousel where my best was never enough. Now I want to feel valued by the people around me and that’s not a healthy way to live and it’s not fair to the people around me. I also need to figure out why I keep putting myself in these unhealthy situations; both personally and professionally. I don’t want to just learn to cope; I want to really heal from the trauma of losing a parent and being abandoned by the other, being physically assaulted by an ex fiancé when I was 19, the physically and emotionally abusive marriage, and why these incidents led me to choose unhealthy partners, jobs, and friendships. By working on healing properly, I hope to teach my own kids that it’s okay to have uncomfortable conversations about mental health, and it’s okay to seek help to be better.

I’ve always been afraid to really deep dive into my mental health, but I know in order to be healthy enough to get in shape, have healthy relationships, and regain confidence, I need to truly resolve my trust issues, insecurities, etc. It’s gonna be uncomfortable, but most growth is. I spent a lot of years being complacent with my job while letting my anxiety take over. Maybe it’s time I really push myself to better again, so I can finally feel good about myself, and feel like I’m really capable of accomplishing good things…or I’ll still be the cat lady who ends up a Walmart greeter at 85. You know, whatever.

I am Not a Woman, I’m a God

I’ve been thinking a lot about growth.

I’ve always strived to improve as a person and the last year or so, I didn’t really do that. I basically sat around, got fat, and let the depression take me. I also learned that you never realize how bad something is for you until you get rid of it. Since I left my old job a month ago, my hair isn’t falling out as much. I work out again. I sleep better, my skin care routine is better. Oh, and I take vitamins every morning. I’m more optimistic and peppier. I just feel good about myself and my life for the first time in a long ass time.

I’m really excited about my future again. I don’t feel 100% confident to jump into dating, mostly because I don’t totally like myself. Also, I’m not sure online dating is for me. I need to get to know someone before I can pursue a relationship and I’ve run out of friends to date. But it’s not a subject that stresses me out anymore. If it happens, it happens. But I’m excited about who I’m going to become again.

One way I’ve gotten back on track is to focus on growth that isn’t about a scale number or a workout. It’s the stuff that has changed that I never thought was important but is. I pride myself on my house being clean and organized. Before I accepted that I’d never be the best housekeeper, but I’ve learned my family and I deserve better. I used to be afraid to drive; now I drive for a living! I’ve really prioritized taking care of my hair and skin, and I’ve been doing home workouts to get back into fitness. Sometimes you get so caught up in the idea that because one thing hasn’t changed, you aren’t growing. But I’ve been getting better in a bunch of other little ways. I’m not the person I want to be yet, but I’m trying and I’m gonna get there. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can get back in shape, be a good mom, do well at my job, let my hair grow back, and be the type of person who can be in a relationship with someone else. Now that I’m not under the weight of a toxic work environment, I feel like I am capable of success and that I deserve it. I’m surrounded by friends and colleagues that share my ideas of what winning together and cheering each other on actually means. It feels so good to be around people who want to build each other up, and celebrating successes with people I respect and admire.

The lesson I’ve learned is that if you waste all of your time feeling like a failure because one thing hasn’t worked, you’ll never see all of the ways you’re bettering yourself l. I spent years being made to feel like I was dumb, old, and incompetent at work, which made me feel like that at home. It sapped the life out of me and turned me into the failure they said I was. Now, I see all of the ways that wasn’t true and that I’m actually making baby steps to be better every day. I still have moments where I feel good big, ugly, and stupid, but I talk myself through them by listening to Lorde, Taylor Swift, and reminding myself of the changes I’ve made and that I’m better than I was last week or last year. Maybe by focusing on my growth in other areas, I can use that to hit my fitness goals.

So if you feel like you’re stuck, or you’re not getting better. Maybe you’re stuck in a rut. Maybe look at what else you’ve been doing. You’ve probably come so far and don’t even realize it. You’re still killing the game, just not in the way you felt like you weren’t, and even that will come. Just keep pushing forward and you’ll find the bad bitch you were always meant to be.

It’s Time To Go

Well y’all; I did a thing. I quit my job.

You’re probably wondering why I would quit my job after five years and have devoted almost every second of energy towards. So, let me answer! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, about how I can get back to a version of me I’m really happy with. One of the things holding me back was a lack of work life balance. My job was smothering me. I was giving so much to everyone, but in return I wasn’t getting a whole lot. I had to miss the last day of school, and the last time the three kids walked home together and it super sucked. I was reaching a level of professional dissatisfaction that I could no longer ignore, but I was trying to because I loved the company, my clients, and my colleagues. Then a line of professionalism was crossed, and I realized that while I was working so hard to be a good teammate, I wasn’t seen as a teammate by one person, I was seen as someone you didn’t need to treat with basic respect. I wasn’t being respected by a person who’s respect I should have earned through my work performance. I was giving so much of myself to a job that wasn’t giving me anything back in return but migraines, stress, and exacerbated PCOS symptoms. I was only staying for my women’s program, my colleagues, and charity work. I was worn out, exhausted, and I didn’t like going to work anymore.

The world has a way of helping you realize that where one person won’t appreciate you; others will. Some former colleagues and friends suggested me for another company. The company contacted me and offered me a job with work life balance, better financial security, and the opportunity to build a philanthropy program that was ethical and did more than just raise money, but rather empower employees to do more for their communities. I loved my colleagues, but I’d be stupid not to see that this is better for me. I’d have time to be a mom, more time for my mom, and more time to live my life, instead of just work.

Chasing someone’s approval, whether it’s a partner, a friend, or a boss that will never see your value, will always suck the life out of you. Over the last few years, I’ve seen my confidence diminish to the point where I’m afraid to do anything. I am afraid if I go to the gym, I’ll just mess up and not do well. My self esteem is in the toilet. I’m always tired. You always hear about how the wrong manager or the lack of validation at work can run an employee ragged and it would bleed into the rest of their lives. This was me. I took extra shifts, I was the first to volunteer for projects, I participated on calls, and helped my colleagues. I kept trying and trying only to end most of my evaluations in tears and apologizing for minor things. I loved my job. I loved the company. But after I got off of the phone with my new boss, I felt more valued than I had in years. I’m excited to unplug. No more late night messages about what worked, no more calls on my day off. My days off are mine, which means I can go to the gym, I can go to the beach (which I did), I can go to a movie without my phone blowing up. And above all, I feel optimistic about my work life for the first time in forever.

So, while it broke my heart to leave a job where I got to work with so many amazing people and help the clients I’ve worked with for so many years, I had to start thinking my mental health and my needs. I’ve spent five years devoting myself to what was best for the company, but never what was best for me. So, while it wasn’t something I had planned, I made a choice that was best for me.

Despite my love for my company and colleagues and team, when I left, I felt relieved and like thirty pounds of stress was gone. I’ll miss my colleagues and team, but it’s been so much easier to get up, exercise, and enjoy my week without that feeling of walking on eggshells wondering if today was the day I’d end up crying at work again. This week has been the most peaceful and relaxing week I’ve had in years. I’m actually looking forward to going to work again instead of sitting in my car for ten minutes just psyching myself up to go into the building or dreading answering my phone. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, I feel optimistic about my life.

I never realized just how much space my job took in my life until I realized my life had no space because of my job. Now, my new job holds a space in my life, but so does my family, so does fitness (even though I’ve been afraid of failing at the gym), so do my friends, and a social life, which is how it should be. There’s a good lesson here, which is that I can’t allow myself to let my job take over my life and I can’t keep giving my whole self to try and win the approval of people who are never going to give me that. I’ve done this in my personal life and now in my professional life. However, I also learned that even if one person doesn’t see your worth, doesn’t mean others are missing it too. I’m so grateful for the number of colleagues, team members (past and present), managers from other districts, and even HR, who reached out to thank me for my work, my contributions to the company, and wish me well. Those are the people who worked on the floor with me, knew me on a personal level, and saw my commitment. I’m so grateful for them and their friendship.

So, while I’m nervous to start something new, as it’s been awhile since I did that (which is weird, I used to do it all of the time), I’m also really excited for a change. Things haven’t been working the way they were and now I’m excited to take on a completely new job and do something different. I’m excited to grow my career and reduce my waistline. But I’m most excited to find the best version of myself that I’ve been so determined to find again. So, much like every other time I’ve made a change to embrace something new, I’m excitedly optimistic about what experiences I’ll have and lessons I’ll learn.

Titans

2021 is just 2020 with bangs and can fuck all the way off.

I mentioned recently that I’ve been going through some health challenges as a result of a hormone imbalance. I’ve gained a bunch of weight, my hair is thinner, I’m always exhausted, and I’m moody, as well as a litany of symptoms I’m not comfortable sharing. I’m always depressed and I cry way too much. I assumed it was a quick fix, get some medication, life goes on. But after two ultrasounds, pleading with my doctor to stress, and blood test after blood test, I now know what’s wrong. I have PCOS combined with a disorder called endometrial hyperplasia, and need a biopsy to determine if this is typical hyperplasia (which just requires medication) or atypical (which means a higher risk of cancer, and a possible need for a hysterectomy). It’s a lot to deal with when I’ve already got my mom in the hospital, switching locations and building a new team, and my normal priorities of raising a family. It’s a lot to handle and it’s honestly freaking me out a bit.

I’m sure I’m fine, and I’ll take some medication, my hair will grow back (and drive my stylist nuts), and all will be well. But there’s still the fact that 30% of women develop endometrial cancer from this. Biopsy is a very scary word. If I require surgery, I need to take time off from work. I’m barely making ends meet as it is. Who will take care of the girls if I’m laid up from major surgery? Who will take care of my mom? Worst case scenario, if I am one of that 30%, and something happens to me, will the girls be okay? I already have a plan in place where my best friend would step in as guardian for the girls, but the thought of them living without an active parent scares me. I lost a parent when I was young and it was traumatic. The girls have already been through a lot with their dad barely being present in their lives. So, I focus on staying active, healthy, and present. It’s all I can do during situations like this.

There’s also the reality that I’m going through this alone. I’m fortunate enough to have great friends; for example, my best friend is going to come with me when I get my biopsy. My other friend has been hella supportive. But I’m still really scared. I’m not going to scare the kids, and I feel like expected to have a big brave face all of the time. But when I’m alone with my thoughts at night, I’m stuck with the pressure of knowing if something does go wrong, the house of cards I’ve spent ten years building to make a home for my family all collapses. I’m actually mad at my body right now. Like, how dare it decide not to cooperate with me and stay healthy. Doesn’t it understand how many people depend on us? The kids, my mom, my job; they all depend on us! I want to scream at myself that we simply cannot afford to be sick or need surgery; too many people rely on me to take care of them!

If I’m down and out from surgery, who will keep my house clean and the kids fed? Who will drive them to school? Who will do the reporting at work? Who will pick my mom up from the hospital? How will I get home from the hospital if I can’t drive? These questions always amplify my occasional loneliness. If I had a partner, these things wouldn’t be an issue. But then I remember that if I was still married, these things would still be a problem. He’d be too busy yelling at me and the kids to help, and I’d probably have to bus home post-op because he had more pressing things to do, like get drunk (just like when I was pregnant). I’d much rather deal with these issues as a solo act, even if it does make it harder.

There’s also the vanity aspect. I have always felt at least a little bit attractive, but now I just feel…old…fat…ugly. My hair is always dry. I have no energy and I miss running and CrossFit and I feel like I’ve hit the wall and all that’s left is becoming an old hag. I have a complicated relationship with my mom. One of the reasons is she gave up on life when my dad died and let herself age poorly, which affected her health. I was obsessed with taking care of my body and skin so this wouldn’t happen to me, but now I’m afraid I’ll age 20 years overnight & my pipe dreams of meeting someone and being in a healthy relationship has gone up in smoke even more. Is this rational? No. Being healthy should be what comes first. But liking yourself should mean something too and this whole experience has really shed a light on how much I do not like myself right now. I’m scared, angry, and sad & it hella sucks.

One thing I always tell my kids when things suck is to focus on changing the things you have control over. I have no control over what’s happening to my body right now. But I do have control over what I put in by eating well, exercising, and getting proper sleep. I can make sure I have a proper will in place so my chosen guardian for the kids is in place. I can make sure I perform well at work so I can stress less about my financials. I can meditate and see my therapist to stay calm. I can engage with my new team and help them thrive. And I can figure out the rest as it happens. It’s the only thing I can do right now, so that’s what I’ll do. Obsessing about everything that can go wrong will only make everything worse, and I’m already scared enough. The best way to combat anxiety is to just breathe and focus on what’s fixable, and then deal with the rest when it comes. It’ll keep my fears and insecurities and other feelings at a manageable level until the next step comes.

Saviour Complex

One thing I’ve learned about living through a pandemic is that when the movie industry assumed 80% of the planet wouldn’t survive the zombie apocalypse, they were correct.

Every time I log into social media, there’s someone talking about how it’s a hoax, or why they aren’t gonna stay home.

  • “My family deserves a big family holiday.”
  • “I’m still throwing a huge birthday party, it’s not fair for me to have to cancel it.”
  • “I refuse to cancel my wedding.”
  • “I shouldn’t have to wear a mask.”
  • “I’m not ruining my Christmas.”

That’s cool guys. But that’s how the zombies win in the movies.

COVID has been particularly scary for me because I have two high risk family members (one of which is one of my children), so we have tried our best to comply. I only go to work, groceries, and to the gym (and even that is sparingly because I work with people). I’ve been out in a restaurant three times in eight months. The kids didn’t get to see their dad this summer. I didn’t get to run my 10k. It’s been awful.

But I do this because I don’t trust people. One dumb dumb can infect my whole family. You read about them all of the time, the dumb dumbs that mask symptoms to go to Disney, or go to the hair salon, or whatever. I do not want to run the risk of making my family sick so I reduce my own risk by staying home as much as possible. I cancelled my annual holiday party long before the new restrictions. Even my dating life has been mindful of restrictions. I went on a first date with a guy in a restaurant, but we planned our second as a river walk with hot chocolate. I wanted to make sure I could continue to get to know someone while reducing risks, because I don’t trust people. Normally, my friends tell me that’s silly. Now, I can confidently say…

I WAS RIGHT. DO NOT TRUST PEOPLE. PEOPLE ARE THE WORST.

This week I got a call from a customer who informed me that while waiting for her test results, she realized she needed to pick up something she had ordered and came into the store instead of waiting. Well, she got her results and she’s got COVID. That item she HAD to have just put my whole family at risk. It put my team at risk. It put the safety of my coworkers and their families at risk. It put a neighbouring store at risk because the beauty treatment couldn’t wait. So many people put at risk because one person didn’t want to isolate.

This meant we all had to get tested. I got to be super stressed while I waited, worrying if I gave my kids COVID because I had to work. Worrying about if I infected my mom who’s been in poor health. Worrying about what would become of my family if I got sick. Who would raise the kids, who would pay the bills, how would we manage? This is terrifying shit. Fortunately, my test was negative. But, there’s a part of me that’s still so freaking mad that someone being completely irresponsible put so many people around me at risk.

I cannot stress this enough; every time you say your family Christmas party is too important to miss, or you don’t need a mask, you are saying “I don’t give a shit if I put you and your family at risk, I don’t want to be mildly inconvenienced.” I don’t want to be mildly inconvenienced either. I don’t enjoy mask wearing, or staying home, or not having company. I hate knowing that if things don’t change, it’ll be another year before the kids can see their grandmother in Ontario. None of this is fun. But, it’s responsible. Getting tested wasn’t fun, but it was important to make sure I wasn’t putting anyone at risk. The world isn’t just about me or you. I get that everyone wants to go to their family Christmas or out for dinner, but every time we don’t listen and just do whatever, things get worse for everyone else and that’s not fair to the people around you. It’s not just you that gets sick. It’s everyone around you. Had I gotten sick, my family could have gotten sick, as well as my coworkers at two different locations (because I drove to pick up a phone), my teenager’s coworkers, and my other customers, some who are elderly or possibly high risk.

The reason everyone in the zombie movies die is because no one thinks about how their actions impact everyone else. They just think about how they alone need to escape instead of working together to stop the zombies, and you know what happens next.

So, before you plan your huge bash at a hotel or go shopping while waiting on COVID results, or post another conspiracy blog, or about how much all of these restrictions suck, think about how most could be avoided if we as a group of people listened the first damn time. Also, make sure you tell your asthmatic friends, or your grandparents that you really don’t care what happens to them, as long as you get to shop without a mask and have friends over for the holidays, because that’s what your actions show.

First Train

GUYS!

I FIGURED OUT WHY I SUCK AT DATING!

Well, actually my friend did. But I’m taking credit for it because I can.

I suck at dating because I hate dating!

A friend and I were discussing how we both hate the awkward, getting to know you phase of relationships. Some people recycle exes (a lot of people. It’s super common) I date my friends.

(Also, as someone who did the ex-cycle, I wouldn’t recommend it. It never ends well. If the man goes, let him goes. If he comes back, toss him in the recycle bin.)

I hate that awkward first date and weird first few weeks of awkward dating. So, I always dated my friends. There’s a pre existing relationship, you’ve already gotten to know each other, there’s less weirdness. But, much to my chagrin, I HAVE RUN OUT OF QUALITY MAN FRIENDS!

NOW WHAT?!

I’ve never been good at meeting potential mates, and I’ve run out of male friends. This means I need to make new friends, but making friends as an adult is so weird. I don’t want to recycle my exes because either;

A) they live in Ontario

B) I hate them and never want to see their faces again for as long as I live.

C) both

This is why online dating, or regular dating throws me off. I’m trying to awkwardly build a friendship that might turn into something and they’re looking for a spark. I focus so much on self improvement that I rarely think about logging on to Tinder or Hinge (I log in when I get a notification). I don’t know how to meet someone and build a purely romantic relationship. Don’t you need to be friends? These bitches need to realize I’m weird af and go through the five stages of grief before they commit to dating me! Dude, no one is gonna meet this ball of insanity and be like, yes, this is the one. You gotta ease into that, like a frog in boiling water, or a warm bath, or the fire swamp.

No one is gonna jump in with both feet without at least several months or years of realizing I’m pretty much insane and then deciding to be okay with it! When there are sane, baggage free options, you never pick the weirdo with the kids and the crush on Seth Rollins. You pick the normal one. That’s why I date my friends. They’re desensitized!

Now I have to meet someone who has to deal with my insanity on the fly and then still have want to date me? Or make more male friends?How does one make new friends as an adult? I’m only friends with my coworkers and everyone knows you NEVER date a coworker, I don’t care what Jim and Pam said. You don’t (with the exception of my coworkers that are dating, y’all are cute as Hell and I love it). You can’t make friends on Tinder, so do I continue to suck at dating? Or get more cats? Help a sister out.

I guess I could get out of my preconceived notions that you can’t just meet someone and be smitten with them, and that romantic feelings are something that must bubble under the surface for years. I could stop crushing my own self esteem by pointing out why I’m not loveable and focus on why I could be. I’m a pretty okay amateur chef (check out my food IG), I’m a pretty solid writer, people seem to like me, I’m a pretty decent cell phone boss lady. I’m a damn fine parent. I’m okay looking. I’m getting ready to start a podcast with my best friend. I understand sports now. Like, you could do worse. I guess.

Or I’ll let my friends fix me up until I get pissed off and get 100 cats. Whatever works.

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Don’t Let It Break Your Heart

How’s everyone holding up? Still doing okay? Sad? Poor? Sad and poor? Consider this your mental health check in.

I’ve always prided myself at using my writing as an honest look into my life. This will be no exception. Folks, I’m damn tired.

Times have been tough man. My mom took ill at the start of COVID, adding some new financial and emotional responsibilities. My brother has been here to help, but I’m still calling the doctors, making the appointments, picking up the medication, the girls and I are cleaning the house and cleaning her room, and guys, that’s a lot when you’re raising three kids. There’s the emotional toll that comes with your parents getting older. Things feel darker, like maybe they won’t see your kid graduate. Maybe they won’t be a great grandparent. There’s all this guilt because you need to be home to cook dinner because you don’t want to burden the kids and you sleep through your alarms until you are running behind and end up skipping breakfast.

There’s the financial setbacks. Paying some of the back bills from the shutdown while paying current bills, all while the Family Responsibility Office reduces you to tears by screaming at you that it’s not their job to make sure your support payments come so accept reality that it’s not coming and stop bothering them.

This means sacrifices must be made. Those gym passes? They gotta wait girl. That’s grocery money now, because the support money you earmarked for groceries isn’t coming ever. The Halloween costumes your kids picked out? Nada. You’re now explaining to them that we’re gonna use last year’s and stuff from home because that money is now earmarked for insurance. Meanwhile you’re scraping every cent to make sure that you can get your oldest’s university application fee together. It’s not like you can make it to the gym because there’s so much to do at home and sometimes you volunteer to work late or a sixth day, or a seventh, because you want to give back to the good people you work with and those sales mean a chance to get ahead. That’s my reality my dudes. I’m tired and my weekly weigh in is sub-optimal, so I binge watch Drag Race for six hours after everyone is in bed and then lurk on the Bachelor on Reddit (despite never having watched the Bachelor) wallowing in my own depression and feeling like I’m failing at every aspect of my life.

I’ve stopped wearing makeup, because what’s the point. I’ve felt fat & ugly. I’ve felt bad at fitness. Bad at parenting. But mostly, because I’m not living up to expectations. There’s only so many times you can tell the kids next time/next year before they just stop asking. They know it’s not happening, and it’s because I let them down. Fitness is a losing battle. I know at 4:30 someone at home will call about an issue, and now it’s just not in the budget. I go for 3.5 km walks every other night and use my home fitness app, but it’s not the same. I feel like Sisyphus, pushing the Boulder up for it just to roll back down. I decided writing about it may help some other person feeling so overwhelmed know they aren’t all alone. Rona is making everyone’s mental health hard.

I cope by practicing gratitude. Maybe that’s dumb, but I feel like the only way to push through times that aren’t ideal is by reminding ourselves of all the good around us. For example, my family is rad. I have the best kids in the world and we have made this life thing work. I have an amazing job that paid me during Covid. I have a great team of reps and support from others to help so I can recharge with some time off. I live in a beautiful neighbourhood so I can go for walks. I have a home app I can use for my fitness until I can lift heavy things again. My mom’s health has improved significantly. She has a helpful nurse. My friends are always there for me. Life will never feel bleak if you can look and be grateful for what you’ve got.

Life isn’t all sunshine and roses, and pretending it is will only destroy you the minute it stops going well. Tough times are gonna happen. For me, that time is now. But if I waste my time and space dwelling on those things, I’m never going to get out of that black hole. My best friend always says to choose your attitude, so each night before I go to bed, I make a mental list of everything awesome in my life and thank the universe for it. This way, when these tough times are over, I can remain grateful. I’ll appreciate the gym more once I can get back. I’ll cherish that time more. I’ll go back to work with a renewed focus and help my team be better. I’ll look in the mirror and see someone to invest in, not to feel disappointed in. I’ll be more appreciative of little things, like that colleague that was kind enough to cover a shift for my vacation, or how my friend and I always take turns buying Starbucks. Maybe I’m naive, but I’d rather always search for good ever when everything feels less than good. I’ll build on all the good things until these times pass and there is only good. For me, it’s the best way to keep my bubbly spirit up while navigating tough times, and I’d rather be grateful than let depression rule my life. It’s a tough road, but I’ll get there.

The Last Great American Dynasty

I generally don’t write about my kids, but sometimes they’re hilarious.

My teenager has made it her personal mission to marry me off. None of you are off limits apparently!

  • Platonic friend? Possible husband candidate!
  • Guy at the gym? You too!
  • Recently single colleague? Step right up!
  • My kid’s teacher? Absolutely a front runner.
  • Random dude I bumped into at Hot Topic? Yes! You are an option!

I feel like I’m living in my own personal episode of the Bachelorette, only I didn’t choose this, and Chris Harrison is really pushy.

It’s actually really cute that the kids are living their own personal version of an Olsen Twins movie. They obviously care about me. They want me to be happy. But they also want a father figure they can look up to. I can’t blame them for that. Every kid wants a father figure to be there for them, and they don’t have that. I didn’t, but then I was fortunate enough to have a foster dad that gave me someone to look up to. And I’ve been so focused on trying to do well at work and be healthier so I can be in a healthy relationship that I didn’t see how much they wanted me married off so that they have a stepdad. They’re craving having a full time father figure that doesn’t come and go or only talks to them when they make an effort. They want someone who’s all in on our family.

If we’re being honest, some of their choices are great. They’d be great partners (maybe not for me), and one made me take pause and really think it over, as if it would be a good idea. I think I actually thought it would have worked out with someone by now. I caught the bouquet at my friend’s wedding and decided it was a sign from the universe that my life was finally ready for a partner. Instead, it blew up. So, I sort of gave up for a long time. I gave up on myself and decided I wasn’t worth investing in. Then I gave up on dating. I just sort of decided this was how it was. It impacted my health, my self esteem, etc. I just didn’t care anymore.

I realize now this needed to change. I’m getting out there. I went on a first date, but the guy and I decided we’d be better off as friends. I went on another where I didn’t feel any connection. But I’m not hiding away in my hobbit hole either. It’s a start. My weight isn’t where I want it and my career isn’t either, but if I keep making excuses, I’ll keep wasting the best years of my life because I’m waiting for the perfect window to be in a relationship. So, I’ll keep going on socially distant outdoor dates with masks on and no physical contact until a swab is done. I’ve spent a long time afraid of relationships because the last long term relationship I was in was ended in such a cruel, heartless, and confusing way that I didn’t want to put myself out there again. Even my last short term relationship I felt like an afterthought, only good enough to share the dark and depressing sides, never anything positive. But nothing changes if I’m not willing to put myself out there. Obviously the kids are craving a male role model. I need to be open to creating a blended family unit, so much so that they are willing to pair me off with any dude I remotely get along with!

Basically I’m living in my own romcom. It always works out for them, maybe it’ll work out for me! If not, at least I know my family is invested enough in my happiness to make the attempt. It’s super flattering…as long as they don’t put me on the Bachelorette for real.

Be Kind

Hey guys! We get to go outside again! Isn’t that cool?!

While there are still restrictions, it’s nice to have a little bit of normal back in my life. I’m back at work and it’s been positive. I had some friends over for a barbecue potluck and it was so nice to entertain again. I’ve been back at the gym & going for walks. It’s been awesome.

After being cooped up for three months, I really want to step outside my comfort zone a little bit. Part of that is taking control of my weight. I’ve been really down on myself, but I started posting daily updates to a group on FB my friends & I use to stay accountable. I started intermittent fasting, which has helped too. But the big ones are stepping out of my comfort zone at the gym and trying to cure my unhealthy relationship with food.

Intermittent fasting and setting aside one cheat meal has really helped with this. I’m not denying myself food anymore. Instead, I’m learning what I need to fuel my body so I can be healthier. So much of my mental health is tied into diet and exercise, not necessarily to be “thin,” but to feel healthy and confident. Junk food just makes me feel badly about myself in general, but when I’m stressed, I eat. Now I’m teaching my body that we don’t just eat when I’m bored, but when I’m hungry. I’ve cut out all alcohol (not that there was much, save for that case of White Claw I would have over a month long period), save for social events, and I’m careful about junk food and fast food. It’s important that I teach my kids to have a healthy relationship with food; enjoy an occasional treat but never forget to learn the right way to nourish your body.

As for fitness, I’m trying to stop avoiding the harder workouts. Whenever I see something with a lot of running, or skipping, or a lot of burpees, because I was slow before. Now, after gaining weight during quarantine, I’ll be slower. I get so insecure about finishing last and everyone quietly waiting for me to finish so I don’t go. But part of getting healthy again means no more skipping “the hard ones.” Even if I finish last, or have the worst time, I’m not gonna get better if I let my insecurities get in the way. So, yesterday I went to the gym and did one of the “hard workouts.” I finished last. It was awful. But I did it and I went home feeling really good about the work I did. I felt empowered, like the next time I could do that style of workout better if I just keep pushing. Sure, I’ve gotta push back against the fact I’m not a morning person to get to those 6am classes, but I won’t hit my goals skipping workouts, so I need to hold myself accountable to my wellbeing and do them.

Finally, I stepped the furthest out of my comfort zone and went on a date. Yes, I left my house and met someone. He’s a great dude and I think we may go out again. I’m not setting any expectations, but I’m also putting myself out there a bit & it went okay. I didn’t let my insecurities about my weight or my age hold me back. I just did it. My weight will be fixed, I’m working on it. I’ll never be “the right age,” so I’ve just got to open myself up for romantic possibilities and not let my life pass me by. Also, my coffee was fantastic. I always forget how great the coffee shop by my house is. Will this turn into something? I dunno. If not, then maybe it will with someone else. But, I’m trying, something I hadn’t done in almost two years, since I broke up with Debbie Downer the Teacher. I’d go on a first date every quarter and not make a real effort to get to know them, and then stopped all together and used dating apps for the lolz. I figure even trying is a step in the right direction.

The only way to get better is to get uncomfortable. I promised myself I’d use this year to get better. Quarantine didn’t help, but refocusing will. The second half of 2020 is about accountability, growth, and success. I’m going to take steps every day to get better, surround myself with people who are driven to improve too, and soon we’ll be toasting to our successes…

…unless of course the murder hornets destroy us all.