I Bet You Think About Me

Well y’all. Another year is over, although it feels like Marchvember 57 of 2020. It’s been an interesting year. I quit my job and found a workplace that’s collaborative and full of leaders who want to see everyone grow together. I put my mental health first and took steps to get as healthy as possible. I took steps to improve my physical wellness so I can get back on the weight loss train. I’m excited to be my best self again. As always, I compiled a photo essay of my fave memories (excluding my children). If you ever want to watch my ridiculous life in real time, follow my dumb ass on Snapchat!

Happy holidays everyone and I’ll have more adventures in 2022!

Peace out toxic job

When my house finally got grass

Best birthday cake!

That time I chopped off all of my hair

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.

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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.

Can You Feel My Heart?

Happy New Year everyone!

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty excited for the new year. I’m so excited for new adventures, new changes, kicking ass, setting new goals. It sounds magical. The holidays were amazing. I spent lots of time with family, held my annual holiday party with some great friends, and my store did really well! Lots of things to be excited about as we head into the new decade.

I even won some kick ass ski passes at work! Raising money for Stollery Children’s Hospital is my favourite part of my job. I love it so much. There’s something so awesome about knowing I’m helping the community in some small way. Normally I recuse myself from participating because I’m the captain of the charity program. But I threw my hat in the ring because our Stollery representative insisted, and because I really wanted to win them to take one of my best Alberta friends snowboarding because she loves it. I knew that this trip would mean a lot to her, and I got to do so much good for Edmonton children. Now, she and I and another friend who won the other passes are going on a super fun snowboarding adventure!

Related: I have never ever been skiing. Or snowboarding. Or anything winter sportsy. In fact, I have actively rejected winter sports. So, I may die.

That’s where I’ll be found

But I’m pretty stoked. I haven’t gone on a kid free trip in years and it’ll be nice to spend time with my friends. There will be female empowerment (or getting drunk in a hot tub with Prosecco) and possible death on a mountain. So fun! But then while we were in the group text, someone mentioned they should all bring their SO’s. Everyone has a significant other. Everyone…except me.

So, when I pointed this out, I was offered up some coworkers (which I would never date a coworker again) and the prospect of a random dude. All jokes of course. Also, for my friends to find the most “quality mans” on my Tinder and set us up. After all, I wasn’t gonna find a guy on my own. Then I realized that all of my friends had recently cracked the same joke about when was I gonna meet a quality mans because I’d been alone FOREVER. EVEN MY 10 YEAR OLD SAID SHE WOULD GET MARRIED BEFORE I REMARRIED! I just felt very small and sad, to the point where I cried at work a little bit. Is this how people see me? The loser who can’t get a plus one? The forever alone cat lady? The completely repulsive loser who is unloveable?!

I was heartbroken. Sure they were joking and it’s still a girls weekend, but it really stung. I never log into my Tinder because I just forget. The only place I go to other than work is the gym and I’m either working out or chatting. I haven’t had a love connection. Almost of my friends are paired off. I’m just that weirdo at the singles table with no dance partner. It was the first time in years I had considered settling for the first guy who messaged me online just to have a partner. The last two times I felt that way it ended up horribly, horribly wrong. But, the whole universe keeps asking why I’m not with someone, which translates into “what’s wrong with you? Are you too fat/ugly/crazy to land a man?”

I don’t like that feeling, like I don’t have any worth or value unless I am happily paired off. But that’s how I felt last night. Like my failure to meet someone and my refusal to settle for Mr. Whatever was ruining everyone’s fun. I even contemplated skipping the ski trip and giving them the passes so they could have super happy couple time. Their trip shouldn’t be ruined because I suck at dating. I ruined it by being single.

However, it was New Year’s Eve so I split a bottle of wine with my best friend and hashed it out. She reminded me that this is the first time I’ve really loved myself without conditions (partner, weight loss, etc) and because of that, I’ve built a solid career, moved to a nice home, learned to drive, and all of the things I refused to do for years out of fear and insecurity. This is the time in your life where the universe brings love to you, which is what I’ve said all along. You’ve just got to be open to finding it. So instead of being upset over something that was unintentional, open up your mind to the possibility of that all encompassing, healthy, Jack Pearson sort of love. It’s what I want and it should be what I get.

Which brings me back to the ski trip. Old MHC would have declined to go and let everyone have fun without me, I decided to be honest and tell people that this line of commentary hurt my feelings and I will meet someone when the universe says so, not some random so I have a plus one while skiing. And because my friends are the best, they apologized for making me feel like a third wheel, even if I did promise to let them fix me up a time or two (they’ve decided my “type” is the male equivalent of my best Alberta friend, so a sarcastic, snarky, borderline mean weirdo with an engineering degree that likes to argue about stuff. Or there’s always the “hard working Conservative Oil Man” that my relatives suggested, with whom I would argue with about everything until one of us died).

A moment of silence for the Conservative Oil Tyler

2020 is going to be an incredible year. I’ve committed to 300 workouts, and I’m running my third 10k. I intend to participate in another CrossFit Open. I am going to learn to ski. There’s a ton of opportunity at my job to learn and grow. My kids are growing and becoming amazing young women. There is so much to be excited about, which is why I’m going to focus on all of those things. The more I grow as a person and become the best version of me, the more likely love will come. Also, I look super cute and I’m in love with my darker hair. I won’t let one missing piece destroy my whole outlook. After all, missing pieces always turn up, but not until you open your eyes and are ready to find it.

It’s Nice to Have a Friend

I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday this year.

Money has been tight because of some unexpected repairs and I couldn’t take the girls to the WWE event they wanted to go to. I know they just went to Summerslam but I knew they wanted to go for my birthday. I know kids don’t need to do everything, but I felt like I disappointed them.

Still an amazing night

I also just looked at my birthday as a bunch of disappointments. I thought I’d have found my partner by now, and I haven’t been on a date in two months. I thought I’d be at my goal weight and I’m not even close. I thought I’d have gotten the promotion I’ve been chasing, but I’m not there yet. I just felt like I’ve let myself down. I had set goals for myself, and I didn’t really hit them. My birthday just felt like the year of disappointment. But, I still look good, that’s a plus, right?!

Fortunately, I have some pretty awesome friends. My assistant manager and his partner planned an entire birthday party for me, and invited all of my friends. They spoiled me with gifts. We drank wine and played Super Smash Bros. Two days later, I attended a work event and everyone made it a point to wish me a happy birthday. My boss’s wife got me a piñata. It might not seem like much to y’all, but when you’re already feeling down, there’s something so amazing about all the people you love or respect taking a second to do something nice for you is such a cool thing.

Maybe I didn’t meet the goals I set for myself, but I’m still doing really well. I have a job I love. I’ve been working on some new articles. I have great kids and the best friends in the whole world. I must be doing something right to have so many amazing people take time out of their lives to want to celebrate with me. I’m not behind because I didn’t meet some imaginary criteria. All of this stuff will happen when it’s supposed to. Until then, I should focus more on gratitude. I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing people in my life and that I get to be their friends. I’m fortunate enough to live in a wonderful home with my amazing family. I’m fortunate that I can afford to repair things when they go wrong. Lots of others don’t have that luxury. Maybe instead of focusing on timelines and schedules, just keep working on what I want to work on and then be grateful for when they happen, instead of pressuring myself to get there and failing. Things fall into place better when you let them instead of forcing them to fall when you think they should. Trust the process, don’t obsess about the result.

You Should See Me In A Crown

I never realize how boring my life is until it gets shaken up a bit.

I work. I raise humans. I go to the gym. I go running. I sometimes go out with adults. I continue to search for a “hard working conservative ‘Berta oil mans,” because that is obviously my type.

Follow me on Instagram for more gems @mhc2617

That’s my life in a nutshell. It’s honestly the most mundane life in existence. I’m about to plant a garden. I colour with chalk with the kids. My life is not interesting. Then, we had a shakeup at work and I was pulled from my comfortably boring life into a new location, with a new staff, and everything is different and you all know how I feel about change!

I’m always afraid of messing up. I love my job, and I want to do well. But I’m not good at coming in hot right out of the gate and I’m always afraid of disappointing everyone. I want to do well & be a role model to my kids and my colleagues and then I stress myself out. ALSO DID I MENTION I HAVE HAD NO CAFFEINE IN A WEEK AND I MAY POSSIBLY BE REALLY INSANE?!

Yes, change couldn’t have come at a better time, when I’m taking part in my annual “caffeine free, alcohol free, fast food free” May (with the only exceptions being Mother’s Day & McHappy Day). So, I have no vices to use to cope with stress. I have…tea.

Don’t get it twisted; David’s Tea is the absolute best place on Earth & Lavender Buttercream Tea is magical. But, as someone who stress eats, I can’t just go get some fries and feel better. I could, but I’ve made a commitment to seeing this through to myself, just like I made a commitment to be the best manager/cell phone boss lady. If I can’t put down the fries for 29 days, how am I gonna build a team and be awesome? I don’t have my vices. I’ll actually have to deal with the stress on my own! What could possibly go wrong?!

Well, literally everything. But, that’s not a good attitude. I need to learn how to actually cope with anxiety in a healthy way. Fries are never the answer. So, I made sure I got to the gym. I set a PR for my clean and jerk. That made me happy. I boosted my team’s morale. Came home and did yoga. I can’t keep going to the quick fix. Fries won’t help me be a better leader. Fries are just delicious. What WILL make me a better leader is actually being a better leader. Working on deficiencies. Getting team feedback. Feedback from colleagues. That’s what’s going to make me a better leader. Also, being confident. I was chosen for a reason & if I want to get to where I want to be, whether it’s personal or professional, I’ve got to carry myself like I deserve it. Then work to earn it. That’s the only way. But believe you can and you’re halfway there. Or something like that.

So, chin up buttercup, you’re gonna be fine, and while fries are delicious, you’ll never get to where you wanna be by stressing out and eating fries.

Sucker

It’s funny how things will change for you when you put what means most to you first.

I was working at a trade show this weekend with a friend/colleague and he told me he was so proud of how I’ve grown into my life over the last three years. I’ve learned a house, moved into my new home, really grown into my position, and built strong roots here. I mean, I guess. But isn’t that normal, to evolve as time goes on?

But one thing I have really tried to do is make my needs a priority. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life. How do you make time for what you want to do/improve as a person without feeling selfish and evil? It’s been a work in progress, as I still have trouble saying no and leaving work on time, but I’m getting better every day.

I think it’s a mom thing. You always feel like you shouldn’t want time to go for a run, go to the gym, or even meal prep! Yes, I started meal prepping! It’s been great for my waistline and my wallet. It was also something “I just didn’t have time for” a year ago. Now, I make time. The kids help me make my lunches for work. They’re learning helpful skills and I’m getting stuff done. All good things. But we’re all taught that wanting time alone or wanting to make ourselves a priority is selfish, wrong, bad. This is beaten into us until we feel like even taking a bubble bath is taking time away from the family. But everyone deserves to live their best life, and sometimes that means you can’t put everyone else first.

I’m realizing it’s okay to say no, I need to focus on me/my family/my career. I don’t have to be “on” all of the time. I can absolutely take an hour to go to the gym. I can absolutely go for a run and answer the three calls that came in during my run when I’m finished my run. I can meal prep before bed. I can take my day off and clear my schedule to watch Becky Lynch main event Wrestlemania and win the Raw & Smackdown Women’s titles because the kids want their mom to hang out with them and cheer for Becky Lynch. I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to make myself a priority.

The more I take those few moments to make myself a priority, the more that happiness spreads into other aspects of my life. I’m happier at my job. I’m more confident when I’m out and about. I don’t get as anxious anymore. It seems stupid to think something as little as meal prep or 15 minutes of nightly yoga can improve every facet of your life, but it does. It’s another way of reminding yourself that you matter and you are important. If you don’t feel like you matter enough to give yourself value, why would anyone else?

So, don’t be afraid to take that time to do things that make you happy, and don’t be afraid to say no when your cup is empty. You don’t need to give all of yourself to everyone all of the time, because very few people would do the same for you. You can’t run yourself down to please everyone else. Whether it’s taking the family for ice cream, going to the gym, or just sitting and reading a book, take time to put yourself first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong or selfish or bad. You deserve it.

For The Last Time

It’s funny how everything changes.

Last year, I felt very out of place in my own life. I felt like a fat banana, and like someone too awkward and not fit enough to be part of my gym community. This year, I feel empowered by the same people and I find that I want to go to the gym because I love being there, and go running because I finally enjoy it.

I felt out of place at work. I felt like I was the smart kid in class that everyone talks shit about after they give them the answers to number six. Now, I have an amazing group of humans that work with me. I love the leadership team, and I love the staff I have in my store & across the hall. I hang out with them outside of work; we play video games & eat dinner. I even convinced my ASM to run a 10k with me (she hates me now)! But I genuinely love working with these people and I feel more empowered to be successful. My personal performance has improved, and my ASM and I are a great team, as are my best friend/coworker and her ASM. We have such a fun dynamic and I’m so proud to be part of it.

I no longer feel like a weird loner in a big city trying to find where I belong. I’ve found it; I found my home. I found it by being brave enough to drive. I found it through my work, both management and through my published articles. And I’ve found my tribe of people through my job, my gym, or because they moved here from home. But I finally feel like, for the first time in years, I’ve found my place.

It’s weird how something will happen and you’ll realize everything has just kind of snapped into place. For me, it’s been this last week. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the house and it hit me that I finally lived somewhere I was proud to invite company over. I asked my social circle to do a fitness thing and people actually wanted to do it. The kids brought home great report cards. I was invited to a gym event and I went and had a great time. That’s when it hit me; I’m no longer a participant in my own life watching it happen around me. I really love my life and finally feel like it belongs to me. Even my cats seemed more at ease lately, and put up with me taking selfies with them. That also may be the CBD oil.

Things won’t improve until you take control and improve them. And your situation won’t change, whether it’s your financial situation, your relationship status, your job, until you stop letting yourself be a participant in your own life. I needed to stop just accepting the things I didn’t like about my life and change them. Once I did, the positivity and joy arrived. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that change doesn’t work unless you do, and some of that change I didn’t even realize was happening until I saw how certain decisions change how you see your life. You won’t even see change overnight. You’ve just gotta keep pushing until you can’t see the negative because you’re too focused on the good and that’s when the breakthrough will happen.

Sometimes all you gotta do is change how you look at life. Fake it until you make it? Instead of “how am I gonna run 10k again?” It’s “this year I’m gonna make sure I get my Doughnut Party after I finish.” Instead of “ugh I have a fuckton of yard work,” it’s “my yard will be dope.” Instead of “that workout is too hard,” it’s “my legs are gonna look so good in a few months.” You get the idea. By changing the mindset, I could do the work to make changes. So, next time you feel negativity seeping in, look back at how you’ve grown and don’t let yourself undo that progress.

The Death Of Me

One of the things I struggle with the most is the ability to roll with punches, but I’m finally getting better.

My anxiety always gets the best of me & I end up pushing myself to be the best and when I’m not, I tend to panic. This applies to every aspect of my life; work, fitness, personal life. But, I’m working to get better. My goals for 2019 all involve me becoming the healthiest version of myself and that means learning to take the L’s when they pop up, because they happen to everyone.

This week started with a victory. Since I started CrossFit, all I’ve ever wanted to do was an RX’ed WOD (exactly as written, no scaling). This week the Crossfit Open started and 19.1 was completed…RX’ed BAYYYYBEEEEEE! I get that to normal Crossfit people, who work at it every day, and are super strong and mega bad ass, this is not a big deal. But to me, it’s a HUGE deal. I felt super accomplished. Maybe it’s not the best score ever, but it’s a damn good score to me.

I followed up my success this week by falling flat on my face the following week. Burpees are my biggest weakness. Until I get back to the gym three times a week and work on my mobility through yoga, they’ll be slow, sloppy, and awful. Burpees always bring out my insecurities too. I always feel obese, awkward, and like everyone is laughing at me. I know this isn’t true because my gym people are awesome. Also, they’re trying to do their own burpees and probably don’t give two shits about what I’m doing. They’ve got a workout to do. Normally, feeling awkward and awful about myself would keep me from the gym for a week. But not this time. I’ve got a workout I need to do and it involves hanging, another fear of mine. But I’m determined to do well.

Life is about learning to roll with punches. Sometimes you’ll fall on your face at the gym. Sometimes you’ll get rejected for a date. Sometimes you’ll fuck up at your job, or forget to put gas in your car, or accidentally lock your cat in your pantry. But you’ve gotta pick yourself up and learn to roll with it and keep plugging forward. I’ve realized how much of my life I’ve derailed from this insane standard I’ve held myself to. I try so hard to do everything right all of the time while simultaneously thinking that I suck. I feel like if I’m not completely perfect at work, I Won’t be taken seriously. I get so anxious about fitness that I’m afraid to go do the fitness and then feel badly because I’m not progressing at fitness. I both want to move into a healthy relationship, but I’m too insecure to talk to men I’m interested in, derailing any hopes of being in a healthy relationship. If I could just learn to accept that a mistake, miscue, or rejection isn’t the end of the world, I’d be in a much healthier place. So, I’m going to continue to work on it.

It’s not easy. Overcoming irrational fears and long term anxiety wasn’t built in a day. But neither was my desire to be the kind of woman I would be proud to be. I just have to make it a point to make that desire bigger than my fear of failure, and grow from it instead of falling apart because of it.