Shelter

Oh, hello!

It’s been a hot minute, eh? Truthfully, I haven’t really talked much because there’s not much going on. Actually, that’s not true. There’s lots happening and I just haven’t really wanted to talk much. I haven’t felt like a writer for a long time. Maybe it’s time I did.

I started my new job and I love it y’all. I drive around and teach people about the joys of Google. I work with amazing people. My new boss is the best dude, and totally engaged with the development of his team. I won’t lie; the beginning was mostly winging it, but I think I’ve got it down. I’m making real money again, and I can afford stuff again. There’s something so satisfying knowing your bills are paid after months of scrambling. I’ve got a couple of debts to settle and I’ll be finally caught up. Last summer, this felt impossible, but here we are.

My nights and weekends are mine, which means I’m going to the gym again. Going back to CrossFit 60lbs heavier has been a challenge. I get so intimidated and I have to psych myself up to go, but we will get there. Hawaii will wait until next year because I want to take the fam on vacation and I can’t do both. Also, this journey will be tougher than I thought so I need to give myself time and space to get healthy. Because my time is mine, I have time for my kids, my friends, and even for ramen. I see people and we hang out. No more overtime shifts or unpaid conference calls. I have work/life balance. I clean my house at night. Things feel normal for the first time in forever.

It’s been a long three years, but I think I’m finally happy. It’s weird, but I’m almost afraid to say it, as if it’ll all get ruined if I do. The last three years have been about loss: financial stability, loss of the gym, loss of work/life balance, and even loss of self. But over the last few months, I’ve been able to get it back a bit. Even though it feels harder, the only way to get “me” back is to keep doing what I’m doing and power through the rough spots until I fit in my old pants and can do a burpee again.

There’s been so many positives: I’m down a pant size, the kids are calmer, my hair has even started growing back. (It’s much healthier because I can afford good shampoo again). I think I just had to take some time to grieve the life I thought I’d get to start finding the life I want.

I know it was just a job, but the loss of my old job was a blow. I worked with some of my best friends every day. I had a boss who believed in me. I started a corporate philanthropy program. It was something that meant the world to me and I built it on my own from the ground up. Maybe it’s stupid, but for the first time in my entire life, I felt like I was doing something that helped people, and the people who’s opinions I valued finally respected me. I wasn’t just a vapid weirdo who spent her life trying to prove she deserved a place in a dying field: I was making some kind of difference. For once, I wasn’t the dumb dumb who just wrote stupid stuff no one cares about, and really likes her blind spot indicators. I had a job I was good at while promoting my passion projects with my friends. Then, it was gone. I had to crawl back to an industry I outgrew years ago and start over from the ground up. My idea was just gone. My friends I saw every day became text once a month friends. My best friends became so far away because I had no time for them. I worked sixty hours to try and figure out which bill I could pay. My family was falling apart. My freelance career was dead. I just felt like I was back to being the talkative dumb dumb people laugh at, not with. I took this feeling with me every day, everywhere I went. I threw a party and no one showed (except my best friend, who’s just the best kind of human). I watched my laundry pile up and my clothes get tighter and I just didn’t care anymore.

Once I started my job, things changed. It was because I suddenly had time. That time allowed me to realize that I had to let parts of my life go. I had to accept that no matter how much you wanted it to work out, sometimes it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s over; it just means you try again. I had to forgive myself for a lot of stuff. For giving up on my dreams to sell phones. For giving up on all the stuff I enjoyed. Even the irrational shit, like I couldn’t single handedly find ways to fix society or some dumb shit. Most of all, I had to forgive myself for giving up on me and just accepting I was stupid and unworthy.

I did a lot of soul searching to figure out what I wanted and how to make it happen. I wanted to be the active person I was, so I push myself even when I don’t want to. My program may be in the idea graveyard, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help people! Currently I’m trying to raise $1000 for Stollery Children’s Hospital. Sure, it’s not as easy when I don’t have corporate backing me, and I can’t nag, but I’m sure by May 1, I’ll have hit my goal (if you want to donate, please click here. I would be ever so grateful). I don’t get to hang out with my friends every day, but my job is very people-y. My reps actually like when I come. My current boss thinks I’m smart. My kids respect me. I live in a beautiful home. For the first time in a long time, I feel in control of my life.

Also, I’m almost blonde again. We all know only blonde MHC is successful

Maybe I won’t be the journalist I wanted to be. Maybe I won’t be able to get back into athletic form. Maybe I’ll never meet anyone and die alone with my cats. Maybe I’ll never be anything but the dumb dumb no one respects because I talk too much and people mostly tune out because I’m just too much. But, for the first time in my life, I’m okay with that. I can still be happy even if I’m just a weird crazy person, or the butt of every joke until I die. Maybe I just needed to be myself, even if I’m the only one who likes me. I used to go through my life wanting people to be proud of me; my kids, my friends, my mother. But I never thought about being proud of myself. I realized even if I never accomplished anything I wanted to, I have managed to pull myself out of every dark place, rut, or hamster wheel I’ve ever found myself on, and that’s enough.

The Great War

Have you ever looked in the mirror and not even recognized yourself anymore?

That’s how I feel. I don’t even recognize this person anymore. This year has been so challenging and it’s pretty much stripped away all of my best qualities, to the point where I feel like a tired old lady just ready to live with my cats and wither into dust. My finances are a mess, thanks to layoffs and lesser paying jobs, and the lack of child support. Every time I have to say no, I just feel bad. Parents should be able to afford a Slurpee, or a trip to McDonald’s, without counting all of the crack change. I should be able to send my eleventh grader lunch money. I should be able to go shopping for cute winter clothes. But instead, I’m always saying “next time,” and I know deep down they resent me because next time never comes. I’ve cut out everything that brings me any semblance of joy except for my morning cup of tea and even then, I don’t get one three days a week because I was putting money away for Xmas. I haven’t been to the gym in forever but I never picked up my shoes. I felt like if I did, it was defeat, that I would never go back. I don’t go out with my friends. Hell, I barely text. Also, if you’re my friend, I’m sorry I suck at communicating. I hate my weight, my hair, my skin, everything about my appearance and I just feel like I’ve failed at pretty much everything. It’s been a struggle to get out of bed some days. The cup isn’t half full or half empty; it’s just empty.

I suppose the last two years has taken its toll. There’s only so much you can give of yourself before you have nothing left, like the giving tree. And it’s only so long before you snap. I had two of those moments. The first one was when I needed coverage at work for a family emergency and I was told there was no one. Something in my brain snapped. For years I helped EVERYONE. Needed a shift covered? MHC. Needed help with staffing? MHC. Sick days? psh! I ONLY TOOK ONE DAY OFF FROM WORK WHEN I ALMOST DIED! And yet, the universe said “no one wants to go to where you are,” while I cried at work needing help. I called one of my colleague friends and bawled because he is an Angel sent from God. He found me some help and I could go home. But the whole way I was enraged. I loved my colleagues. I’m forever grateful to my DM for giving me a job, but I realized in that second I was right back where I was last year; trapped in a job I had to devote every second of myself to. I wanted to give my DM that person, but I don’t have it in me to give anymore. She deserves a top performer who can give her that level of buy in.

So I quit.

I found a new job with a living salary and more work life balance. I gave my notice and starting next month, I can stop selling phones once and for all and do a job that allows me to use my skills; training, development, and support. I’m excited. I was shocked I got it tbh. Do you know how many awesome candidates are looking for work? And I’m just me. But it’s a much needed change. I’ll be able to see my kids and clean my house. Maybe pet my cats. Maybe go on more dates and finally see my friends. I haven’t hung out with one of my best friends since July. It sucks dude. It’s gonna be nice to do stuff with my people again starting with the annual holiday party.

But, that was just one moment of clarity, the other came when I was a casualty of the Great War, AKA the battle to see my Lord and Saviour, Taylor Allison Swift.

I haven’t been anywhere in years. I couldn’t even go to my friend’s wedding. My kids are tired from school, teen pressures, and helping take care of their grandma when I’m at work. They deserved a trip. The opening act (Gracie Abrams) is my 15yo’s fave non Taylor performer. So I socked away every cent I had for nosebleeds. I gave up every minor luxury I have, banked the rest. I knew the tour was coming and I was going to come through. I had Verified Fan access that was supposed to carry me to the presale. I would use my income tax refund for flight and hotel, and for once, I wasn’t gonna say no. I was going to give them this one thing for Xmas and our Taycation was going to be magical. Instead, I got this.

My heart broke as the tire fire known as ticketmaster shut me out. I went to stubhub only to have my life ruined. My tiny little amount for our four shitty nosebleeds couldn’t even cover one ticket, let alone four. I had to say no again. No Taycation. No happy kids at Xmas that mom came through. Just another time I had to disappoint them. Between my work schedule, and my bank balance, and the realization that I wasn’t coming through for them, my brain broke again.

I COMPLETELY understand this is a first world issue. I am well aware that not taking my kids to see Taylor Swift won’t ruin my life. But it was just another no. Another “not this time.” I know it wasn’t my fault, and Ticketmaster is the dirt worst, but suddenly all of those times I had to say no flooded my brain; the slurpees, the tacos, the new shirt, that used CD, the discounted book, the hair dye, all of it. Every next time, or I’m sorry we don’t have it, every one just flashed through my eyes like a death scene in a movie, ending with the emptiness that this concert that meant so much to them was now, just another no. So I sat in my car and cried. I’d tell myself it’ll be okay, but we all know it’s not. It’s another thing I couldn’t do while the parents around me take their kids to Mexico for spring break and buy concert tickets for good grades. I moved them to a more affluent area and sometimes barely make rent, but I did it so they’d get a better education. But now they see how much more their friends parents can do for them. They’re good kids. They get good grades. They help at home, and are good to their friends and cats. But I let them down spectacularly every day and it just sucks.

After I was done my crying and generally being miserable, wallowing in how 2022 has been the absolute worst. It challenged me physically, mentally, and I’ve lost so much financially and I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I used to take so much pride in my appearance, in my work ethic, and in my life. Now, I just don’t care. I dug a hole and I couldn’t get out. Getting a new job is awesome, but I need to fix me or I’m just transferring the misery. So, I got to work. I deep cleaned my house. I started working out at home. I called a credit counsellor to work through my debt, whether it’s through a debt management program or a consumer proposal. It sucks, but it’s what I need to do. If I don’t have to stress about money as much, little things won’t get to me, and there will be fewer instances of no. I started getting up earlier and actually wearing makeup again. I started going to bed at a reasonable time. Also, I started forgiving myself for the things I’ve been beating myself up about. I can’t change that I got laid off. I can’t fix that I put on weight because I couldn’t work out for five months. I can’t change the fact that Ticketmaster sucks. But what I can do is change my situation. I can keep watching stubhub and seat geek for cheap resale tickets. I can keep an eye for Canadian dates. I can make time to work out. I can focus on budgeting smarter with the help of the counsellor. That will help me have more money to go to the gym and say yes to a few of those smaller things. I can go into my new job motivated and excited. I can continue to focus on being a present and active parent. These are things I can change.

While the answers aren’t ideal, at least there feels like a light at the end of the tunnel, except for the Taylor Swift tickets. That shit is just hopeless. But I will be able to look in the mirror in a few months and recognize who I’m looking at, and maybe even like that person too.

Strangers

Oh, Hello!

It’s been a minute! Truthfully, I haven’t had much to talk about. I’ve been focused on my family, and adjusting to my new job, and weight loss. Not terribly interesting stuff. Weight loss has been a struggle, and after my visit with the endocrinologist, I was left even more frustrated. Apparently I was misdiagnosed with PCOS, and there’s another issue, but I had to plead for blood work to figure it out. I just got “have you considered being less fat?” YES. YES I HAVE. But then instead of addressing the actual symptoms, it was just here’s a weight loss shot. I’m getting blood work, but I had to yell at the doctor to get it. It’s absolutely shameful that women’s health is completely ignored unless you want to get pregnant. I ended up taking medication and nearly died for legit no reason and I am actually really angry about it. I’m very hesitant to take medication after what happened in April. So, I’ll go ask for a second opinion from another OB/GYN, but until then, I’m going to have to take control of my health on my own, without help from doctors who have no interest in investigating women’s health.

One thing that has been tough about weight loss has been that I have no goal to work towards. Before, I would pick a goal and work towards it, like my friend’s wedding, or the lululemon 10k. But there was no 10k and the pulmonary embolism has forced me to start all over again in terms of fitness. But I’ve finally completed my treatment, which means two things; I can get back to running, and I can drink again.

Okay not really. Anyone who knows me knows I drink on my birthday and sometimes Xmas

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is a good fitness goal for me. I really want to work towards something big, something meaningful. Like those people who do Tough Mudder, but without the masochism, and the making Tough Mudder your entire raison d’être. That’s when I decided that I’m going to quit eating fast food (except one cheat meal a month) and I am going to save all of my coins, and compete in the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run!

Photo courtesy of @ultimatehawaiiantrailrun. Give ‘em an IG follow!

All the money raised is to help at risk youth through the Keala Foundation. It combines all of my favourite things: fitness, helping others, and vacations. It’s a big goal to train for that requires me to stick to fitness goals, give up fast food, and stick to a budget, all things I’ve been trying really hard to do. I’m finally getting the hang of my new job and adjusting back to being in the store. I’m looking at how to better financially plan so I can get my debt under control, as well as reducing some costs by scaling back some cable and cellular services. I need to get healthier, so eating at home was the cheapest start. Until I can get back to the gym, it’ll be home based workouts with Deadboys Fitness and starting Couch to 5K again. I can’t keep obsessing about the year I was set back being treated for something I didn’t have. I need to focus on what is in my control, which is eating right, better financial planning, and exercise. Will I lose a ton of weight? Maybe. I did it before. Or maybe I’ll finally get answers about why I’m struggling with my health. But I know working towards some kind of goal will help me stay on task.

The other thing that is critical is eating right; no diets, no tricks. I have teenagers and I have to teach them healthy body image, including a positive relationship with food. That’s how I lost all of the weight before. No more intermittent fasting, or fad diets. I’ll watch my macros in MyFitnessPal, but that’s it. I’m a role model to three young people, I have to make sure they’re seeing someone getting healthy but not skipping meals or being really restrictive. It’s gonna be about choosing the right foods; not changing my entire diet to yo-yo with my weight.

I’m not going to pretend it’s all going to work out, but I am going to be gentle with myself while working very hard to improve. The more work I put in, the better the returns, so I’ll just keep working and keep positive, excited to see change…and hopefully go to Hawaii to run in mud and raise money to help others, which is always a good time.

Carolina

When it rains, it pours, let me tell you.

Remember how I almost died? Well, 2022 decided to further kick me in the face! My company faced some financial hardships, and almost all of us were laid off. Suddenly I went from feeling confident in my future to worried about losing my house. It was tough. I have nothing negative to say about my time with the company. This is a great organization with great people. I’m honoured to have been part of it. I met really great people and I’m lucky to be friends with many of them. It was a rewarding experience. But, I have to pay bills and even when life gets you down, there’s a silver lining. One of my former colleagues works for another organization and she was gracious enough to offer me a position. I’m super excited to be part of this company. She’s a great leader and I feel like I can learn a lot from her. Most importantly, I’ve been reunited with colleagues and friends that I loved working with. It’s a really cool time for me work wise.

However, switching jobs means switching pay periods. Money is tight. Benefits are non existent for the next three months. Trying to scrape together money for medication has been tough. Speaking of medication, I’m still fighting my doctor for a referral to a specialist and I’m not getting anywhere. The tooth I had a root canal in has been feeling off (not painful, just weird), so anxiety says my tooth is falling out and I’ll be ugly. I’ve been afraid to work out since my pulmonary embolism. I’m just very down on myself.

I deleted my dating apps a few weeks ago. I got stood up and just decided that was it. But I’ve been noticing the way I look at myself hasn’t been great. I genuinely don’t see the point of trying to date when I feel genuinely ugly. Any time someone suggests that I date someone, I just say I am too ugly and crazy have WAY too much baggage. Whether or not i was interested was irrelevant; I was just too ugly to even consider it as an option. Everything is just about looks it feels. Even when I was explaining my frustration with my doctor, my friend kept bringing it back to my weight, even though it was about my doctor only wanting me to take one kind of medication. When I went into Lululemon I was asked if I was shopping for gifts because “we don’t accommodate plus size.” I realized my weight will always be my defining character trait until I lose it again, so there’s no point in putting myself out there to meet anyone. I just feel like the annoying person people engage with because they work with me or whatever. Hell, even some of my friends always tell me how I’m doing so great on my own and they see me as the type of person who will be happy with their cats, alone and don’t need anyone. They meant it as a compliment; I felt like it meant I’m not really a catch. I don’t think I’m a catch. It’s either that or reminders that the general population says me as some kind of airhead with no substance and talks too much. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “shut up Mary-Helen,” I’d never have money problems again. All of my report cards with “talks too much,” are now making me wonder if I’m really just…not partner material. All of a sudden dating just felt like a waste of of time so I just sort of gave up.

I get this is just anxiety. Deep down I know I’m not ugly or stupid and my tooth probably isn’t going to be extracted or fall out (but until the dentist says so, I’m gonna be a little scared). But I also have to internalize a lot because a lot of times, my feelings are sort of dismissed as “you’re fine,” or “it’s fine,” while I’m kind of expected to be there for everyone and it’s overwhelming. When I’m helping my kids with body image issues, I can’t really open up about my own. I won’t have benefits for three months so therapy is off the table for a bit. It’s also the feeling of not being in control of every situation to give myself the stability I need to thrive. So, I needed to figure out how do I pull myself out of this rut? I can’t just cry and I’m not allowed to drink so functional alcoholism seems to be off of the table for now. I needed a new plan to help pull myself out of this mental health spiral.

I’ve started goal setting using an app called Finch. It has all sorts of things to help with wellness and keep anxiety in check. One goal was to fill all of my Apple Watch rings in July. I need to build healthy habits. I get up thirty minutes before I have to so I can meditate and set the tone for the day. I went so long without putting on makeup or even trying to take pride in my appearance, so I make sure to at least do my eyes every morning, and do my hair as well. No more ponytails. I get to work forty minutes early so I can mentally prepare for my shift and make an action plan for the day. They’re baby steps, but hopefully they’ll turn into strides. It’s gonna be a journey, but I’ve pulled myself out of darker places. I just need to focus on the things that I need to thrive;

1. Fitness

2. Family

3. Friends

4. Ways to grow at work

This means getting over my fear of fitness. I have to remember that it wasn’t exercise that hurt me, it was the medication that caused the blood clots. I’ve taken steps to recover. I have to trust my body is healing and ready to get back into shape. I can start off slowly and eventually get back to the point where I’m seeing results. Obviously this situation has caused me to make some major dietary changes, so between that and the fitness, I should see the results I’m hoping to see, and I can celebrate my commitment to health.

As for dating, I’m gonna stay away for now. Until I can see myself as someone worthy of love, I can’t. That’s how I ended up with people who were abusive or mean before. I don’t want to settle, so until my response is no longer “no way, I’m way too old/fat/ugly/stupid” when anyone suggests a possible date for me, I can’t even consider it. I can’t be a good partner to someone else when my inner monologue is treating my psyche like shit. This way I can avoid being preyed on by some creep, and when the time comes, I’ll be emotionally ready to be a good partner…In theory.

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.

All I Know So Far

Let me tell you the story of MHC’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

Yes, last week was the week of suck. First, I got sick. For those of you who know me, I rarely get sick. But here I was coughing, sneezing, and feeling like crap. I went into one store without a mask to grab some milk and felt like shit the next day. I will never not wear a mask again, I swear to God. Covid test was negative, but I still felt awful. I even missed a day of work, which never happens! I feel better but I have a cough that won’t stop, so I sound like I’ve smoked for 15 years.

My health has been tough this year. PCOS has done a number on my body. I’m also in constant pain. But this weekend, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand up, and it hurt to breathe. This turned out to be something called decidual cast, which is super fucking gross. Apparently this happens sometimes when your body is responding to treatments, so there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The doctor said there can be mild discomfort, which is medical speak for “you will double over and cry at work from the worst pain you have ever been in besides labour, but also finish your shift and sell a phone because you’re a boss bitch.” By the time I got home, I was embarrassed, felt disgusting, and just kind of wanted to die.

Then the kids got sick, and I had to take them for Covid tests. As a parent, it sucks to see your kids sick. Nothing is more stressful than watching them get a Covid test. There’s all sorts of uncertainty, fear, and even guilt. I got sick first, even though I tested negative, I felt guilty about possibly giving them a potentially deadly virus. Instead I accidentally gave them a regular virus. They pulled through okay, but it was still a struggle. I’m still taking care of my mom, who was just released from the hospital after a fall. She’s been having a tough time readjusting to being at home and needing more home care. Everything sort of feels tense, and it’s harder when everyone is under the weather. Between work, life, trying not to cough (& yet constantly coughing), my body falling apart, and trying to help my mom, I felt like I was drowning. I even had to pull my car over to puke on my way to work, so basically I’m living the dream. Just as I was done with this week, the Universe decided a final fuck you was in order:

OThat’s right! A TEN INCH CRACK IN MY BRAND NEW CAR’S BRAND NEW WINDSHIELD BECAUSE OF A GOD DAMN ROCK. That’s now a $400 repair that I did not want right before back to school season. But, sometimes life sucks ass and you gotta do what you gotta do. But if it was gonna go wrong this week, it did and I’m honestly over it.

When things go super wrong and everything is awful, all you can do it look for the positives. Yes, it sucks when your body does painful, disgusting things while you’re also hacking up your guts, but after months and months of wanting to feel normal again, this was the first step. It sucks to see your kids sick, but they’re getting better. Caregiving can be tedious, but I’ve been fortunate to have a great homecare company helping me out now, and my mom is slowly but surely starting to move towards normalcy. We’re working out the kinks, but we’re getting there. The kids have stepped up to help and I’m so lucky to have such compassionate, loving, caring kids.

And my car? Oh, that’s just shitty. Part of learning how to overcome stressful situations is to accept that everything happens for a reason, and that sometimes, stuff just sucks. You take it, and you move on.

Bad things happen, but they aren’t permanent. You’ve just gotta push forward. The best part of MHC’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week is that it’s over, and a new week has started. To prevent this week from also becoming no terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad is to leave the week there. You can’t change what happened, but throwing a pity party for yourself only keeps you in that negative space. Too often we dwell on crappy situations or events, or we do the opposite, and rely on toxic positivity to cope instead of just accepting the situation or finding a new strategy. The highlight of my week is that it’s over and that’s okay.

Fingers crossed that this week will be better. I don’t feel like death, it’s not ten million degrees, the kids are better, and I have an appointment to fix my car. So far, so good! Here’s hoping it keeps up, and we can have great experiences, and put the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad times behind us…we hope.

Just Awake

Oh, Hello!

It’s been awhile, eh?

Truthfully, I haven’t really had much to discuss. When everything is closed, there’s not much to do. Not much to do means not much to discuss. So, I’m just living my life. Normally, I go out of my way to put a positive spin on everything, but y’all, I’m tired.

I’m in the middle of moving, as my landlord has opted to list my house, and unfortunately, I’m not in the position to buy right now. 2020 kind of screwed things up for me a bit. It sucks and it’s stressful, but I’m not gonna dwell. I’m just gonna pick myself up and keep on figuring life out. Part of that involves realizing I need to reevaluate my finances. If I want to buy a house, I need to reduce my debt. I also cannot have a high interest car loan. So, I made a decision and traded in my car for a new vehicle with a lower interest rate, aka Wanda 2.0. It wasn’t the plan, I wanted to refinance OG Wanda, but this made more sense as my payments didn’t change and my insurance went down. I’m also figuring out how to pay off my credit cards so I can start saving for the down payment of a house. I was hoping to be able to buy my current house this year, but 2020 happened and 2021 is just 2020 with bangs so it’s not easy. But we’ll get there.

Meet Wanda Maximoff 2.0 (aka a 2021 Hyundai Venue)

But things are tough. Caring for an elderly parent is tough. Stroke recovery takes time. There’s mood swings, good days, bad days, and I’m very alone. My siblings haven’t even checked in with a “how are things” in months. It’s really highlighted how alone I am with this. The kids are juggling school and helping around the house. But parenting three kids on your own while taking care of an elderly parent on your own and balancing work, home, moving, and feeling like things just keep on piling up takes it’s toll. I’m exhausted and depressed. Fortunately I started therapy over the fall and it’s been super helpful. But nothing has been easy and everything just feels a little hopeless. I’m in full caregiver burnout mode y’all. I hate it because sometimes I get irrationally annoyed about little stuff with the kids, who in turn get irrationally annoyed with the next kid down the chain. It’s not fair to anyone and now we’re all sniping at everyone all of the time. Things are tough & I think we’re all feeling a little less hopeful.

One of my best friends keeps telling me that I like to pretend everything is great externally while, in reality, it’s damn hard. Parenting in a pandemic is hard. Caring for an elderly relative is hard. Moving to a completely different part of the city and navigating the bizarre school district and realizing I may not be commuting 4km to work anymore, and balancing it all while having absolutely zero minutes to yourself sucks. I need a vacation, but that’s not really an option either (although I may go hiking in the mountains soon. I need a break lol). I talked to some of my other mom friends and they helped me realize they’re all in the same boat. There’s no magic “super mom” who’s making all of the crafts and sticking to the colour coded lists. We’re just winging it. Possibly while drinking.

I guess the point is that we’re all so busy trying to convince ourselves everything is okay and we are nailing this life thing, and in reality, we probably aren’t. I know I’m not. But I guess I keep shooting myself in the foot, because I want people to think I am, then I’m shocked Pikachu face when I’m alone dealing with whatever is going wrong because I’ve convinced my support system I’m doing great. I can’t be the only one. Maybe 2021 needs to be the year we all stop pretending everything is perfect to impress or for the gram. Maybe we need to be honest and admit it’s not easy and we don’t have everything under control and we are one bad day away from a crying meltdown. We don’t need people to be impressed by our houses or our pretty pictures. We need to support each other.

Basically, if you’re feeling like I am, and like the weight of the world is trying to crush your spirit; you’re not alone. You don’t need to pretend that it’s all great and your kids are perfect online students, your house is clean every second and you aren’t one more tween argument away from sneaking White Claws in the closet. I am right there with you. I’d save you a spot if we were allowed to visit. You’re not alone, everyone’s life is a shitshow right now. Let’s turn off the highlight reels and keep it more real.

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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