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.

Maybe You’re Right

FINALLY, the last few weeks are ALMOST OVER!

Hooray!

It has been a long ass month of sales, training a new hire, packing, getting ready to move to my dream home, and pretty much never sleeping ever. I’m hosting a housewarming party at the end of this and we’ve unpacked (with many stuffed mushrooms), because I’m literally in awe of my home. All my life I’ve wanted a home that I could be proud of, that the girls could be proud of, and in London, we had one, but not much else. Here, I have a job I’m good at, a freelancing career, a car, and the house I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl and I’m so grateful that my girls & I get to call it home.

I’m working with a renewed sense of purpose, because I have the house of my dreams, I have to take care of Wanda Maximoff, and now I’ve got to save up for some trips to Ontario for the summer, as well as a trip for my birthday. I was planning a trip to Vegas, but with Britney taking a hiatus, why even go? Exactly! No point at all!

Since Vegas is out, I’ll go to the one place I’ve always dreamed of visiting; New Orleans. I’ve tried to go twice; once for my Honeymoon (we didn’t go anywhere because he lost his job right before the wedding…twice) and once with an ex boyfriend (we broke up). Perhaps the lesson is to stop trying to do kick ass stuff with shitty men. So, whether I go alone, or find a travel buddy, imma try to save up and go to NOLA! I’ll need to fritter all my extra pennies, and buckle down at the gym (I’m down 12lbs since December), because I want to do this vacation, but also feel good about myself while I’m there.

One part of feeling good about myself is trying to make dating an option and actually mean it this time. For years I’ve kept myself closed off because I’ve been afraid of getting hurt. Then I’ll go out on a few dates, decide the guy is probably just an asshole and leave before I get hurt, rinse repeat. But my BFF’s keep reminding me that when I take risks with my work and other aspects of my life, they pay off. I took my kick down the ladder at work and worked hard to prove myself to be a capable manager who CAN do a good job. I took risks with my house hunt and I now live in the most awesome house in the whole wide world. Why don’t I take risks with my love life, and I don’t mean Tinder.

I mean actually making moves to let men know I’m interested in them, or at least make eye contact.

For this, and other pearls of wisdom, follow me on SC @ashmhc!

I keep telling myself I’ll meet a guy organically, but I also don’t do anything to do that, like leave my house to go anywhere except work, the gym, and Starbucks. Then while at those places, I refuse to acknowledge anyone outside of a quick greeting and retreat into my insecurity and lose myself in my phone. I refuse to even approach the hot security guard my best friend swears is flirting with me because I say he’s definitely not flirting, he’s just being friendly. He’s hot with an accent and hilarious. I am…me. I can look at my life and think “Damn I’m so awesome,” until it comes to dating. Then I instantly think

  • Too old
  • Too Fat
  • too weird (definitely too weird)
  • Too much baggage
  • Too loud
  • Too basic (My personal and work cell phones have matching pink sparkly cases ffs!)

I always just look in the mirror and think;

What self respecting man wants a single mom of three in her thirties that talks too much, swears too much, is WAY too bubbly, watches wrestling and loves Crossfit, Taylor Swift, and thinks that nachos and mojitos is the best date ever? None. That’s who.”

Let’s be real; there are beautiful women in their twenties with careers, cute friends that take insta photos of their feet on tropical islands, no kids, no divorce, wearing a size four. An attractive, intelligent man would definitely be more interested in. Why? Because they’re awesome! I’m not knocking beautiful twenty something women. They’re the coolest! They have jobs and visions and deserve to be praised for being amazing & deserve to be loved and appreciated just like anyone else.

Women need to stick together and they aren’t to blame for my insecurities. I am. It’s my fault that I refuse to make eye contact. It’s my fault that I feel awkward and weird and like I’m not good enough…and it’s up to me to fix it.

When I carry myself with the same confidence I have when it comes to my job, people notice. Men notice. They talk to me, smile, and even flirt. But I’m so concerned that I’m not good enough that I close myself off from meeting, as my ex boss/current friend says, “quality mans.” But that’s not on them, it’s on me. Sure, I have baggage, but I can lose weight if I put in the work, I’ve done it before. I have a good job, a great support system, a car, no criminal record. All good things. Maybe I’m too basic, but I’m also pretty funny. I’m smart. I have strong opinions and I can totally hold a conversation because I NEVER SHUT UP LITERALLY EVER. But for anyone else to think I’m a catch, I have to believe I am. But that’s the problem; I don’t believe I am. I do, until I want to approach a guy I’m interested in. Then I clam up and close off because there’s no way I’d be good enough for him and end up depressed for three days because I’m a lost cause with cats. I’m going to die alone as a spinster…with. cats.

When I get like this, and decide that I’m probably gonna die alone, ugly and fat, with cats, I usually eat ten pizzas and skip the gym and do all the things that don’t improve my life. This time, I channeled my insecurities into something that would make me feel better about myself. I carried on, getting my new house ready. I went to the gym as often as I could. I changed up my sales strategies at work. Went for Korean food with my ASM squad. But most importantly, spent time with the family catching Pokémon or watching the Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix and relived our magical evening with our Lord & Saviour Jesus Swift.

A mate can’t help me love myself and I can’t have a mate unless I love myself. So, if I’m going to use 2019 as the year that I FINALLY make my love life a priority, I need to silence my insecurities by making myself a priority. Once I truly love myself, I can let someone else love me.

Maybe I won’t have the courage to ask for the hot security guard’s number, but if I keep working on loving myself despite all of my weirdness, I’ll talk to the right guy. And he’ll think I’m great just the way I am. But the best part will be that I’ll think I’m great just the way I am too.

Last year, I attended a beautiful wedding & I caught the bouquet. I jokingly told my friend that it was hilarious that I caught it, because I’m the one person who will never get married next…or at all. Her new husband told me “if you told me two years ago that I’d be here now, married to (friend) and building a life and family with her and the kids, I’d have laughed at you. But I’m here and I’m so happy. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling you that in two years, we’ll be dancing at your wedding.” It was so optimistic and cute. But maybe he’s right. Maybe all these years I’ve closed myself off because I’ve felt unworthy of love, and I’m missing out on the joy they had. So I promised I’d carry that bouquet as my “something borrowed” at my future wedding. I just have to remind myself that I deserve love and joy just as much as anyone else and its out there if I’m willing to put myself out there.

But I learned you’ll never love yourself if you keep blaming your past, your experiences, acting like a victim, or making no efforts to improve your circumstances. Change doesn’t work unless you do. I keep making changes; I work out to feel better about my body. I found a home I’m proud of. I work hard at my job so I can grow. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m trying. But if I want to be a person that someone else will fall in love with, I have to make sure that I love every aspect of who I am, and continue to grow. I’m not there yet, but I’m working at it. Maybe, once I fully love me, I’ll meet someone who does the same.

Everything I Need

It’s that time of year. You know, New Year, New Me, and that bullshit. This year was something. I learned that to be the person my family needs me to be, I have to make sacrifices. I learned that people will exploit those sacrifices to manipulate, and exploit your kindness to try to hurt you as much as they can just out of spite. But, I learned that you need to forgive those people, because family trumps all.

I learned how to reconcile with my past relationship failings and move forward as a healthy, happy, human being, so that I can finally be emotionally available in a relationship. I learned my priorities will always be my family, my job, and Crossfit and that’s okay, because I don’t need to change for anyone.

I also finally reached a point in my career where I feel successful enough to make changes. I bought a car. I conquered my fear of driving. I have a new home. 2018 was a year of learning. 2019 will be the year that the lessons I’ve learned blossom into joy; professionally, personally, and mentally.

As always, here’s a snapshot of my year, featuring photos that don’t involve my children. 2018 was a magical, painful, challenging year. But I hope I always keep growing, optimistic for the future.

Finally got to see Breaking Benjamin!

We don’t discuss this evening

Another cover story!

I did not panic (lies, I’m panicking now). My new home.

After five years of never making hair changes, I finally did something different to my hair.

Woman Like Me

My best friend moved to Edmonton a few months ago and it is, without a hint of hyperbole, the absolute fucking best.

She’s getting the hang of our business, our team is dope af, and WE GET TO GO TO THE IKEA! I’m moving next month and it’s been nice to have someone here who’s super excited to organize and decorate my new house (also, WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE MY NEW HOUSE IT IS THE MOST AMAZING PLACE EVER), have Thursday coffee with, and talk in the same time zone. I am so proud of this woman for taking huge risks and having it pay off, and I get to watch her do it all from across the hall! There is literally none downside, unless you count when she decides to be my wingman.

See, I haven’t been on a date since early June, when I went out with Mr. I work for the Government, I’m super important, so I’m always late and super arrogant. Barf. I almost made a date with the guy who pretended to be a customer to get my business card and then charmed me until he told me to go on break and hook up with him in the bathroom of Sherwood Park Mall. Know your audience bro. The rest is boring Bumble dudes who annoy me and my longstanding crush on the super hot security guard at my work (not the one that told me I looked pretty & my 11yo told him “Dude, I am right here!” The other good looking one hahaha). But, I made a joke that I was bored at work and too bad the security guards weren’t doing their routine visits. She points out;

  • He’s not wearing a ring
  • She works shifts I’m not there and can do recon
  • She knows my number, my work cell number, all of my social media handles (which are here, here, and here), where I live, and my work schedule

And she’s not above playing wingman. After all, it’s time I got out there & I could always talk to him myself…

…but why?

You have to TALK to men now?! Ugh!

I’m not good with dating. Or talking to attractive men. I become all weird and awkward and it’s super awful for everyone, especially me, who pretty much wants to crawl into the floor and die.

Besides, no security guards wear wedding rings for work purposes, and super attractive security guards generally have girlfriends, you know, with the being attractive, funny, and have a good job and such. That’s generally what women look for, along with “don’t be a raging fucking asshole.” I am a potato who doesn’t know how to talk to men. I mean, I make attempts, but it’s all “so…do you like…stuff?”

The thing is, my BFF is right. Maybe I should be more open to communicating with men. The pieces of my life have been falling into place all year. I’m finally successful at my job & I’ve held my position for a year. I bought a car. I’m moving to a house that I’m proud to live in. I’ve built a strong support system and have established strong friendships in YEG. I’m focusing on ways to improve my physical and emotional health and both are working. My work performance is improving every day. I’ve been happier than I’ve been in a long time because of the changes to my living situation and more time at the gym. Maybe now that everything else seems to be falling into place, I’m finally ready to consider dating more seriously than “three dates and you mildly annoy me so I don’t want to date you anymore.” That’s how it works. You get the rest of your life figured out, and then you meet someone & it works and you’re happy…

…or you just become the cat lady!

But, apparently, you need to actually talk to men, and interact with them, and like, pay attention to them and stuff, which is apparently where I’ve been going wrong. I’m always so focused on making life better for myself and the girls that I don’t really do that. I live in a bubble where I parent, go to work, and go to the gym, and no one meets their soulmate at work or the gym (or in Sherwood park in a mall. Trust me. Just no). So, I guess I’ll need to start doing that…

…mostly because I don’t really have a choice, as my own personal wingman will force me into the dating world kicking and screaming, but it’s for my own good hahaha.

Used to Be

My life seems to run on two speeds; nothing is happening or everything is happening all at once. There will never be an in between.

But hey, I guess that’s okay, as long as I know what I’m doing…

…spoiler alert, I do not. But I’m slowly getting there and that’s the key.

Work takes up a lot of my time, but that’s okay, because I’m mastering work life balance. I’m learning how to leave when my shift is over to go home or to the gym most days. I’m learning it’s okay to take my days off and use them for personal time with the fam jam. I can be boss lady, but also take time to be MHC too. I’m also training my new neighbour, who happens to be my best friend y’all! So, I can focus on one workplace and not two. Plus, she’s killing it right now and once she’s fully trained, is gonna rock this business! So, I’m prioritizing myself sometimes, and that’s okay.

I’m learning that it’s okay to make yourself a priority, something I often forget. I always feel like I have to be “on.” I have to be the best mom, the best partner, the best friend, the best employee, the best boss lady, and I need to constantly give and give and give and give. But then, I’m like the Giving Tree. There’s nothing left, but you still need to give. You can’t give everything and then wonder why you’re drained. It’s okay to take time for yourself and replenish so you can give to the people that rely on you. I’ve been forgetting that for so long, trying to please everyone, that I’ve been an empty, drained, vessel, and that’s impacted my work, my home life, my interpersonal relationships. I need to remember that it’s okay to sometimes put me first and it doesn’t make me a bad mom or partner or employee or boss lady. It makes me human.

So, I’ve been making the gym a priority at least once a week. I’ve been taking my Sundays for the kids (except this Sunday, when I’ll be working at a trade show. Check my IG for details). I’ve been taking time at home to declutter my basement and do housework and keep my space the way I want it. Speaking of space, I’ve been putting out feelers for new spaces to call home when my lease is up next spring. I keep talking about finding another home (within YEG guys, I’m not planning another cross country trek. This is permanent), but I never take the time to do it. So, I’ve been looking at a few rentals close to my work or near the high school I’ve chosen for my seventh grader to attend when the time comes. Perhaps a new space that I feel more comfortable in is what the doctor ordered. I loved my London house, and I’ve never felt the same about this one. Perhaps I need to find a place I loved as much. I didn’t like London, just my house. I love Edmonton, but not my house. I need to stop being lazy and find “my” Edmonton house. By acknowledging I have my own needs and choosing to address them, I can continue working to be the happiest, healthiest MHC I can be.

I think sometimes women are taught that if we put ourselves first, then we are selfish and not thinking about our kids/mates/job. But if you don’t make yourself a priority and focus on making yourself happy, no one else is going to. Not your mate. Not your parents. Not your kids. Not your job. It’s a one person job. You can’t give if you’ve given everything away. Sometimes, you’ve gotta love yourself and put your needs first, and don’t let anyone tell you it’s selfish. You deserve a fulfilling, happy life too.

People Like Us

Sometimes, life is super rad and everything is awesome & you look at life like “damn, life is so awesome!”

…this is not one of those times.

I’m telling you kids, this month has been a struggle. First, I asked to reduce my workload as a result of a personal issue. My super awesome boss was all “yeah, for sure,” at first, but then he was like “LOL JK you run two stores now.” I’m not complaining. I’m grateful that I get to prove I can handle more responsibilities. My kick ass ASM’s are a big help, and it’s double money, so I’ve been planning a girls weekend with some girlfriends and the kids to go to Jasper at the end of October or early November. Hopefully, my best friend can come with, depending on her work schedule, because my best friend is moving to Edmonton. DID I MENTION MY BEST FRIEND WILL BE LIVING IN EDMONTON WITH ME (well, not in the same house, BUT VERY CLOSE TO ME)?! Hard work means I can save up for Xmas, and go on a little mini vacay to see mountains. But, I’d really like to find time for the gym. I love the gym.

LOOK HOW HOT MY BEST FRIEND IS

I’ve been struggling with some personal stuff. Sometimes it’s hard to put personal struggles aside and focus on the work. But, you’ve gotta do it, even when it feels like everything is crushing you and the weight of the world is breaking your heart. But you gotta push through. Your family depends on it & you have to do what’s best, even if it’s not popular. Sometimes that stress bleeds in at work and you’re crying in your back room because you don’t know how to navigate a situation like this. Fortunately, I have a great team of people that work with me. I have a great support team of managers and an understanding boss. So, we make it work somehow & the work is paying off. We won our “Holy Grail.” Every month we get a little better. Even when everything sucks, you’ve gotta smile and keep on moving.

Not pictured; the other half of my team. Also, my desire to look cute in a picture

Somewhere between the added workload, and article deadline, declining a writing opportunity I really wanted to take advantage of (and hopefully will in the near future, when I have more time), I sat on the glasses I need to wear at all times to read and drive and broke them. Again, look on the bright side MHC. Fix em with super glue. You have benefits. You can get new ones. The new ones are Coach. They are Hella cute. They aren’t scratched. Yay! So, let’s take a deep breath and be positive.

Which brings me to the story of my car.

I love my car. I have an unnatural attachment to my car. Her name is Wanda Maximoff. I refuse to let my car get below half a tank of gas. You can not eat or drink inside of my car. You must wipe your feet before getting inside my car. I’ve already booked my oil change/service, because it’s been almost six months. I freak if it is even a little bit dirty. Yes, I love my car. I’m also a SUPER cautious driver. I drive five below the speed limit at all times (unless it’s raining, then it’s ten). On my way home from an impromptu trip to West Edmonton Mall, I went through a roundabout, dropped my speed (it was raining), hit a pothole, and PUNCTURED MY FUCKING TIRE. MY BRAND NEW CAR HAD A FLAT TIRE.

That was it. The last straw. Everything came crashing down; my broken heart, my work stress, my lack of time management which meant no gym, and now my car had a flat tire. I was so angry. I’m a decent person. I work hard. I’m a good mom. I do my best. I try to treat people well. I am a ridiculously cautious driver. So, why was life continuing to fuck me without even buying me dinner first?! I could have spit blood. I was just so sick and tired of trying to be nice and be happy all of the god damn time only to have people stab me in the back and betray my trust and do hateful things to my family while the universe seemed to fuck with my peace of mind and MY BRAND NEW CAR. I did not want to “find the silver lining.” I wanted to throw shit and scream.

But, fortunately for me, the universe won’t let me wallow in self pity. I have to see the good, like my friend getting down on the wet ground to help me change my tire and helping me get my car to Canadian Tire to get it replaced. He also reminded me that my busted tire is a metaphor for life. I did everything right; I was cautious. I signaled. I slowed down to be mindful of the slick roads. I did everything you’re supposed to do and still hit a pothole. That’s life. You can do everything right, but something could still go wrong. The important thing is we learn and still look for the good. I had good friends who spent the evening with me while I replaced my tire. My staff helping me balance my time. My friends back home offering their love and support. Sometimes, you’ve gotta just search for that one good thing about your day & use it to be happy, otherwise you become a miserable sad sack incapable of finding joy.

When life craps on you, you’ve gotta find good. Sometimes it’s as big as the fact that you have a job, a family, great friends, and two kick ass cats and you can work your dream job while also working full time at a job you enjoy and feel empowered at. Sometimes it’s as important as having your friend teach you how to change your tire. Sometimes, it can be as little as you discovered a Taco Bell 12 blocks away & Becky Lynch is the Smackdown Women’s Champion. There’s something good in everything. It’s up to us to find it.

So, even though life is not ideal right this second; it will be. Everything gets better. While we are plugging along, I’ll remember that it’s okay to be stressed and sad, there’s still a lot of good to be found. Maybe it’s harder to find, but if you look hard enough, and make it a point to find it, you will.

A Better Place

Over the last few months, I haven’t had much faith in humanity. Mostly, because humanity hasn’t given me much to have faith in.

It all started about three months ago, when some teen girls tried to rob my teenage daughter. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as safe in my neighbourhood. Then, I was blindsided and abandoned, subjected to some of the most manipulative mind games & cruelty from a man who claimed two days earlier that he loved me & to remind me of a conversation we were having once we were married, because he couldn’t wait to marry me. Fast forward to 48 hours later, when I woke up extra early for my long commute to get ready for a date we had planned for when my shift was over. 48 hours earlier, he told me he couldn’t wait for date night. I was so excited to finally have time alone with him without work, as I was beyond over work taking over our romance…only to find he erased me from his life, and a cold text saying he was angry & if I gave him space & a little time & did what he said, everything would be fine. I began obeying his commands, both stated and unstated. I felt like a dog, like I was being punished. And nothing I did made it better. He still wouldn’t talk to me. I apologized for what he said was bothering him, because I am a firm believer in owning your shit, I  offered to take steps to resolve the slight, even transferred at my job to help give space, but not a word. I’m not perfect, but no one deserves this treatment. I used to believe he could never hurt me. But it was like the man I love; the kind, gentle, man who sought me out & begged for my affection & loved me so much died and a monster stole his face. It shattered me in ways that I still haven’t really recovered from, and sometimes I’m afraid I never will. I refuse to be a victim, I knew better but I wanted to believe he had changed & would allow us to communicate when he was angry. Bad shit happens, you get up, you kick ass. But it leaves scars. Horrible scars. I don’t know if I’ll ever trust another man again, as I am absolutely terrified of this man I loved. I built up huge walls to keep him away from me, as well as anyone else.

When I build a wall, I make sure its impenetrable. I also have thirty people blocked on Twitter. And emails. I also block your personal, work & even some coworker’s phone numbers. I don’t play
Sometimes I’m still in denial, like there is no way this man that swore I knew him best could do this. He couldn’t be this hateful. I keep thinking he’ll want to fix it like before, but the thought of him coming near me actually terrifies me, something it never did before (even though he would never harm me).  And sometimes, while my friends, therapist, all insist he is emotionally abusive (sending me article after article to back it up), I still squeak out tiny defenses. He’s not mean. He just can’t do anger. I bet he feels badly & just doesn’t know how to come tell me. They ask me how he’d feel if someone treated his daughter as he treated me, because he’s teaching her that this is okay & I still try to defend him. Sometimes at night, I still cry confused tears because I literally just don’t understand how a man went from holding me and telling me that I was the love of his life to never speaking to me ever again in 48 hours & was seemingly proud of destroying my heart & self esteem while I sobbed on his voice mail to please just talk to me. How did we go from looking up engagement rings on New Years Day to feeling like I needed to change everything about me (even though I didn’t want to) just so he’d speak to me. I would delete blogs after minutes for fear of offending him. I would have done anything just for him to talk to me & I still just want him to talk to me, even though I know I deserve a man who would never dream of treating a woman this shamefully. But I still sometimes feel worthless because he won’t talk to me & even though I’m terrified to let him near me, I just want him to fix it like he said he always would. But I don’t ever want to be a woman who meekly kowtows to a man. That is NOT who I am not who I will EVER be. I don’t want to be controlled. So I move forward, focused on being the most bad ass MHC I can be. And despite how harsh this may sound, I don’t believe he’s a bad person. I think he’s a good person who struggles with anger management and commitment & conflict. He made some very poor choices & they are on his conscience, not mine.

A few weeks later, I was robbed, my purse stolen from my workplace. I lost all of my ID and I’m still trying to get it all back. The whole experience left me reeling, I had just transferred and now I didn’t trust my own coworkers. The mall security didn’t help. I have little faith in the police. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly feel safe at work or walking home from work. I feel violated and I look over my shoulder a lot. But I focus on the good things I have; my family, my health, crossfit. My amazing friends who rallied around me during those tough few weeks, including a really cool coworker who became my bodyguard & protector. My super cool therapist. So many awesome people who made this whole experience bearable. By focusing on the good, I could get through the bad. I have so many good things. I am lucky to have these things. I am happy.

(This isn’t a pity me trip. Bad shit happens every day, you get up & keep on going. But I just talked about why we need to be our authentic selves. That means I need to be able to talk about the times life kicked me in the metaphorical balls. It just sometimes takes me a bit, until some of the hurt subsides.)

This isn’t all of you, but you know who you are
But to say it didn’t make me question my faith that people were essentially good would be wrong. It did. I didn’t trust anyone. At one point, after a particularly cruel trick he played,where he messaged Erica claiming he wanted to talk to me, which never happened, I almost stopped trusting Erica & shut her out for a few days, even though she’s the most important person in my life. I shut out everyone for awhile, except for those good friends who forced me to talk. I stopped writing, I had nothing to say. I felt like everything I had believed about humanity was wrong. People aren’t good. I watched people get busted for shoplifting many times a day, road rage assaults, murders on the news & my neighbours got robbed.My house got egged. And I waited for a conversation that I was told he wanted until I realized it was just another manipulation to keep me hanging on to nothing. Everything I had ever staked my beliefs on felt wrong.


Then, little things happened to help me see that most people are good & not to let some bad apples spoil that. My girls & I started attending a new church here in the city. We were welcomed with open arms. My teenager attends youth group. She’s learning and growing. The pastor drove her home because it rained. Suddenly, we felt like part of the community. My district manager, who did everything she could to make my work life tolerable, pulled me aside on one particularly trying day and said “I sought you out to hire you because you are a strong, talented, energetic, genuinely kind hearted person. If he can’t see your value, then he’s missing out.” My new manager did all he could to make me feel welcome. He’s been great fun to work with. My teenager’s teacher went above and beyond to help her with math. My coworker drive me home after working 15 hours. And when my cat went missing this past week, my neighbours formed a search party to help me find my beloved kitty. Each day, something new happened that helped me see that people are good.

If you live in Edmonton, keep an eye out for Peachy
Each day, I saw a little more kindness from people. The cab driver that didn’t charge me because I looked tired. The coworker who gave me a hug because I was so drained I burst into tears at work. The crossfit coach who called me the day after a hard class to check on my hip. The stranger who walked an old lady down the street. The principal who consoled my nine year old when she got sick at school. All restoring my faith in humans. How could you not have faith in the planet with so many cool people around?!


Finally, this weekend, I saw how truly good people could be. After a forest fire displaced many of my fellow Albertans, I saw kids with lemonade stands. People paying for the groceries of the person behind them. A man donating $200 to Red Cross. The same people who were cussing each other out in the street were helping each other. WWE Superstars Kevin Owens & Tyler Breeze created a GoFundMe to help bring people together to raise funds during their personal time (Mr. Owens once did an amazing thing for my daughters during a WWE Live Event last year, so I already knew he was a great guy). And my dearest Bree reminded me that humanity is good, I just need to remember where to look.

This is the wisest person that I know
It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring out the best in humanity. We should all aspire to be good to each other every single day. And we also need to not lose sight of the good things people do for us, who’s there for us, the random strangers who have your back. Don’t lose sight of them because of a few bad people. Don’t let the bad people of the world take away your belief in humanity. People are good if you believe they are good. And even if they aren’t, be a good person because it costs you absolutely nothing to be a good person, but you will gain so much from it.

Humans ARE good. Yes, some are bad. Some are good, they just do dumb things. But you’ve gotta look around & see the good. It’s there; you’ve just gotta make sure you see it…and live it.

But You Won’t

I’ve struggled to talk about this with anyone but my best friend Melissa & friend Paul, and Erica, but she knows everything all of the time.  It’s been a source of great guilt for me, but I guess I’m sharing it because I wonder if other moms have been in this boat. 

Last week, I made a very important decision about facilitating a relationship between my kids & their dad; I’m going to stop trying. 

When we moved out here, I tried to make it easier. I called with updates, sent photos, and offered to cover the entire cost of travel for him to visit his kids for Xmas. I also told him if he wanted to move closer (as he is currently unemployed) & take a job here, he wouldn’t have to pay child support & we could split custody, where he could have them most weekends (as they are at the age where they want slumber parties with friends, etc) & I could have them during the week. He said he’d think about it. 

Meanwhile, the excuses started coming. Already he couldn’t afford to come for Xmas, as he wasn’t working or if he got a job, he wouldn’t be allowed any time off to see them. As flights are already filling up for holiday travel, I started texting, asking when he wanted to fly out, so I could book it. No reply. Second reminder. No reply. More excuses to the girls as there was just no money for him to come, maybe March Break. Or next summer. But not Xmas. That’s when I realized, no matter how easy I make it, he just doesn’t want to see them. He doesn’t care enough to be a dad. 

  
So, I wondered if by pushing the girls to call, to continue to facilitate a relationship that he’s made it clear doesn’t matter, am I hurting my children? After all, they get hurt when Dad doesn’t bother to call or visit. When we lived in the same city, every visit ended early. When I let him take them for March Break, he brought them home on Wednesday, because he was too busy. When they spent the summer with his mom, he rarely saw them, instead spending time with a girl he was seeing & drinking (according to my eldest). He doesn’t care to make that effort, so why should I? Why am I saving money for him to come here & see the kids when he can’t even tell me what day he wants to come?

I find myself offering him mental health support, which I did again this week, and for what? To be on the receiving end of his rage when I ask him once again to be a parent or tell me when he wants to come see his girls on my dime? Why do I keep trying to help this person? So my kids can have a dad? Shouldn’t that be his job? Shouldn’t he be making his kids his number one priority? Maybe my constant attempts to remind him to be a dad are hindering him from wanting to make his own efforts to be a parent. 

So, the flight I was going to pay for, I offered to his mom for March Break. I’m not sending any more photos or updates unless he asks me for them. I’m not going to ask the girls to call unless they choose to. I can’t keep trying to force someone to do what they can’t be bothered to do; which is be a parent. He doesn’t want to be a parent, so I’m not going to try to make him into one. It’s sad because I have friends who just want to coparent and spend as much time with their kids as possible & he won’t even come see them when it’s free for him to do so. 

  
But I’m done trying. It’s up to him to be a parent now. Maybe he’ll step up & be the kind of parent my kids deserve, calling every day & asking about school, life. Maybe he’ll save up to visit & spend all his time with them. Maybe when they fly to visit family next year, he will devote all of his time to his children. But if not, it’ll be on him. 

As for me, I’ll feel guilty, because that’s who I am. But I won’t keep trying to be nice & include someone who doesn’t want to be included & I will focus on raising strong women. 

  

Close to Heaven

The girls are gone & my furniture is leaving tomorrow & it’s just me and my cat getting ready for the flight & it’s weird. I should be sad that I’m leaving this life, but I feel like I’m finally heading to where I belong. Maybe I’m screwing up my life, but I’m doing it all for me & my family. When Target closed, I decided it was a sign from the universe that I needed to make a valiant attempt to pursue my goals & be the role model my daughters deserve. And it all came together very easily (When I finally made up my damn mind) so I feel like this is where I belong & I’ll have almost everything I’ve ever wanted. Not a bad gig. 

I’m putting my cat on a plane. That won’t end badly.

However, If you are new to the party, I’ll get you up to speed; I hate travelling. I like going places, but the time it takes to get there makes me annoyed. With this being said, I will (as always) be live tweeting my journey, so be sure to follow me on Twitter & enjoy! I can promise at least one Twilight Zone reference & I’ll probably say I hate someone at least twice, so there’s that. 

But before I go, I wanted to take a moment to showcase all of the amazing people I have in my life. You are my favourite people in the world & I love you all. My heart breaks to leave you, but I have a destiny to fufill. I was called to be a writer & write I shall. But I will miss you more than life. 

   

This girl is the scarecrow to my Dorothy; I will miss her the most
  
He can be the Wizard
  

        

sweaty, post 2k row selfie with one of the raddest coaches ever
 

I guess all that’s left is the great voyage for Peachy & I. In 48 hours I’ll be the one with the pink suitcase & the cat with no idea what time it is…and that’s when the next story begins. 

  

It Takes Two

My friend recently posted this to her FB page & it got me thinking (because I am a weirdo who analyzes memes);

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As the poster child for “taking too long to heal from a bad relationship,” this made me sad. So, I sent her this text;

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The reality I learned is humans choose to make themselves happy or miserable. We choose who we become & no amount of bad relationships can “turn” us into anything. I chose to be miserable & believe my former friend’s lies that it’ll all work out it I wait. I chose to mourn for the life I thought I wanted. I chose to ignore the fact that he is too closed off emotionally to give that life to me & I needed to heal from my emotionally abusive marriage to be in any position to build a life; I just missed the idea of what I thought we were building. That’s what we miss when a relationship ends; the idea of the life we were supposed to have, because we never really have it. If I had that life, we would have talked about our feelings instead of me hiding my concerns because he’d leave me. I shouldn’t have had to be afraid he’d leave if I breathed wrong or asked for my feelings to be validated or to be made a priority. If that life had been real, I would have felt safe & happy. I thought I did, but now I realize I didn’t, because I was so afraid he’d leave, because he did, all the time. What I missed wasn’t real & what made my friend feel like the graphic wasn’t real. She’s too sweet to ever do it, but if she becomes a bitch, it’s her choice, just like I chose to be miserable. I made that choice & then I un made it. I decided, much like when I mourned my marriage, that I wouldn’t mourn a life that wasn’t real. I mourned this family that wasn’t real. Reality was an emotionally defeated mom, and three little girls who were afraid of their angry father. I needed to focus on why I make bad choices, which is that I choose broken men. I choose them because I want to make them happy so I can feel happy knowing I bring someone joy. I do this because I was unhappy with my weight, my lack of byline, my insecurities about who I am. If I make these broken men happy, then I’m doing something right so I have value. So, I choose to bring myself joy, give myself value & then I won’t need to choose broken men & keep up that cycle. The only reason the cycle in the graphic exists is because we allow it. When my teen daughter mentioned the emotionally abusive relationship of Damon & Elena on The Vampire Diaries was romantic, I had to think about what I had been teaching her. I had been teaching her that women in love allow men hurt & manipulate them & it’s their fault for not loving them enough. I don’t want my daughter in that cycle, so I had to break it, for myself, for my daughters. Again, that’s a choice I’m making for us, to teach them what a healthy relationship is.

No one can “make” you a bitch or an asshole. You chose that. You chose to crush the heart of that person that loved you. You chose to let someone crush it. You made those choices & you chose to dwell & let it warp you. Why choose to destroy joy? I was destroying my own joy & for what? Nothing. So, I choose joy. I choose my happily ever after. It’s right now, in this moment. I’ll fix what makes me feel weak & make myself happy, because then no one can rip it away. But in the moment it’s hard to see that reality & seeing my friend’s pain (albeit in snippets with her talking about binge eating, etc.) made me realize something I didn’t for a long time. I understand why my ex-BFF lied for so long. I was crippled emotionally by the on & off, the intense togethers & sudden splits & the consistent rejections that I couldn’t think. I went to school & raised my kids but my friend saw me broken, so very broken. He just wanted to make the pain go away. Hearing her pain made me want to do the same thing. But we have to choose the path of reality & allowing someone time to figure out what they miss isn’t real & the real happy ending is around the corner is much kinder in the long run.

My friend is an amazing & strong woman, mother, performer & friend. She will choose joy & meet her match & live a beautiful life. Even if she doesn’t, she’ll live a beautiful life with her son. Because happy is a choice, not a situation.

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