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.

Sensitive

Let me tell you about the time I could have died.

I’ve been pretty open about my weight gain and battle with PCOS. Part of that required me to take medication. I was prescribed birth control to help regulate symptoms. I’ve been taking it for a few months now, and originally I saw results. But lately I’ve noticed symptoms returning and I needed to change some things about my diet and how I exercise. I’ve been moderating my diet more, and being more cautious about what I eat, and working out before bed. My workout is what triggered this entire saga, so buckle up, as this is quite the ride.

During my Deadboys Fitness workout, I suddenly got really dizzy and needed to lay down. I assumed I was dehydrated and drank water. But I still kept feeling disoriented. I asked one of the kids to get me a snack, thinking maybe my blood sugar was low. Nothing helped. When my Apple Watch advised me my heart rate has spiked significantly walking to my bathroom, I decided maybe it was time to call an ambulance.

Now, anyone who identifies as female will tell you how important it is to advocate for yourself during a medical event. I’ve learned through the years from caring for my mom that medical professionals do not like to listen to women. Even my own health issues were largely ignored for months. I knew something was wrong; I had been hiking with one of my best friends three days earlier! Those lateral hops were nothing! But the EMT kept dismissing my concerns as “anxiety,” as my vitals were fine. But I wasn’t fine. I was winded bending over to pick up my phone. I spent hours in a waiting room in a wheelchair because walking ten steps wore me out. My chest and throat were burning like I ran a half marathon. Even the nurses said since three EKG’s, and a blood oxygen test were fine, I needed to go home. It was just stress. I insisted I see the doctor. I’m not normally one to demand things, but I’m grateful I did. The doctor said that while I looked fine, it didn’t hurt to check a few other things. So he requested an x-Ray, more blood work, and a d-dimer test, to check for clots. Within what felt like three minutes, a nurse rushed in saying we needed a CT scan RIGHT NOW. I had to take off my necklace and get into a gown ASAP. The first IV was removed to make room for IV number two. The next little bit was a blur: X-rays, needles, then a move to an observation room as my old room in the ER was taken (along with my necklace, that never made it back to me. I’m absolutely heartbroken, as the ring around my neck was a gift from my oldest friend), and now I’m hooked up to a heart monitor, blood pressure machine, and blood is being drawn from my HAND because there are no more veins in my arms available thanks to multiple blood draws and IV’s. I hadn’t eaten or drank in 13 hours. I hadn’t slept in 30 hours. There isn’t a single part of me that isn’t in mind numbing pain and worst of all, I can still barely breathe. The wait is long and miserable and that IV is driving me insane. Finally, a doctor appears and starts asking a bunch of questions:

– Do I smoke? (No)

– How often do I work out? (3-4 times/week)

– What medications am I on? (birth control)

Doctor has an “a ha!” moment. The medication triggered this. Finally I get answers. There are blood clots in my lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism. I caught it early so j should recover fully, but had I just gone to sleep, I could have suffered a cardiac event or stroke and even died. My 15yo basically saved me by waking me up out of concern. I also learned that doctors don’t enjoy black humour as a coping mechanism. Answering “obviously I’m killing it,” when asked how I was doing is the wrong answer. Who knew?

But for the next few months, things have to change; no crossfit or running for two months, blood thinners for four. No alcohol, stricter diet, and lots of rest. I also need a different treatment for PCOS. It’s a scary time and combined with my other stressors (caring for my elderly mom, raising my family, trying to find a second job to combat inflation), it’s a lot. When the doctor asked if I could reduce my stress levels, I just laughed. This was the worst time for a health issue. I won’t lie; I’m scared. I’m going to be at risk for blood clots for the rest of my life. I don’t want my kids to have to worry if mommy is gonna be okay. Right now they have to help me around the house and it’s insane. I’m supposed to take care of them, not the other way around. I’m back at work two days later because I just can’t afford to take time off. I rarely receive child support and I just can’t risk the financial hit. It’s very depressing to know you can’t afford to get sick. Also, I’ve never done well doing nothing. This has been an emotional roller coaster.

But, much like everything bad that happens in life, there’s always something positive you can find if you look hard enough. My friends and colleagues all stepped up to check in on me and offer accommodations so I can work. My oldest offered to buy her siblings some summer clothes so I wouldn’t have to stress. My other daughter offered to let me hang out with her creepy doll so I wouldn’t be lonely on bedrest. My oldest friend called me to check in, because he knew not only was I upset about my health, but by the loss of my necklace, and he took the time to check in. One of my best friends offered to help us do my groceries. My amazing boss checked in all day while I was in the hospital. My downstairs neighbour made sure to check in with the kids so I wouldn’t worry. Everyone I know made sure to help me feel loved and supported. It’s nice to know that when times are tough, I’ve got a bunch of people who have my back. A lady can’t help but feel gratitude when so many people are there for you in a crisis situation. The world is full of amazing people and I’m fortunate enough to call many of them friends.

The next few months are gonna be tough, but we will make it through, just as we have always done before. I’ll be healthier, and probably happier. I’ll also have learned that I don’t need to do everything myself, and that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes; especially if that time is “I almost died.” I’ve always put everyone ahead of myself, so I’m going to use this time to take care of myself, because I can’t be a good mom from the great beyond.

I Bet You Think About Me

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

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

Peace out toxic job

When my house finally got grass

Best birthday cake!

That time I chopped off all of my hair

One for the Rocks & One for the Scary

Oh hai.

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

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

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

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

– Too much

– too big of a personality

– too domineering

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

– talks too much.

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

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

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

I am Not a Woman, I’m a God

I’ve been thinking a lot about growth.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Time To Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saviour Complex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Train

GUYS!

I FIGURED OUT WHY I SUCK AT DATING!

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

I suck at dating because I hate dating!

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

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

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

NOW WHAT?!

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

A) they live in Ontario

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

C) both

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

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

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

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

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

Protected: I Can Only Hope

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Don’t Let It Break Your Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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