It is What it is

Hey all you cool cats and kittens…

…truth time: I never finished Tiger King. I have the last episode left. I’m the worst with TV. I haven’t finished Glow either. Or Nailed It. Or anything I start except Brooklyn 99. Also the kids got me into Naruto. It’s fun except I love every character except Naruto. But my London friends are super proud that I’m finally into anime besides Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z.

Anyway, how’s life? You good? Has your new normal of teaching kids at home and zoom calls and NEVER GOING OUT ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN been treating you well? Here’s an update; this fucking sucks. It’s not all terrible. I’ve been catching up on my fitness at home, the kids and I binge watch the Simpsons, pro wrestling, and anime because we are the coolest people ever. My company is graciously paying me during this time so I’ve been working from home. I’m cooking more, and turned my Snapchat into a cooking show.

Feel free to follow along while I make chicken and other stuff.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Money is tight. We’re not broke, but there’s nothing extra and summer clothes may have to wait. The dad isn’t helping, and even if he could he wouldn’t because we do not align on how we prioritize the children. Not to mention his sister caused some issues that impacted my finances and after numerous issues involving her, I’ve had to make the decision to go no contact as it relates to the kids. The kids obviously cannot go to see their grandma this summer due to the virus and also until we get confirmation that no contact will remain intact. This sucks because the kids love their paternal grandma and she’s an awesome person who deserves to see the kids, but it’s not in the cards this summer and I feel guilty because I want them to have a relationship with their grandmother, great uncles, and American cousins.

At home, we haven’t killed each other yet, but some days it’s getting close. My mom is recovering well from her health issues, but now we have to push through to get her back to day to day normalcy, which is hard and stressing me out. I feel super selfish, but we are most definitely not going to Vegas, barring a miracle. I was so excited and now it’s not happening and I’m really sad. But I feel selfish. People are losing their homes, people are dying, losing their jobs, I’m struggling to stay caught up and I’m bummed about my vacation. It’s a dumb, first world problem and I’m awful for being upset.

However, I keep reminding myself that we’ve been through tough times before and we’ve made it through as long as we stay positive. Before I got my job with my company almost seven years ago, we were on the verge of losing everything because I was unemployed and the dad wasn’t contributing. I had to pawn all of my jewellery and my DVD player to keep us fed and housed. But, I persevered, kept looking, found work and recovered. If we keep practicing social distancing, we will be able to return to work and I can get caught up and things will feel normal again. It sucks because everyone is struggling and your mental health takes a hit when you feel alone and like you’re the only one who’s stuck and can’t get ahead. But we’re all feeling it right now; we just need to keep doing our best and push ourselves to do things to make us feel normal. So, whether it’s work from home, exercise, Netflix, or meditation. The more we embrace new normal, the better things will be when life returns to normal and we can hug our friends again.

I hope you’re all doing okay. I know this super sucks but it’ll pass soon enough. Until then, find your happy, whether it’s cooking, exercising, or watching anime while drinking White Claw. Whatever works for you. But stay safe and stay home so we can all see each other again.

2016

Hey there all you cool cats and kittens, how y’all holding up on quarantine day 672?!

Yeah, I totally watched Tiger King. Mostly because I HAD LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO DO. Also, it’s a train wreck and awful and right up my alley. But in all seriousness, how y’all doing? Still good? Found something good to watch on TV? Worked out? Played Jenga? Completely cracked the fuck up yet? COOL ME TOO.

It has been a damn week. I’m really worried about finances while I work from home. Like, genuinely scared. I’m a single parent and not receiving any support. The dad told me “you’re on your own,” when I asked for some financial help, then whined that he doesn’t even own an Xbox. Meanwhile, I’m worried that I’ll fall behind on bills to support our kids. My mom went through some major health issues this week (unrelated to COVID-19) and the kids and I had little support from our family. My friends stepped up to be my support system because they’re the best. The kids are doing their best and their teachers have been amazing, running conference calls to help them learn and grow. But I’m working from home and helping them and trying to keep the house clean and the kids alive and be mom, daughter, therapist, teacher, manager, and I’m really tired and really scared.

I’m trying my best. I’m working out, I’m meal planning (at one point my Snapchat was MHC’s dinner hour), we have family movie night. But the reality is I’m tired and I’m scared that I won’t be able to afford our home or bills or I’ll get laid off. I’m scared my mom is gonna have another health issue. I’m scared we’re all gonna crack up. It’s a lot to handle on your own & I’ve never felt more alone. I’m a social person and we are on week three of quarantine. When times got tough, I could always take a break and go to the gym or out with a friend, but now, it’s sit at home and obsess & it’s so easy to fall into the mental health trap of doom and gloom. Not gonna lie, I’m in full doom and gloom. All of this is hard and it’s even harder when you’re doing it alone. When you’re the parent, you have to stay strong and you can’t show them anything but super mom. It’s even harder when you don’t get that moment to feel afraid or vulnerable because they’re watching you every second, relying on you to make it okay. There’s no turning it off and you feel burned out and like an empty vessel with nothing left.

So, I try to stay positive by looking for the little things that can bring me joy even when everything feels bleak. For example, I’m super grateful that WrestleMania is still happening because for a few hours, I get stupid fun entertainment.

I’m also super looking forward to sitting on my porch and drinking spicy margaritas with my friends when this is over.

I’m optimistic that Vegas may still happen. I’m excited to go back to work, hopeful that my customers will have a new found appreciation for wireless devices, I know I have. This baby is keeping me connected with the outside world. It’s my lifeline right now and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I’m appreciative of everyone from grocery store workers to teachers and nurses who have done so much to help everyone, and we have a leader who’s doing his best to help us. It’s not much, but it’s something that will get us through this. Finally, every night I focus my energy on reminding myself that I can do this and we will be okay.

Even though everything feels hard and scary, and it’s day eleventy million of quarantine, I’m trying my best to stay positive so I can be a good role model to my girls, a strong presence for my family, and keep the crazy to a six out of ten so I can be ready when the time comes to go back to work. I hope you’re doing the same. Just keep on going. It’ll all work out and it’ll all be okay. Just stay home, focus on your family and yourself, and do your best to stay positive during the never ending isolation. Also, it’s okay to admit you’re scared or overwhelmed. I struggle so hard with that, but part of being mentally well is admitting we aren’t. So, right now, I’m not doing so fantastic, but I hope eventually it’ll be okay.

After Hours

How are y’all doing?

Remember when we thought 2019 was weird? Welcome to 2020, where so far, Australia was on fire, we lost Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter, some dude wants to sue the NFL because J.Lo and Shakira are hot, and now the planet has basically shut down because of the plague. Okay not the plague, but COVID-19 is something that should be taken super seriously. Wash your hands, take precautions, stay home, and don’t be a dick that hordes everything. Make sure you’re exercising social distancing. I’m grateful that my company is taking care of us during these uncertain times. I’m also a super extroverted person, so being self quarantined is the absolute fucking worst.

It’s day nine of quarantine. I was put on lockdown before my work closed due to a nagging cough from airborne allergies. It’s been great. I work from home, I homeschool the kids, I spend time with my cats, who hate us so much for being home all damn day. They’re so confused as to why humans are home all day every day and never leave. They pretend they’re mad but secretly love the attention.

Actual footage of my cats paying someone to reopen my work

I’m a social person who talks A LOT. So, naturally being at home all of the time with no social activities or places to go or shopping to do make MHC go something something. I’ve replayed (& completed) Breath of the Wild. I’ve binge watched eight seasons of the Simpsons. I’ve read news articles. I work out twice a day, homeschool the kids, and my mom is in isolation because of her age and health so is basically under the stairs like Harry Potter (if he had an apartment with a bathroom, a TV, and a fireplace). I’ve whined that I can’t play Animal Crossing because I’m concerned about finances & I don’t want to waste money on games. I played a game where you turn a potato into a Disney character. I can TOTALLY keep this up for weeks!

No seriously, I can. I’ll be kind of batshit insane, but we gotta put in this time. None of us are invincible and the only way to protect immunocompromised people like my mom or my middle daughter (who has severe asthma) is if we suck it up and stay at home. I know it super sucks, but we gotta. Yes, it’s an inconvenience and not fun, also I’m pretty sure my cute little charts are going to lose and we’ll just become Lord of the Flies, but we all need to do our part to stop other people from getting sick, as well as keeping ourselves safe.

There’s a lot of uncertainty too. Financially, will my family be okay until I go back to work? When am I going back to work? When do the kids go back to school? For purely selfish reasons, will the world be back to normal by August so I can go to Vegas? Will I be able to afford to go to Vegas? Is the Lululemon 10k cancelled? Am I a selfish person for wondering if I can go on vacation when people are getting really sick and my mom is in isolation? Are the kids going to end up killing each other and will their relationships be damaged by the 24/7 interactions? I’m sure a lot of parents feel the same way, and when you’re a single, sole support parent, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now about financials and work and keeping everyone healthy and sane, without going insane myself.

Unfortunately, it’s out of my hands. All I can do is do my best to keep everyone healthy and sane and keep my own sanity while clawing at the door like a cat wanting to do normal things like going shopping or to the movies. I also hope everyone else is staying safe and sane. These are weird and scary times and we need to be cautious, but also kind to each other during these tough times. It’s hard enough to navigate this uncertainty without making it harder on others by being an asshole. So, be good to each other, use all the cool technology we have to stay connected while socially distant, and be safe.

Famous Last Words

I realized this month that if people asked me what I’ve been up to, they’d realize my life seems outwardly boring.

I’ve kind of retreated into a bubble of family, work, fitness, friends. It’s been really nice. I took the kids on a mini vacation to Banff. I’ve finally gotten a chance to explore this amazing place I call home and spend real quality time with my family. Everyone had a blast and we made some amazing memories. Also, I drove four hours by myself on a road trip and lived. I feel so much more confident about driving, which is nice. I’m really trying to get my work life balance in order, so that I can be mentally healthy and successful. So far, it’s working out okay.

My view from the hot springs

My family has always been my number one priority, but I always had to work ten times harder to support us so I wasn’t getting the time we needed as a family. Now, I’ve learned to balance those things so that I’m getting that quality time in, while also doing okay at work. Because I’m happier at home, I’m doing better at work. Also, because I’m doing better at work, I’m stress eating less. Thanks to better eating and intermittent fasting and Deadboys Fitness and Capital City Athletics, I’m down 10lbs in two weeks! That’s 1/6 of my goal! Tonight at the gym during the WOD, my working weight was my 1RM from three months ago! I’m getting stronger! Things feel attainable: success at work, success at the gym, happiness in life. I feel like the luckiest person; I have an incredible family, the best friends who are willing to run 10km with me, an awesome gym family, and a beautiful home. Life is dope.

Speaking of friends, my friends has inadvertently helped me set some long term goals of my own. One of my best friends is engaged! She and her awesome fiancé are getting married! I love these two; they’re just the best couple. They’re loving and patient with each other, and really changed each other for the better. I’m so happy for them and the next step they’re about to take. I used to think the perfect couple didn’t exist until I met them, but they are just so perfect for each other and I know they are going to have the most incredible life together.

But this means a wedding, even a small one. Six years ago, I got myself in shape because I wanted to look good at my friend’s wedding. This is no different. But, this time I’m not just trying to get in shape for the sake of wearing something. I’m getting in shape to wear this damn dress.

I bought this dress to wear to a holiday party with a guy I was dating at the time…and then broke up with because he sucked at communicating and I was sick of dealing with it (and then took him back again because why not date your own stalker…twice, you know, in case you were wondering about where my taste in men used to be like. Everyone is better off now, and there’s no hard feelings, but I need to preface that I got this bomb stress in the wake of some very stupid decisions). This beautiful wool dress (in size six) has travelled with me across the country, survived being put in the dryer and revived with fabric softener and warm water, but has never been worn. Ever. Why? The last wedding was a summer wedding. This is a winter dress. It’s four sizes too small right now, but I have two years to fit in this damn dress. The goal is that I can wear it around Xmas time. That’s 10 months to lose four sizes and finally take this baby out for a spin.

The other goal is that I am NOT going stag to this wedding. Fuck. No. I’ve gone out on a couple of Tinder dates, but I’m slowly but surely putting down my walls and getting to the point where I’m ready for a serious relationship. It’s been a long time and I’ve run away from good guys because I was so scared to get close to someone, because what if I do and then I’m ghosted again? Every time a guy talked about anything more than a casual coffee, I’d Usain Bolt out of there. You can’t get hurt if you don’t get attached.

Me when anything gets serious

The thought of putting myself in a position to fall in love with someone only to find out they’d never talk to me about what’s wrong, never be really honest, and then just cut me out of their life like I never existed was too much. But thanks to therapy, and really getting to know and love myself, I’ve been chipping away. Go on a few dates, not take rejection to heart, allow the conversations, and make sure to end things properly so everyone gets closure. And for once, I really like my appearance regardless of my weight. I’m comfortable in my skin, with my family and my job. I finally feel like a catch…most days. But loving oneself is a work in progress. But, I am not going to this wedding solo. I’m going to make myself more open to dating. I’ll work on reading signals better, because right now dudes, unless you walk up and say “Hi, I am interested in you. Would you like to go on a date?” I will not understand. I do not get flirting, or dating. Or any of it. But I’m gonna have to learn, so if there are any quality mans whisperers who would like to help me understand all of this, help a sister out. More importantly, I’m finally confident enough to actually engage with people like a human being, without fear of rejection or abandonment. I almost know my worth.

My life may seem boring, but it’s happy. My family is healthy and happy. I’m emotionally healthy and happy. I’m finally getting my body the way I want so I can rock the Lululemon 10k for the third time. I feel good about my job. I live in a beautiful city in a house I’m proud of. Almost all of the pieces are coming together, even if I only catch up with friends once every two months. All of the trying times and stress just prepares you for what’s next, and for me, what’s next is a really happy time in my life, with all of the things that matter most working out in the best way possible

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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.

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Daylight

Welp, its time for the holidays, which are the busiest time of year for all of us. Since I’ll be busy working and enjoying time with family, and ending the decade with friends, I figured I’d post my annual photo essay reviewing my 2019 (excluding photos of the kids). It’s been an eventful year; moved to a new home, went on some fantastic adventures, made new friends, and did a bunch of kick ass stuff! I hope you had a great year as well, and you achieved many goals and dreams. Enjoy the photos and hopefully I’ll have more stories to tell in 2020!

We saw Ariana Grande and it was the best day until we met Becky Lynch

Changed my look for the first time in forever

City and Colour!

Darkside

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of quiet.

My life always feels noisy. Between the loud music (speaking of music, I finally embraced streaming and got Apple Music. My world has changed for the better). But I’m always thinking, working, parenting, and obsessing about body image, finances, and trying to juggle what sometimes feel likes the whole world. It can cause a lot of noise in your head and that noise will make all the things I just mentioned harder. There’s a time talk about stuff, and a time to just be quiet and focus on each task one at a time. I chose this time to focus on quieting my mind and improving my life. When you’re trying to do a million things at once and still try to feel normal, eventually you just feel crazier. I desperately needed a reset.

I had a free week from work that was supposed to go to a vacation, but some much needed household repairs came first. I took this time to focus on my own mental health. I went to the gym. I worked out at home. I played a lot of video games.

But most importantly, I took a major step back from my life to be a parent and really look inward into how I can improve how I feel about myself. I’m back in that old pattern where I try hard, then fail, then gain more weight. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be the person who makes herself a priority so her kids see that it’s okay to take time for yourself to do what makes you healthier. I needed to shake up my life so I could really use fitness as a reward because I like myself, not feel like it’s a punishment for failing at weight loss. I needed to spend some time away from my world to reconnect with MHC and decide how I could really jump start the self love so I could get back on track. I never focus on me. It’s always my kids, my team, my boss, my friends, my mom, etc. but never “what does MHC want?” How can I become a happier person if I don’t even know what that means anymore? Truly I didn’t know. I talked a good game, but I’m always busy helping everyone else and feeling like an awful human if I couldn’t please everyone. The only person I wasn’t trying to please was me & that’s why all the things I love most were slipping away; fitness, job success, writing. So, I decided to do something to snap out of this repetitive cycle.

So I changed my hair.

I know it sounds stupid, but the first time I lost all of the weight and put myself in the happiest headspace I’ve ever been in, I realized I needed something I could control to get me started. So, I dyed my jet black hair blonde. It was a small, instant change that helped improve my self esteem. That change kick started other changes, which led to 100lbs weight loss. Ever since I gained some of the weight back, I’ve really just not liked myself. This made everything feel impossible. What was the point of working out? I just got fat again. Why bother dating? Working hard is important but feels futile because I’m just not good enough. I’ll never reach my time goal for my 10k because I’m too fat, and the list goes on. I was at the same crossroads I was before I moved to London, only moving to a random city isn’t an option because I love Edmonton and my house is the best. Maybe it was time to change up my appearance so I really love it and the rest would follow.

Seriously, look at this place. I still can’t believe I live here. It’s a dream come true.

It worked too! I’ve worked out 14 out of 20 days this month, either at the gym or at home! That’s a major change from previous months. I’m enjoying it again too. I’m enjoying work again after my week off. I’m connecting with my kids and my friends in a better way because I’m not feeling so down on myself. A long time ago, I let depression and the feelings of unworthiness and self loathing cost me some good friendships. But, now I recognize when I’m feeling like this and I’m teaching myself that it’s okay to take some space from the world and get to know yourself again and figure out your own needs, not the needs of everyone around you. I’m still learning that it’s not my job to please everyone; just do my best for my kids, at my job, and for myself. The rest, the weight loss, the successes, will all come if I focus on one day at a time, whether it’s one work day, one workout, or just one day of quiet, letting my body and emotions tell me what I need.

It’s Nice to Have a Friend

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

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

Still an amazing night

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

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

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