11 Blocks

Today, I’m going to talk about the selfie. 

Yes, selfies. 

We all take them. We all share our cute outfit of the day with our friends, a fun moment with coworkers, or that super rad Snapchat filter. While a coworker and I once joked that there should be a ratio of 1:7 of selfie and non selfie photos on your IG to prevent narcissism (& a limit of four hashtags), mostly because he’s a model and it was a silly in joke, taking and posting selfies is a normal part of our culture. One of the questions I’m asked most at work is about the selfie camera. We all take them, whether we want to admit it or not. 

If you’re not following me on Snapchat (ASHMHC), you’re missing absolutely nothing

My teen daughter takes them with her friends. I don’t really think anything of it. She’s fully clothed, not shooting the finger, so who cares? As her birthday approaches, she’s asked me for an autobiography penned by her idol, retired WWE Divas Champion AJ Mendez Brooks. I’ve skimmed excerpts; for the most part, AJ writes a beautiful story of finding herself and learning to embrace mental illness. AJ is very honest and open about her struggles and successes and I commend her for her honesty. I think (for the most part) she’s a great role model for young women. But there is a passage in the book where she equates selfies with a lack of self respect and a desperate cry for attention. As a woman who was once an impressionable teen, I could only imagine how upset my daughter would be to read such a judgmental and self righteous passage, but I refuse to let that cloud my perspective of a moving and inspirational journey. 


I briefly touched on this on Twitter with another blogger and artist (who is rad af & I would totally throw a feminist Wrestlemania party in NOLA with her and the girls while we all sport Bayley ponytails), and she agreed that this one passage didn’t feel that great. It perpetuates the myth that women only do things to attract the attention of men, or need to be validated by men to be happy. For some, that may be the case, and I won’t judge them. I used to, but then I realized that I was part of the problem. If they aren’t hurting anyone, then more power to them. But why does it have to always be about wanting to attract a man? Why do brilliant and inspirational women continue to tear down other women?!


I take selfies. I post em on Snapchat. I never used to. If you look at my old FB photo albums, there was maybe five photos of me in 100. There is maybe one pregnant photo of me. Why? Because I was called fat and ugly every day. I woke up to hear about how I was skinny when we started dating and now his wife was a pig. He didn’t sign up for this. A few years later, one of my best friends told me that I was pretty in the face and didn’t look fat from the “tits up” so I could reasonably find a man. I was constantly told how unattractive I was because I was fat. So I started working out. I started running. I started crossfit. First it was to shake the nagging voice that said no one would love me or be my friend because I was fat. But then, it was because these activities made me happy. And the more these activities made me happy, the better I felt about myself. I wasn’t a size seven (the magic dress size that I equated with being acceptable to be seen in public), but I was confident. I was happy. Confident, happy MHC didn’t want to be in the shadows. She wanted to be visible. So I started using that front facing camera. I’d post the odd one to FB or IG. But it was a huge step for me to stop hiding behind a camera and hoping no one looked at me. Humans should want to be visible, part of the world. Now, there are photos of me & my girls, my friends, of me. My teenager was also brutally bullied in grades seven and eight for being too thin and too different. She and a good friend started taking selfies as a way of accepting themselves. For many women, that selfie is about empowerment, taking control of their self esteem and we need to stop dismissing photos as vanity & a cry for validation from men. If it’s not for you, don’t do it. There’s lots of things in this world that I do not do. I don’t watch Canadian football. I don’t listen to Nickelback. I don’t understand Zumba. But I’m not gonna trash humans that do. Just let people do their thing and you do what makes you feel good inside. 


So, take your selfies everyone. You’ll find no judgment here. Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel badly about yourself or like you are somehow less intelligent, less interesting, because you took a photo with your front camera. And if you are one who belittles someone for taking a photo, stop that right now. You can’t bring up your self esteem by passive aggressively belittling someone else. 

Green Light

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not one for complacency. 

I can’t just sit in the same place, with the same life, the same relationship, the same friends, the same old TV shows, etc. I’ve been known to chop off all of my hair just because I could. I moved across the country on a whim. Sometimes I contemplate jetting off again. I look at jobs in Vancouver or Victoria & contemplate moving. Sometimes I think about packing up and moving to New Brunswick. But this is the longest I’ve stayed in one spot since I got a divorce. Perhaps there’s enough adventure here in the province of cows to settle my gypsy heart for awhile. I’m still discovering cool buildings and interesting things. The photo below I took while waiting for my favourite co worker before the Lumineers concert. Edmonton is a rad place y’all. 


But I still get bored and want to switch things up. I want to change my hair, my look, meet new people and introduce them to my old people and build a tribe. I want to learn a million new things and then share my knowledge with others. I want to constantly grow and evolve and expand my horizons. But I can’t just pack up my life and find a new city every time the urge strikes me…can I? 

No. Kids need roots. I need a support system. But I also need constant change. Maybe not constant change, but constantly working towards goals. I’m feeling very complacent in my life right now. I love my day job, but right now, I’m not seeing a lot of room to grow. I know there will be, but right now, I’m in a holding pattern. I am fortunate enough to have a manager across the hall that can help me learn everything to know about manager-ing, which is nice. When you have someone in close proximity who’s super rad at their job, you take the time to learn. My biggest mistake at my old mall was not taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from someone who’s really good at their job. I love freelancing, and I love fitness, but I’m at my best when I’m working towards a goal. But what goal? What’s something that could help me feel super motivated and help me accomplish something without just packing all of my shit and moving halfway across the planet?

I found my answer today while mindlessly scrolling Twitter en route to work (PS if you’re not following my boring ass on Twitter, you probably should do that);


Yes! A triathlon! I write for a fitness magazine, obviously getting healthy and staying healthy is important to me (PS; check out YEG Fitness. It’s pretty amazing). And I loathe running, but I need to do something on days I don’t go to crossfit. I was much better at staying motivated when I had a goal to work towards. Now I do. I’m going to train for a year, then my friend & I are gonna tackle the Edmonton triathalon (give him a follow over at Lift Bitches)! This also inspired me to look at buying a bike and riding to work on nice days. I’d save money and really enjoy it. Of course, I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, how hard can it be? 

So, tomorrow starts my preparation. Eating better, working smarter, and working towards this goal. I can’t wait to show my littles how to work towards a goal and stay healthy, and I’ll save money by packing a lunch every day. I write for a fitness magazine and go to a great gym, I have a bunch of resources at my disposal to get ready. Not to mention that working towards a goal will improve my self esteem! I’m really excited about it. 

A year is a long time, but it’s just the right amount of time to get ready. By going for a long term goal, I’ll be less likely to get discouraged. And I have a friend to keep me accountable. All exciting things, and this excitement will bleed into the rest of my life; improving my work performance, my writing, and my interactions with others. I’ll get in better shape. There is literally no downside! It’ll be a great challenge and I can’t wait to tackle it. 

Happier

Welp, another Crossfit Open in the books! 

LOOK AT THIS PERSONAL BEST. LOOK AT IT. LOOOOOOK

I can officially call myself the 26187 fittest person on the planet. That’s up 32K places on the leaderboard and I’m pretty proud of this. Last year, I had to miss the Open because I was sick af and the arthritis in my hips made everything unbearable. This year, I went in just wanting to get to know my gym family. I did, but I also pushed myself and remembered how strong and confident I can be. I’m feeling so inspired that I entered a crossfit competition designed for novice members. I may place last in everything, but it’ll be a fun day. It was so nice to have members suggest that I register because they wanted me to feel welcomed. So, I’ll bring the girls and crush some fitness (& then introduce them to coconut chips. Seriously, so good)!


This confidence has passed over to my work. I’m getting more confident when it comes to pitching stories (and out of the box ideas at work). I’ve always been a believer that no one will see the value in who you are if you don’t. So, I decided to take control of my career. It’s been working so far, as most of my kooky ideas have been successful. The store is growing. The team is successful. When I’m not here, I’m just writing for magazines. There is no downtime. When there is, it’s for the girls and crossfit. This is my life and it’s rad. 


I know when I last posted, I was struggling with how to tow the line & be true to myself. It’s hard when people tell you that being yourself somehow makes them look bad or detracts from their role. But I’ve realized after a chat with one of my bestest friends in this city that one person cannot dim someone else by encouraging them, or by trying to elevate others. You can only dim a person’s light by holding them back. I’ve been with people who hold people back. I’ve been with people who credited themselves with my cover stories, people who credited the respect I received from coworkers to “they must really want to make me happy at work.” I’ve been around friends who wanted to feed negativity under the guise of “telling it like it is.” One doesn’t dim by suggesting improvements for their workplace or being bubbly. I don’t deny that I’m a difficult human being with my stubborn streak, passionate opinions, and fiery temper. I’m sure my scatterbrained thought process & random singing in public places is frustrating to the super serious types out there, but I’d rather be unapologetically myself before I become someone else. 

Even though I’m a grown up, I still struggle with self esteem just like everyone else. Some days, when it seems like people don’t like you, just because you’re you, it can feel frustrating. You’ll doubt yourself and think you can’t. My friends and family can tell me I’m awesome, but I’ve got to believe it. It’s up to me to build myself up, not those around me. Too many people think if they have a relationship, they have a car, if they have the right job; they’ll be happy. But the truth is that they’re settling for unhappy relationships, unhealthy relationships, and unhealthy senses of self. My happiness is an inside job. So, when I start wondering if I’m enough, it’s my job to look self doubt in the face and give it a sassy ass stare down. 

But I don’t mind moments of self doubt. They’re good reflectors. And each week at the Crossfit Open, I would push myself a little harder. And through that I reminded myself that I am totally capable of being super bad ass. No one was lifting those weights or doing those walking lunges for me. I did it, on my own. And I used that feeling of accomplishment in that part of my life to help with my emotional strength. This paid off at work, with my writing, and even building my interpersonal relationships. 

So, don’t feel badly if you spend a couple of days thinking you suck and can’t do it. Just find whatever it is that you use to help you find your mojo. I use crossfit. A dear friend of mine hikes. My best friend hits the gym. Another friend paints. But find the thing that brings out your “youness” and embrace yourself, with every difficult part of you, flaw, and imperfection. 

How Far I’ll Go

Sometimes, I think the universe kind of likes me. 

Last week, I was met with some disappointment at work. I was feeling depressed, despondent, and ready to peace out of this place (okay not really. Moving is expensive and I’m too lazy for that shit). 

But I felt like I sucked at my job. I felt under appreciated and seriously contemplated getting hammered in my bathtub and crying like a little bitch. 


But before I went to the liquor store to buy the booze required to get drunk in the bathtub, I got a lovely Facebook message from a lovely young woman named Rachel Woznow. I wrote an article about her last year. She’s a beautiful and talented woman and you should probably buy her song Firestorm on iTunes (I listen to it when I go running). But she told me she’s been following my career and my life through my blog and she was inspired by my journey to finally become the reporter I was meant to be. I cried. In the moment where I felt least valued professionally, a random message popped up telling me that someone thought that I talent and deserved to go far. 

courtesy: rachelwoznow.com

Next came an email from a publisher in rural Alberta suggesting that I apply for a temporary contract position with their newspaper! Had I known how to drive, I would have jumped all over that. But alas, I’ve had to wait until the new year to learn to drive because driver’s ed costs money & requires time and I pretty much live at my store. Hachem did offer to teach me, but he’s busier than I am (& also a pain in the ass and would likely piss me off more than anything else), and I don’t like asking people for help with stuff because I’m a boss ass bitch who does it for herself. But I figure six months is enough to learn to drive before my road test. It won’t be THAT hard, right?

Regardless, once again, the universe reminded me that I am where I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be here, writing articles and creating interesting stories. I’m meant to be here, with my good friends and my girls. If I keep working hard & building my portfolio (and possibly bribe the editor of the Journal with delicious baked goods), I’ll finally get to where I want to be. No matter how hard things get, the universe will remind you that you’re in the right place and on the right track (& maybe kick your ass to learn to drive a car). 

I guess it’s all about outlook. My day job had to potential to be a disaster, but I went in to this new development with a positive attitude and a determination to learn. I’ve gained a lot of positive feedback from my peers, but more importantly, an ally in the workplace and a great new friend (seriously she’s so awesome). I may not always feel like people are reading my work or care, but obviously someone is and they kind of dig it. And the only person holding me back from success is me & my lack of driving skills…and car. But if you go into life or a situation feeling like shit and claiming it’s all doom and gloom, you’ll never get anything out of it. Even when things are super shitty, there’s an opportunity to make it not shitty. You’ve just gotta allow yourself that time to feel your anger, sadness, etc. And then listen to the world around you. It’ll let you know if you’re on the right track. 


As for me, I’ll keep going down my path, which doesn’t have much of a path. It’s more of a jungle that I have to navigate through. But it’s my path & mine alone and I’m excited to see where it’ll take me. 

The Divine Zero

Despite my fascination with pop culture, I must admit I do not keep up with the Kardashians, mostly because everything they say and everything they do annoys the shit out of me. 


From Kim’s baby talk to Kris’s whining, whenever I see them on social media or TV, I immediately flip to something else. If I had to pick one that didn’t annoy me to no end, it would probably be Kendall, as she at least to have a job of some kind, as well as some talent or a skill (modelling is a skill). I feel like Kendall may also be smart. The rare times that I hear them speak, she seems to be the only one that has her shit together. So, good for Kendall. 

I googled “Kendall Jenner” and saw lots of pics, but this one stuck out. She looks so fresh faced and lovely

Now that I’ve made it clear that I don’t keep up with Kardashians, I am also late to the party when it comes to their “projects.” I casually flipped over to People Magazine’s website to read the gossip (because celeb gossip is my guilty pleasure, fight me) and I discovered that Khloe Kardashian has a show called “Revenge Body!” Basically Khloe plucks people from obscurity to teach them health and fitness tricks so they can get a slamming body to get back at an ex boyfriend, mean parent, or childhood bully. Wait till they see how HOT YOU ARE?! THAT WILL TEACH THEM!

What. The. Fuck. 

As a someone who worked to lose a ton of weight, gained some of it back and am working to lose it again, it must sound weird that I’m saying this show’s concept sounds bloody God awful. Well, here’s why. The concept of a “revenge body” is fucking stupid. Do you really think a shitty ex boyfriend is gonna magically say “I shouldn’t have been the shittiest boyfriend ever because she has a fantastic squat ass!” No. He’s probably playing house with the girl he was cheating on you with while you were trying to save the relationship or on Tinder swiping right. You shouldn’t give a shit about what that guy thinks. Or your high school bully. Or your douchebag dad. Why? Because not a single one of these people matter in your life. “Shamers” are not real. Words only have power over you if you allow them to. And besides, by losing weight to “shut them up,” they’ve won! They made you feel badly until you changed! Don’t be that person. Change to grow. 


When I chose to get healthy, I chose this to be a role model to my girls and for me. Not the shitty ex husband who abused me. Not the shitty ex boyfriend who treated me like shit and abandoned me. Not the shitty guy who lied about getting a colonoscopy to go out with another girl. Not the asshole coworker who shit talked me when I left the room. Not the girl who bullied me in grade nine math so much that I refused to try out for basketball because she made me feel badly. Why? Because these people are irrelevant. They are simply chapters in my life that I’ve closed. I wanted to get in shape for me. I wanted to live longer. I wanted to look cute in leggings. I wanted to feel more confident. I wanted to be the best MHC ever so that I was happy with me. But it was my choice for me & I want everyone in life to be confident in their choices for themselves. When you need revenge, you are letting someone else take up space in your mind. Every second you waste on them is a second that you could be loving yourself. Why waste those seconds on shitty people who treat you badly when you could use them on yourself!

Still a work in progress, but always progress

Maybe I’m totally off base, and Khloe Kardashian is helping these people let go of their painful pasts and focus on their incredible futures, but the promo shows people announcing who they’re getting “revenge” on. But from one human to another, the best revenge is letting go, moving on, and investing in you, for you. You don’t need revenge. You need to love yourself enough to invest in yourself. Because if you do it for revenge, once you get the killer body, you’re still empty. They still treated you badly. You didn’t get back at them, or get them back. Chances are you don’t really want them back because they are sucky people! The shamers won’t be impressed. Instead, they’ll piss on you for something else. Then you’ll go right back to your destructive, unhealthy habits because nothing changed. You need to change. Change your habits and your mindset so that you can be better for yourself. When you do that, you’d be surprised at how far you’ll come. 


Khloe herself admits she started working out to stop people from calling her the fat & ugly sister and stick it to them. That’s so sad. She’s a beautiful woman and while I don’t keep up with her or her family, I believe everyone is good somewhere. She’s a sister, aunt, friend and tried very hard to make a toxic marriage work. I’m sure she’s a lovely person. I just hope she’s found better motivation.  Maybe she’s learned to love herself. But I’d hate to think that with all of her success, loving family, wealth and the like, she’s letting faceless internet trolls or the ghosts of husbands past rent space in her mind.

So, screw the idea of the revenge body. How about we focus on healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy hearts?! I’m gonna keep working on mine. I hope you work on yours too, but because you want to, not to stick it to someone else. 

Beautiful Birds

Today I got to spend some much needed time recharging in nature & enjoying fall. 

Unlike those who hashtag every season as their favourite to get those social media likes for the external validation that they need to feel whole, fall really is my favourite season. The colours, the cold breeze and the warm sun, sweaters, and yes, pumpkin spice lattes, there’s something about fall that makes me so happy. There’s no deep meaning, I just super like it. I’ve always loved apples (I wear apple perfume every day of my life), Halloween, and the geese go back to Hell from whence they came. 
Fall always represents endings to people, but to me, it always feels like a beginning of sorts. School starts & all the social missteps of the year before were forgotten by the summer; months of not speaking. Now it’s just compliments of hair and shoes and a new start. My birthday sometimes lands on the first day of fall, so maybe because my life actually began on the first day of fall, it represents a new beginning, the next chapter in my crazy life. 

Today, while I wandered through the scenery, I was purposely ignoring my work phone, because as much as I love my job, I need work/life balance. That helps me focus when I am in the building & can support my team. This month we are the most successful team for our banner in the district. Not too shabby for a team that was second last a month ago! My boss told me he was proud of me. I told him I didn’t do anything. I just told the team I believed that they could. My DTL tells me to stop downplaying my role & embrace my role as the leader, but I’ve seen too many managers take credit for successes and blame the team for failures and how it impacted the team (it happened often at Walmart, mostly about their credit card applications & the team would HATE their managers after awhile. I never want my team to feel that way about me. They don’t have to like me, but they do have to know we’re all working for the same goal) & I never want to be that kind of boss or person. But I didn’t realize how comfortable I was in my role until this week. But not just at work; I’m comfortable in my world, in my place in the universe as MHC. 

The evolution of MHC

I used to wear a lot of eye makeup to play up the only feature I thought was pretty. I used to fake my personality to please my friends, my partner, whatever. But over the two years, I’ve rejected that. I’ve changed what I didn’t like and embraced what I did like about myself. Crossfit helped me get physically stronger while helping me feel accomplished whenever I finished a workout and lived (that’s exactly how I feel when I workout). And I got healthier; physically, mentally. And for the first time in my life, I am completely in love with my life, with my personality. I see myself as a whole person, that needs no mate, no human, job title, or reputation to complete me or make me into someone I’m not. I’m just me. And because I’m okay with being just me, the right relationship, the right friends, the career goals will all be there. In fact, my professional life has never been better. I’ve never been this successful as a writer or a leader. My role as mom is improved because I learned from the commute from Hell the importance of work life balance. And I look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman. I no longer feel like I’m missing something. The more you love yourself, the more successful you become, because your happiness no longer relies on it. You are happy simply because you make a conscious choice to be happy. 

I used to be defined by my marriage. I was defined by my occupation. I let my friends define my value. And finally, after many years and struggles and victories, I define my worth & I love the woman I’ve chosen to be so much. She’s smart, and strong, and brave. She’s damn near unbreakable. She’s learned to be patient. Let life happen on its own time. She’s kind. Gracious. Forgiving. And I know where I’m meant to be. I’m meant to be here; writing, working, teaching my girls how to become women that change the world. The only way to do that is to believe that I can change the world, even if it’s in a small way that impacts maybe one person. But lead by example. Be active. Be brave. Be a warrior in a world that wants women to sit quietly & not be heard. That is who I want to be, so that is who I will continue to become. 

Mine will be both.

For the first time ever, I’m in complete control of my life & my destiny. That’s not true, I always was, but much like Dorothy in Oz, the power was always in me, I just didn’t realize it at the time. But I do now. And I intend to use it to continue to kick ass at everything I set out to do with the knowledge that no one can take that power away. After all, I create my own happiness, simply by choosing to be happy every day. What I build for myself, no person can ever take from me. 

Turn Off The Radio

Let me tell you about my Sunday. 


Sunday is kind of “my” day. It’s my guarenteed day off. I take my girls to church. We walk home afterwards. We catch Pokemon. And then I take a few hours for my sanity walking around the lake by my house with my headphones in (Currently A Day to Remember). The peacefulness is good because my schedule leaves me VERY little free time. Basically, if you wanna find me, check my work or the lake between 3-5 on Sunday (or Twitter hahaha). 

BECAUSE SCREW WORK-LIFE BALANCE
Gulp. 

Due to some staffing issues, I’m working quite a bit. Fortunately, I’ve acquired two new team members who are going to be great additions to the team. My store is doing really well, we’re trending strong & for the first time since I took over, I see is really succeeding. I’m also working on my latest article, which is something I’ve kind of campaigned for, a fun little piece that I’m really passionate about. It’s all super exciting. A couple of my pieces on My Trending Stories are getting some good traction, which is amazing. I’m feeling very accomplished. 

This is especially nice as last month, I was feeling very…overwhelmed. I was taking on more and more while also attending to the needs of my full time job and my family. My blog wasn’t really “mine” for a bit & I was feeling the stress pile up, so I put on a big smile and faked it until I made it, all on my own. And I freaking did. 

Am also Disney Princess

I know the theme of “I did it on my own,” is a recurring one, but it’s because it’s so very important to me. For most of my life, I’ve relied on other people and I know now that’s not who I am. I can never be the woman who relies on a man, my friends, my parents, etc. When I feel myself becoming her, I’m not happy. One thing I’ve learned this year is how much I value my space and my ability to do it on my own. I need to know that my accomplishments, personal & professional, are MINE. I’m so proud of the last six months of my life because I accomplished so much and I was completely on my own. I bounced back from my disappointing February and became fourth overall in sales for my district…for the quarter. All of Northern Alberta & I was fourth. I got my new job based on my abilities. I achieved my success in journalism by grinding & never taking no for an answer. But I did it. Me. Not you. ME. 

I need to be a whole person all of the time. That’s why I need to do it all on my own. It’s why I wouldn’t accept rides to find things when I got here; I need to do it. Every step I take to be independent takes me towards being the whole woman I am. I do not have a hole, there is no void I need to fill with people, vices. I am just me. But to be a complete person, who doesn’t rely on a human or job or status to make her happy, I had to embrace me. And I did. I love the woman I’ve become. I refuse to live my life on pause, I have to keep moving forward and growing into someone I can be proud of. 

Sometimes it was super hard. But one thing I’ve learned and if you don’t listen to anything else I ever write, this would be a good one to listen to (my legal assistant friends will tell you I’m standing in the corner. We had a family law teacher who did that. That’s how we knew it was important. We always said he looked like an owl who was judging us all. But I remember so much from that class so I guess his teaching methods were effective). 


I have a point, I promise. 

There is no such thing as a bad life, as you 100% have the power to change the narrative. Work sucks? Either change your attitude or your job! Want to talk to someone, go talk to them! Want to feel better about your appearance? Cut your hair, lose weight, whatever. Don’t complain about no money for the gym or a trainer, running is free and there’s a ton of fitness apps. Everyone has a smartphone. Make friends, meet people, set a goal, do something! Only you can make your life better. You are in control, just like I am. Life gets better if you put in the work. The last two years of my life I have been happier than I’ve ever been & it’s because I invested in myself. I’ll keep doing it too, because it trickles down to my daughters. Bright, determined Mommy creates bright, determined daughter who make their dreams come true. But most importantly, when you are comfortable in your skin & feel accomplished in your own goals, no one can ever use words or actions to hurt you. No one can take what you built yourself.


Which brings me to Sunday. No matter how much I pile on, or life tries to fuck me, or people try to hurt me, there is always Sunday. There is always that light that can turn it around. No matter how bad things get in your life (and truthfully, my life hasn’t been much of a struggle in years. I lead a very charmed life), any moment it can turn around. It’s your Sunday. So, no matter what’s happening, the world could be on fire, and I will focus on my bright shiny Sunday, because no one’s life ever fell apart by focusing on the good. 

Sky’s The Limit

Welcome to the Misadventures of MHC!

I hope everyone updated their address books, as there is no more ASH Multimedia. You’re probably wondering “why the name change MHC?” Part of it is for reasons that I do not care to discuss. The other is simple; the name no longer fit the story that I was telling. There isn’t really a multimedia component, as my photography skills are average at best, unless it’s something basic white girly, and that name was chosen as a joint venture with my ex husband. While I’ve always tried to brand it, I’ve realized what I’ve actually branded is me. It’s my story, my terms, my way. Why not have the name reflect that?!

See? I kick ass at this type of photography!

I’m still not 100% comfortable continuing my story here right now, for reasons I’m not really okay sharing with anyone right now (except my dearest ones, they know), but the sixth anniversary of my online home this week and I wanted to acknowledge it. Normally, I’d impart some kind of mind blowing knowledge, but I have none. Sorry. 

I do know that this year started off with my greatest nightmare coming to life, and I turned that into achieving the dream I’ve had since I was eight years old. Since I was a little girl, all I wanted to do was publish an article in a newspaper and I mother effing did it. Yes, I’ve published over 200 magazine articles, but being a news reporter was the goal. When we pulled up my transcripts, we found magazine writing was my weakest subject. Newspaper reporter, that was the goal. AND I DID IT ALL ON MY OWN. 


To the rest of the world, it’s just an article in a newspaper, but to me, it’s everything I’ve worked for since I was a kid. I didn’t give up. I kept trying. I owed it to eight year old Mary-Helen, who tirelessly made newspapers for the neighbours out of lined paper to make this happen. And I did. I intend for it to be the first of many. But even if it’s one and done, I did it. My name is sitting there on a byline on a Postmedia newspaper. That means more to me than anything else in the whole wide world. That’s what I did this year. I accomplished the only thing I’ve ever wanted since I was eight years old. 


I’ll never be able to adequately explain how that felt for me, but someone else did it for me & that is Sasha Banks. Head on over to YouTube and look up Sasha Banks wins the Women’s Championship (or click here). Just like I owed it to eight year old Mary-Helen, she owed it to 10 year old Mercedes to keep going. And she did it. I guess, if I had knowledge, I would say just keep going. Keep trying. Remember who little you wanted to be & make them proud. Be the good person little you was, before the world’s harshness sucked it out of you. Keep going even when the road is cold & bleak & you’ve never felt more alone. When your heart is broken & you are utterly defeated, get up. Try again. Turn your nightmares into everything you ever wanted. 

The name may have changed, but the format has stayed the same. Song titles for titles. Positive life affirmations. Same dorky woman trying to be better than yesterday. And in the end, if all I ever become is Mary-Helen, the woman who is too nice, forgives too often, loves too much, and believes all humans are good and deserve one more chance, but most importantly, does not quit on her kids, her goals or herself, then I win. 

The moral of the story is that in a world of Kardashians, I choose to be Mary-Helen. 


Bird Set Free

Sometimes I get days off. And after spending time with my kids & crossfit, I hang out by a lake by my house and read books & think about stuff. 

Tonight, I spent my night FINALLY reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, because nerd. I like to sit among rocks & trees & read and enjoy nature. As a kid, I used to go to Bible Camp & read my Bible in the woods (fun fact, my oldest daughter was named after the place I went to Bible Camp). I’ll get more of this because my schedule has changed & I now get weekends off. Yup, normal Monday to Friday. I like being around nature because it’s a calm, peaceful place. Birds & trees are silent, and anyone near you is minding their own business. And no one is paying attention to you. 


Because of my personality, I’m often thought to love attention. This is not true. I hate it. I feel uncomfortable when eyes are on me. It makes me nervous like I’m in a spelling bee & my nose is bleeding & I pissed my pants and the word is “superfilous” (the choice of word stems from when I was visiting back home & we were having a shark party & my best friend & I decided I would tweet anything that we said. So we decided to take a random word & add “choking on dicks” to it. Superfilous means “unnecessary,” so this sentence was actually accurate. We laughed. We were extremely drunk. I drink once a year. This is why). I hate when people stare at me or when I’m forced to be in the centre of attention. When I used to perform, my hands shook. I do presentations at work because I have to, not because I enjoy it. I think that’s why I started writing. I get to tell stories. I’m not the subject. I’m the narrator. People don’t read something I wrote & think about me, they think “hey! That play sounded good!” Or “that person seems interesting!” It’s not about me. Even this blog about my life isn’t necessarily to be about me. It’s more about learning lessons & evolving, something all humans do. To most of you, I’m a faceless weirdo. But then, there are some of you who know me better than anyone, and those are the people I struggle with talking about why I hate being stared at or watched or whatever. 

This isn’t an idea that I share to my social media feeds. I never share my super personal stuff there. That’s like showing weakness or something. People will think I have feelings or some shit. This is for the like four people that read my blog with any regularity. So, Erica & like, three other people. I used to know who they were, but  I’ve turned that privilege over to a close friend who monitors my web security for me (that person is not Erica).  It’s actually nice to be able to write whatever I want without worrying if I’d offend anyone, because I knew who was reading it. Erica always says that the people whom I might offend are soulless creatures anyway, human poison who prides themselves on hurting me for kicks. That their only purpose is to hurt me as often and as painfully as possible for their own amusement because they are sick fuckers & who cares if I offend them, but I’m not really one for offending people. I like making people happy. It brings me great happiness to bring joy to others. All I want to is to love everyone & be a good mom & a good person & write happy shit and make people smile. I used to write things with a password just to make one human smile. I wanted to be able to use my one talent to reach them & help them communicate with people so they wouldn’t run away from things & return, repent, repeat. But, I never could. So, I waved my little white flag. Cut off all communication because I’m beyond tired of being shut out & stonewalled. It’s bullshit & it’s not how you treat people. Now all I care about is being a good person & mom & writer. News stories don’t touch you; they inform. I write now to inform, not make you think or touch your soul or break down invisible barriers. My blog, just me sharing my life. Not even interesting. 

But there’s always this nagging feeling that I cannot prove one way or the other that people use my blog to observe my life without being in it & that has always hurt me. 

Yes, you read that right. IT HURTS ME

Why MH? Why would that hurt you? Because I feel like I’m in my own twisted version of the Truman Show. I hate this feeling like I’m not worthy to be part of someone’s life, but it’s fine to observe me like your favourite character on a teen drama like One Tree Hill or some shit. It makes me feel subhuman. It chips away at my self esteem to know you’re good enough to watch like a TV character, but not good enough to speak to, have in your life. And when I feel like this is the case, I get really sad & feel very small. 


So, I’m left with this weird dilemma. I could stop blogging. That would make the most sense. Give up writing, the thing I love most to help keep people away from me. And what does that leave me with? Nothing, I guess. Erica says that’s what bad people want, to take everything from me until I have nothing. But of course, I’ll never have nothing. I’m pretty much the most blessed person I know. Great kids, great job. Amazing freelancing gigs, so I’ll always be writing, just not here. Bad ass Texan friend.  All good things. Sometimes I look at my incredible life & get excited to share it with people, which is why blogging has become an intrical part of who I am. It’s how I sort out my thoughts to build a better life for myself & my family. It’s how I scratch my creative itch. But even more importantly, I look st my life & I am so freaking grateful. I’m living my dream life and I built my dream life all by myself! Isn’t that the freaking coolest?! And I write because I’m so happy that I get to be the one to live this incredible life. However, I guess the Truman Show viewers bother me because those are the people I’d rather have in my life, but aren’t. And I’m not Truman Burbank; I’m an actual human & you shouldn’t get to view my life if you left it (or in some cases, I asked you to leave it). 

This brings me to my point; maybe to remove myself from the Truman Show, Truman needs to close the bubble. 


Erica reminds me that it’s not fair for me to continually sacrifice my joy so that people who cannot muster the bravery to be in my life can be viewers of the Truman Show. She rants & raves about selfishness, cowardice, etc. She’d say maybe the people who use my blog as the Truman Show should just go rebuild the bridge that they burned because they obviously need me…& a therapist. But I don’t make things easy. I build walls because people hurt me. Writing is how I try to let them down. But letting people who hurt me near me? Nope. Terrifying. Worse than geese.  Nope. My success rate at reaching people is 0% (which makes me question my abilities to write anything but news, as I’ve never emotionally connected to anyone). Not putting myself through that. One of my closest friends suggested that I start letting those walls down, and I balked. Walls keep us safe. Besides, why is it always me who has to make the first step when there’s conflict? Why is it always me who has to extend the olive branch, to try? If they wanted to find me, they would. They don’t. I’m tired of luring out scared bunnies. It’s tiring. 

Not this guy though. He’s good people.

Maybe it’s because for so long, I was told my blog was the way to get back in after people hurt me, that I’m reading too much into nothing but my gut instinct. I’ve been known to do that. But maybe I need to step back from sharing my life. Cancel the Truman Show. 

I wouldn’t even know what to say to reach out to nothing. Please just talk to me & stop hurting me? Don’t put me through this anymore, just talk to me? I love my blog, please don’t force me to shut it down, just please reach out & speak to me? I’ve always been one for many chances & I would give as many as needed & I could explain why I’m not even mad anymore. But I already did that in something only one person on Earth can read. But I know if I did that, I’d be talking to a wall. Maybe I’m not the only one who builds walls. Or maybe this time I built them too high. So I guess I’ll just be bidding you good afternoon, good evening, and good night. 

White Noise

I think it’s time for me to admit that I do really stupid things.

I wouldn’t necessarily say stupid,  but maybe “I have no chill” as the cool teenagers say.

Because my journalism career is picking up all kinds of steam, I decided to separate my personal social media from my professional one. I figured it might be better to separate my work from my social media, where I discuss super important things like crossfit, why I think running is stupid, and of course, the return of Seth Rollins and my childlike crush on Seth Rollins. It’s honestly really boring and why I have any followers, I will never know (speaking of which, follow me on Twitter and read about my boring life and teenybopper crush on Seth Rollins!)

Still say that this is where MiTB ended. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP.

So, I opened up this super cool professional Twitter account, which you can totally follow here if you want to read my latest articles! My next article should be up in the coming weeks, so I’m excited.

I’ve also been offered an opportunity to contribute to a new news and popular culture blog (check out my writer profile HERE). That’s kind of exciting. And one of my blog posts was extremely well received by readers, including some fitness writers! Not too bad for a story about a goose.

But the editor for some of the many newspapers I applied for jobs with read this blog and then told me he thought it was really good! Naturally, when responding to the compliment, I managed to do in a way that can only be classified as “completely awkward asshole.” That’s how I deal with compliments folks. Like an asshole. Of course, I DID make an impression, so next time there’s a posting at the Examiner, I can apply with “Hey, remember that time you complimented my work and I asked if you were being sarcastic like a douche? That was me, I swear I’m talented and have the education and portfolio to back it up. Please give me a job.” But it was such a big deal to me. Someone who’s body of work I admire and I hope will someday be my editor complimented this mishmash of thoughts. It was like a big sign that said “You are on the right track MHC.” This silly compliment made me so very proud & it took everything in me not to text everyone I know that the editor thinks I don’t suck. But most of the people in my life are sick of the play by play about my career, the stories I’m working on, the emails I’m sending, etc. I sometimes forget that this is actually only really important to me, and that the eye rolls I get are perfectly natural. I sometimes wonder if I’m the only person who gets this passionate about what they do and who they want to be.
That same night, another freelance opportunity presented itself and I applied. Then I sent a message on LinkedIn asking if there was more I could do to help with my application. That’s when I realized that while in my personal life, I have infinite patience, in my professional life, I have NONE. No chill ever. In my personal life, I am the giver of chances, I am the person who wants to offer love and forgiveness and the opportunity to prove that you can be the person you are capable of being if you would just try really hard to stop doing dumb ass shit (until I reach my limit, then you’re erased). I want my children to learn from my example; how to be healthy, mentally healthy, strong, brave, and determined. I give them chances to grow. I’m patient with them. I listen. But when it comes to my professional life, I become so impatient. Reply right now. Interview right now. Let’s get started. Let me write right now. The position I interviewed at Great West won’t even be available until the fall. So, here I am, trying super hard to be patient, because I’m starting to realize that my eager beaver ways might be putting off potential editors. While I think it would be awesome to have staff that wanted a job as much as I want one, maybe others disagree. So, I am going to try this patience thing. I’ve heard it works in some circles. I’ll wait the proper seven days and then call and follow up. Hopefully, I will get in and can proudly announce the next paper I’ll be writing for so my friends and family can all pretend to care and roll their eyes again. I’ll apply the patience that I give to those I love the most to the world I love the most and see if it pays off.

I’m just so excited. The more places I can published & the more time I can put in a newsroom, the closer I get to the thing I’ve worked my ENTIRE life for. And I get ahead of myself. And then I do and say stupid things which doesn’t help. Sometimes I swear I’m a cartoon character.


If not, I’ll find a happy balance between “aggressive bitch” and “wishy washy passive.” It’s gotta be in there somewhere.