The Dark In You

Despite being a ray of fucking sunshine, apparently, people don’t always like me.

It’s not really that big of a deal, because I mostly don’t care, not to mention I don’t like to discuss it, because I feel like by giving faceless online strangers attention, I’m feeding into their ego. But it ties into something that’s been bothering me for some time now, so here we go.

I visit a website to discuss the pro wrasslin, because I enjoy the product and most of my friends don’t care for it, so I would rather discuss it with like minded people, just like my friends who watch the Bachelor go to Reddit instead of trying to talk to me about it.

However, pro wrestling has a huge group of misogynistic fans that like to police the fandom, because they hate themselves and project their hatred onto others. They use this as a way to spew their venom on others. Usually I laugh. But there’s one or two that take it too far. They stalk my social media. Attack my appearance. Look up my personal address and my employer. Send death threats. Imagine being this butt hurt because someone really didn’t love Samoa Joe. But last night, this same dude decided to post this pic and tell everyone, wait for it, that I am fat.

First of all, holy shit, no way. Literally 90% of my blog is dedicated to why I’ve worked to change everything about how I eat and live so I can look and feel better about myself. The other 10% is all about embracing that how I’ve chosen to do that doesn’t lend to a stereotypically thin frame. I’ll never be a size two. Instead I’m a 10-12. My legs are strong. Maybe I don’t have a six pack abs, but my body is healthy for my body type. That 31 inch waist is the result of exercise and healthy living. Maybe it can’t wear sample sizes, but when you used to wear a size 22, it still feels pretty damn good. Is there still work to do? Of course! But I’m not going to undo all of the work I’ve put into improving by getting all depressed because someone who hates themselves is mad.

But it always makes me laugh that this is somehow the only insult people can come up with; you’re fat. My ex husband (who was twice my size) would use it whenever he was having one of his tantrums; you’re fat. You’ll never amount to anything without me, because you’re stupid and fat. As if this word somehow detracts from a woman’s worth. When WWE superstar Paige was bullied by the same idiots, it was always the same; she’s fat. As if being healthy and overcoming so much to finally feel comfortable in her own skin doesn’t matter; SOME DUDE THINKS SHE IS FAT. She no longer has worth, or beauty, or value.

What a load of crap.

Fat is a word. It only holds the power you give it. I believe every woman should aim for healthy for their body type, but I also think words mean only what you want them to. Technically, Ashley Graham is “fat.” But she’s known for being one of the world’s most beautiful women. There is no one size fits all for women & we need to aspire to reach our healthy body type.

For too long, fat was the word to cut me to my core. As if being fat meant all of my good qualities had no merit at all, because I was FAT. Meanwhile, the only person giving that word power was me. I chose to let fat make me feel badly about myself. But it’s still the go to for every insecure little puke on Earth, regardless of size. Besides, the same people who call women fat are the same guys who cry when women check out guys that look less like them and more like Chris Evans. Why can’t women stop being so superficial? Maybe they don’t like you because you’re an asshole that calls women fat on the internet.

I guess the point is that words only hurt if you let them. As summer comes (in theory), we’ll be surrounded by fad diets and cleanses, telling us how we can get a bikini body. How if we aren’t a certain size, we should be ashamed of how we look and who we are. As long as you’re doing your best to live in a way that’s the most healthy for your body, you should be proud of yourself and not let a word define you or hurt you. Be proud of all the things that matter; your dress size will rarely be one of them.

Shake it Out

Guess what guys? I’m gonna do a thing!

My gym decided we should build a team to run a 10k together. I am not a good runner, despite running for four years. I am slow and awkward. But, my attempt to join the Festivus Games was such a flop, and I’ve been looking for a new goal to work towards. This seemed as good as anything, so I’ve set a goal in Runkeeper and we are gonna do the damn thing…

…I am going to die. Please help me.

I joke, but I’m actually really excited. Before I made the big move, my daughter, some friends & I did a 5k mud run and we had a blast! Training was fun and we felt so empowered afterwards. We were strong. We kicked ass! But more importantly, it was fun to be a part of something. We went out there together and accomplished something together. We’ll have those memories forever.

Humans have a deeply rooted desire to belong. It’s why peer pressure is a real problem. It’s why people stay with toxic friends or mates. We want to be part of something, be included. Everyone wants to feel like they’re part of something special and magical, which is why we get inspired by people who are creating their something to be part of. My girls & I watched the first ever women’s Royal Rumble, and it didn’t matter who won, we were inspired that these women were part of something special. They were making history together, they elevated each other. Deep down, that’s what we all want; to be part of something meaningful.

I think that’s why I like Crossfit & my gym community so much. You are part of something. Yes, you’re focused on your personal best, but you’re also part of a community of people who are elevating each other to do their very best…or enter a 10k run for funsies. But you celebrate everyone’s accomplishments. You cheer each other on. You are part of something meaningful. We all want to belong to something. The lesson is to find a place of belonging that is positive and encouraging, not one that sucks the life out of you.

I was excited at the idea of being part of something. Part of a team that’s doing a cool thing. And let’s be real, aside from encountering some asshole geese or a shin splint, is there really a negative downside to participating in a 10K run? You get a tshirt, you get to feel accomplished, and it’ll help me get those legs ready to rock a dress for my friend Brie’s wedding later in the summer! Not to mention, I bought all of that Birdiebee gear, including the cute shorts. I think I found a place where I can wear them for the first time! When you’re surrounded by positive people, you’re inspired to do positive things and set positive goals. The trick is to do your best to be positive yourself and be the change you wish to see in the world. My girls are watching me, so I need to show them what healthy, active and happy is. I think it’s working, as my oldest has embraced athletics through cheer and now Crossfit (she’s skipping the run. Waking up early isn’t her thing).

So, I’m going to train. I’m going to work hard. I may crawl to the end, or die after I cross the finish line, but I’ll finish, and I’ll be part of something positive and healthy, which I hope will inspire the girls to seek out a positive and healthy way to satisfy their desire to belong.

Mic Drop

What an exhausting few days it’s been.

I attended the Alberta Magazine Awards gala and while I didn’t go home an award winner, I did get a chance to network with some amazing journalists & colleagues. Not to mention my brilliant editor took home an award for his piece, which was so deserving of this honour. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a link, but you can find more brilliant writing like this in the Magazine of the year; Eighteen Bridges. My 2018 writing goal is to have something published in this amazing journal.

But, I got to dress up nicely and go on a super fun road trip with one of my best friends. We ate donuts and had a blast. I’m so grateful to call her friend. But at the gala, I spent all night insecure about how I looked in my dress. I felt kind of big and insecure. Everyone said I looked great, but it just validated why I need to clean up my diet. I didn’t think I looked good. So I had to make changes so next time I wear that dress, for my friend Brie’s wedding, I will.

After that, it was time for me to tackle 18.3. When I read it, I knew I was screwed. I can’t do a pull-up unless it’s a jumping pull-up. I would not come close to finishing. But God damn it, I was gonna try and get one. One little pull up. Yes. This would happen.

For those of you new to the party, I attempted a pull-up once. I also fractured my tailbone. But I almost finished 17.1 afterwards so yay me! I cried through it and I was in more pain than I’ve been in for a long time, but I did it.

So, today, I made the attempt to do that damn pull-up. I fought for it. I tried so hard. I tried Kipping. Tried dead hang. Tried wide grip. Close grip. Tried everything. I did not do the pull-up. I said “fuck it!” And did some ring rows. My score was 220. I did the best damn single unders i have ever done. But I did not do the pull up. I didn’t come close to doing the pull-up. But, I tried really hard and did the best that I could & that’s all I can do. I also got the joy of watching my 11 year old (who is regularly bullied about her height) feel empowered watching one of my coaches do muscle ups because she is maybe five feet of fury & “was stronger than boys!” I love when my girls find empowerment in other women. She saw someone with her personal insecurity killing it and then decided that you can do anything in the world, even if you’re small. I was so excited to see my teammates kicking ass and taking names. I have the best team.

I also did some of my drivers ed training so guys, I can drive a car now. Big fuck you to everyone who said I couldn’t. Fuck. You.

As I hobbled home on my burning calves, I realized that if I wanted to do the damn pull-up next year, I needed to focus on the things that helped me get in better shape in the first place; better eating, working out, accountability. Mealife is AMAZING. Healthy, real food on the go. I’m so excited that this exists. And at home, it’s easier to eat better. Drink the water. Do the yoga. It’s all important. My best friend & I set goals for when I visit this summer. She’s my go to fitness guru (GO FOLLOW MY FRIEND ON INSTAGRAM. OKAY). My personal goal was wear shorts.

I haven’t worn shorts since my oldest was a baby. I’ve been so insecure about my legs. But I’m gonna do it. Just like I learned to drive, and moved across the country, and started Crossfit, I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone this summer and do the damn thing.

I decided if I’m going to do it, I’d have to stay the course. Cheat day once a month. Healthy food the rest of the time. More importantly, I wanted my first super cute pair of shorts to be shorts I was excited to wear…& also gym shorts because I only go to work or the gym. I have no life. Only work, kids, Crossfit. So, I grabbed the credit card and snagged me some BirdieBee!

BirdieBee is a clothing line dedicated to female empowerment. It’s run by my fitness idols, the Bella Twins! I’ve been wanting to buy some pieces from the line, but I haven’t felt confident. But the whole point of BirdieBee is to EMPOWER women, not make women feel badly about themselves. Anyone can wear BirdieBee. Just because my body won’t look like Brie or Nikki Bella, doesn’t mean I won’t look awesome in my own way. I love that all BirdieBee photos are untouched. No photoshop. These women show all of their own insecurities in their photos. If these women, who’s appearance is a major part of their brand, can embrace their flaws, much like how my daughter was inspired by seeing my coach slay a muscle up, I was inspired to embrace my insecurities, and this summer, I’ll show off my tree trunk, super strong legs in a pair of gym shorts…but only gym shorts because I have no life and only go to the gym.

The only way to get over your insecurities is to push through them. I used to be afraid to drive, but I do that now. I used to be afraid to hang on the bar at the gym, and today I tried to kip into a pull up. I used to be afraid to assert myself at work, but now I put myself out there by volunteering for projects (also the other Captains are adorbs and so much fun to be around). This is just one more time I need to put on my big girl pants and do the damn thing.

Are We All We Are

Just like most women, I struggle with body image.

I used to be so good at exercising six days a week. Now it’s two days, sometimes three. I’m aiming for four, but it’s all dependent on my schedule. I’ve been working on meal planning better as well. One of my fave IG superstars (& my former employee, go follow him, he’s adorbs) posted some bomb recipes that I’m going to try for post gym meals. I’ve also signed up for Mealife, which delivers portion controlled meals to your door! Amazing, right? I want to make positive meal choices, so I’m not ruining my workout with garbage. I’ll still have cheat days, but abs are built in the kitchen as well as the gym.

I’m also participating in the Crossfit Open. I’m currently the 28073 fittest woman on Earth. I mean, that’s kind of cool, right?

Ppppp

I finished 18.1 and for the first time in a long ass time, I felt accomplished af. I beat the goal I set for myself. I pushed myself. I was feeling awesome. One of my coaches mentioned she took pics and I was on the fence, but I contemplated taking them to show my progress, that anyone could push their boundaries if they wanted to. But then, I got a text from a friend back home teasing me about my shirt. After that I decided not to post them. I went from feeling accomplished to feeling like a giant, fat lemon. Only fit, bad ass people get to post their competition photos. Not me. I am still overweight. I still scale everything. I do not belong in the cool kids fit club.

No one at my gym would make me feel that way. They’re a welcoming bunch. During the workout, the coaches were cheering me on, as were the kiddos, who like to come with. It was a trusted friend that made me feel like a big, fat, lemon in my yellow shirt. Even though he commended my progress and made it a point to watch the competition on our gym’s Instagram story, I didn’t feel encouraged. I felt like a fat yellow lemon trying to fit in with people that are infinitely fitter than me. I stuck out even more than my shirt. That wasn’t his intention, but it’s what happened. Why? Because I still struggle with body image.

Even though I weigh a lot less than I used to and I work really hard at the gym and I’m training to lose that last 40 lbs, I don’t see myself as a work in progress. I still see fat MH, with the dark hair and the big butt and the low self esteem. That seeped into poor relationship choices, poor diet, behaviours that continued my low self esteem. I’m still likely to eat a bag of chips when I’m stressed at work. But that’s up to me to work on. If I want to be healthy & happier, I need to do the work. If I don’t want to feel like I stick out, I need to do the work to get to the level of RX WOD’s and super bad assery. But it’s all up to me.

Words can hurt, even if they were well intended. But too many people point fingers and blame and act like victims to derail progress. In the end, it all comes down to you & what you want to accomplish. If garbage eating is holding you back, then take control of your diet. The Zesty cheese Doritos aren’t making you eat them (even if they are amazing). No one can take away the effort you put in. Most importantly, no one can make you feel like a fat yellow lemon. I chose to interpret it that way. In the end, goals only work if you do & the only way to stop feeling badly about yourself is accept yourself or change it. I may never be a size two, but I know I’ll never be truly comfortable in my own skin when I’m overweight. So, I work on changing it so my girls will see a mom who loves herself completely.

Most of the time, the idea that you’re not good enough is all in your head. We are all capable and strong enough to accomplish anything we put our minds to. I let my self doubt get in the way of being proud of what I did, and I shouldn’t have. So, next time, I’m going to focus on what I did, not what I didn’t…yet.

Gorgeous

Oh, Hello. Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the festive holiday break! I worked like a dog through it! But, it wasn’t all for naught. I love my jobs, even if journalism had to take a backseat for the month due to the craziness of the season. Fortunately, I’m working on an article that I’m super excited about, with some pitches out there. Things are quieter at the day job. 2018 is already amazing & I can’t wait to see what it has in store for me.

My professional life is already off to a rocking start. As many of you know, last year I was asked to step down from my position and work as an assistant manager. It was demoralizing as fuck, but I wasn’t ready for the job. I had so much to learn and I actually saw it as an opportunity to learn how to be a good manager. I wanted to learn from my mistakes and become better. So I did. Thanks to a lot of guidance from my District Team Leader (whom I call my Jedi Master), I was recently transferred to a new location as acting sales manager! I’m pretty excited about my new role within my company. My staff is amazing and I’m so proud to have them as my team. Don’t worry though, I held onto that old nametag because I was pretty sure I’d use it again.

Meanwhile, my personal life is going pretty okay. I have the best friends who are with me through of the best and worst times. 2018 brings visits with them, including my friend’s wedding to her soul mate. Her joy makes me smile. I’ve been adopted into the best gym community. There’s no one else I’d rather hate my life during a WOD with. My kids are amazing and they’re super pumped for our trip to see Taylor Swift this summer. Breaking Benjamin has a new album coming out this year and my friend/favourite former co-worker are going to see them live in February, so that’s pretty awesome too. 2018 is gonna be rad yo.

My love life will always be ridiculous. I’ve been casually dating a guy we’ll call the teacher for about a month. He’s nice, attractive, we have a ton of things in common, and I should be head over heels…except I’m not.

I wanted to like him, but instead, Meh. The first red flag was that he goes dutch on every date, which is fucking rude. Before you get all “But MHC, you’re a feminist, what about equality?! I can’t believe that this bothers you! Think of equality!” Well, Captain jerkface, let me tell you something; except on very rare occasions; my platonic friends and I don’t even go Dutch on nights out. The person who invites pays. Why? Because it’s called having manners, asshole. Tonight I went out with my friend Carissa & I paid because I invited her. The guy asked me out every time. But every time, we split the bill. This to me screams lack of effort. If you can’t treat your guest, and make them pay for half the plate of nachos and a mojito, what effort will you put into a relationship? Not to mention it sends a mixed signal. Are we on a date? Are we dudebros? Life is too short for games in the early stages of dating. But more importantly, everything has a negative twist. EVERYTHING. Working late, not having plans on Friday, the Far Side. Everything had this dark attached to it. I look at the bright side of everything so the sigh and pessimistic side to everything was kind of meh. But we kept talking. I kept agreeing to go out again. I kept the conversation going. It was constantly me putting in the work & it bugged me. Unless he’s having a bad day, I don’t hear from him. Why do I bother? I guess I thought that you can’t ask for everything to be what you want. So what if he’s cheap, and kind of emo, and says things like “it’s too people-y out?” He’s interested and nice I guess?

Sure, I didn’t get butterflies, or kind of excited when he texted me. Just meh. But I’ll grow into romantic attraction, right? When was the last time the butterflies led me in the right direction anyway (if you need a friendly reminder of my horrible dating choices, click HERE)? Obviously it’ll be the right choice, I’ll just keep telling myself that.

Then I ran into the hot guy from my gym while I was out and about one day. I tried to talk to him once before. I tripped over my own barbell and contemplated dying there. Everything else can be summed up by my lord and saviour Jesus Swift by clicking here.

But we had a nice chat and said we’d see each other in class. Told my best friend; she may be planning the wedding because she was so excited that I’m so attracted to a human being. I’ve literally spent a year telling her about why the hot guy from my gym is so hot. This random interaction gave me an epiphany (& no, it’s not what one of my fellow managers thinks and that Jesus was showing me that I should make a move. Hot guys at the gym always have girlfriends, because they’re hot. And cool. And I’m a potato that sucks at burpees). I realized that I was wasting my time with the teacher.

I keep settling because I feel like I should date, or want to date someone, even though I don’t really care. Then I hate them after like a month because I realize they’re assholes. I choose guys (to shut people up) that I think are more “my league.” You know, losers, not “quality mans”. I always think maybe if I was in better shape, or wasn’t awkward and weird, I could land a great guy who would make me happy like in the movies. But I am, so I should choose guys more my level. You know, the guy who doesn’t pay for dinner and turns everything into an emo sigh.

Between well meaning friends and family who want me to meet someone, and my own feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my life, I keep settling for guys so I can be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. It’s not some item I want to check off of a bucket list, like the triathlon I want to participate in, or going to Vegas, or finally trying a donair. It should be because I genuinely want to spend time with someone. I’m tired of selling myself short in relationships. So, I likely won’t see the teacher again. I keep replying to be nice, but I can’t see accepting another date. Maybe we can be friends, or acquaintances? But a relationship is definitely out of the question. So is hot guy from the gym, because that would require actually talking to him, and I literally cannot do that.

For me, 2018 is about elevation. Elevating my team, empowering other women, including my daughters, building people up and watching them thrive. It’s obvious that I need to start with myself! Get to the gym more and have some work life balance. Attend the events we hold at the gym! Spend time with my friends, and make loving myself a priority. The more I love myself, the more I will see men like hot guy at the gym as “my league.” After all, I’m pretty dope. Four out of five Wireless sales managers would agree that I’m kind of cool. And I’m pretty when I make an effort. I’ll keep losing weight and build up my confidence and kick some ass at life & stop lowering my standards just to say I have a date. I deserve better, and I’ll need to remember that.

Maybe I need to look in the mirror and see a “quality womans,” and then I’ll stop wearing my “I attract losers” sign when I go out. Or learn how to talk to guys without looking like an idiot. Or both. Whatever.

New Year’s Day

Man, 2017 was wild.

As we say goodbye to another year, I like to post a little year in review, highlighting all the cool stuff that happened (excluding photos of my children). I always think of this as the conclusion of a chapter in the story of my life. This year, it was all about how I’d take the lessons I’ve learned out here and use them to become a better MHC. I went on grand adventures. I spent time with rad people. I accomplished a bunch of goals & kept building on the foundation of myself. I’m looking forward to this next chapter. New articles, new friends, and adventures with the people who have long been my tribe.

Thanks for continuing to read about my wacky life. I appreciate every one of you. Don’t forget to follow me on Snapchat to see more of my weird adventures! They’re not super entertaining, but why not?

Anyway, I hope this year was good to you & 2018 is everything you’ve ever wanted.

The time I taught my best friend how to Snapchat



Lumineers!


All hail crossfit Jesus

Ed Sheeran ❤️

When your article is a cover story. So honoured. So proud.

Cover story number two!

Call It What You Want

I am a feminist.

I think women should have equal rights, equal pay. I think we should have control over our bodies. I think women should be viewed as equal to men. I think women should be allowed to embrace our sexuality, etc. I think women should empower women, not tear each other down.

But, in a post Trump world, I struggle with the idea of being a feminist. I’m ready to turn in my feminist card, and it’s because of other feminists.

You’re probably thinking, what? No, you mean Trump. You mean the GOP. YOU MEAN MEN. Nope, I mean other feminists.

(For the record, the GOP & Trump can suck it)

Feminism is about equality, but lately it’s been about some exclusive club that requires flash over action. The biggest example of that is that feminism, equality, and celebration of women doesn’t apply to Taylor Swift.

In addition to having the highest selling album of 2017, donating generously to victims of hurricane ravaged Houston, flood ravaged Louisiana, and to Kesha’s legal defence fund, Swift was named one of Time’s silence breakers. For those of you behind on the times (pun absolutely intended), let me bring you up to speed. Taylor Swift was sued by a man who sexually assaulted her for defamation. Swift countersued for a dollar. She won. She defended herself against her abuser. After her victory, she donated generous sums of money to charities designed to help women who have been victimized by sexual assault. Swift’s only public interview in almost two years was with Time, to shed light on this issue (it’s an amazing read, check it out). RAINN saw a huge increase in women reporting assaults, citing Swift’s bravery as the reason. But instead of being proud of a group of women for telling their stories and helping other women tell theirs, I was floored by the responses;

“Taylor Swift didn’t even use the #MeToo hashtag! She didn’t tweet!”

“She hasn’t even denounced Trump. Her inclusion is false until she tweets denouncing Trump.”

“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Rose McGowan had the best #MeToo of all time! You didn’t even tweet!”

Comments about Kesha deserving it more, Taylor hasn’t denounced Nazis (which she did, through her attorney), and until she tweets about Trump & uses the #MeToo hashtag, her experiences, her assault, her attempts to help women are invalid (ironically enough, Swift tweeting in support of the women’s march was heavily criticized, as she only tweeted. Why didn’t she attend?).

Wait. What?

Feminism isn’t about checking boxes to make sure you’re part of the super cool and exclusive feminism club. It’s not an itemized list of marches or protests you’ve been to. It’s about helping women. Swift has conducted one public interview, which was to highlight an issue she feels strongly about; protecting women from sexual abuse. She’s donated money to causes, she asked for a dollar to hold a man accountable for assaulting her. She donated to Kesha’s legal team to help her in her quest for justice. She also highlighted Kesha and her experiences in the article.

Instead of celebrating women, there was think piece after think piece about how Taylor Swift has not proven herself as a true feminist because she hasn’t written an apology album or even sent a tweet denouncing Trump. All she did was donate money. Not. One. Tweet. That’s when I started to realize that feminism isn’t about equality anymore. It’s about strong arming women to conform to the cause of the day, exactly how others want them to, or they’re kicked out of the club and vilified. When feminism stops applying to certain women because they didn’t dance like a puppet, or tweet with the right hashtag, then you are not a feminist. You’re just a mean person trapped in high school trying to bring down the personification of the head cheerleader.

A similar thing happened 15 years ago, when Christina Aguilera embraced her sexuality and released Stripped. The same feminists who wanted victim blaming and slut shaming to end were calling Aguilera a whore because she sang frankly about one night stands, women taking pleasure from sex, and embracing her body. While we now embrace Aguilera as a feminist trailblazer, I’ll never forget that the same people patting her on the back once called her a whore.

Emma Watson was also almost kicked out of the feminist club last year because she posed for Vanity Fair topless. What kind of feminist does that? Feminism seems less like a movement and more like a popularity contest. Action isn’t important, hashtags and analysis trumps action. Watson’s photo was somehow more important than her contributions to the advancement of women’s rights through the UN. Aguilera’s body of work was trivialized because she displayed her body. And they didn’t fucking tweet god dammit!

Women struggle to be taken seriously as it is; turning the quest for equality into a pissing contest to see who is the feminist most active on social media, or who marched the loudest, or who’s feminism is correct according to Jezebel or Daily Beast, isn’t helping. We look exactly like how we’re painted; as catty, jealous, vindictive bitches who like to boss each other around. A feminist doesn’t have to tweet about Trump to represent women; she can donate money. She can encourage victims. She doesn’t need to cover up (or pose nude). She needs to act in the level in which she feels comfortable, and in the interest of helping other women. That’s all. Stop policing feminism, because it’s making it harder for women to celebrate theirs. It makes it harder for us to defend the movement. Basically, if your thoughts are “not to diminish her experiences, but…” maybe sit down and shut up until you have something constructive to say.

So It Goes…

I’m a very lucky human being, because I’ve had a core group of friends to see me through most of my life.

There’s something so comforting about the fact that my best guy friend at thirty something is the same one I had when I was 17. That my roommate at 21 is still my friend today. That my best friend at eight years old is still someone I connect with on social media while we navigate the world of single parenting three girls. It always makes me feel like I can’t be that bad of a person, because the people who knew me then still like me now. It’s nice to know that the people who saw you when you loved Barbie, or listened to KoRn, or went with you to get eleven different piercings have evolved with you and you still love each other.

Also, look how cute we were at prom.

I will also be the first to admit that I once relied too heavily on people to look out for me. My wonderful friends did that, mostly because my track record with life choices is pretty terrible. They still do, and I love them for it. Last week was a shit show (which I mentioned here), and every one of my friends (save for one), suggested that I move home. Sometimes I even think about it. But the teen has her heart set on attending a university here, and my job as a mom is to help her get to where she wants to go in life. But, after a long chat with the best of all the guy friends, I realized why I need to stay with the Cow People in the Cow province.

He casually brought up someone that I used to know, who I haven’t thought of in months. I called him “the Dude.” Mostly because for a good two minutes, I couldn’t remember his name. I once believed that the dude was my happily ever after; now I had to pause to remember his name. I’ve realized that I have no idea who my soulmate is, because I have no idea what I want in a mate. I know what I don’t want; but I’ve spent so long listening to what people think I should want that I have no idea what I want. But I know I need to stop getting caught up in a type and just let what’s meant to happen strike like lightning. Maybe instead of a Seth Rollins, I belong with a Dean Ambrose (gross). Maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea.

However, I do know that my adventures to the land of cows have helped me realize that life evolves when you do; the thing you wanted a million years ago, might not be anything you would recognize now. I don’t want to be the person pretending on FB, posting the happy family pics to pretend I’m happy when in reality, I’m not because I’m walking on eggshells. You know what I mean, one half of the couple has everything about how in love they are and happy photos and the other, not so much, and you KNOW neither one is happy. I don’t want the complacency of my life in London; where I was content at my job and didn’t really push to get my written work published because meh. I don’t want to be the person who settled: for the house on Felix, for the call centre job because it paid the bills, for the husband that made me cry because no decent human would want me. I don’t want to be the woman that relies on her friends to prop her up; I want to be a person that can stand on her own while holding up others.

In the Cow Province, I don’t settle. I grow. I wanted to achieve my goals and I am. I am growing as a journalist; my Great West Newspapers editor is really helping me evolve as a writer. I want to move up at work; not just because a promotion means more money, but because I want to be challenged. I want to develop into a better leader and coach. I want to push myself to be better, so the friend who knew me at eight, or dated me at 17, or lived with me at 21, can be proud of me. More importantly, so I can be proud of me.

I needed to go on my grand adventure so I could learn how to push myself harder. I needed to learn that my weirdo personality is not for everyone; but I need to own it. I needed to learn how to stop being some simpering victim and own my shit. But most of all, I needed to learn that every single thing that pops up on FB memories about my life from this time a few years ago isn’t the life I really wanted at all, and I don’t miss any part of it, except the house I lived in while in London, and that my friends lived in same area code.

As much as I sometimes want to go home and settle back into Ontario life, I realize that for me to become the type of person I want to be, I need to follow the path I’m making, not the one anyone built for me. Maybe this grand adventure was a lesson in throwing my very sure and certain guidebook for life out the window and actually work to become a better person. Maybe I needed to change for the better, and the things that stayed (Crossfit, journalism, an unhealthy obsession with pancakes) were meant to stay, along with my best friend in the eighth grade, the friend I met working at Target, or the hippie that dragged me to college with her, and always reminded me that just because it’s not the path everyone would have taken, doesn’t mean it’s not the one I’m meant to follow.

For Now

In the never ending story that is my life, we’ll call this chapter “the time everything absolutely fucking sucked.”

I’ll keep the major details to myself, as there are a great many things that I still choose not to share with the internet, but trust me when I say this week absolutely fucking sucks. Because it sucks, I’m seriously contemplating functional alcoholism (despite the fact that I rarely drink), or maybe full Brie Mode (for those of you that don’t watch Total Divas, click here for the definition of Brie Mode).

Despite the fact that I have the most amazing friends back home, sometimes I feel like I can’t talk to anyone, because they all tell me “you’re so strong, you’re Superwoman.” I want to be a superhero, and that bad ass woman they all tell me that I am, but am I? I don’t feel very super. I feel more like “pitifully average human who is drowning under the pressure to be a good mom and a good writer and a good employee and a good Crossfitter and pay bills while still looking pretty and maintaining a social life, despite having one friend that isn’t a coworker.” Being a one woman operation is tough kids.

We live in a FB filtered world; no one wants to admit that their life isn’t perfect and maybe they aren’t the superhero that their inner circle thinks that they are. No one wants to admit that they sometimes think they’re a shitty parent or looks at their bank statement, which is currently negative $36 and wonders how Xmas will be wonderful when cheerleading fees need to be paid and the gas bill is due and one kid needs new glasses and another has a field trip & it all costs money. No one wants to admit that sometimes they just want a night off from trying to be the best and just go out with friends, but since you don’t really have any, it’s hard to go places (sometimes I feel like I’m in the ninth grade again, where I wonder if people actually like me, or if they just want me to help them with the grownup equivalent of helping them with their English homework). No one ever admits that they feel like their very personality is somehow deficient, and you are somehow too weird or annoying for people to actually like, so you feel like you can’t really be yourself around anyone. These are things we just don’t do. Instead, everything is perfect. Everything is fine. Life is awesome.

In my life, everyone is counting on me to be so damned inspirational. Spoiler alert: I’m not inspiring; Beyoncé is inspiring. I’m just me. I’m a mostly unimportant writer and kind of okay assistant cell phone manager who talks too much.

Sometimes I wonder why it’s not socially acceptable to admit you’re not killing it at life right now. That maybe you’re lonely, or stressed out, or you just don’t really feel very good about yourself. Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to say “I hate literally everything. You ever felt like that?” And someone relate to that? Maybe then we wouldn’t feel like it’s somehow not okay to have moments of self doubt, or sad, or stressed. Instead, we push ourselves to be the superhero we’ve made ourselves out to be and you don’t want to let anyone down. I think it’s harder for women, because we’re taught at an early age that we’re in competition with each other to be the prettiest and the smartest, meeting all of the Game of Life checkpoints while also never getting angry, or feeling less than confident, and God forbid you aren’t a size six! So, we all kind of compete for the best highlight reel and you can’t really live up to the hype.

Sorry guys, I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m just little old me; a plain, boring human who struggles with self esteem and time management, and sometimes is overwhelmed by the enormity of her responsibilities. I’m actually not sorry. If I’m going to be some inspirational ray of fucking sunshine, I need to be an authentic human being. Authentic human beings sometimes hate everything and feel like they suck at everything and look to someone they think has their shit together and goes “man, I wish I had my shit together and was half as awesome as they are.” I look at another manager in my company and wish I was half as cool as she was! She doesn’t care what people think; she just does her thing. She doesn’t second guess every word or thought, hoping she didn’t do something wrong by being herself. She just slays. Who knows? Maybe she gets days where she feels like I do too and looks to someone else to inspire them. Maybe it’s Beyoncé. Who knows?

So, if you ever feel like that, let me be the first to tell you it’s totally okay. Humans are not meant to live by the standards of social media. Humans are messy, complicated beings who sometimes aren’t happy. So, embrace those moments where you feel like the world is crushing you. Allow yourself to feel it, so you can get back up again. It’s okay to feel down; it’s just not okay to stay there, not even for me. In order to be on top, sometimes you’ve got to slide back down a bit. Since I’m feeling down, there is nowhere else to go but up! So, I’ll focus all of my energy on accomplishing all of the things that I’ve set my mind to…

…if not, there’s always functional alcoholism, right?! Brieeeeee Mooooodeeee!

Walking the Wire

I don’t normally use my blog to discuss serious topics, mostly because I’m grossly under qualified to discuss them, and I reserve my writing space for happy stuff, or stories of my doing stupid things. But I’ve read a lot about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and most of it has kind of made me want to barf. Mostly because of the level of victim blaming and the number of women who have said “this has happened to me too.”

Mayim Bialik, self proclaimed feminist and actress went on a rant in the New York Times about how she was blessed because she was smart, so men didn’t harass her. She didn’t get manicures and she didn’t flirt. She dresses modestly, so she’s never harassed at work. That’s all well and good, but harassment isn’t about what you wore; it’s about power. A self proclaimed champion of women shouldn’t be telling over thirty women that if they just dressed more modestly and not flirted, they wouldn’t have been sexually harassed.

Bialik wasn’t exempt because she’s smarter, or dressed better. She’s been exempted because she was lucky. We as women need to stop using the misfortunes of those that make us envious or inadequate to feel good. You will never feel good about yourself when you compete against other women. We’re all doing our own thing, so celebrate who you are, not how you’re better…and stop blaming women for being assaulted.

I think Ms. Bialik’s comments rubbed me the wrong way because it implies that women are somehow responsible for being assaulted, or it only happens to attractive women. Never “smart” women, or modestly dressed women. That puts blame on women. It’s their fault; they should have dressed differently, carried themselves differently. But that’s not fair. The fear that comes with harassment and assault lingers (I was afraid to give my mailing address to a friend yesterday, because an ex boyfriend had once asked a mutual friend for my number after stalking me for over a year. That’s one of the after effects of harassment), why add guilt and shame and the feeling of “you did it to yourself because of X,Y, & Z?”

Sexual harassment and discrimination can happen to anyone. I wear a ring on my left hand. I know it impacts my ability to meet men, because it looks like I’m engaged. But I was once sexually harassed at a workplace by a security guard. He refused no, would force me to hug him, etc. He got jealous when a platonic friend drove me home & asked me how dare I. So I bought the ring. Started wearing it. He apologized; didn’t realize that I belonged to someone. I had to be another man’s property for my declination to be accepted. I wore a uniform. How I dressed, my makeup, my hair had no bearing on his actions. It was about him being powerful and desirable, whether I wanted to participate or not.

That’s not the only time. I witnessed a trainer in my workplace get told by a newbie rep that she was only good at her job because she was hot. I once wrote an entire blog post about how a stranger grabbed my ass at a Tim Horton’s because he assumed that he could. A customer once screamed at me and threw paper in my face until my male manager had to step in. A grown man once pulled my headphone out of my ear to tell me that my sweater didn’t impress him and suggestions on how I could. I wasn’t even looking at him. This is not behaviour that was brought upon me by my dress or looks. It was brought about because women are told to watch what we wear and men aren’t told to behave themselves.

Almost every woman has a story of harassment. Whether it’s a catcall on the street, a male customer saying “not you, a REAL manager,” when they are told the manager is a woman. The guy who calls you sweetie even though you are his superior, or the mansplaining (a man once mansplained my own damn name to me). It wasn’t what we were wearing. It’s not about modesty. We need to stop pretending it’s about modesty or how we carry ourselves and start being open about this stuff happening and support each other, not tearing each other down.

I invite every woman who reads this to share their stories in the comments. Whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment, or you haven’t and want to support women who have, I encourage all of you to speak up. Don’t just say “me too.” Get loud. Get vocal. However, if you’re not ready, me too is good too. But please don’t stay silent. You are not alone. You are not the only woman. It wasn’t how you dressed or if you flirted. It was not your fault. If you have been sexually harassed; I believe you. I support you & you deserved better.