From Here to Zero

I’m a strong believer in my personal privacy.

I post pics of my kids on my social media, but never on my blog because while I choose to write about my life, I also respect that they do not choose to do that, so I don’t post their names or photos. My number one pet peeve in life is those parents who post literally every personal milestone of their kids lives (photos of them on the potty, telling stories of them smearing poop on the walls) on social media. I try to limit stories about my kids to when they are doing hilarious things. Adversely, I blog about my personal life, as I write to sort through my own feelings. I’ve been through a lot when it comes to my interpersonal relationships and I know I still have some growing to do, I still need to learn to trust better and I need to stop fearing the idea of a legally binding lifetime commitment because fear only holds us back from truly being happy. Writing about it helps me find my way. But I never post it on social media (that’s not true, there are TWO photos on my Instagram).

There was a random mention of my significant other on my Facebook on my birthday, when I excitedly wanted to show off his adorably thoughtful present to me. When I first moved here, I was beyond excited to find penguins in the West Edmonton Mall, as penguins are the most awesome animals on the planet. One night, when I was dreadfully homesick, he sent me a text message, telling me that I would adjust, it would be okay, he loved me so and he would do whatever it took to help me feel at home here, including find me a penguin to be my pet. My penguin may be cuddly and stuffed, but the gesture was very sweet, and now my penguin sleeps with me at night (judge me, I don’t care). I had a couple of people ask me about my significant other and overcthe past few months, some of my closest friends challenged me on my comfort level about my relationship because I never mention it online. But it’s not for a lack of faith in my romantic life that keeps me mum on the details of my romance online or to the masses, it’s quite the opposite; I keep it mine because it’s mine.

 

Isn’t he the cutest?!
 
It’s not a secret who I am dating. My friends and family know who I’m seeing and his friends and family know as well. But the seriousness, the depth of our commitment, the things that are personal are not for public domain. Obviously my closest friends are in the know (So Erica, Melissa and the Gleason Table), but I really don’t feel that the general population needs to know the ins and outs of my love life. That is mine. It’s a part of my life that is very important to me, much like my career and my children. Obviously, I wouldn’t post my job satisfaction on the internet, or personal things about my children, so why would I post things about my love life on the Book of Face?

I used to, but I also see that before I was VERY insecure about my relationship. I was always afraid the relationship would fall apart, so I thought if I said I was happy, then I would convince myself I had nothing to worry about. I see now that was actually stupid. I was inviting the peanut gallery into my relationship. That brought about mistrust, which combined with my insecurities and his fear of long term commitment (and mine) prompted the relationship to implode. I see people all the time on FB talking about people poking into their relationships and telling their friends/family to mind their own business and I often think, then don’t constantly put your business out there with memes and statuses and stuff. But, during the evolution of MHC, I realized that in order to be a decent partner, things needed to change. One of the things that needed to change was my reliance on the acceptance of others. It doesn’t matter if my friends like my boyfriend; I am in love with him. It doesn’t matter if he posts a million cutesy things on Facebook, in fact, we rarely interact on social media. We communicate away from social media. We talk, we text, we cuddle. I learned that to keep a relationship healthy, you need to keep your relationship in house. Facebook does not need to know that I love my boyfriend: he does. Every time I see these over the top FB declarations of love or passive aggressive statuses or the constant switch from “single” to “it’s complicated” to “in a relationship.” Yuck. Why do you need to convince the planet you’re in love? 

 There are exceptions to every rule. I have some friends that post the odd cute photo & they radiate love & you feel happy for them. My two favourite coaches at my old gym are those people. My friends Nic & Sarah as well. But again, these are vacation photos, rare snippets in time. Not an all out assault of “LOOK HOW IN LOVE WE ARE.” They are sharing small snippets of their lives, which is the point of social media. It’s about small pieces of your life, but the story is for you alone. Sometimes I think about how people like Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds recently had to cut a friend out of their lives to protect daughter James’s privacy. Jennifer Aniston & Justin Theroux had to hide their wedding plans & take their guests cell phones to protect their privacy. WWE interviewer Renee Young put fans on blast because a harmless photo of her & fellow broadcaster Corey Graves taken on her birthday was misconstrued, followed by insulting comments asking about the whereabouts of her longtime boyfriend, WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose. She chooses to keep their relationship private, and fans get angry that she isn’t sharing photos. All these people want is to enjoy their private moments. Then we regular folks abuse the very same privacy by putting it all out there to be analyzed & get angry when people do. 

  
Maybe someday I’ll feel comfortable sharing snapshots of my life. Maybe not. But until I reach that place, I choose to protect my personal life & my children’s privacy. You do not need to know when my child used the bathroom. You do not need to know the intimate details of my personal life. But the little bits I do share, I enjoy sharing with you, as I enjoy those rare snapshots of your life as well. 

  

Paper Heart

This weekend I had the chance to attend a good friend’s wedding and it was a lovely affair.

I’m not really big on weddings, as I’ve said many times before, but this wedding was different. My dear friend Sarah had waited a long time for a guy like her darling Nic. She’d been through Hell and back, as she said in her wedding speech, and with him, she felt whole.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs U!
Congrats to Mr. and Mrs U!

As the single girlfriend attending stag, I think I was supposed to be super jealous or something. I always read blogs from single women who whine that it’s not fair that they don’t have a plus one and I knew a girl who whined when anything good happened to a friend, especially a pregnancy, because it wasn’t about her. But I really wasn’t. I couldn’t wait for this wedding…and I hate weddings! Sarah deserved this day. She is a person who gives to others, who loves completely, and watching her find her other half made my heart burst with joy. We laughed, danced, drank, toasted the couple and chatted animatedly with my best friend the Psych Major as we talked about a project that could really take my career to another level. It was arguably the most wonderful day I’ve enjoyed in a long time and I thank them for their hospitality.

The Psych Major and I standing with the gorgeous bride.
The Psych Major and I standing with the gorgeous bride.

As lovely as Sarah looked, there was one moment that stood out for me and I was lucky enough to snap a pic of it. As Nic danced with his mom, Sarah looked on, watching her new husband and her face radiated so much love. It wasn’t just love; it was respect, admiration, adoration, every positive emotion you can possibly feel. In that moment, there were flashes snapping, happy chatter, but for Sarah, there was nothing else going on in that room but her husband and he was the most beautiful thing in the world. I actually teared up seeing her looking at her husband, because it was just such a lovely moment in time. I once saw a photo of a couple on FB and saw that same look and it inspired a whole other blog post of mine (the one that I am most proud of) because it was just such a beautiful photo.

sarahwedding

I think everyone wants to feel like Nic and Sarah, two people who have finally found each other and know that even if things get rough, they have each other. There aren’t a lot of people in this world who I think are in it for the long haul, but they are. I’m so grateful to them for reminding me that happy endings are real and I’m lucky to have watched them start their lives together. Sometimes, when we’ve had our hearts broken a bunch of times, we get cynical and it’s hard to picture that there could be a happy ending. But, we need to remain optimistic and hopeful and continue to be ourselves so that when it becomes our turn, we get to be the person looking at our partner with so much love. If there is anything I could wish for everyone I love, or anything I could hope everyone I love gets in their lives, even for a moment before we as humans eff it all up, is to have that moment where someone loves you like my friends love each other and for someone looks at them the way Sarah looks at Nic. Everyone deserves to have that kind of love even once, that unconditional, I don’t care who you are and what you did before me, because you are the very best thing that’s ever happened to me kind of love and I won’t lie, I tell my friends I don’t date because I’m holding out for that Nic and Sarah kind of love. I think we should all hold out for that kind of love and if we’ve found it, we should cherish it and enjoy it for as long as we live.

So, single gals & guys, instead of being jealous that we don’t have that plus one or that maybe it feels like our time to find our soulmate is over, take a moment to really watch the happy couple, because I promise all of those jealous pangs will go away (well, it depends on the couple. I’ve been to a couple of weddings where I didn’t think they’d last two years). They’ll go away because you’ll get a chance to see love in it’s purest form and you can rest comforted in the knowledge that your time will come in the right moment in the right way, even if right now it seems like it’s never going to happen or you blew that one chance with your soulmate. Because maybe that wasn’t your soulmate, maybe you haven’t met them. Or maybe you both needed to grow up and fate will put it back when the time is right (I doubt it, but hey, Nicholas Sparks has made a fortune on that theory). Or maybe it’s that friend you’ve never looked at like that, or that message in your online dating inbox that you’ve never bothered to read. One place you won’t find it? THE BACHELORETTE. But no one deserves less than that Nic and Sarah kind of love and you’ll know you have it when what’s hard seems easy and when you know they look at you like you are the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.

The Giving Tree

This was originally going to be a Wordless Wednesday with a cool meme I found from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Tumblr, but then I decided to write about it more because I don’t really know how to shut up.

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My obsession with this Trilogy knows no bounds. One of my first blog posts that generated attention for this blog was defending Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Shortly before the first film was released, I gave my the angriest tween my copies of the books to read. I won’t post spoilers for those who haven’t read them, but after completing the series (and her sobbing at the fate of one of the book’s supporting character), I asked her what she learned and she gave me an answer that shocked even my adult friends who read the books:

“War doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Katniss is a beacon of hope even though she’s not a nice person. Also, Peeta was the only truly good person in all of Panem.”

My friends all were like “Katniss is a good person,” and she corrected them. “No she’s not. She’s selfish and rude and uses Peeta to survive and the only person she cares about is her sister. She’s strong and she’s cool but she’s not nice. Only Peeta is nice. Only Peeta cares about other people, only Peeta cares Katniss.”

It’s true. War brings out the worst in people. Katniss cares only about survival. During a poignant scene when her two potential suitors, Peeta and Gale talk while they believe Katniss is sleeping, Gale mentions that the one who has her heart is the one she cannot survive without, a sentiment that hurts the Mockingjay. Katniss is willing to kill anyone she has to in order to survive while Peeta cares about preserving life. Katniss is petulant, spoiled, and rude. Stephen King was once quoted as saying that Suzanne Collins made Katniss a character to root for despite her not being very likable.

But Peeta is the opposite. Peeta loves Katniss. Peeta forgives Katniss’s failings, even her manipulating him in the Hunger Games arena. Peeta does everything to save Katniss, uses any chance he has to save himself to save Katniss. Everything is for his beloved girl from the seam. We could all hope to be loved as much as Peeta loves Katniss. Like Haymitch says to her “You could live a million lifetimes and not deserve him.”

But Peeta cannot survive in a world like Panem. The cruelness of the war torn life tears away at Peeta bit by bit. Much like Katniss needs Peeta to get out of the Hunger Games arena, Peeta needs Katniss to help him get through the harshness of life. They rely on each other to make it through and I was so proud that my child figured this out on her own.

The world could use more real people like Peeta, who simply love and want to protect the person they adore, so much that they’d die for them. However, we also need people like Katniss, who are a titch bit selfish and are only willing to protect a select few and only care about saving their own arse. We need a little bit of each of us if we’re going to muddle through life, because life, much like war, doesn’t discriminate between the good and the bad and good people can be ripped apart just as much as the selfish and we all need to develop some strength and self preservation to make it through.

Bless the Broken Road

Thanks y’all for your awesome feedback to my open letter to my future soulmate, making it my most successful blog post ever! I appreciated the emails & texts from people mentioning it was cute…oh, & that dude on Twitter who DM’ed me a proposal? It was a letter, not an application, but hey, thanks!

Anywho, since the rest of my life revolves around deciding where to move (London, Cambridge & Guelph are the top options) while listening to the peanut gallery explain why I should stay here, despite my previous statement that there is nothing that could keep me in Windsor (aside from “winning @ life” hahaha), and scrambling to get Christmas together for the littles while working retail sucks the fun out of the holiday for me, I figure I’ll keep going on this subject, as the move & the peanut gallery & the choices have too many facets for me to adequately express right now. I’d rather write something lighthearted. & silly. I’m not looking for a partner; they’re going to find me & it’s going to be amazeballs. Hell, maybe you read this blog (unlikely) & you’re wondering “am I this crazy girl’s soulmate? Because sure she’s pretty, but she’s a bit loony & scatterbrained.” Well, it’s possible, I guess. So, I’ve compiled a list of things that seem to exist in all of the men I date (& the things I want) & created this handy dandy guide to determining if you are MH’s soulmate!

***Disclaimer: Handy Dandy guide is for entertainment purposes only***

1. You’ve read my writing. Oh, you didn’t just read this, you read ALL OF IT. I’m not kidding. You’ve read both of my blogs, you’ve read every published byline, you actively make plans to read my future work. You love my work, you think it’s awesome. My words connect with you, resonate with you, make you think. You ask me about my work. You understand that these words are not just random ideas that I come up with; they’re my heart & soul & source of pride. My soulmate will read my work one day & tell me that something I wrote helped him understand me better, himself better or brought us closer.

2. You love my girls. Duh. But you understand them. You know their interests. You know which one is afraid of the blow dryer. You know which one loves the Saints. You know which one cries @ the same scene of Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone. You know which one is going to take over the word & which one hates stripes. You know them as well as you know me. You know how important it is to me to be Supermom & you’ll understand. You’ll want to be a part of their lives & you will eventually, but I need to know that you get that they come with the deal, their dad is emotionally abusive to them & they’ll come to see you as a father figure too. That will mean something to you & soon you’ll be bragging about their cuteness, report cards et al just like I do.

3. You’re probably f***ed in the head. When I say someone is screwed up, I generally don’t mean it to be as insulting as it sounds. It means that you likely have a past, a tonne of baggage, trust issues, self sabotage issues, commitment issues, etc. I have them all too. I try to be empathetic to everyone, because I’ve been written off so many times because sometimes I’m a dark, melancholy person. This is why the people I love get infinite chances; no one should feel written off by someone that they trust. Not to mention anyone can love someone “normal.” I’m not normal. I’m scarred & fragile. It takes a special man to love me, so I want to love your scarred & fragile right back.

4. You’re stubborn. I sure am! Once my mind is made up, there’s no turning back. I need someone just as set in those convictions. A passion for Canadian and American politics would help.

5. You’ll talk to me. Tell me I’m being a douche, or crazy, or to shut up. I may cry. Oh well. My soulmate knows that I’m an annoying brat & loves me. He knows we’ll fight & he’ll piss me off but we’ll get through it with communication. He also knows that I won’t start the conversation after a fight or my feelings have been hurt because stubborn. He’ll need to suck it up & talk to me.

6. Music. You’ll like everything. Even crap I hate. I’ll make fun of it. But music is a huge part of my life. All of my blog post titles are song titles of what I’m listening to (today: Rascal Flatts). I spent years training to become a singer. My daughters are talented musicians. I need you to love music & sing along with the radio, even if you’re tone deaf. I used to joke that I would marry the man that could make me stop talking when he sang (because nothing stops me from talking) & could play the piano & in high school, said my dream proposal would be someone who played & sang me a song while it was snowing outside (I watched a lot of Full House. Uncle Jesse…swoon). Maybe someone will give Gavin DeGraw my number.

7. You’ll like sports. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t give a crap & I’ll roll my eyes when you talk, but I like guys who like sports & drink beer and go out with the guys & eat red meat & do guy things.

8. You’ll get that love takes work. You’ll get that sometimes I’ll hate your face. You’ll get that sometimes you’ll hate mine. You’ll get that times get hard. But you’ll try because I know I will. I fought for 8 years to make a marriage work while covered in bruises. Imagine how hard I’ll work to make it work if it’s healthy.

9. You won’t like geese. Okay, maybe you will. But I’m not feeding them.

10. You’ll be prone to random but awesome romantic gestures. Show up @ my door @ 1am because you just needed to see me. Buy me movie tickets just because. Send me a cute text saying you miss me. I expect these rarely, but it’d be nice.

11. You’ll “get” me. You’ll understand how I think. You’ll get that I don’t mean to be crazy. You’ll even find the crazy a little endearing. You’ll know that I mean well when I generally make a mess of everything & you’ll try to understand. You’ll let me fix my own mess & support me from the sidelines, because you know how important it is for me to do it on my own.

If this sounds like you, this either means;

a) you have a huge ego.
b) you are potentially my soulmate.
c) you’re going to give Gavin DeGraw my number.

Please let it be C!

Either way, I know what I want & deserve & this is the type of man I want & when the time is right, this is who I’ll end up with. I need to be finicky, as I have daughters who deserve the best possible stepfather & I think I’ve been hurt enough thank you very much. I think looking for love only impedes the process. Real love is that person in your mind that you can’t stop thinking about, etc. & it’s organic & unavoidable & it’ll happen. Not likely until after I get my butt out of Windsor into a new house & settled. & established & maybe with a shiny new byline. But it’ll happen…& now I know what I’m looking for.

We Remain

I’ve been thinking a lot about dating lately, mainly because my friend is doing a lot of it. She’s on a new first date almost every weekend. I wish I could be that person sometimes; the person who can detach themselves until they’re ready to get attached, I’m not sure why. But I’m not. I’m just that one man girl. However, as I (hopefully) move into my new home (as house hunting has become a clusterf*ck), I realize that I need to be open to the idea of falling in love again. I don’t think I’m ready just yet, but in case I do meet someone in my new city, I need to be open to the idea that my Mr. Right is there somewhere. So, over the last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on finding a house, letting go of the life I knew & opening myself up to the idea of dating again.

I know there is a right person out there for me. I don’t know if I’ve met them, if I haven’t, but they are somewhere. But I figure he should be prepared for what life with me will be like, so I wrote this letter.

Dear Soulmate,

I don’t know if I’ve met you yet. Maybe I did. Maybe we’ve dated & messed it up & the universe keeps trying to make it right. Maybe you’re the hot guy @ the Wind Mobile store who gave me directions while house hunting last month. Maybe you’re one of those first dates I never gave a chance. Maybe you’re a childhood friend I’ll casually bump into. Maybe you’re someone I’ve never met & when I do, I’ll know why everyone before you sucked. But once the universe puts us together, I wanted to let you know a few things so we can work.

1. My kids & my writing come first. Always. These are my true loves & I need to put them first. They were here before you. They’ll be here after you. I don’t expect you to raise my girls, but if you meet them, I expect you to love them. If you promise them something, keep it. Be good to them. Treat them the way you would want me to treat your family. They are sweet, wonderful children & they will love you so much. Don’t break their hearts. Respect my writing. Know it’s my life. Be proud of me when I land a great story because I’ll be thrilled to death.

2. My life is generally a chaotic mess of my own making. I’m trying; really. If you could just stick around & gently help me learn the values of organization & time management instead of tsk tsking, I’d really appreciate it.

3. I’m good in a crisis, but little things tear me to pieces. There’s a reason, and someday I’ll tell you.

4. I will always be afraid that you’ll leave me. ALWAYS. It’s not that I won’t trust you, it’s just I’m always afraid of losing people. It’ll make me clingy sometimes. Just sit me down & look me in the eye & tell me to chill out because you love me & it’ll be okay.

5. Please don’t ask my friends how to talk to me, or to relay info to me. Please talk to me. Things get messed up that way. Let’s keep everything between us (& with your permission, high level blog fodder).

6. I won’t get jealous per say, but I will tell you if something is bothering me. I will also trust you to handle those situations in a way that you see fit. I don’t tell men what to do. I explain why it bugs me & trust you. I don’t see the point in getting pissy.

7. I’ll have infinite patience for your crap. I’ll give you a million chances & if you’re worth it, take you back if you walk away. Because I love unconditionally, without restrictions & see you for what you are & embrace it. You will be safe & adored with me. You will be treated like Superman.

8. That doesn’t mean treat me like crap either. I’m not going to devalue me for you like I did with all of my other relationships with men. If I’m kissing your ass because I think you’re Prince Charming, than you should treat me like post-slipper Cinderella. You should know that I’m beautiful & special & I deserve to be happy too. You should want to make me as happy as I’m dying to make you & if you don’t want to do that, then you are too selfish to be with ANYONE, least of all me. Relationships are about loving each other, not sucking someone’s love like a sponge & leaving them when your ego is boosted, or expecting someone to be your saviour & make you feel awesome while you are degrading or abusing me. One person shouldn’t be doing all of the giving. I will always give you more, it’s my nature, but I’m not going to accept a man’s complete lack of effort. Love is work. Love is about doing the right thing for the other person, because even if it wasn’t what you might have wanted, you made that person happy. If you try, even a little, I’ll give you the damn world; but I think I’m worth you making me a little happy too. I am smart & pretty & charismatic & charming. I am strong & patient & brave & have survived more than you will ever know. I am driven to succeed & have done well thus far. I am great @ trivia & can use big words in their proper context. I’m well read & elegant, but love wrestling & beer. I’m awesome & I’m worth a lot: I’m worth swallowing pride for. I’m worth admitting you are wrong & I am worth fighting for, even if you’re fighting some internal battle with yourself & if you don’t know that, then there is another man that will & this letter is for him.

9. I’m weird. I sing along with mall music, I’m often immature. I’m a general goofball. I generally have the weight of the world on my shoulders, so when I get to be “free” I like to let loose. I don’t care how much I love you, I will hang up on you during a boss fight while playing Zelda & I strongly recommend backing off on criticizing The Hunger Games trilogy. I’m a proud nerd. I will whip your ass @ Mario Kart & attempt to whip your ass @ Halo & I’ll definitely whip your ass @ Backgammon as I learned from the master; my father. I’ll also do all of this while explaining life lessons found in To Kill a Mockingbird, Edgar Allen Poe & Winnie the Pooh.

Just one of my nerdier moments
Just one of my nerdier moments

10. I'm crazy. General anxiety disorder is the technical term. I have panic attacks. So, when crap goes wrong, I'll freak out. I'll be terrified that everything is wrong. I'll try to pull you closer because I don't want to lose you. I do it to my friends too. Please don't pull away, even if that's your instinct, because it'll make me more afraid, as during these periods I'm as emotionally fragile as a baby bird. Just hold me & talk me through it & I'll go back to being the perfectly understanding girlfriend who doesn't get mad & allows you all of your space in about half an hour. If I am holding on too tightly, tell me. Say "MH, I get it, but chill the eff out because I feel strangled." I'll listen. But I can't do that if you don't tell me. I don't read minds & if you don't tell me what's wrong, I'll get more panicked trying to fix it. Tell me what's going on & we'll work on it together.

11. Sometimes I'm going to need you to be my rock. I'll be yours too. I'll be yours through everything. Just come to me & I'll make it okay. In fact, I'll prally be there more for you than me, because I generally bottle things up until I'm crazy, crying MH. Please find this endearing, or at least tolerable, because no one ever does.

12. I will never pretend to like your sports or your crappy music or that lame show you watch. But I’ll sit through them while making you food & I won’t ask stupid questions. I don’t expect you to like mine either. However, a healthy appreciation for pancakes is appreciated.

13. I take sex super seriously, so be willing to wait.

14. I hate geese but I will kill spiders.

15. This may seem like a pretty big list, but I promise you it’s super simple, because I’ll love you more & better than a anyone else pretty much ever. I’ll treat you like you’re the best non-parenting thing that ever happened to me. I’ll gush about you. I’ll be your biggest fan. I’ll be your ally in life and we’ll be a team. I promise I’ll make loving me worth it by giving you everything you ever wanted. But if all else fails, I’m really pretty. That should help a little.

See? Super pretty!
See? Super pretty!

I’m excited to see who you turn out to be. I hope we have an amazing love story, like some Nicholas Sparks level junk. I hope you’ll know how much I love you & how much I’ll value & respect you. I hope you know how much I’ll put up with to make you happy & I hope you’ll do the same for me. I hope you’ll know that I already think you’re amazing & I don’t even know who you are! I hope you’re wondering if you’ll ever meet a person just like me (or how to return to me, or turn friendship into love or if I’ll come back to your Wind Mobile kiosk). Like Katy Perry says, “I know you’re out there & you’re looking for me,” & I hope you come soon, because while I’m cool with single life, I kind of want to stare into your eyes & have my breath taken away.

xoxo
-MHC