Carolina

When it rains, it pours, let me tell you.

Remember how I almost died? Well, 2022 decided to further kick me in the face! My company faced some financial hardships, and almost all of us were laid off. Suddenly I went from feeling confident in my future to worried about losing my house. It was tough. I have nothing negative to say about my time with the company. This is a great organization with great people. I’m honoured to have been part of it. I met really great people and I’m lucky to be friends with many of them. It was a rewarding experience. But, I have to pay bills and even when life gets you down, there’s a silver lining. One of my former colleagues works for another organization and she was gracious enough to offer me a position. I’m super excited to be part of this company. She’s a great leader and I feel like I can learn a lot from her. Most importantly, I’ve been reunited with colleagues and friends that I loved working with. It’s a really cool time for me work wise.

However, switching jobs means switching pay periods. Money is tight. Benefits are non existent for the next three months. Trying to scrape together money for medication has been tough. Speaking of medication, I’m still fighting my doctor for a referral to a specialist and I’m not getting anywhere. The tooth I had a root canal in has been feeling off (not painful, just weird), so anxiety says my tooth is falling out and I’ll be ugly. I’ve been afraid to work out since my pulmonary embolism. I’m just very down on myself.

I deleted my dating apps a few weeks ago. I got stood up and just decided that was it. But I’ve been noticing the way I look at myself hasn’t been great. I genuinely don’t see the point of trying to date when I feel genuinely ugly. Any time someone suggests that I date someone, I just say I am too ugly and crazy have WAY too much baggage. Whether or not i was interested was irrelevant; I was just too ugly to even consider it as an option. Everything is just about looks it feels. Even when I was explaining my frustration with my doctor, my friend kept bringing it back to my weight, even though it was about my doctor only wanting me to take one kind of medication. When I went into Lululemon I was asked if I was shopping for gifts because “we don’t accommodate plus size.” I realized my weight will always be my defining character trait until I lose it again, so there’s no point in putting myself out there to meet anyone. I just feel like the annoying person people engage with because they work with me or whatever. Hell, even some of my friends always tell me how I’m doing so great on my own and they see me as the type of person who will be happy with their cats, alone and don’t need anyone. They meant it as a compliment; I felt like it meant I’m not really a catch. I don’t think I’m a catch. It’s either that or reminders that the general population says me as some kind of airhead with no substance and talks too much. If I had a dollar for every time I heard “shut up Mary-Helen,” I’d never have money problems again. All of my report cards with “talks too much,” are now making me wonder if I’m really just…not partner material. All of a sudden dating just felt like a waste of of time so I just sort of gave up.

I get this is just anxiety. Deep down I know I’m not ugly or stupid and my tooth probably isn’t going to be extracted or fall out (but until the dentist says so, I’m gonna be a little scared). But I also have to internalize a lot because a lot of times, my feelings are sort of dismissed as “you’re fine,” or “it’s fine,” while I’m kind of expected to be there for everyone and it’s overwhelming. When I’m helping my kids with body image issues, I can’t really open up about my own. I won’t have benefits for three months so therapy is off the table for a bit. It’s also the feeling of not being in control of every situation to give myself the stability I need to thrive. So, I needed to figure out how do I pull myself out of this rut? I can’t just cry and I’m not allowed to drink so functional alcoholism seems to be off of the table for now. I needed a new plan to help pull myself out of this mental health spiral.

I’ve started goal setting using an app called Finch. It has all sorts of things to help with wellness and keep anxiety in check. One goal was to fill all of my Apple Watch rings in July. I need to build healthy habits. I get up thirty minutes before I have to so I can meditate and set the tone for the day. I went so long without putting on makeup or even trying to take pride in my appearance, so I make sure to at least do my eyes every morning, and do my hair as well. No more ponytails. I get to work forty minutes early so I can mentally prepare for my shift and make an action plan for the day. They’re baby steps, but hopefully they’ll turn into strides. It’s gonna be a journey, but I’ve pulled myself out of darker places. I just need to focus on the things that I need to thrive;

1. Fitness

2. Family

3. Friends

4. Ways to grow at work

This means getting over my fear of fitness. I have to remember that it wasn’t exercise that hurt me, it was the medication that caused the blood clots. I’ve taken steps to recover. I have to trust my body is healing and ready to get back into shape. I can start off slowly and eventually get back to the point where I’m seeing results. Obviously this situation has caused me to make some major dietary changes, so between that and the fitness, I should see the results I’m hoping to see, and I can celebrate my commitment to health.

As for dating, I’m gonna stay away for now. Until I can see myself as someone worthy of love, I can’t. That’s how I ended up with people who were abusive or mean before. I don’t want to settle, so until my response is no longer “no way, I’m way too old/fat/ugly/stupid” when anyone suggests a possible date for me, I can’t even consider it. I can’t be a good partner to someone else when my inner monologue is treating my psyche like shit. This way I can avoid being preyed on by some creep, and when the time comes, I’ll be emotionally ready to be a good partner…In theory.

I Bet You Think About Me

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

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

Peace out toxic job

When my house finally got grass

Best birthday cake!

That time I chopped off all of my hair

Bye Bye Baby

Guys, can I be honest with you?

It’s been a tough few months.

I’m struggling in every aspect of my life. Moving always sucks and I’m just finally unpacked after a month. I feel like I’m not doing enough at work. I feel like I’m not doing enough for my family. I just feel like I try and I try and I try to do the right thing and I miss something or I did it wrong and it all blows up and I’m just over feeling like I walk on eggshells in my life.

It’s been tough. My mom is back in the hospital after a fall. My siblings are no help so I’m trying to be a good caregiver and a good mom but something has to give and right now that’s my own health.I’ve been seeing a doctor for weeks now about some challenges that have caused my hair to fall out (fortunately I have so much no one has noticed), exhaustion, my face is swollen, I’m bloated and tired, and in constant pain. Fortunately, since none of it has to do with COVID, I haven’t missed any work. But I come home from work and sleep on the couch. It’s not ideal. I’m missing workouts, I’m missing calls from the hospital, I’m missing time with my kids. Apparently it’s stress or a disorder that doesn’t match my symptoms. It’s been frustrating and I just hate my body right now. It’s fat, ugly, and failing.

My financial situation took a huge hit when my ex husband (who is still almost 10k in arrears for child support) swore on all that was holy that he would file his income taxes in time so we could use it to move. He didn’t. He’s not working, and I have tremendous empathy for his situation, so I try not to ask for too much. But it’s just another time where he’s been dishonest with me about doing the right thing for the kids. Like, if you can’t help, I understand, but don’t lie to me and everyone else for months. Fortunately, I work for a company that has worked tirelessly to keep us working (we are considered essential) and find ways to compensate us well so this too shall pass. But it just adds to the stress when kids need summer clothes and new shoes, etc. and you had to use that money to cover the move. The past few months have been a lot and I’m just really tired.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining. There are others who have gone through (or are going through) much worse. But I want to be more authentic and honest when things are suboptimal. All my life I’ve hidden behind toxic positivity to pretend that everything is fine when it’s not fine. Then I get resentful when everyone is like “wow MHC you’re so strong, you got dis!” And then I wonder why I feel so alone. The truth is I don’t know if I “got dis.” My mom is getting older and I’m scared that our time left together is getting shorter. I also flip through complex feelings of concern, fear, and sometimes even resentment, especially towards my siblings, who couldn’t give a single fuck. I’m scared that maybe something is wrong, or that all of these symptoms are in my head and I’m just crazy. One thing I’ve learned from therapy is that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and scared. You don’t have to put on a brave front or feel guilty for wanting some extra support. You don’t need to fake happiness to make it.

If the last 14 months have taught me anything, it’s that we need to be gentler with each other. It’s okay to have bad days and tough times and you don’t need to hide behind positive affirmations to get through. Sometimes you can allow yourself to feel sad, angry, scared, and then pick yourself up and find the tools you need to help yourself. It’s okay to ask each other for emotional support. It’s okay to put self care first sometimes. It’s just not okay to wallow in your misery. Allow yourself to feel, but not to remain. Ask for the help you need to dig yourself out. For me, it’s therapy, exercise, my family, and my friends. It takes a village to survive the new normal, so for me, it’s about offering the support that I would want to someone else when I have the emotional energy to spare, while recognizing that it’s not my job to be there every time, so I can recharge too, so that I may be a better mom, manager, and friend.

Just Awake

Oh, Hello!

It’s been awhile, eh?

Truthfully, I haven’t really had much to discuss. When everything is closed, there’s not much to do. Not much to do means not much to discuss. So, I’m just living my life. Normally, I go out of my way to put a positive spin on everything, but y’all, I’m tired.

I’m in the middle of moving, as my landlord has opted to list my house, and unfortunately, I’m not in the position to buy right now. 2020 kind of screwed things up for me a bit. It sucks and it’s stressful, but I’m not gonna dwell. I’m just gonna pick myself up and keep on figuring life out. Part of that involves realizing I need to reevaluate my finances. If I want to buy a house, I need to reduce my debt. I also cannot have a high interest car loan. So, I made a decision and traded in my car for a new vehicle with a lower interest rate, aka Wanda 2.0. It wasn’t the plan, I wanted to refinance OG Wanda, but this made more sense as my payments didn’t change and my insurance went down. I’m also figuring out how to pay off my credit cards so I can start saving for the down payment of a house. I was hoping to be able to buy my current house this year, but 2020 happened and 2021 is just 2020 with bangs so it’s not easy. But we’ll get there.

Meet Wanda Maximoff 2.0 (aka a 2021 Hyundai Venue)

But things are tough. Caring for an elderly parent is tough. Stroke recovery takes time. There’s mood swings, good days, bad days, and I’m very alone. My siblings haven’t even checked in with a “how are things” in months. It’s really highlighted how alone I am with this. The kids are juggling school and helping around the house. But parenting three kids on your own while taking care of an elderly parent on your own and balancing work, home, moving, and feeling like things just keep on piling up takes it’s toll. I’m exhausted and depressed. Fortunately I started therapy over the fall and it’s been super helpful. But nothing has been easy and everything just feels a little hopeless. I’m in full caregiver burnout mode y’all. I hate it because sometimes I get irrationally annoyed about little stuff with the kids, who in turn get irrationally annoyed with the next kid down the chain. It’s not fair to anyone and now we’re all sniping at everyone all of the time. Things are tough & I think we’re all feeling a little less hopeful.

One of my best friends keeps telling me that I like to pretend everything is great externally while, in reality, it’s damn hard. Parenting in a pandemic is hard. Caring for an elderly relative is hard. Moving to a completely different part of the city and navigating the bizarre school district and realizing I may not be commuting 4km to work anymore, and balancing it all while having absolutely zero minutes to yourself sucks. I need a vacation, but that’s not really an option either (although I may go hiking in the mountains soon. I need a break lol). I talked to some of my other mom friends and they helped me realize they’re all in the same boat. There’s no magic “super mom” who’s making all of the crafts and sticking to the colour coded lists. We’re just winging it. Possibly while drinking.

I guess the point is that we’re all so busy trying to convince ourselves everything is okay and we are nailing this life thing, and in reality, we probably aren’t. I know I’m not. But I guess I keep shooting myself in the foot, because I want people to think I am, then I’m shocked Pikachu face when I’m alone dealing with whatever is going wrong because I’ve convinced my support system I’m doing great. I can’t be the only one. Maybe 2021 needs to be the year we all stop pretending everything is perfect to impress or for the gram. Maybe we need to be honest and admit it’s not easy and we don’t have everything under control and we are one bad day away from a crying meltdown. We don’t need people to be impressed by our houses or our pretty pictures. We need to support each other.

Basically, if you’re feeling like I am, and like the weight of the world is trying to crush your spirit; you’re not alone. You don’t need to pretend that it’s all great and your kids are perfect online students, your house is clean every second and you aren’t one more tween argument away from sneaking White Claws in the closet. I am right there with you. I’d save you a spot if we were allowed to visit. You’re not alone, everyone’s life is a shitshow right now. Let’s turn off the highlight reels and keep it more real.

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Don’t Let It Break Your Heart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Kind

Hey guys! We get to go outside again! Isn’t that cool?!

While there are still restrictions, it’s nice to have a little bit of normal back in my life. I’m back at work and it’s been positive. I had some friends over for a barbecue potluck and it was so nice to entertain again. I’ve been back at the gym & going for walks. It’s been awesome.

After being cooped up for three months, I really want to step outside my comfort zone a little bit. Part of that is taking control of my weight. I’ve been really down on myself, but I started posting daily updates to a group on FB my friends & I use to stay accountable. I started intermittent fasting, which has helped too. But the big ones are stepping out of my comfort zone at the gym and trying to cure my unhealthy relationship with food.

Intermittent fasting and setting aside one cheat meal has really helped with this. I’m not denying myself food anymore. Instead, I’m learning what I need to fuel my body so I can be healthier. So much of my mental health is tied into diet and exercise, not necessarily to be “thin,” but to feel healthy and confident. Junk food just makes me feel badly about myself in general, but when I’m stressed, I eat. Now I’m teaching my body that we don’t just eat when I’m bored, but when I’m hungry. I’ve cut out all alcohol (not that there was much, save for that case of White Claw I would have over a month long period), save for social events, and I’m careful about junk food and fast food. It’s important that I teach my kids to have a healthy relationship with food; enjoy an occasional treat but never forget to learn the right way to nourish your body.

As for fitness, I’m trying to stop avoiding the harder workouts. Whenever I see something with a lot of running, or skipping, or a lot of burpees, because I was slow before. Now, after gaining weight during quarantine, I’ll be slower. I get so insecure about finishing last and everyone quietly waiting for me to finish so I don’t go. But part of getting healthy again means no more skipping “the hard ones.” Even if I finish last, or have the worst time, I’m not gonna get better if I let my insecurities get in the way. So, yesterday I went to the gym and did one of the “hard workouts.” I finished last. It was awful. But I did it and I went home feeling really good about the work I did. I felt empowered, like the next time I could do that style of workout better if I just keep pushing. Sure, I’ve gotta push back against the fact I’m not a morning person to get to those 6am classes, but I won’t hit my goals skipping workouts, so I need to hold myself accountable to my wellbeing and do them.

Finally, I stepped the furthest out of my comfort zone and went on a date. Yes, I left my house and met someone. He’s a great dude and I think we may go out again. I’m not setting any expectations, but I’m also putting myself out there a bit & it went okay. I didn’t let my insecurities about my weight or my age hold me back. I just did it. My weight will be fixed, I’m working on it. I’ll never be “the right age,” so I’ve just got to open myself up for romantic possibilities and not let my life pass me by. Also, my coffee was fantastic. I always forget how great the coffee shop by my house is. Will this turn into something? I dunno. If not, then maybe it will with someone else. But, I’m trying, something I hadn’t done in almost two years, since I broke up with Debbie Downer the Teacher. I’d go on a first date every quarter and not make a real effort to get to know them, and then stopped all together and used dating apps for the lolz. I figure even trying is a step in the right direction.

The only way to get better is to get uncomfortable. I promised myself I’d use this year to get better. Quarantine didn’t help, but refocusing will. The second half of 2020 is about accountability, growth, and success. I’m going to take steps every day to get better, surround myself with people who are driven to improve too, and soon we’ll be toasting to our successes…

…unless of course the murder hornets destroy us all.

It is What it is

Hey all you cool cats and kittens…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can You Feel My Heart?

Happy New Year everyone!

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty excited for the new year. I’m so excited for new adventures, new changes, kicking ass, setting new goals. It sounds magical. The holidays were amazing. I spent lots of time with family, held my annual holiday party with some great friends, and my store did really well! Lots of things to be excited about as we head into the new decade.

I even won some kick ass ski passes at work! Raising money for Stollery Children’s Hospital is my favourite part of my job. I love it so much. There’s something so awesome about knowing I’m helping the community in some small way. Normally I recuse myself from participating because I’m the captain of the charity program. But I threw my hat in the ring because our Stollery representative insisted, and because I really wanted to win them to take one of my best Alberta friends snowboarding because she loves it. I knew that this trip would mean a lot to her, and I got to do so much good for Edmonton children. Now, she and I and another friend who won the other passes are going on a super fun snowboarding adventure!

Related: I have never ever been skiing. Or snowboarding. Or anything winter sportsy. In fact, I have actively rejected winter sports. So, I may die.

That’s where I’ll be found

But I’m pretty stoked. I haven’t gone on a kid free trip in years and it’ll be nice to spend time with my friends. There will be female empowerment (or getting drunk in a hot tub with Prosecco) and possible death on a mountain. So fun! But then while we were in the group text, someone mentioned they should all bring their SO’s. Everyone has a significant other. Everyone…except me.

So, when I pointed this out, I was offered up some coworkers (which I would never date a coworker again) and the prospect of a random dude. All jokes of course. Also, for my friends to find the most “quality mans” on my Tinder and set us up. After all, I wasn’t gonna find a guy on my own. Then I realized that all of my friends had recently cracked the same joke about when was I gonna meet a quality mans because I’d been alone FOREVER. EVEN MY 10 YEAR OLD SAID SHE WOULD GET MARRIED BEFORE I REMARRIED! I just felt very small and sad, to the point where I cried at work a little bit. Is this how people see me? The loser who can’t get a plus one? The forever alone cat lady? The completely repulsive loser who is unloveable?!

I was heartbroken. Sure they were joking and it’s still a girls weekend, but it really stung. I never log into my Tinder because I just forget. The only place I go to other than work is the gym and I’m either working out or chatting. I haven’t had a love connection. Almost of my friends are paired off. I’m just that weirdo at the singles table with no dance partner. It was the first time in years I had considered settling for the first guy who messaged me online just to have a partner. The last two times I felt that way it ended up horribly, horribly wrong. But, the whole universe keeps asking why I’m not with someone, which translates into “what’s wrong with you? Are you too fat/ugly/crazy to land a man?”

I don’t like that feeling, like I don’t have any worth or value unless I am happily paired off. But that’s how I felt last night. Like my failure to meet someone and my refusal to settle for Mr. Whatever was ruining everyone’s fun. I even contemplated skipping the ski trip and giving them the passes so they could have super happy couple time. Their trip shouldn’t be ruined because I suck at dating. I ruined it by being single.

However, it was New Year’s Eve so I split a bottle of wine with my best friend and hashed it out. She reminded me that this is the first time I’ve really loved myself without conditions (partner, weight loss, etc) and because of that, I’ve built a solid career, moved to a nice home, learned to drive, and all of the things I refused to do for years out of fear and insecurity. This is the time in your life where the universe brings love to you, which is what I’ve said all along. You’ve just got to be open to finding it. So instead of being upset over something that was unintentional, open up your mind to the possibility of that all encompassing, healthy, Jack Pearson sort of love. It’s what I want and it should be what I get.

Which brings me back to the ski trip. Old MHC would have declined to go and let everyone have fun without me, I decided to be honest and tell people that this line of commentary hurt my feelings and I will meet someone when the universe says so, not some random so I have a plus one while skiing. And because my friends are the best, they apologized for making me feel like a third wheel, even if I did promise to let them fix me up a time or two (they’ve decided my “type” is the male equivalent of my best Alberta friend, so a sarcastic, snarky, borderline mean weirdo with an engineering degree that likes to argue about stuff. Or there’s always the “hard working Conservative Oil Man” that my relatives suggested, with whom I would argue with about everything until one of us died).

A moment of silence for the Conservative Oil Tyler

2020 is going to be an incredible year. I’ve committed to 300 workouts, and I’m running my third 10k. I intend to participate in another CrossFit Open. I am going to learn to ski. There’s a ton of opportunity at my job to learn and grow. My kids are growing and becoming amazing young women. There is so much to be excited about, which is why I’m going to focus on all of those things. The more I grow as a person and become the best version of me, the more likely love will come. Also, I look super cute and I’m in love with my darker hair. I won’t let one missing piece destroy my whole outlook. After all, missing pieces always turn up, but not until you open your eyes and are ready to find it.

You Need To Calm Down

Ever just freak out about money?

I do. A lot.

I’m not gonna go on the internet and cry about how I’m a miserable broke asshole. Mostly because I’m not. I work hard and maintain an okay standard of living. I’m not going to buy a beach house any time soon, but I’m doing okay. However, I’m trying really hard to improve my credit, pay off one of my credit cards, reduce my debt to income ratio, and put myself in a better position. While I am fortunate enough to receive some child support, it’s often late for weeks at a time, and the dad doesn’t seem to care enough to make sure that he’s contributing. But it is what it is. The important thing is that the kids live in a comfortable home & that I’m taking care of things. I think we’re doing okay.

I always feel guilty about spending money on myself. I bought some new makeup and felt really guilty, even though I used my freelance money. But still, I always feel like money is tight and I’m not being responsible and I could do better with my finances. Then I’ll stress, like somehow my makeup collection is ruining me financially, despite my only buying stuff every six months or so. But I’m always guilty, like how dare I want something. The kids need stuff. New glasses. New clothes. Food. Lodging. Slushies. I’ve got to provide. Makeup doesn’t provide.

Also, for the ladies (& fashion forward gents), my makeup collection.

I think right now I’m stressing more because I saved up all year to take the kids on a legit vacation, and not just flying them to see their dad. We’re going to Toronto to check out the sites and attend WWE Summerslam, so my children can live out their dream of meeting Becky Lynch…and I can also meet Becky Lynch (& Seth Rollins) hahaha. It’ll be nice to use my vacation time for an actual vacation. But that means cutting every corner, scraping every penny to cover bills, which gets harder when you’re doing it on your own because you’re basically a sole support parent as your support payments are hit or miss. This means every penny is accounted for, and everything, from the hair appointment I cancelled to save cash to my granola bars for lunches, makes me feel like a shitty person.

I guess I feel this way because I’m the only person who has to think about the collective & everything is on me. I’ve got to keep the family going. I’ve got to make sure the bills are paid, the food is on the table. I’ve got to make sure that everyone is taken care of. I’ve got to fly the kids out to see their dad every year. I’ve got to make sure the car follows the proper maintenance schedule. I’ve got to keep everything together and I scrape and claw to get a vacation together and feel badly because that could have been used elsewhere. Because of this, I end up thinking that anything I might want is bad or wrong and I’m a horrible person for buying my cup of tea or buying makeup with money that I make outside of our budgeted income. I spend so much time worrying that I end up stressed out and exhausted.

What people expect from me

Am I the only person who feels like this?

Actually me

Maybe this is a sign from the universe that I need to be smarter with my money. I’ve already spoken to a financial planner about how to reduce my debt and really make my money work for me so I can feel more secure about my finances. Continue to do smart things like keep the deductibles for my auto and home insurance in the account with my insurance so I’m not caught with my pants down in an emergency. But mostly, calm the fuck down. It’s okay to indulge a little, just don’t be stupid. Stick to your budget. Put away savings. Plan your budget in a way that will help you maximize your earnings. Easier said than done, but I’ve mastered slowing down on my impulse buys. But most importantly, if I’m so worried about money all of the time, it’s up to me to make changes to feel better about my finances. Whining and sacrificing and panicking has never improved anyone’s situation. Nor has complaining and blaming everyone else. What will help, is actually taking time to make financial management a priority. I thought I did well, but I could do better, and I will be better, one nickel and dime at a time.