From Now On

GUYS. I HAVE NEWS. GUYS. GUUUUYYYYSSSS.

Today, I was scrolling though the Twitter like normal, because in addition to today being my daughter’s 11th birthday, I have the flu.

I’ve actually lost my voice completely, so it’s a wonderful time to be alive, as Bossman said. But I can’t talk, outside of about 10 minutes today. So, while she was happily trying on her new apron and oven mitts (apparently the best gifts EVER, as she’s always wanted a nice apron with matching oven mitts and these are Nerdy Nummies, so even better), I was mindlessly scrolling. I saw a tweet from my editor at the Yards, and saw that he was nominated for TWO Alberta Magazine Awards! I was so excited for him, and went to issue a congrats until I saw something in the corner.

GUYS. I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR AN ALBERTA MAGAZINE AWARD AND I FOUND OUT ON TWITTER, WHICH IS COMPLETELY IN LINE WITH MY LIFE.

That’s right! I am an Alberta Magazine Award nominee! Isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve ever heard?! (To read my nominated piece, CLICK HERE) I would have screamed if I could make sounds other than pitiful squeaks! So, I texted everybody I’ve ever met and told them! My friends are the best because they’re super supportive. My best friend in Cow Province agreed to be my date. My gym crew all took the time to “like” the news. My teacher and mentor said she was proud of me. It was a day of happy tears and ruined mascara, but I got to celebrate the fact that one of my best friends in the whole world turned 11 today and after all of these years of working and risks, I am finally making it in the world of journalism.

I didn’t submit this work for nomination. I had no idea this was even a thing that could happen. I’ve been a member of AMPA since 2015, when I started at Great West Newspapers. I never thought this could be me. I was proud of this piece because it was important and relevant and I was proud to be asked to write it. I probably won’t win this award. The other pieces are a zillion times better than mine. But for me, the girl in 80G who was part of the Convergence pilot program a million years ago, this is a huge deal and I’m super proud.

Ahh, fat MHC. How I hate you.

Hopefully I can get the time off and Carissa & I can go to the ceremony while I meet other journalists and maybe learn some new ways to improve my writing. Then I’ll lose, be disappointed, and move forward. But right now, I feel like one of those celebrities when they hear they’re going to the Oscars; proud and humbled.

Today I feel like I can really be a great writer, and make my daughters proud. They were proud today. For all those times I feel like I’m parenting wrong; today made me think I could really be a role model to them and be the kind of Mom that they can be proud of…at least until the next time I have to work late, or on my day off, or whatever it takes to keep us fed and housed because this house of four women are doing it for themselves. But for one day, all of those struggles seemed totally worth it.

Sky’s The Limit

Welcome to the Misadventures of MHC!

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

See? I kick ass at this type of photography!

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

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


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


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

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

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


Unstoppable 

So, I did a thing.


Oops. Wrong thing. But I did that too. My best friend was talking to me & says “You’re not THAT much of a geek MHC.” My reply? “I am getting a Harry Potter fan tattoo on my arm right this second. I took an illustration from the book & got it permanently inked on my arm. I am that geeky.”

But we’re not talking about my nerdiness. I mean, we could, but we aren’t.

Back to the thing I did.


Oh, hey guys, look at that!

The process that was supposed to take three months took three weeks (well, two. I was off the floor for eight days). Apparently, during the CEO visit, my staff actually recommended that they just give me the reigns, as I had proven I cared about their best interest & wanted them to succeed. So, I’m on salary & I have two phones again (but I’ve asked for a new one, because look at this bitch)!


Wait. Not that bitch. But can I take a moment to discuss my loathing for Pidgey? Fuck Pidgey. For real.

This is the picture I sent my boss with the caption “You cannot be serious.” It doesn’t work. I am getting a new one.

Speaking of vacation, I got an email from a local magazine, asking if I could cover some plays for Fringe Festival. I sent my work schedule & we should be able to work around it. But I didn’t hound & plead. They contacted ME based on my body of work in my city. I’ve earned a reputation as a reliable, eager, overachiever that can write the crap out of a magazine article. A reputation that I earned by doing just that. My Great West Editor assigned me a fairly high profile story because he thought I could knock it out of the park. It took a year, but I’ve finally built the portfolio that I knew that I could. And Glentel encourages the growth of their management team, both in and out of the business. My DM’s know my goals, both injournalism & telecommunications, and that I ALWAYS get what I want. I have a strong staff. My DTL (no longer my co-manager) is in the same mall as me (and a “bloody giant” as he says hahaha). I have created work/life balance and balance many things. No word on my story idea, but if I don’t hear back, I’ll just shop it or just publish it on My Trending Stories. Why? Because I can.

My life has never been easy. It’s always been an uphill battle. I didn’t have parents with money to bail me out or pay my tuition or a supportive partner or a family to back me up (although my brother is always there with moral support. He’s bad ass). I’ve always had my friends at my back, but everything I’ve ever acquired or achieved, I earned through hard work & getting back up when life kicked me in the dick. Everything that breaks my heart doesn’t break it anymore. I use it to drive me to get better. Go ahead, hurt me life. I will take all of that pain & heartache & use it as fuel to drive me, make me better, stronger, more capable. It drives me in the gym when I’m setting my first PR since my injury. It drives me when I’m running. It drives me when I’m working. I wake up every morning with the belief that I’m gonna punch life in the face…

…and I am so damn grateful for each setback.

Yup, you heard me. Everything that didn’t work out or hurt me taught me that I have a 100% success rate of surviving that & I know I can take that & become the most awesome woman I’ll ever be, someone I can be proud of. Someone my daughters can look up to. A woman of passion & conviction & who succeeeds at everything she sets her mind to. They watched me fall down & get back up over & over again. They know that when you don’t succeed, you get your ass up & get back in the damn ring. So, thank you life, for crushing my soul 100 times, because I built a better MHC from all of those things. A kinder, gentler, stronger, MHC.

I wrote something this week, but it has a password so only Erica can read it (she’s the only one who knows me well enough to guess the password). I’m not comfortable sharing it, but it’s basically about how what I thought would be my worst nightmare ended up being the fuel for my greatest success & how I know who I want to be, what I want, who it is that I want in my life (spoiler alert; Erica) & how much I learned about what I needed to change about my own insecurities to make things work for me. I hate writing words that no one will read, so this is the high level version of how I carefully built my life from the brink of disaster & I have almost everything I’ve ever wanted. I have the day job that I love & gives me the financial security I need (& I don’t work in a fucking Walmart), I’ve built a successful freelance career so I’m always writing and getting published somewhere. I’ve shed 17 inches and I’ve finally started succeeding at my new Crossfit gym because fuck arthritis & fuck injuries. My kids are happy. And WWE even booked my dream match (after ruining my life at Battleground) I’ve almost won at life bitches!


I got this far by never focusing on what I don’t have, but what I will have by working hard. Grateful for what I have & grinding for what I will have if I just keep my head up, work hard & never settle for less than the best I have in me to offer.

Rise

I apologize if I’m rambly af, but I think I’ve had like seven hours of sleep over the last five days. I’ve had several deadlines, so between that and my day job & my family & fitness & Pokemon Go, I think I may be dead & just not know it yet. 


Fortunately, I’m taking a well deserved vacation. 


Well, as much of a vacation as I take. I’m heading for West London Crossfit the second I get off the plane. I brought my laptop to work on assignments & because I may be assigned stories to work on remotely. I’m using in flight wifi to respond to emails & I have two conference calls I need to be a part of,  but hey, I AM ON VACATION! 


I will also be doing fun stuff, as I’ll be spending the week with my best friend Melissa. For those of you who know me, I hate the act of travelling. I love going to new places, but I’d prefer a teleporter. As always, check out my Twitter feed for my travel adventures (and my day to day life, and anything that comes up, as by the time I would want to write personally, I’m generally dead on my feet and barely know what day it is). But that’s a good thing. I’m glad my professional writing is taking precedence over my personal ramblings. Besides, I have enough social media that my adventures are easily tracked & those who love me most could like, call me or text or send a carrier pigeon or visit me at work or bug me on FB or something. I once posted my address on the Internet like a dumbass. I am always easily found. 

Speaking of writing, you should probably check this out;


Oh…that? That’s just an article I wrote for the Lloydminister Meridian Booster, a Postmedia publication. No big deal.*

(*is actually big deal. Please commence big dealing)

That’s right, I am currently freelancing with Sun Media, a division of Postmedia. No word on my story idea, but even if it doesn’t pan out, I got a foot in the door & an article published by a major newspaper company (& a photo I took!), which is pretty much all I’ve ever wanted in the history of forever. It wasn’t my finest work, but I took a risk & did something I’ve never done before & it paid off in spades. Because I was available on such short notice, I’m hoping I proved my commitment & this can turn into more opportunities. I’m so excited and happy that this is happening. All of my hard work is paying off. And I’m so very tired. 

I may be sleep deprived, as my free daylight hours go to my family & crossfitting, so I write at night & you may be more likely to find me awake @ 2am than any other time (I invite all night owls to chat me up then, as you can keep me awake while I work hahaha), but it’s worth it. After years of hard work, sacrifices, I finally put it all together & I have built a life with almost everything I could have asked for to be truly happy. I am succeeding in my professional life more than I ever have before, both in wireless and more importantly, as a reporter. My kids are happy. I have time for fitness. I’m so proud that little setbacks don’t hold me back anymore & I can just keep on making things awesome. A little sleep deprivation is so fucking worth it. 

So. Fucking. Worth it. 

Hopefully, the next thing I get to share is that my story pitch was greenlit & I can send a link to a published work that is mine from initial pitch to printed byline. The thought makes me so damn happy. I just can’t show emotion. Just bleary eyed glee. 

Fortunately, the Snapchat selfie filter hides the exhaustion. Feel free to follow my adventures on Snapchat (ASHMHC)

It’s A Good Life

Unless you’ve lived under a rock since October, you know all about my latest obsession: crossfit.

That’s right bitches; MHC is gonna be more bad ass than usual.

I know there are people out there who claim it’s dangerous, I’ll die, it’s expensive, but you can’t fake results, which I’m getting in spades. I can already lift 40+lbs more than when I started & I completed my testing with sore muscles & a sense of accomplishment.

95lbs down since January!
95lbs down since January!

My greatest accomplishment came yesterday, when the owner of my gym was going to skip the WOD, because she hadn’t done one in a bit & it was challenging. She said that the whole time…until I finished it. I’ve only been going for two months, and I finished the whole damn thing. I didn’t just finish it; I finished it with a score comparable to those who have been training for over a year. She said there was no excuse for her now & was impressed by my ability to go out & work my ass off (literally) to finish it.

This is the story of my life; I get up off of my ass & earn stuff. I think that’s why I’m more determined than most; I have never been given anything. I earned the right to be a mother in a court of law. I earned my education by fighting tooth and nail just to attend school. I earned my portfolio by never taking no for an answer. I earned my current punch clock job by telling my boss that I wasn’t leaving the interview until I got it so he may as well just hire me. Nothing for me has ever come terribly easy, either because I made dumb choices or because I trusted bad people. But either way, I got through it all & I’ve been blessed with my beautiful life. I think that’s why I’m always determined to find happiness where there is nothing, because I know what it’s like to have nothing. Because of this, I find ways to push through ugliness & get what I want in the end. I set goals & achieve them; the end.

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My friends say I’m impossible because I know what I want & I go get it, and if I can’t get it, I focus on all of the many other things I want to achieve before my time expires. There’s always “there’s something else, someone else, plan B.” In my life, there is no Plan B (let’s all ask my legal professors how well Plan B goes). I wanted to be a published writer, and I am. I wanted to get in shape, so I did. I wanted to be free to live my life without abusive or controlling people, so I did. You get the idea. I know what I want & I get it. If it doesn’t work the first time; I try again. Once I get my mind on that’s where I belong, there’s not much changing it, mostly because I’ve tried to change it myself & my gut doesn’t lie. If I feel that strongly, it’s because there’s facts, evidence, and my beautiful heart is telling me to follow it, so I do. 99% of the time I’ll get what I want. It’s not a flawless victory, but it’s still a pretty amazing success rate.

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So, much like my masochistic relationship with running, I’m going to continue my masochistic relationship with crossfit while setting goals, achieving them & repeat. I will never be the girl that quits. I will always be the girl that succeeds, and I will never understand why that’s a bad thing to some. Maybe I am impossible. Maybe I do need a Plan B. But I don’t really understand why. Things only don’t work if you don’t work for them. Things only fall apart if you don’t try. And even if they do, there’s another Plan A in another part of my life that needs my attention & if I’m right about where I should live, who I belong with, the job I should have, the rest will work itself out in time. So, I’ll focus on all of the other millions of things I want to accomplish, so when my life is over, I can say I lived it well & got almost everything I wanted. I would hate to be thinking “what if.”

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In the interim, I’ll just continue to achieve everything else I want in my beautiful life, & my daughters will learn from me how to be self reliant, brave & successful, as well as grateful for what life has afforded them. It may be impossible, but it’s a beautiful lesson, & I like it better than “meh. You tried. Settle for something less.” They’ll have learned even if it’s hard, you finish the workout. You try one more time for that dream job. You reach for that brass ring. If you don’t get it, then reach for it again. And eventually all of your dreams will come true.

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