Too Good at Goodbyes

Ain’t life some shit?

A couple of days ago, I went to bed shortly after midnight. I had written a positive little blurb about my attempts to get healthier. I posted it, then lights out, as 8am comes early. Then, I woke up to read about a terrorist attack within my city. Five people were injured, but the suspect, an alleged radical sympathizer of ISIS was detained. He is facing charges and will be brought to justice.

Maybe it was because I slept through it, or because I knew everyone I love was safe. Maybe it was because Commonwealth Stadium still felt removed from me. I didn’t feel like the world felt darker, or scarier. I went to work. The kids went Halloween costume shopping. I had no fear, in fact, quite the opposite. I felt proud that my city’s fine police officers and first responders resolved this in such a way that nobody died. I was thinking “wow. How lucky am I to live in Edmonton, where our police officers know how to quickly rise to action and protect us.” I drafted my fantasy hockey team, and went to bed feeling grateful that the victims were expected to recover, that Constable Mike Chernyk was safely back home with his family and my city chose to rally for peace. Sure, a few bad apples on social media went on some racist tirades, but for the most part, I feel like we were grateful that everyone was going to be okay.

Photo credit: Andrea Ross (CBC)

Then I woke up to read about another terrorist attack in Las Vegas, one that killed 59 people and wounded over 500 others. My heart breaks for all of these families. They went out for a night of fun, and now their families are grieving. Going out to a concert should be fun, not a night of fear and terror. For those of you who read regularly, you know my stance on gun control. I once wrote an entire article about why you can shove your thoughts and prayers up your ass. I won’t beat you over the head with my stance. Instead, I’ll share with you a little chat I had with an old high school friend.

Even though there were two terrorist attacks less than 24 hours apart, no one died in Edmonton. 59 died in Vegas. The idea of 59 families grieving and so many injured souls is gut wrenching. I have friends that are huge fans of Jason Aldean. The idea that they could be injured or killed because they wanted to enjoy a concert is a terror is one that my mind cannot comprehend, but it’s a reality. My friend & I talked about that every time this happens, every American citizen loses a little piece of who they used to be, whether they buried a loved one or not. They don’t get the warm feeling of knowing they are safe; because they aren’t; not at any point in time. You can be shot at a Jason Aldean concert. You can be shot watching a movie. You can be shot in your first grade classroom. You could be walking down the street minding your business and get shot. I recently took my eight year old to a hockey game. Our biggest concerns were that the Canucks might score and that she shouldn’t eat the entire bag of cotton candy before the end of the first period. But my cousin, who lives in Michigan, doesn’t have the same luxury. She has to worry whether or not Detroit will win, whether her young son will eat too much cotton candy, and where the emergency exits are, and her exit strategy in case of a mass shooting. Wikihow has a detailed guide with instructions on how to survive a mass shooting. That’s the new normal, and that’s terrifying.

I am grossly under qualified to discuss tragedies. But I guess if there was anything I could offer, as an Edmontonian who’s city was impacted by terrorism the night before tragedy struck Vegas, is that I’m sorry that you don’t get to feel safe. I’m sorry that you don’t get to go to work feeling safe because police caught the bad guy because, in a few months, there will be another bad guy with a gun. You’ll need support then too & I promise to offer support then. I’m sorry that you’ll never feel safe at a concert or a movie or a football game. I’m sorry that you’ll always be wondering in the back of your mind if today is your turn to be shot by the bad guy. I hope someday laws change and you won’t have to feel that way, but until then, this unimportant Canadian blogger sends love, donations, and will use my space to encourage those in the area to donate blood and help out in any way that they can. I’ve posted some numbers below. If you live in the area, please call.

During dark times, we should focus on the good in the world. Do a good deed. Be kind to each other. But also, never forget to thank the brave EMS teams and medical personnel, who tirelessly work to save us when we are impacted by the worst of us. Change doesn’t come through violence or finger pointing; it comes through patience, understanding, and love.

Anyone Else

I get asked a lot why I love crossfit. Let me tell you a story. 

Thursday, I went to the gym. The workout was tough. I had to scale some of the movements & weights. I was huffing and puffing through the WOD, envious of those who can get there every day, and were executing handstand push-ups flawlessly. Halfway through, I questioned why I was even there. But as they finished, they were rooting for me and congratulating me for making it through. That kind of teamwork, along with the results I see at Crossfit is why I continue to go. We celebrate each other’ successes and support each other. It’s such an amazing thing, to see people coming together to help everyone succeed.  That success helps me in my day to day life. The next day, I went to work and had a great shift. Then I really pushed myself and managed to run 0.4KM more than my Tuesday run. When I feel good mentally, it helps me push myself physically. It’s a cycle of wellness.  

But crossfit has also helped me embrace my body. I’m never gonna be a size six again. My thighs are always gonna be big. I’m gonna have a booty from squats. That teeny waist and dress size isn’t a realistic goal for me. But part of loving yourself is loving your body. I may never be thin, but I will be strong. My fellow crossfit ladies are strong, sexy, beautiful women. They have powerful bodies that are healthy and ideal for their body type. My goal is to get to their level, but with my body. I can’t worry about a scale number, or the size on a clothing tag. Just my own health. I will teach my girls that being healthy is more important that a body type. As their mom, it’s important for me to be the role model. I can’t have low self esteem & teach them to love themselves. I have to embrace my curves, my thick thighs. It’s been a hard road, but I’m getting there. 

I’m so glad that we are now celebrating healthy body types of all sizes, and not a “one size fits all” sort of beauty. We’re celebrating healthy, active, strong women. For the longest time, Nikki Bella was my fitness inspiration. She still is. Maybe I won’t have her body, but I can develop her commitment to fitness, her enthusiasm, the way she supports all women & wants everyone to succeed. I think we all need that type of attitude. We need to love our bodies. We need to build up other women. We need to get excited about fitness & health.  I may never be a size four like Nikki, but her journey as an athlete inspires me to continue to work on my own health. 

But lately, I’ve found myself really inspired and motivated by WWE Superstar Nia Jax. Her IG feed is loaded with body positivity. She doesn’t look like the average WWE woman. She’s strong, powerful, and unlike the Bertha Faye’s & Bull Nakano’s, she’s presented as more than just a one note monster character. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, witty, and assertive. Nia Jax is not a personality free monster designed to prey on the beautiful ingenues. She’s a fleshed out character, focused on her goals, which is to be a champion. My own daughters are big fans of Nia (and while they rooted for Bayley & Sasha, were LIVID that Nia didn’t get a special Wrestlemania entrance like her opponents. They said she deserved Tinashe singing her theme, and fireworks like the others). They think she’s beautiful, strong, and funny. When I was a kid, she’d be a mute monster. But my girls get to see a powerful woman portrayed as smart, sexy, as well as dominant. 


But more importantly, she’s not like most girls. She’s strong, athletic. She is in the best shape of her body type. And representation matters. Not every woman looks like Nikki Bella, and that’s totally okay. Some women are built like Nia Jax. Some women work their asses off like I do with the knowledge that size four is never gonna happen. Instead of feeling embarrassed, women should embrace their healthy. That’s why women like Nia Jax are so important. It’s important to see that healthy and fit mean something different to everyone.  

But that’s why I love crossfit. I remember working out at the GoodLife gyms, and hearing the snickers while I was on the treadmill or when I set my machine to a lower weight, as I was a beginner. I heard the giggles in the change room, as if a fat girl had no business there. It kept me out of a gym for four years. I don’t hear that at my gym anymore. It doesn’t matter if I scaled the workout, or finished last. There’s no mockery, just encouragement and acceptance. I’m sure women like Nia hear your mockery too. They see your tweets calling her fat, calling her Nia Snacks, etc. A friend of mine has come back to wrestling fandom after 10 years off and he called her “the fat chick.” His wife (who works in fashion), commented that she looked like a strong, powerful, woman. But those comments are why women like Nia are so important. We need to teach little girls that every woman’s body is different. A dress size or a scale number can’t be your goal (My Fitness Pal said my goal weight should be 118lbs!), but being in the best shape for your individual body should be. 

If you’re a woman who is actively working on her health, celebrate that work. Celebrate your body and what it can do. Celebrate your strength, your movements, your accomplishments. Hell, even celebrate that cheat day where you ate a large pizza with extra cheese. But celebrate your body, not the number on your dress tag or on a scale. 

Big & Loud

This has not been my week. I’ve been sick. I’ve had xrays. It’s actually super shitty. But I will figure this out in a few days & all will be well. 

But I refuse to let dark times cloud my awesome life. My life is the raddest. I’ve lost six pounds this month. My gym dues are paid & I can train. My kids got rad report cards. Oh, and I got some much needed time with some friends this week. It was just what I needed. 

  
But enough about my life. Let’s talk about mindless drivel. Today’s mindless drivel is why the WWE Divas Division continues to piss me off. 

It has not been since 2014 that WWE has had a true babyface Diva in Brie Bella. Brie was beloved by fans, as they hoped she would defeat the evil Stephanie McMahon & avenge her husband Daniel Bryan & sister Nikki (she didn’t. She was defeated & aligned with Nikki to reign as bad girls in Team Bella & now is used to elevate the NXT Divas). 

  
Since then, all of the dominant women have been stereotypes. Bad girl Nikki Bella. Jealous geeky girl AJ Lee. Manipulative Paige. Daddy’s spoiled brat Charlotte Flair. All until the unexpected rise in popularity of Becky Lynch. 

  
Becky Lynch has gone through many phases since her debut, but the core of her main roster character has remained the same; she wants to be a champion of integrity. Someone little girls can look up to. She wants to win the right way. All three of my daughters watched the Royal Rumble with baited breath, to see if Becky would overtake Charlotte Flair & become the Divas Champion. 

She didn’t. 

Instead, Charlotte’s father forced himself on her, she was pinned in dirty fashion, tossed out of the ring like trash by villainess Sasha Banks & left to sob alone. 

  
As a mom & a feminist, I find it horrifying that male “advocates for women’s wrestling” like Jim Ross & Mick Foley are more concerned about whether or not the word Diva is problematic than the actual treatment of the women. An old man forcing himself on a woman is a humourous plot point in 2016. Every woman except Becky Lynch is a stereotype, from mean girl to cat lady. They are booked as catty, jealous bimbos who are self serving & petty. Even my 14 year old daughter, who wanted to be a Diva, no longer wants that. She feels like she would have to become a character that her sisters couldn’t be proud of, or end up humiliated like Becky Lynch. 

  

WWE has an obligation to their female fans to give them a hero. I’m not necessarily about kids role modelling from TV people, my kids look up to me, my strength, tenacity, my work ethic. But little girls deserve to see the heroine win in the story. Celeste Bonin’s Kaitlyn was humiliated by man eating villainess AJ Lee. Brie Bella was felled by her evil twin and then joined her. Paige fought the good fight, but turned bitter. WWE finally has a chance to give little girls a chance for their hero to win, like John Cena or Roman Reigns for boys, as Becky is still fighting the good fight against two evil stereotypes. As the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania approaches, I hope WWE finally shows that nice girls can finish first, and the big moment can go to the character who wants to show that you can become champion & keep your soul; Becky Lynch. 

  

Dear Stephanie McMahon: A Letter From One Mom To Another

Dear Stephanie McMahon,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but we sort of grew up together. I’m only a couple of years younger than you and I grew up watching WWE programming and loved the entertainment your family brought into my home each week. As a teenager, I loathed your onscreen character for being married to my childhood crush, Triple H (although I promise I got over it haha) and much like you, I have three daughters of my own. You’ve gone from being the bane of my teenage existence to becoming a role model for women like me; you’re a hardworking mom who strives to be a role model. You don’t make excuses; you find time to keep in shape, run a company and still be there for your daughters. You inspire women like me every single day. I’m actually a huge fan of you and your work ethic.

The WWE Network is the most popular channel in my home, but it’s not for me; it’s for my three daughters, who are 13, eight and five. My eldest daughter’s goal in life is to become the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history and is already training for her goal. She runs 5Km with me three days a week, joins as many sports teams a possible and carries her replica title around as practice for when she wins the real thing, skipping like her idol, AJ Lee. The highlight of my eight year old daughter’s life was when she met WWE Diva Paige in our hometown in Ontario, Canada last year. Paige told her they were best friends and to this day, my daughter swears that she and Paige are best friends and begs to stay up late every week to see Paige wrestle and is waiting with baited breath for Paige to get her Wrestlemania moment @ Wrestlemania XXXI. My youngest loves the Bella Twins and sported her “Fearless Nikki” shirt on her birthday so she could be “Fearless Five.” They were excited beyond belief this past Summerslam, when you and Brie Bella co-headlined the second largest event of the year. They pleaded for Brie Mode and Fearless Nikki shirts so they could watch Divas kick butt just like the guys. They were so happy and as a longtime fan of WWE programming, I thought we were finally going to see a change, where women would get equal time to the men on programming and no longer would little girls all over the world wait all night to see the Divas just for them to be trucked out for three minutes and then leave…

..until last night.

from wwe.com
from wwe.com

Paige and fellow Diva Emma sat in the ring for several minutes while Raw aired a promo for male Superstar Sting. A promo that was long and unnecessary and could have aired at any point in the show. The Divas were given less than 10 seconds to wrestle and maybe three minutes to perform before they were shipped backstage. Ironically enough, you made a statement in a backstage segment questioning if male superstar Seth Rollins would defy you simply because you’re a woman. You make a bold, femminist statement and then have your Divas compete in less than 30 seconds with a promo in between. You stand up for powerful women, but your company disrespects their female athletes less than two hours later by saying that a video package for a male superstar is more important than their time.

I’m not talking as a disgruntled fan; I’m a mom just like you. My daughters adore the Divas, only watch WWE programming for the Divas (and Daniel Bryan. They really love Daniel Bryan) and each week they wait for hours for their beloved Divas just to see them for less than two minutes in storylines that insult their intelligence. The Bella Twins hate Paige because she looks different, AJ Lee hates the Total Divas because she wants to be on the show and wasn’t invited? Why can’t they have a storyline that is deep and meaningful? Trish Stratus and Lita had a rivalry that eclipsed their male counterparts, why can’t the current women? While I appreciate that Paige has sent a strong message about being true to oneself, why can’t women have storylines that make them strong, powerful women, and not high school bullies or jealous vixens?

I guess the part that confuses me is that you are such a strong woman and you take such pride in representing women in such a strong capacity. Why wouldn’t you want the Divas to be a reflection of your work ethic? My daughters as well as daughters all over the world look up to these women, they deserve more than two minute matches and storylines that demean them. When you became an active member of the creative team, moms like myself had such hope that you would show the world that the women were just as strong as the men. Total Divas is a successful franchise and brings new viewers to WWE. Why wouldn’t you capitalize on that and allow the viewers of Total Divas to see just how strong and athletic these Divas can be? We can’t see that in two minutes. The Divas work so hard. They deserve so much more. And you know how strong and talented they are, that’s why you chose to wrestle them yourself. Brie and Nikki Bella were talented enough to work a match with you, sell a pay per view event with you, and make history as the first women’s match to co-headline a PPV with you, but they’re not good enough for twenty minutes of airtime for Nikki to defend her title or cut a promo? That feels so hypocritical and I know that’s not how you would want fans to see you.

from wwe.com
from wwe.com

On behalf of every fan, I’m asking you to please let the Divas have airtime. Monday Night Raw is three hours long, surely you can give thirty minutes to the Divas. Every time you don’t, you cheapen the goals of little girls all over the world just like my teenage daughter, who want nothing more than to hold that title. You cheapen the hard work of women like AJ Lee, Paige and Nikki Bella, who work so hard and train so hard while working long hours and travel long days to hold that title and devalue Brie Bella, your handpicked opponent. You make them appear unworthy and beneath the men, and I know a woman like you, who conquered a man’s world would never want that for women.

I hope you’ll listen to the fans and #GiveDivasAChance, so my daughters will never have to say “Please let us stay up for the Divas, they’ll only be on for a minute!” ever again.

Sincerely,

MHC, A Mom Of Disappointed Divas Fans

Lie To Me

When I was a little girl, all I wanted to be was a reporter.

When other little girls were playing house with their baby dolls, little MHC was dropping her dolls off @ baby doll daycare & covering a fire. Little MHC played “Desert Storm” & she would write articles on loose leaf paper based on CNN coverage. All of my friends thought I was a freak (this has never changed), but this was my calling, not a career. I was going to inform the masses. I was going to make them think. They were going to ask questions of the world, themselves. They were going to trust the information I worked to collect & present & society would be better because people would learn & evolve. After all, people should always be learning, asking questions, collecting information & growing. I was going to change the world by showing people what the world really was & people would want it to be better. I was going to reach someone & make them think & grow. I actually apply this principle to everything in my life. If I stand by something & tell you I believe it with all that I am, you should probably investigate it, because I have & I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t something I believed was gospel.

Alas, I have done none of these things. I write puff pieces & this blog. Little MHC is probably ashamed. I always justify my entertainment reporting with the idea that I write smart, snappy & honest articles. I only sold my soul a little. But my calling remains; I will be a writer & I’ll try to show the world what the world is really like so it’ll change.

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I have a point, I promise.

Little MHC had one idol growing up; Barbara Walters. This woman asked hard questions. She spoke to world leaders, war heroes. She was bringing the world information that would change how they saw the world. She was a bad ass, no nonsense lady who wasn’t afraid to put these powerful people on the hot seat & make them accountable. I even forgave the existence of the View because it was a good idea in theory. But this woman was literally everything I ever wanted to be (well, professionally. I always kind of knew I’d never have a person, because they’d have to love my writing as much as I do & understand my need to inform & be moved by my writing & care & even suggest things for me to write about).

Even though they’ve gone downhill, I still look forward to her Most Fascinating People series. I don’t always agree, but she always conducts such compelling interviews. This year, she chose Amal Clooney (née Alamuddin) as her most fascinating person of 2014. Interesting choice. Her reason? Clooney’s wedding to her husband, Academy Award winning actor George Clooney was “really one of the greatest achievements in human history.”

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What?

Mrs. Clooney is a fascinating woman. She is educated and uses her education to bring attention to human rights issues. Her focus as an attorney is human rights and extradition. She represented Julian Assange (WikiLeaks) & Yulia Tymoshenko (the former president of Ukraine). She met with world leaders before Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. She cut her honeymoon short to attend a case in Greece involving the reparations of ancient statues. Mrs. Clooney is definitely a fascinating woman. But she is considered fascinating because she married a playboy actor, not her body of work.

As an entertainment journalist, I know I am part of the problem. We have put so much focus on Kardashians & ScarJos & J.Los & treat these people as fascinating instead of leaders of men, visionaries & average people who just want to make the world better. Walters completely devalued Mrs. Clooney’s body of work, her dedication to helping her fellow man, her education by claiming her greatest moment in life was landing George Clooney. Because after all, no woman can have any real accomplishments greater than marrying a rich and handsome man.

While yes, celebrities can be fascinating (Taylor Swift), there are so many more people in the world. Of her list of 10, the only non celebrities were Mrs. Clooney & Elon Musk. In a world where Ferguson is happening, there is political unrest in Russia, the American political system continues to be flawed, where planes disappear, discrimination is still rampant, sexism is real & racism is fatal. We live in a world where, despite all of these things, beautiful acts of heroism & kindness happen. We live in a world where beautiful people try to make it beautiful every day. All of those things produce fascinating people & someone’s ability to land a man shouldn’t make her the most interesting person in the world. It makes me so sad that Barbara Walters, a pioneer for women reporters has fallen in line with the celebrity worship that she no longer sees the fascinating people among us, the peacekeepers & the leaders & the thinkers.

I guess it makes me sad that we live in a world where our media focuses on keeping up with Kardashians, their own political bias or forgetting that news doesn’t stop just because it stopped trending on Twitter. We’ve stopped informing people & making them think. We’ve allowed ourselves to blame the media for our skewed way of thinking, because we aren’t. We just mindlessly listen to a network who feeds us whatever & a differing opinion is just bias. That’s why John Oliver & Jon Stewart are most people’s go-to for news. But they’re comedians, not reporters.

Before you read anything, even my drivel, open your mind & be willing to think. Then think. Then question. Then read a contradicting opinion. Then think again. Ask more questions. Expect the media to work for you & get the answers you need to know. If you’re satisfied with the answers, then you need to think harder. Because we work for you, to inform you, to make you think, not the other way around.

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Something Great

I watched WWE as a kid & still dig the camp factor. My daughters love it though, are very invested in the storylines & I’ll have to keep my two eldest in neutral corners as their faves AJ Lee & Paige compete for the Divas title tonight @ the Summerslam PPV event (yes, they are well aware it isn’t real, it’s all scripted & they’re all friends in real life, but you can get hurt if you try it. My middle daughter will tell you this is the best cartoon on TV & Daniel Bryan is everything).

However, I often complain at the lack of proper representation for their female characters. The Divas (until recently) were one note characters, either kind of trashy or innocent ingenue & their only storylines were bad girl wants good girl’s Divas title or is jealous of good girl. The only exceptions were the long & storied feud of Trish Stratus & Lita & the mean girls style antics of Laycool (Michelle McCool & Layla El). As a parent of daughters , it bugged me that there were no characters they could really get behind or rally around. Well, it’s as if Stephanie McMahon (the company’s principal owner & mom of three daughters) heard every mom’s concerns & did something about it.

The women have complex characters now. Divas Champion AJ Lee went from one note man eater jealous of the girls from the reality show Total Divas (on the E! Network) to complicated heroine struggling to keep her composure after an onslaught of machinations created by her “friend”. Newcomer Paige is a sweet young girl…or a master manipulator. The Bella Twins went from wooden bad girls to heroines protecting each other & their family (namely Brie’s real life & legitimately injured husband Daniel Bryan) from the aforementioned McMahon. Nikki put up with unfair advantage week after week believing that she could overcome & Brie, having had enough, challenged McMahon to stand up for her family & Brie vs. Stephanie is going to headline tonight’s PPV.

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That’s right: the main event is two women! Something unheard of in the sexist & misongynistic world of wrestling. Women are normally relegated to less than 10 minutes & put in the spot known as the “death slot,” so you can get nachos before John Cena appears. My daughters were heartbroken @ Wrestlemania XXX when they waited all night for the first Divas title match in the history of the event, only to see there were no entrances (save for AJ Lee) & their match was shorter than the time it took for the Undertaker to walk to the ring. The Divas disappear from TV for weeks while little girls sadly hope for a glimpse of Brie or Nikki & last year, a Divas t-shirt was a mythological thing. If little girls wanted something to represent their idols, they had to make it themselves.

But not anymore.

Seven women have merch for little girls to buy. There are two women’s matches a night. TWO. The women have actual storylines & Brie Bella, who’s match was famously pulled off a PPV to make room for Machine Gun Kelly to play John Cena to the ring is considered more important than the men. My daughters pleaded for their Bella shirts & I relented (& got one too) & they are excited for tonight like it’s Super Bowl Sunday with their Fearless Nikki & Brie Mode shirts. They’ve counted down the days for Bellaslam as they call it & tonight, they all get to stay up late to see if their beloved Brie can defeat the evil Stephanie McMahon.

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While to those who don’t watch, it doesn’t seem like a big deal; it’s just a campy, stupid TV show designed for rednecks & children, but to every girl who was told that they only watched wrestling for the hot guys or for the soap opera like atmosphere, this is our moment. For once, the girls we cheered for aren’t being marginalized in a dumbed down storyline that makes women look like shrews or like they only care about pleasing men or like women secretly hate each other & it’s all about jealousy. This is the equivalent of A Disney Princess grabbing the sword from Prince Charming & saving herself, or the Cubs going to the World Series. Fans waited so long & gave up hope that the day would ever come. Suddenly, for every little girl who aspires to be a Diva (including my 13 year old daughter), the main event, the star of the show, is an option. It’s attainable & kudos to WWE for realizing that girls can kick ass, girls do have feelings, & girls can star the show & people WILL care about them. Between this & the successful reality show Total Divas, it’s like WWE finally gets what they seemed to have forgotten since Trish Stratus & Lita retired; women are people; strong, resilient, confident, brave & emotional people & not just objects for men to ogle.

Now, I’m well aware that WWE will likely screw this up & break up the Bella Twins or something & turn this into a one note jealous sister storyline & remind me why they are sexist & can’t write for women, but right now I’m feeling very girl power for them & for my own kids, who get to ask to stay up without saying “if they don’t get cut” or “it’ll only be five more minutes,” because for the first time ever, the Divas are the star of the show.

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Day 23: My Thoughts on Television & How It Affects Our Lives

Confession time: I am an entertainment reporter who rarely watches TV.

I have had some friends recommend Dr. Who for me, as well as Supernatural and Reign. I’ve given the latter a try and haven’t been able to get into them. Even Law & Order: SVU is hit or miss for me without Stabler. I’m just not a big TV person, I get too bored or annoyed and quit watching. The only show I almost watched to the end was Dawson’s Creek and even then, I gave up after season six.

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I pretty much only watch TV two days a week, which is Monday and Thursdays, when I watch Monday Night Raw with my daughters and The Vampire Diaries with the sometimes angry Tween.

courtesy wwe.com
courtesy wwe.com

I used to love WWE as a kid and as a grown up it became my favourite soap opera. All of the camp of real soap operas, but much better looking men! However, the storylines are getting lame (or I’m growing up) and the only thing that interests me are the Divas, who get very little love from the WWE writers. However, watching my children laugh and get invested in their campy characters (the overlord has long joined Daniel Bryan’s Yes Movement and the angriest tween of course idolizes AJ Lee) and get happy or angry with it, knowing it’s fake all the while.

courtesy the CW
courtesy the CW

The Vampire Diaries was my favourite book series as a tween. I remember sitting on my couch sobbing as (SPOILER ALERT) Elena died @ the end of the Fury (and later was resurrected in Dark Reunion). However, the show (which was a staple for seasons 1-3) has strayed so far from the novels that I loved as a young girl that I can’t seem to get into it anymore. But I must admit that the chemistry between Paul Wesley’s Stefan and Nina Dobrev’s Elena sucks me back in periodically. I sometimes wish I could enjoy the show again, as I used to love it so much and there is still one scene in the season three opener that gets me every time.

I think I struggle with this show because season four & five have Elena spurning her compassionate & gentle suitor Stefan in favour of “taming the bad boy” in brother Damon. Sometimes, the angry tween will tell me that love can fix the broody bad boy, BUT IN THE REAL WORLD, IT DOESN’T. I’ve learned after my last few relationships, all with broody, emotionally stunted bad boys & want to be players, love does not turn a bad boy good. A bad boy has to want to be a good man & he has to want to do it for himself. Too often, a TV shows teach girls that love tames the bad boy. Carrie converted Mr. Big. We all swooned over Jordan Catalano (I still do. Jared Leto. Sigh) & Joey Potter abandoned nice guy Dawson Leary to reform Pacey Witter. Maybe the reason we women spend so much time crying into our Ben & Jerry’s is because we’re conditioned through these love stories that we can love a man into wanting to grow up & be a good husband & father. In reality, it’s up to him to look @ the people he claims to love, look @ his children & look in the mirror & if he wouldn’t want his son to be just like him or his daughter to date someone like him, he needs to become that person. But he has to love himself first. A man will never love a woman enough to better himself for her; he has to love himself enough to be the good man that lives in every bad boy.

Women need to stop being so simpering (especially me) & realize that the bad boys aren’t good for us. We need to find the Stefan, not the Damon that will chew us up & spit us out, strangle the life from us & leave us for dead the minute it gets too hard. We need to marry the Aidan, not Mr. Big. It may not be as thrilling, but at least we won’t be abused & neglected & crying in our ice cream or driving our friends nuts wondering why we weren’t enough to tame the bad boy. Because TV is TV & reality is much uglier. We are good enough. We are all good enough to be loved by the right person. But we’ve got to also recognize that love isn’t enough to make someone want to treat you better. You’ve got to love yourself enough to sit back & wait for the right person & not let the fact that the bad boy didn’t see the good in you ruin that. This is a lesson every woman learns the hard way at least once.

So ladies (& guys), let’s stop letting the romance novels & TV shows sway us into believing that we were put on this Earth to reform a bad boy & our love is powerful enough to make him a good man. It’s not. Instead, let’s accept that our self love is enough to make us good people & the rest will be better than any passionate & stormy TV romance on Earth.

Day Four: Parenting

The actual topic is my relationship with my parents, but my father has long passed away & my relationship with my mother is both complex & interesting & very hard to explain. Also, my mother regularly reads my blog (waves to my mother), so I’d rather not say anything good or bad, as I’d just rather not.

However, my relationship with my children is different. It’s a source of pride for me. As their only stable caregiver (as their dad has his own issues and anger management problems & is more concerned with other things than being a dad, which is why he doesn’t pay child support or like schedules or routines or anything constructive), it’s important to me to be the role model. I went through a period last year when I wasn’t the role model, so now it’s even more important to me to be the role model. I need to go to work every day & not miss a single day. I need to work hard. I need to think of my career & how continuing to work at building a portfolio helps me show them to work towards their goals. I have to be careful who I date, as that person will the be the person they build their standards around. This is something that comes up a lot with my tween and her penchant for liking bad boys on TV. She says love will fix them, sadly, it doesn’t.

Maybe I take this too seriously, but I feel like it’s my job to teach them the right way. It’s my job to teach them how to become strong young women & I need to live that example. So, each day I need to model myself as the type of woman I want them to grow up to be. That means live healthy, be healthy. Focus on being emotionally strong & confident in myself & that I’m setting the right example. This is important to me. This is my job as a mother.

Fortunately, I’ve been lucky to have been given three smart, beautiful & compassionate girls to raise. They care about others, they’re helpful & kind. They all get good grades in school & are talented musicians & love to read. They’re all growing into young women & I want them to become strong & proud women who reach for the stars, focus on their goals & know they can do everything. Society will try to pigeon-hole them into vapid morons who have to be barefoot & pregnant while also maintaining a bikini bod & live to serve their husband. The media will make them think they should want a career & a husband while maligning both. Other women will teach them to tear down other women. That’s why I need to live the example I want to set for them. If I want them to feel they can have a career & don’t need a man to complete them, then that’s how I must feel. If I want them to respect their bodies, then I mustn’t go out & have one night stands or whatever (no disrespect to moms who do. Everyone’s thoughts are different). If I want them to choose a partner that will cherish & respect them, then this is the partner I must choose. I must walk my walk every day so my good, wonderful girls do not turn towards influences that will only tear them down. So, yes, maybe I take it too seriously, but that’s okay. I’d rather be “too focused” on being a role model than not at all & when my children are struggling, wonder where it went wrong, knowing they emulated my poor choices & the example I set for them.

Far Away

I have a love/hate relationship with social media.

I have enough of it; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr (the last mainly exists for my 12yo to re-blog various photos from her fave shows). Most are controlled, with advanced privacy settings, except for Twitter, because apparently as a writer I need a social media footprint or something.

Then, my mom joined Twitter.

After that, I would have conversations with my mom about my various tweets:

Mom: “are you mad @ me? You tweeted that you’re mad.”
Me: No mother.
Mom: “Why did you tweet about pancakes?”
Me: Because I really like them mother.
Mom: “Why did you re-tweet that sappy thing & what’s a retweet & should I be doing it?”
Me: because I was bored on a bus & it sounded pretty & it’s…no, no you shouldn’t.

(Also, let’s all wave to my mother, who is now a huge fan of this blog. No, I’m not mad @ you. Enjoy Twitter)

But it does annoy me that we have regressed to the point where we think we understand someone’s life from 140 characters or who they follow on Twitter. WWE websites were abuzz when former Diva Maryse Ouellet unfollowed the shared account of current WWE Divas Brie & Nikki Bella. Gasp! What does this mean? That Ouellet is passive aggressive? That the Bella Twins & Ouellet had a falling out? Why is this news? Miley Cyrus unfollowed former fiancé Liam Hemsworth as reports of his serial adultery surfaced. Again, why is Twitter news?

I am not passive aggressive by any stretch of the imagination. I may not be confrontational, but if I’m mad, YOU WILL KNOW. If I want something, you’ll know, because I’ll get it (just ask the good people @ various record labels who told me I couldn’t talk to their artists. I’m like a pitbull. PS with the exception of two, I got every single artist I asked for. My current boss learned this when I said in my interview I was not leaving without that job), and if I have something to say, I’ll tell you. I hate when someone says “Oh hey, I saw on FB that you like pancakes!” (I’ll assume you’re new), because I miss conversations & I hate that social media is sort of replacing it. As a writer, I’m conflicted. I need to have a social media footprint to encourage readers, but I’m also tired of my friends & family using it to learn about me in lieu of talking to me. Not to mention the weird habit of creeping people, etc. Yuck.

Because it annoys me so , I decided to reject all forms of indirect communication. Passive aggressive Facebook statuses (if you do it, you’re unfriended. The end), subtweets, and third party message delivery service. No mas. I’m going to bring back the lost art of conversation if it kills me. Like I told the angry tween, if someone wants to talk to me , I am easily found. My address hasn’t changed (yet), my number either (yet) & thanks to Facebook, generally people know where I am when I’m out socially, which is almost never. Short of me boasting a neon sign that says “MH IS HERE” with an arrow pointing down, I am most definitely not Waldo. I also do not tolerate third party conversations that can get lost in translation. As my coworkers have learned, I won’t even discuss things over text, because they can be misconstrued. If someone wants to talk to me, be around me, be in my life, etc. then talk to me, be around me, etc. I firmly believe in direct contact, not playing telephone or leaving messages with a friend or whatever. I believe that if someone wants to be around me, no matter what’s happened , they will summon every ounce of courage in their body, swallow their pride & come find me, much like Gigi did a year ago. But I will not chase anyone. If you left my life for any reason, it’s up to you to walk back in. Much like Gigi learned, I’m not really a grudge holder & there is one person in this life that I will forgive absolutely everything. If you want to be around me, then it’s up to you to make that step, & if you choose to make that step, I’m pretty easy to find. Just ask…or appear. I’ll be found.

I must seem a titch hypocritical, writing about my annoyance with social media, which I will then blast over social media for you to read, but I don’t hate social media. I hate the misuse of it & when it replaces real human interaction. It’s like my thing with television; as an entertainment reporter, I obviously need it to makes my living, but I do not need to be a slave to it, which is why the girls & I lock up the phones, turn off the computer & TV twice a week & have technology free days where we go outside & play with toys & such. So, let’s stop using our social media accounts as our sole way to interact with people & actually talk to them. You’re likely missing all the important stuff that you can’t find in a status update or 140 characters.

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Shallow Days

Spoiler: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of Glee.

I rarely watch television, but there are about four shows that I enjoy & one of them is Glee.

I was disappointed that I missed the premiere (as I was on a train heading home from house hunting), so I followed along on Social Media & was delighted to read that my favourite couple, Kurt & Blaine had reconciled & were now engaged. As I read the details of the over the top proposal, I read people everywhere demanding a proposal like that, which reminded me of a recent post on one of my favourite blogs, Mommy Man, sharing my disdain for over the top marriage proposals. (Something I mention on this site regularly after the finale of the Bachelorette)

Credit: Fox Television
Credit: Fox Television

I do not find them romantic; I always feel like that Star Wars character that screams “it’s a trap!” After all, your whole family is there, or an arena full of people, or a flash mob & they’re all staring @ you waiting for an answer, so you have to say yes or you’re an asshole. Then you have to plan a wedding, where the bride is the centre of attention & everyone is staring & critiquing everything, & everyone is mad because so & so wasn’t invited or the bridesmaids hate their dresses & nothing is about the celebration of two people joining their lives, it’s about this party that’s worth the down payment of a house & the whole process freaks me out. While it’s sweet when Blaine plans this for Kurt, as the world of Glee is meant to be over the top, I’d probably stand there, deer caught in the headlights & then puke.

I caught up with an old friend this week & we were talking about how she & her partner are in no rush to wed because it just works for them & she reminded me that even when we were kids, I was never the “wedding” type. I always said I wanted to elope & we would just tell people when we felt like it. I’m not good with commitment; I’ve discussed it twice. Once with the sudden proposal & I spent my entire engagement trying to get out of the wedding, including nearly jilting my ex-husband @ the altar. I got my amazing daughters, so the union wasn’t a total wash, but it’s apparent that marrying him was a mistake. The second time we made a plan & the closer we got to the planned date, the more I panicked. Were we ready? Were we skipping steps? Too fast? Too slow? Do we really have to have a wedding where people will quietly judge me for being married twice? Can’t we just stay in the place we are in the relationship & just remain, because the person was right, but the timing of the engagement plan is all wrong. Maybe I just haven’t met the right person & that’s why it freaked me out. Or, I self sabotage. Whatever.

I’ve often wondered if I fail being a girl because there is no dream ring, dream wedding on Pinterest. I know my limitations & commitment is one of them. I’d either need to be engaged for a million years or one day, where the person I love shows up @ my door & tells me that no matter how much of a mess the rest of life, our relationship might be, loving me is the right thing & we just elope that day. Maybe that’s the key to relationships; keeping everyone else out, which is my big beef about these elaborate proposals. I’ve learned that sometimes, well intentioned friends & family members will butt in to your relationship when times aren’t pretty & it’s up to the two of you to keep them out, because then your relationship becomes the source of third party gossip, with someone else’s hyperbole & is usually completely wrong. Ignore them, talk to each other. You’re killing the trust by listening to your friends & family (or theirs!) over your partner. It’s okay to talk to someone for advice, but I’ve learned you need to limit that too. So, by inviting them all to your choreographed, Bruno Mars lipsynched proposal, you’ve invited them to be part of your relationship. While it’s sweet that you want to share that moment, the choice to make a lifetime commitment should be a private one, the celebration (the wedding) can involve family. When my marriage was falling apart, I had so many people offer me advice because “I was at your wedding,” so obviously they knew how to fix it. Generally, when I’m fixating, I just want a sounding board. I don’t want advice from the peanut gallery, as it makes my mind more jumbled.

I think I’m more like another Glee character, Emma Schuester (nee Pillsbury), who just cannot handle the pressure of a big, public commitment & giant wedding. The actual choice to share my life with someone will always freak me out, even if it feels like the right person. Emma jilted her fiancé Will because the wedding & the choice freaked her out & they went back to dating. They later wed in the choir room, with only their students present. And while it might seem lame to most, the idea of myself & my partner (& the legally required two witnesses) being the only ones present when we make a commitment (after I’ve breathed in the bag) sounds better than all of the flash mobs, dance numbers & Beatles covers in the world.

Credit: Fox Television
Credit: Fox Television