Save the Hero

I’ve always been a big believer in picking oneself up after a tough time, brushing oneself off and moving forward. 

It’s why I keep applying at newspapers. It’s why I ask for feedback about articles. It’s why I thank people for criticism and try to grow. Even if life knocks me on my ass, I can come out of it stronger. 

Sometimes that includes when I literally fall on my ass. 

For those of you that are new to the party, I love me some crossfit. I’ve been training and preparing for the 2017 Crossfit Open. It’ll start this week and I’ll get to push myself and really focus on getting stronger. I’ll also get to know my fellow gym members. It’s gonna be great. 


But sometimes I get cocky. I think I’m more bad ass than I am and then bad things happen. This past week, we were practicing our chest to bar pull ups. I was feeling so bad ass, finally having mastered my beat swings. I was improving and I decided that I must be ready and instead of going up, I fell down,  flat on my ass. Instead of achieving my first pull up, I sustained a bruised and slightly fractured tailbone (but I DID scale that WOD AND FINISH IT. Yup, finished the workout with a mangled back. Be proud). Fortunately, my gym peeps are super cool, so my ego wasn’t fractured as well as my tailbone. Everyone was really quick to ask me how I was, even checking in the next day. I missed the brutal birthday WOD & was so disappointed, but I can’t lift when I can’t stand. Or sit. Or function. Doctor said sit out for six weeks,  & no standing for long periods of time, but I heard “with lots of yoga, you’ll be training again on Tuesday!” I’ve worked too hard to get Open ready, I am not missing it because of a (literal) pain in the ass.


Life doesn’t stop because you have an ouchie. I can’t take time off from work. I have to get everything ready for my transfer to my new mall, conviently located much closer to my house. I can’t stop training because I’m a little sore. I can’t not take the kids to the WWE Live event I bought them tickets for on my one day off this month because I’m sore. That’s not how life works. You gotta keep doing your thing, even if you feel like a pile of shit. 

I also learned that I am literally the only person who loves the Vaudevillians.

Part of self improvement means you’re gonna get knocked down a peg a time or two. You’re gonna have a shitty run. You’re gonna have a crap workout. Or, you’re going to literally fall on your ass. But you can always tell the people who are gonna succeed; they get back up. I could have just sat out the WOD, gone home, and decided that even though I’ve been doing it for two years, crossfit is too hard. But I thought about all of my fitness role models. Trish Stratus didn’t let a herniated disc in her back stop her from living an active life. She used yoga and homeopathy to get better. Nikki Bella didn’t let a broken neck stop her, she recovered, adjusted her style,  and got back in the ring. No one succeeds by staying down. So I got up, dusted myself off, and plugged along. 


You don’t just throw in the towel because you tried something once and it didn’t work. You get up and try again. If JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before a publisher accepted Harry Potter, then I can pitch a story to another newspaper, I can attempt that pull up. I can put together the project my boss tasked me with. I can continue to apply for media jobs and learn from each experience until I accomplish the goal. 

So, while I may not break any records, I’ll be going into the Crossfit Open, broken ass and all. I may feel like shit, but I’ll feel accomplished, not to mention I’ll have all of my rad Crossfit CCA peeps kicking ass with me. And I’ll continue to work on my various projects, and towards helping my new staff at my shiny new location, because life doesn’t stop, no matter how much you’re hurting. All you can do is press forward and reach your physical and professional goals. 

We’ve Come so Far

It’s the International Day of the Girl & as the mom of three awesome girls who will someday change the world, I wanted to take a moment to give mad props to women all over the world who are kicking ass and taking names & spin kicking glass ceilings. 

As a woman who never had it easy growing up, and wanted more than to be Stepford Wife and mom, I find that the most important thing we can do for each other is build each other up. I have no time for catty bitches. I have no time for women who tear down other women (although I was told I was a bad feminist for THIS TWEET, so I apologize to Maryse Mizanin for clearly ruining her life). Women were meant to build each other up, so I wanted to take a moment to give kudos to 10 women who are breaking down barriers, starting conversations & changing history. 


1. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. The wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done so much for women, from advocating for better mental health, promoting body image, healthy living, and working to support every woman in her country, from the newest baby girl to the elderly woman watching TV from her home. Ms. Gregoire Trudeau doesn’t sit behind her man; she raises a family, she champions causes that mean something to her, she promotes Canadian designers. She is visible and vocal and wants to see Canada succeed. 


2. Clara Hughes. In addition to being one of the very few athletes to win medals at both the summer and winter Olympic Games, Ms. Hughes has championed erasing the stigma of mental illness, helping form Bell Let’s Talk Day, where the Canadian Telecom giant helps raise funds for Canadian Mental Health initiatives. Hughes speaks at universities and other events about her struggles with depression, encouraging others to seek help as well. 


3. Kesha. This year, Kesha took on the world when she sued her label and her producer Dr Luke to escape her contract. Citing physical and sexual abuse, Kesha stood up for herself, started an uncomfortable conversation about assault in the workplace, with many other musicians, including Kelly Clarkson & Taylor Swift supporting the singer. Despite a public smear campaign & control tactics, Kesha didn’t back down & fought for herself. 


4. Sasha Banks. Don’t call her Diva. Sasha dreamed of being the greatest wrestler (male or female) alive & she is doing it. From main eventing to breaking down glass ceilings as one of the first two women in history to compete in the Hell in a Cell structure, Sasha is showing that women can go just as hard as the men. Last night, WWE’s top hero Roman Reigns was in the ring & fans screamed “WE WANT SASHA” at the top of their lungs. Women are no longer the sideshow, they are the whole show. 


5. Trish Stratus. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the women who put some cracks in that glass ceiling that Sasha Banks is breaking. Trish Stratus changed the perception of women in wrestling; beautiful, brave, strong, determined. After retirement, she built a fitness empire (which has helped me with my own weight loss) & transitioned into motherhood with son Max & baby Stratus 2 on the way in 2017. But she has become an icon for healthy living & positive mindset in Canada. 


6. Taylor Swift. In addition to being the most successful artist probably on Earth right now (& the only woman to win Album of the Year at the Grammy’s twice), she demonstrates the value of women building up others. Whether it’s giving Kesha $250 thousand for her legal fees, to helping with Louisiana flood relief, Taylor’s generosity and kindness is a value that cannot be taught, but perhaps more could emulate. She handled Kim Kardashian West’s attempts to humiliate her with class, another trait that more people need to possess. Taylor reminds us that the more successful a woman is, the more humanity tries to break her. But she rises above with class and dignity.


7. Michelle Obama. The First Lady of the United States has demonstrated more class and poise under the strain of abusive slurs and hate than any other woman in history. But here she is, championing causes to help her fellow Americans be active, healthy. There she is, supporting her country after another mass shooting. Crossing party lines to give George Bush sr. a hug to thank him for championing the National Museum of African American History and Culture. But more importantly, she gave all of us the mom advice that will resonate for generations to come; “When they go low, we go high.” Thank you Mrs. Obama, for being a beacon of light in a sometimes very dark time in history. 


8. Jana Kramer. Jana Kramer is once again opening the conversation to the uncomfortable subject of domestic violence and its aftermath, which helped me be more honest about my own poor relationship choices & how I’m hoping I’ve turned it around this time with the new person I’m seeing. Her real talk about how the scars on our self esteem last long after the blows stop & we allow ourselves to be mistreated by other men until we finally stand up for ourselves and it’s okay to be a single mom. It’s okay to admit that we struggle. What matters is we get back up. Thanks Ms. Kramer for getting back up. 


9. Nikki Bella. Nikki Bella may not have broken the glass ceiling, but she chipped it a few times. The longest reigning Divas Champion fought through injuries and disrespect to help usher in a new era for women in sport. In addition, she and her sister Brie have become motivational speakers, seeking to empower women & build them up. Upon her return from a broken neck, Bella even said she didn’t care if she ever won another match, as long as she was building up the latest group of women. It’s that kind of encouraging attitude that makes me okay with my seven year old daughter believing that Nikki Bella is truly Fearless, and calling Nikki her hero. 


10. Hilary Clinton. I saved the biggest and most bad ass for last. In a little under a month, Hillary Clinton could be the President of the United freaking States! What?! That’s right; a woman, leading the free world. And she’s not leading in polls because she’s a woman; she’s leading because she’s the best possible candidate in the eyes of American voters. Her policies, her platform, that’s what’s resonating with voters. Her calm demeanour while her opponent attacks her personally, her marriage, her daughter. Despite all of this abuse, Mrs. Clinton stands tall and discusses her plan for America, because all that should matter is her ability to run the country. Mrs. Clinton has been dragged through the mud far more than any other candidate in history, but when you go through Hell, keep on going. She kept on going and when I wake up on November 9/16, I may get to show my daughters that the ultimate glass ceiling has been shattered when Hilary Clinton is named the 45th President of the United States of America. 

While you may not agree with my choices, because of politics or whatever, these are 10 women who are standing up for themselves, for other women, for their countries. These are the kinds of women we should look to; the women who are making history. The women who want to help others make history. The women who defend each other, their beliefs. I hope to be the kind of women who builds up other women, who encourages my own daughters to be anything they want. And thanks to the women above, they have a better chance to become whomever they want, because they’ve opened doors…or kicked them down. 

And finally, here are women in my own life who inspire me every single day. They build up other women, stand up for each other, support me, fight for their goals & demonstrate class in the darkest of moments. I aspire to be more like these women every day. 

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

All Of Me

I’m always afraid to write things about fitness because every time I do, I get accused of fat shaming.

I don’t really understand “fat shaming.” It seems like something made up for fat girls to bully thin girls by calling them bags of bones etc. I am currently a fat girl. I used to be a fatter girl, once weighing almost 300lbs. But now, I’m under 200, a size 12 & halfway to my goal body type. I’m not working to be thin; I’m working to be strong. I see my fitness idols Trish Stratus (thanks to her Stratusphere Yoga DVD’s & lifestyle tips I’ve lost 32lbs in 16 weeks) & WWE Diva Nikki Bella rocking their strong & fit bodies. Bella is regularly called fat & has even been nicknamed “Thikki” by her detractors, but I see a strong girl with some killer arms. I also know she & Stratus train hard for their bodies, eat a healthy, balanced diet & their rewards pay off. I’m training with the help of the Psych Major & her hubby & using Stratusphere yoga as well as cardio. It’s hard ass work, but I’m taking this time of my life to focus on the person that I want to be, and that is strong physically & emotionally.

Courtesy: Nikki Bella's Instagram (theNikkiBella)
Courtesy: Nikki Bella’s Instagram (theNikkiBella)

But I digress.

I am fat. I am well aware that I am fat. I am working to change the fact that I am fat. I am doing it because I want to feel better about myself and be healthier for my children. I am also an extremely beautiful & charming woman & even if I were a size 40, I’d still be beautiful. I have a friend who is fat. She is dieting right now because she wants to find a job & she feels her weight is holding her back. I don’t feel ashamed when people call me fat or post ads promoting bikinis saying that we should aspire to be thin. That’s not true either. My four best friends all have very different body types. What is “thin” for them might be a size 14. What is “fit” for another is a size two. These numbers mean nothing. What matters is that you’re healthy & in the right shape for your body type. Own that body type!

Courtesy @trishstratuscom
Courtesy @trishstratuscom

However, I see nothing wrong with pointing out truth. When my brother said he wanted to go to the gym, I said “you’ll need to change your diet, because you only eat s***.” I had to give up a lot to see results. I’ve cut down on carbs (not completely, I still enjoy potatoes, pasta & bread in moderation), started packing lunches for work & gave up soda completely. If a friend asks me if the dress makes them look fat, I say “yes,” & hope they’d do the same for me. The Psych Major & her husband are always brutally honest & I love them for it. You shouldn’t sugar coat reality. Saying “men love curves” does not mean “being obese is cool.” Saying “you’re not fat, you’re beautiful,” reaffirms the idea that you can’t be fat & beautiful. Why not accept that you’re fat (or thin) & beautiful? If you don’t like it, go freaking fix it or if you’re cool with it, be cool & don’t get butthurt when someone says you’re fat (or thin). If you’ve made 1000 excuses about no time, you’re too fat to do (insert exercise here), then you’ve made the choice to be overweight & you don’t get to feel badly when people call you on it, nor do you get to bully thin women, who may be fighting their own body image battle. You chose to accept your body, so embrace it. Words lose their power when you take the power away! People call me fat all of the time. They say I’m crazy sometimes too. And I’m a bitch. Whatever. They’re words. They used to hurt me, until I realized that’s all they are; words. I could scream “POTATO” in someone’s face & it has the same power. Fat is a body type, not a personality trait. If you don’t like it, talk to your doctor & work on it. If you’re cool with it, own that big butt & wear it with pride. Same goes for you thin girls. If you don’t like it, speak to your doctor about safely gaining weight. If you’re cool, rock those plunging necklines I can’t wear & work them.

Courtesy: Glamour UK
Courtesy: Glamour UK

I guess I’m saying don’t focus on some scale number or dress size. Focus on what works best for your body type with your health care professional & get the body you want to have, whether you’re cool with your love handles or you want to be jacked like Chyna. I know I want to be strong. But only you have the power to make yourself feel like crap. Once you choose to take the power away from bullies & use it to better yourself, you’ll be much better off.

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