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.

Sensitive

Let me tell you about the time I could have died.

I’ve been pretty open about my weight gain and battle with PCOS. Part of that required me to take medication. I was prescribed birth control to help regulate symptoms. I’ve been taking it for a few months now, and originally I saw results. But lately I’ve noticed symptoms returning and I needed to change some things about my diet and how I exercise. I’ve been moderating my diet more, and being more cautious about what I eat, and working out before bed. My workout is what triggered this entire saga, so buckle up, as this is quite the ride.

During my Deadboys Fitness workout, I suddenly got really dizzy and needed to lay down. I assumed I was dehydrated and drank water. But I still kept feeling disoriented. I asked one of the kids to get me a snack, thinking maybe my blood sugar was low. Nothing helped. When my Apple Watch advised me my heart rate has spiked significantly walking to my bathroom, I decided maybe it was time to call an ambulance.

Now, anyone who identifies as female will tell you how important it is to advocate for yourself during a medical event. I’ve learned through the years from caring for my mom that medical professionals do not like to listen to women. Even my own health issues were largely ignored for months. I knew something was wrong; I had been hiking with one of my best friends three days earlier! Those lateral hops were nothing! But the EMT kept dismissing my concerns as “anxiety,” as my vitals were fine. But I wasn’t fine. I was winded bending over to pick up my phone. I spent hours in a waiting room in a wheelchair because walking ten steps wore me out. My chest and throat were burning like I ran a half marathon. Even the nurses said since three EKG’s, and a blood oxygen test were fine, I needed to go home. It was just stress. I insisted I see the doctor. I’m not normally one to demand things, but I’m grateful I did. The doctor said that while I looked fine, it didn’t hurt to check a few other things. So he requested an x-Ray, more blood work, and a d-dimer test, to check for clots. Within what felt like three minutes, a nurse rushed in saying we needed a CT scan RIGHT NOW. I had to take off my necklace and get into a gown ASAP. The first IV was removed to make room for IV number two. The next little bit was a blur: X-rays, needles, then a move to an observation room as my old room in the ER was taken (along with my necklace, that never made it back to me. I’m absolutely heartbroken, as the ring around my neck was a gift from my oldest friend), and now I’m hooked up to a heart monitor, blood pressure machine, and blood is being drawn from my HAND because there are no more veins in my arms available thanks to multiple blood draws and IV’s. I hadn’t eaten or drank in 13 hours. I hadn’t slept in 30 hours. There isn’t a single part of me that isn’t in mind numbing pain and worst of all, I can still barely breathe. The wait is long and miserable and that IV is driving me insane. Finally, a doctor appears and starts asking a bunch of questions:

– Do I smoke? (No)

– How often do I work out? (3-4 times/week)

– What medications am I on? (birth control)

Doctor has an “a ha!” moment. The medication triggered this. Finally I get answers. There are blood clots in my lungs, known as a pulmonary embolism. I caught it early so j should recover fully, but had I just gone to sleep, I could have suffered a cardiac event or stroke and even died. My 15yo basically saved me by waking me up out of concern. I also learned that doctors don’t enjoy black humour as a coping mechanism. Answering “obviously I’m killing it,” when asked how I was doing is the wrong answer. Who knew?

But for the next few months, things have to change; no crossfit or running for two months, blood thinners for four. No alcohol, stricter diet, and lots of rest. I also need a different treatment for PCOS. It’s a scary time and combined with my other stressors (caring for my elderly mom, raising my family, trying to find a second job to combat inflation), it’s a lot. When the doctor asked if I could reduce my stress levels, I just laughed. This was the worst time for a health issue. I won’t lie; I’m scared. I’m going to be at risk for blood clots for the rest of my life. I don’t want my kids to have to worry if mommy is gonna be okay. Right now they have to help me around the house and it’s insane. I’m supposed to take care of them, not the other way around. I’m back at work two days later because I just can’t afford to take time off. I rarely receive child support and I just can’t risk the financial hit. It’s very depressing to know you can’t afford to get sick. Also, I’ve never done well doing nothing. This has been an emotional roller coaster.

But, much like everything bad that happens in life, there’s always something positive you can find if you look hard enough. My friends and colleagues all stepped up to check in on me and offer accommodations so I can work. My oldest offered to buy her siblings some summer clothes so I wouldn’t have to stress. My other daughter offered to let me hang out with her creepy doll so I wouldn’t be lonely on bedrest. My oldest friend called me to check in, because he knew not only was I upset about my health, but by the loss of my necklace, and he took the time to check in. One of my best friends offered to help us do my groceries. My amazing boss checked in all day while I was in the hospital. My downstairs neighbour made sure to check in with the kids so I wouldn’t worry. Everyone I know made sure to help me feel loved and supported. It’s nice to know that when times are tough, I’ve got a bunch of people who have my back. A lady can’t help but feel gratitude when so many people are there for you in a crisis situation. The world is full of amazing people and I’m fortunate enough to call many of them friends.

The next few months are gonna be tough, but we will make it through, just as we have always done before. I’ll be healthier, and probably happier. I’ll also have learned that I don’t need to do everything myself, and that it’s okay to ask for help sometimes; especially if that time is “I almost died.” I’ve always put everyone ahead of myself, so I’m going to use this time to take care of myself, because I can’t be a good mom from the great beyond.

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

One for the Rocks & One for the Scary

Oh hai.

I know I sort of fell off of the Earth lately, but I haven’t felt particularly motivated or inspired to write lately. I haven’t really been motivated to do anything, except let my anxiety run wild and create insane scenarios in my head about how everyone actually hates me because they’re cooler, better looking, and smarter than me, and I’m the fattest, most annoying loser that ever lived.

I find myself constantly trying to balance if I’m being too much, or talking too much, or being too “me.” I’ve spent most of my life being told that being myself won’t always leave the best impression, and I really want to fit in with my new team, because they’re all so awesome. It’s dumb, but ever since one of my friends told me I’m only fun to be around in small doses because otherwise I’m overwhelming, I tend to obsess that I’m always gonna be too much and eventually I’ll annoy everyone until they don’t want to talk to me anymore. Every time I spend time with anyone, I wonder how I could have done that better. Could I have talked less, about myself less, could I have been nicer. What could I do to be less annoying. When I get home from work I wonder how I could have been better. Could I have interacted better. Do my coworkers like me. Am I dragging the team down. This is my head every night.

I thought getting out of a toxic work environment would fix my self esteem issues, but I still feel like I’m too annoying to be a real person. I’m doing well at work and I’m excited to be working on a project that I’m super passionate about. But it also triggers insecurities. I wonder if someone else should present it because my coworkers are cool and kick ass. Deep down I know I have no reason to feel that way. I love my new job. I’m getting to know amazing people. I’m part of a team of colleagues I admire and respect. I’m working on projects where we get to do more for our community because it’s the right thing to do, not just to get a point on scoreboard. I love being home more with my family. I love that I have more free time to see my friends. I love that work is fun again. But just because you remove yourself from toxicity doesn’t mean you don’t have to check yourself for your own toxic behaviours and correct them. I’ve realized that my insecurities and anxieties are impacting my life and I need to make healthy changes so I can be a better MHC.

The negative self talk has helped me realize that my anxiety is out of control. It’s dominated every aspect of my life. I’m constantly comparing myself to the highlight reels of others, wishing I was confident like them. I’m constantly putting myself down in my head, letting those comments from friends, my old boss, and even my third grade teacher play back.

– Too much

– too big of a personality

– too domineering

– no one wants a strong woman, a fat woman, an old lady

– talks too much.

The truth is that I’ve neglected myself for so long that all I can focus on anymore is the negatives about my life, appearance, etc and I need to bust out of the rut of feeling ugly and stupid. So, I’ve made a conscious decision to shut down the negative thoughts by putting me first. I’ve been blocking off time to work out, and some friends in Ontario are keeping me motivated to get in shape for a wedding in the summer. I’ve rebooked that hair appointment I’ve cancelled four times. I’ve blocked off time to do yoga every night. Most importantly, I recently took time to talk to my doctor about my mental health. While I’ve been seeing a therapist for months, I’ve been referred to a psychiatrist to help me with my anxiety and PTSD. My therapist has been amazing, but I think it’s time I get to the root causes of my anxiety and how to effectively cope with my PTSD triggers to be my best self again.

Part of getting out of toxic environments is really looking at yourself and taking ownership of how you can avoid these situations in the future. Part of my issue was needing validation from my boss so desperately made me like myself a little bit less every time I didn’t get it. The more I got torn down, the more I would resolve to be better instead of accepting that this was a sick cycle carousel where my best was never enough. Now I want to feel valued by the people around me and that’s not a healthy way to live and it’s not fair to the people around me. I also need to figure out why I keep putting myself in these unhealthy situations; both personally and professionally. I don’t want to just learn to cope; I want to really heal from the trauma of losing a parent and being abandoned by the other, being physically assaulted by an ex fiancé when I was 19, the physically and emotionally abusive marriage, and why these incidents led me to choose unhealthy partners, jobs, and friendships. By working on healing properly, I hope to teach my own kids that it’s okay to have uncomfortable conversations about mental health, and it’s okay to seek help to be better.

I’ve always been afraid to really deep dive into my mental health, but I know in order to be healthy enough to get in shape, have healthy relationships, and regain confidence, I need to truly resolve my trust issues, insecurities, etc. It’s gonna be uncomfortable, but most growth is. I spent a lot of years being complacent with my job while letting my anxiety take over. Maybe it’s time I really push myself to better again, so I can finally feel good about myself, and feel like I’m really capable of accomplishing good things…or I’ll still be the cat lady who ends up a Walmart greeter at 85. You know, whatever.

I am Not a Woman, I’m a God

I’ve been thinking a lot about growth.

I’ve always strived to improve as a person and the last year or so, I didn’t really do that. I basically sat around, got fat, and let the depression take me. I also learned that you never realize how bad something is for you until you get rid of it. Since I left my old job a month ago, my hair isn’t falling out as much. I work out again. I sleep better, my skin care routine is better. Oh, and I take vitamins every morning. I’m more optimistic and peppier. I just feel good about myself and my life for the first time in a long ass time.

I’m really excited about my future again. I don’t feel 100% confident to jump into dating, mostly because I don’t totally like myself. Also, I’m not sure online dating is for me. I need to get to know someone before I can pursue a relationship and I’ve run out of friends to date. But it’s not a subject that stresses me out anymore. If it happens, it happens. But I’m excited about who I’m going to become again.

One way I’ve gotten back on track is to focus on growth that isn’t about a scale number or a workout. It’s the stuff that has changed that I never thought was important but is. I pride myself on my house being clean and organized. Before I accepted that I’d never be the best housekeeper, but I’ve learned my family and I deserve better. I used to be afraid to drive; now I drive for a living! I’ve really prioritized taking care of my hair and skin, and I’ve been doing home workouts to get back into fitness. Sometimes you get so caught up in the idea that because one thing hasn’t changed, you aren’t growing. But I’ve been getting better in a bunch of other little ways. I’m not the person I want to be yet, but I’m trying and I’m gonna get there. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can get back in shape, be a good mom, do well at my job, let my hair grow back, and be the type of person who can be in a relationship with someone else. Now that I’m not under the weight of a toxic work environment, I feel like I am capable of success and that I deserve it. I’m surrounded by friends and colleagues that share my ideas of what winning together and cheering each other on actually means. It feels so good to be around people who want to build each other up, and celebrating successes with people I respect and admire.

The lesson I’ve learned is that if you waste all of your time feeling like a failure because one thing hasn’t worked, you’ll never see all of the ways you’re bettering yourself l. I spent years being made to feel like I was dumb, old, and incompetent at work, which made me feel like that at home. It sapped the life out of me and turned me into the failure they said I was. Now, I see all of the ways that wasn’t true and that I’m actually making baby steps to be better every day. I still have moments where I feel good big, ugly, and stupid, but I talk myself through them by listening to Lorde, Taylor Swift, and reminding myself of the changes I’ve made and that I’m better than I was last week or last year. Maybe by focusing on my growth in other areas, I can use that to hit my fitness goals.

So if you feel like you’re stuck, or you’re not getting better. Maybe you’re stuck in a rut. Maybe look at what else you’ve been doing. You’ve probably come so far and don’t even realize it. You’re still killing the game, just not in the way you felt like you weren’t, and even that will come. Just keep pushing forward and you’ll find the bad bitch you were always meant to be.

All I Know So Far

Let me tell you the story of MHC’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

Yes, last week was the week of suck. First, I got sick. For those of you who know me, I rarely get sick. But here I was coughing, sneezing, and feeling like crap. I went into one store without a mask to grab some milk and felt like shit the next day. I will never not wear a mask again, I swear to God. Covid test was negative, but I still felt awful. I even missed a day of work, which never happens! I feel better but I have a cough that won’t stop, so I sound like I’ve smoked for 15 years.

My health has been tough this year. PCOS has done a number on my body. I’m also in constant pain. But this weekend, I was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand up, and it hurt to breathe. This turned out to be something called decidual cast, which is super fucking gross. Apparently this happens sometimes when your body is responding to treatments, so there may be light at the end of the tunnel. The doctor said there can be mild discomfort, which is medical speak for “you will double over and cry at work from the worst pain you have ever been in besides labour, but also finish your shift and sell a phone because you’re a boss bitch.” By the time I got home, I was embarrassed, felt disgusting, and just kind of wanted to die.

Then the kids got sick, and I had to take them for Covid tests. As a parent, it sucks to see your kids sick. Nothing is more stressful than watching them get a Covid test. There’s all sorts of uncertainty, fear, and even guilt. I got sick first, even though I tested negative, I felt guilty about possibly giving them a potentially deadly virus. Instead I accidentally gave them a regular virus. They pulled through okay, but it was still a struggle. I’m still taking care of my mom, who was just released from the hospital after a fall. She’s been having a tough time readjusting to being at home and needing more home care. Everything sort of feels tense, and it’s harder when everyone is under the weather. Between work, life, trying not to cough (& yet constantly coughing), my body falling apart, and trying to help my mom, I felt like I was drowning. I even had to pull my car over to puke on my way to work, so basically I’m living the dream. Just as I was done with this week, the Universe decided a final fuck you was in order:

OThat’s right! A TEN INCH CRACK IN MY BRAND NEW CAR’S BRAND NEW WINDSHIELD BECAUSE OF A GOD DAMN ROCK. That’s now a $400 repair that I did not want right before back to school season. But, sometimes life sucks ass and you gotta do what you gotta do. But if it was gonna go wrong this week, it did and I’m honestly over it.

When things go super wrong and everything is awful, all you can do it look for the positives. Yes, it sucks when your body does painful, disgusting things while you’re also hacking up your guts, but after months and months of wanting to feel normal again, this was the first step. It sucks to see your kids sick, but they’re getting better. Caregiving can be tedious, but I’ve been fortunate to have a great homecare company helping me out now, and my mom is slowly but surely starting to move towards normalcy. We’re working out the kinks, but we’re getting there. The kids have stepped up to help and I’m so lucky to have such compassionate, loving, caring kids.

And my car? Oh, that’s just shitty. Part of learning how to overcome stressful situations is to accept that everything happens for a reason, and that sometimes, stuff just sucks. You take it, and you move on.

Bad things happen, but they aren’t permanent. You’ve just gotta push forward. The best part of MHC’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week is that it’s over, and a new week has started. To prevent this week from also becoming no terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad is to leave the week there. You can’t change what happened, but throwing a pity party for yourself only keeps you in that negative space. Too often we dwell on crappy situations or events, or we do the opposite, and rely on toxic positivity to cope instead of just accepting the situation or finding a new strategy. The highlight of my week is that it’s over and that’s okay.

Fingers crossed that this week will be better. I don’t feel like death, it’s not ten million degrees, the kids are better, and I have an appointment to fix my car. So far, so good! Here’s hoping it keeps up, and we can have great experiences, and put the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad times behind us…we hope.

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.

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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.

The Last Great American Dynasty

I generally don’t write about my kids, but sometimes they’re hilarious.

My teenager has made it her personal mission to marry me off. None of you are off limits apparently!

  • Platonic friend? Possible husband candidate!
  • Guy at the gym? You too!
  • Recently single colleague? Step right up!
  • My kid’s teacher? Absolutely a front runner.
  • Random dude I bumped into at Hot Topic? Yes! You are an option!

I feel like I’m living in my own personal episode of the Bachelorette, only I didn’t choose this, and Chris Harrison is really pushy.

It’s actually really cute that the kids are living their own personal version of an Olsen Twins movie. They obviously care about me. They want me to be happy. But they also want a father figure they can look up to. I can’t blame them for that. Every kid wants a father figure to be there for them, and they don’t have that. I didn’t, but then I was fortunate enough to have a foster dad that gave me someone to look up to. And I’ve been so focused on trying to do well at work and be healthier so I can be in a healthy relationship that I didn’t see how much they wanted me married off so that they have a stepdad. They’re craving having a full time father figure that doesn’t come and go or only talks to them when they make an effort. They want someone who’s all in on our family.

If we’re being honest, some of their choices are great. They’d be great partners (maybe not for me), and one made me take pause and really think it over, as if it would be a good idea. I think I actually thought it would have worked out with someone by now. I caught the bouquet at my friend’s wedding and decided it was a sign from the universe that my life was finally ready for a partner. Instead, it blew up. So, I sort of gave up for a long time. I gave up on myself and decided I wasn’t worth investing in. Then I gave up on dating. I just sort of decided this was how it was. It impacted my health, my self esteem, etc. I just didn’t care anymore.

I realize now this needed to change. I’m getting out there. I went on a first date, but the guy and I decided we’d be better off as friends. I went on another where I didn’t feel any connection. But I’m not hiding away in my hobbit hole either. It’s a start. My weight isn’t where I want it and my career isn’t either, but if I keep making excuses, I’ll keep wasting the best years of my life because I’m waiting for the perfect window to be in a relationship. So, I’ll keep going on socially distant outdoor dates with masks on and no physical contact until a swab is done. I’ve spent a long time afraid of relationships because the last long term relationship I was in was ended in such a cruel, heartless, and confusing way that I didn’t want to put myself out there again. Even my last short term relationship I felt like an afterthought, only good enough to share the dark and depressing sides, never anything positive. But nothing changes if I’m not willing to put myself out there. Obviously the kids are craving a male role model. I need to be open to creating a blended family unit, so much so that they are willing to pair me off with any dude I remotely get along with!

Basically I’m living in my own romcom. It always works out for them, maybe it’ll work out for me! If not, at least I know my family is invested enough in my happiness to make the attempt. It’s super flattering…as long as they don’t put me on the Bachelorette for real.