Real Life

Time for some big changes y’all. For those of you new to my world, let me remind you how well I do with change.

My lease is up at the end of January, which means it’s time for a new place. I’ve never been in love with my house. I moved in sight unseen. It’s perfectly adequate, but I’ve had repair issues, other struggles, and truthfully, I’ve been unhappy with the place for over a year. It’s time to rip off the bandaid and move on. I had planned to try to stay until June, but it’s not gonna work, so I’ll be welcoming the new year in a new home…wherever the fuck that is. It’s gotta be near work, by a good school, near my gym, that allows cats and offers parking. Easy. Right?

(No I am not moving back to Ontario. No one has ever improved their life by going backwards or running away from their problems. That’s what cowards do. You have to move in a positive direction, and there is nothing positive about Ontario. Just high crime and Doug Ford. Gross)

I’ve got a bunch of appointments to look at houses, and we’ve already started purging and downsizing, which is therapeutic af. I’ve long outgrown this neighbourhood. But much like when I long outgrew my Windsor home, I hung out too long and let myself get miserable and fat for no reason. Same thing here. I’ve allowed the events of the summer to impact my job, my relationships, my friendships, and my life. I’ve been too depressed to go to the gym and throw myself into my work, while simultaneously falling behind at work. I’ve been a Debbie Downer at work. This isn’t healthy for me, or my family. We can’t just be miserable when things go wrong. That’s a terrible example to set. So, the universe agrees it’s time to rip off the bandaid. No more living in a house that is “good enough” or “okay.” We deserve better. So, I’m gonna find us a house that’s best for us, even though I was STILL considering staying, just because it’s easier. I’ve never been the person who hangs out in the comfort zone, so it’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and get shit done.

I’ve also gone back to therapy. I see no shame in admitting I’ve had a bit of a rough go and I need to give my mental health a tune up. Therapy is fucking magical and anyone who says they’re against therapy is dumb as fuck and you should never listen to them. Therapy is super helpful. It allows you to listen and be heard. It allows you to learn how to cope when life throws you for a loop. This life thing is hard guys. It’s even harder when you’re riddled with anxiety and can’t enjoy it because you’re making shitty choices and whining like an emo baby. I lost some very good friends because I was like that; always playing victim. Always whining. Being depressed and obsessing about circumstances I couldn’t change. I don’t ever want to go back to that person, so the minute I feel myself even slipping, I get my ass to therapy to make sure that my mental health is in a good place.

I look at my life and there’s so much good. You can’t lose all that good because things haven’t gone well, or because you’ve let yourself fall into a rut. 2018 has mostly been rut; work, minimal social life, fighting to get to the gym, feeling like an outsider and gauging my social interactions so I’m “fitting in.” Never standing up for myself and letting people make fun of me. Gaining weight back and being okay with it because I’m too damn tired to work out or eat well. And it sucks. It’s time to let go of old patterns and old shit and old places I’ve outgrown and forgive people for what they’ve done because holding on to that anger is sucking the life out of me. My life is too good to have the joy sucked out of it. Therapy helps me see the joy in my life, by giving me the tools to find it. I’ll use those tools to fight for my dreams of building a better life for myself and the kids, no matter what.

The next few months is all about growth. Growth towards a new home. Growth towards improving mental health so I can be the best version of me. Growth so I don’t feel like an outsider everywhere I go, even when no one is making me feel that way. Growth towards building a better home and future for my family. But most importantly, growth that is long overdue, that’ll make me a better person.

Thank U, Next.

I didn’t want to go to the gym today.

I was tired. My shift at work was long. I slept like crap. I’ve been stressed out about money, work, Xmas, etc. I wanted to go home, brew up a David’s Tea, and lay on my couch & do nothing. I definitely did not want to go to the gym. I had a headache and I didn’t want to get sweaty and more tired. I wanted to go to bed early, not go to the gym.

Nope, I did not. I sat in my car after work for five minutes, psyching myself up to go to the gym. I did not want to go to the gym. I got to the gym and finished the song I was listening to, trying to mentally prepare to go to the gym. Finally, I made it in and did the WOD and worked on my snatches and did the thing. As I drove home, I was so glad that I went to the gym. I felt better than I had in days; refreshed, rejuvenated, and much more optimistic. I felt like my normal MHC self. So when I got home & realized that I should clean the living room, I didn’t just whine and procrastinate. I just did it.

Sometimes you get bogged down by life and you don’t want to do anything but lay in bed and mope around and be a big lame. Maybe your anxiety or your own brain tries to convince you that it’s not worth it and just give up and be miserable. That’s how I get sometimes and sometimes I let that feeling win. But, other times, like today, I did the thing that was necessary to help me feel better, both inside and out. I’m a happier person when I go to the gym. I’m less anxious, I’m more motivated. I smile more. So, even though today I didn’t want to go to the gym, some part of me knew I had to go to the gym, so I kicked my own ass to get there. Sometimes, the things that will make us better are the things we know are good for us, but we don’t want to do it because it’s hard or we don’t want to be accountable for our actions or we’re tired and hangry. But you still have to get up and do the damn thing because you’ll be better for it in the long run.

Next time I get stuck in a rut, I’ll have to remind myself how much better I felt after I got up off of my ass and went to the gym even though I was tired and didn’t want to go. Or when I cleaned my house even though I really wanted to watch Haunting of Hill House & eat leftover Halloween candy (the latter of which I did y’all. No regrets). However, the only way your life gets better is when you like yourself. I don’t like myself when I’m not exercising. So, I gotta make the time, even when I feel like shit. My body will thank me, because your body is like your car; it performs better when you take care of it. Take care of the body, and the spirit will take care of itself.

Next time you feel yourself wanting to be lazy and like you’re forcing yourself to work out or get to work or even something as simple as get out of bed and shower, focus on how much better you feel when you do these things & keep pushing forward. Your mental health will thank you. After all, the only thing that can quiet a negative mind is when a positive attitude chooses to push forward.

The Night We Met

What could be better than your computer requiring a system restore the night before a deadline, so you have to wait to proofread it before submitting it?! What, being punched in the face?! Perhaps!

Actual footage of me vs. my computer tonight

Oh well, while I wait for the system restore, I’ll just sit here in my bathtub wearing a detoxifying mud mask because this skin isn’t gonna look healthy on its own. I’ll also take this time to ask a question that’s been the subject of an argument between myself and my friends (& my teenager, who is determined to marry me off to some handsome hunk so her little sisters have a father figure in their lives & she can convince imaginary new stepfather to buy her a puppy);

Is it possible to be too busy to date?

My friend is getting married this August, and I’ve been asked back home if I’m bringing a plus one. I haven’t been on a date since December so…no. Besides, who brings someone they’ve dated less than six months across the country to meet everyone & attend a wedding? That’s way too soon! I’m constantly asked when I’m going to finally meet someone, or start dating someone seriously, and I always ask myself “Excuse me, when am I going to have time for this?!” I mean, I work 50 hours a week at my store, then I’m writing articles for three publications. The only places I go to outside of work is the gym or Starbucks. No one meets their soulmate at the gym or at Starbucks, despite what romcoms tell you…do they? Personally, when I’m at the gym, I’m just focused on not getting injured. Seth Freaking Rollins could walk in and propose and I would likely be too focused on my kettlebell swings to notice.

I work six days, I hit the gym three days a week, go running three days a week, work on my articles in the middle of the night, and use my one day off as family day for the girls. Where exactly am I gonna fit “develop a functional interpersonal relationship?!”

I keep being told to “make time.” But I don’t want to unless I’m making time for someone of value. Otherwise, it’s straight up wasting my time. People say I’m not willing to give men a chance, but in reality, I’m not willing to give all my time and attention to some Tinder dude that hasn’t proven himself worthy of my time yet. I’m busy. I’m not gonna drop a gym class to go out for drinks. I’ll gladly make plans in advance with you, and if you’re not willing to make them, then chances are you don’t respect my time. Why should I lower my standards like that? If I asked to make plans, and the dude said he was busy, I would understand he has a life too. But women in general are expected to fall head over heels because a guy showered them with attention.

The other issue I take is “MH, you’re a single mom. You have baggage. You can’t be expecting to land a charismatic, successful, career focused man. You need to settle.” Bitch, no I don’t. Kids aren’t baggage. They are part of the package. Unless they have chosen to remain child free (a decision that should be respected BTW), we’re in our thirties. Lots of divorced single parents out there. Much like I had to learn to embrace that I might be a stepmom (something I was previously not open to, because of past experiences), most men in my age group understand its part of the deal. Why are single moms supposed to reduce ourselves to emotionally unavailable jerks because “the good ones won’t want a single mom.” Then how are they “good?” A good person embraces every part of you, and that includes kids. I always want to scream that I’m not too busy to date; I’m too busy to settle.

Every relationship I’ve ever been in was me settling for someone I thought would love me because I’m obviously so difficult to love. When my old blog post pop up on my Facebook memories, and I re-read about how grateful I was that cowardly, spineless, twats “loved” me because I was so impossible to love, I want to puke. Not just because it reads like a pathetic wimp, but because I allowed myself to think that I didn’t deserve to be happy with someone because I sucked as a person. Everyone deserves to be happy. That is a basic human right. And everyone deserves a relationship that helps them feel good about themselves. A relationship where you feel like you have to be grateful they’re with you because you suck isn’t one of those.

I don’t want to look at myself in a negative space anymore. So, I refuse to waste time on things or people that will only bring negativity to my life. Instead, I fill it up with things of value; my girls, my job, my career, Crossfit, a 10k run, my best friends. You know, stuff that really matters and will help me improve as a person, so I can be a better role model to the girls. Settling isn’t really doing that.

I guess when I say “I’m too busy to date,” I also mean, “I’m too busy to settle.” I’m also too busy, mostly because I only go to work, Starbucks, and the gym (which we have established are not ideal places to meet people), because I’m trying to do my best to live a life I’m proud of, while teaching my daughters to live life on their terms and be happy with themselves, so when they’re ready to love someone, they’ll be capable of a mature, healthy relationship without the trial by fire that we all had. Maybe if I meet someone who is also busy, and wants to compromise with me so that we fit into each other’s lives comfortably, things will change, but until then, I’ve gotta focus on the girls, that 10k run, my byline, and helping my store succeed.

Vega

This morning, I did the normal day off routine; get kids off to school, take a nap, leisurely skim Twitter (if you’re not following me on Twitter, feel free to click HERE. Mostly fitness, bad WWE takes, and rambling about current events), then empty stomach cardio because winter has finally gone back to Hell where it belongs. Anywho, this morning, one of the trending topics was from a man giving real life “love advice.” It was obviously so great and not at all terrible. Here, let me show you & you can see for yourself.

Great, right?

This is always so irksome to me, because it’s always so one sided. It’s always about how women should learn men’s interests and hobbies, and let them teach us how to do stuff, because men aren’t happy unless they are exerting their intellect over stupid, stupid women, right?

Barf. Barf. Barf.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with sharing in your partner’s interests. But this guy perpetuates the idea that women only like sports and video games to attract men. They obviously wouldn’t do it because they like it! Also, it’s one sided. It’s always about how women should learn about their man’s interests and learn to love them, but never the other way around. I have never once read where a man is told to learn about his lady’s interests, or pick up a fashion magazine and learn all about how to pair a skirt with a cute pair of heels.

I’m sure a lot of women can relate to the idea that we must always be interested in what our partners like, but our interests are considered secondary. I remember reading the Sword of Truth series, but I don’t recall my ex husband ever picking up Gatsby, or any of my favourite books. I tried Grand Theft Auto and Halo, but they never played Zelda past the Great Deku Tree in Ocarina of Time. Throughout my life, I have sat through hours of baseball games, listened to Drake albums, and watched One Tree Hill because I wanted to take an interest in my man’s hobbies and interests. But never once have I gotten an offer to play Street Fighter, read a book I recommended, come to a Crossfit class, or watch Wrestlemania (of course, even if they did offer to play Street Fighter, they’d get mad if I won). Some of it wasn’t all bad; I developed my love of the Lord of the Rings after my ex husband asked me to go to all of the movies with him (I later read the books and loved them). While there are lots of great guys out there who really care about their partners and take an interest in their hobbies and interests, the general consensus is always it’s up to women to sacrifice, change, support, adapt. We must giggle and twirl our hair and ask men to teach us how to understand sports, while they never need to learn anything about our interests or hobbies or what we do to make us happy.

Relationships are supposed to work both ways, but you rarely see men encouraged to read Pride & Prejudice, or listen to their girl’s favourite band, or watch Mean Girls and learn the entire dialogue. It’s always up to us to embrace their hobbies and assimilate into their world. But I think it’s just as important that a guy should want to get to know his mate’s interest. I don’t expect you to love it, but I do expect any potential mates to at least take an interest in some of my hobbies. Ask how my class went at the gym; maybe even check out a class with me & try Crossfit. Attempt some yoga with me. Stream some Taylor Swift and Breaking Benjamin on Apple Music. Ask me about the articles I’m working on or my day at work. But I refuse to be in a relationship with someone who expects me to take an interest in their life and take no interest in mine. Relationships are about compromise. If you don’t, then you’ll end up like John Cena, who refused to budge on anything and lost his fiancée (or it’s all a ploy for Total Bellas).

So, don’t expect a woman to pretend to give a shit about your fantasy football league if you’re not going to watch the Bachelor. Women like to feel respected and valued just as much as men do. In fact, you’ll likely find that the more invested you are in what she enjoys, she’ll probably show more interest in yours. Then you’ll actually be merging your lives, instead of asking her to stroke your ego.

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The Dark In You

Despite being a ray of fucking sunshine, apparently, people don’t always like me.

It’s not really that big of a deal, because I mostly don’t care, not to mention I don’t like to discuss it, because I feel like by giving faceless online strangers attention, I’m feeding into their ego. But it ties into something that’s been bothering me for some time now, so here we go.

I visit a website to discuss the pro wrasslin, because I enjoy the product and most of my friends don’t care for it, so I would rather discuss it with like minded people, just like my friends who watch the Bachelor go to Reddit instead of trying to talk to me about it.

However, pro wrestling has a huge group of misogynistic fans that like to police the fandom, because they hate themselves and project their hatred onto others. They use this as a way to spew their venom on others. Usually I laugh. But there’s one or two that take it too far. They stalk my social media. Attack my appearance. Look up my personal address and my employer. Send death threats. Imagine being this butt hurt because someone really didn’t love Samoa Joe. But last night, this same dude decided to post this pic and tell everyone, wait for it, that I am fat.

First of all, holy shit, no way. Literally 90% of my blog is dedicated to why I’ve worked to change everything about how I eat and live so I can look and feel better about myself. The other 10% is all about embracing that how I’ve chosen to do that doesn’t lend to a stereotypically thin frame. I’ll never be a size two. Instead I’m a 10-12. My legs are strong. Maybe I don’t have a six pack abs, but my body is healthy for my body type. That 31 inch waist is the result of exercise and healthy living. Maybe it can’t wear sample sizes, but when you used to wear a size 22, it still feels pretty damn good. Is there still work to do? Of course! But I’m not going to undo all of the work I’ve put into improving by getting all depressed because someone who hates themselves is mad.

But it always makes me laugh that this is somehow the only insult people can come up with; you’re fat. My ex husband (who was twice my size) would use it whenever he was having one of his tantrums; you’re fat. You’ll never amount to anything without me, because you’re stupid and fat. As if this word somehow detracts from a woman’s worth. When WWE superstar Paige was bullied by the same idiots, it was always the same; she’s fat. As if being healthy and overcoming so much to finally feel comfortable in her own skin doesn’t matter; SOME DUDE THINKS SHE IS FAT. She no longer has worth, or beauty, or value.

What a load of crap.

Fat is a word. It only holds the power you give it. I believe every woman should aim for healthy for their body type, but I also think words mean only what you want them to. Technically, Ashley Graham is “fat.” But she’s known for being one of the world’s most beautiful women. There is no one size fits all for women & we need to aspire to reach our healthy body type.

For too long, fat was the word to cut me to my core. As if being fat meant all of my good qualities had no merit at all, because I was FAT. Meanwhile, the only person giving that word power was me. I chose to let fat make me feel badly about myself. But it’s still the go to for every insecure little puke on Earth, regardless of size. Besides, the same people who call women fat are the same guys who cry when women check out guys that look less like them and more like Chris Evans. Why can’t women stop being so superficial? Maybe they don’t like you because you’re an asshole that calls women fat on the internet.

I guess the point is that words only hurt if you let them. As summer comes (in theory), we’ll be surrounded by fad diets and cleanses, telling us how we can get a bikini body. How if we aren’t a certain size, we should be ashamed of how we look and who we are. As long as you’re doing your best to live in a way that’s the most healthy for your body, you should be proud of yourself and not let a word define you or hurt you. Be proud of all the things that matter; your dress size will rarely be one of them.

She Loves Control

Two things I’ve never been good at are time management, and saying no. These constantly impact my day to day life.

For example, I super hate my body right now. I’ve gained some of the weight back since I moved to YEG and to lose it, I need to go to the gym more often. But my staff often delays their breaks until my shift is over. So, instead of working out, I stay late. But then I go home feeling like crap. Most recently, I signed up for the Festivus Games, but it’s the same day as the trade show I organized a booth for at work. So, I’m out money and even more frustrated because it’s all my fault. I didn’t check the dates.

I schedule my driver’s education classes with my few days off, but when you have two deadlines and are picking up extra shifts to earn money so your kids can go visit their dad because he isn’t contributing to his children, you get a window of 10 minutes between the lesson and the bus for class and it doesn’t work. So, I’m left so burned out that even my evening yoga doesn’t help.

But I find I’m constantly fighting for time to do what I want, to improve my life, but I never seem to do it because I am stretched so bloody thin, and yet not thin the way I want to be. I’m taking on writing assignments to supplement my income, as I’m still not receiving child support, and likely never will. I’m working full time and don’t want to upset my team, so I won’t just say “Take your break earlier, because I am leaving when my shift is over.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m also acting as mother and father to three children. I’m making sure that I have learned how to drive properly so that I can buy a car and improve my family’s day to day life. I’m doing as much as I can to make sure we are clothed and fed and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone that I find myself sitting in my tub hating how I look and wanting one damn hour to myself once a day to go to the God damn gym.

I need to make myself a priority.

I never have, and I never do. I’m always trying to be nice or be liked that I can’t just say no or take time for me. Obviously, the kids come first, but I can’t be a good mom if I’m burned out. I can’t be a good employee or manager if I’m constantly tiptoeing around everyone to be nice to everyone so that everyone will like me. I can’t please everyone and I’m the boss; I will never make my team happy all of the time and do my job well. I can’t meet someone if I hate how I look because that’s how you settle. I wouldn’t impulsively overbook myself if I felt like I could take time for me. But, in the end, the only person who can control these things is me. Why don’t I see myself as an investment? Instead, I allow myself to put me to the back burner so I can handle all of my responsibilities, but I feel like there’s too many and I’m about to freak out.

Actual footage of me and my responsibilities

I can get mad about why insert thing or person here doesn’t see me as valuable or worth putting time into, but I don’t see myself as worth putting time into anymore, or I’d just fucking do it. I invest more time into my store and my cats than I do myself. Then I get mad because nothing is going the way that I want. Maybe it would if I actually invested in myself.

I used to believe I was worth it, back in London, when I started Crossfit and had a core group of supportive friends. I have an amazing gym & great friends, but I always put myself last, because I don’t think I’m important anymore. I’m just there. Something happened to me in Alberta that I stopped feeling like I mattered. When I am willing to take care of my own needs, I eat better, I sleep better, I feel better. When I don’t, I eat nachos & drink mojitos.

I need to start reminding myself that my time matters. I deserve to be at the gym, I pay for it, I enjoy it, and it’s important to me. I deserve to take a day off to hang with the kids and play Pokémon Go and watch Season two of a Series of Unfortunate Events. I deserve to do things for me and not feel badly.

I’ll probably never perfect time management, but I’m certainly going to try, because my kids deserve a mom to look up to, and not a frazzled, stressed out mess that just wants one hour to go to the damn gym and maybe not have to budget my paycheques from the bathtub because that’s the only alone time I have…before a kid walks in.

I think sometimes we as moms try so hard to be indestructible that we forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. Sometimes you have to say no to the extra shift, or let driving wait one more week, and just go to the gym. Or take a bubble bath. Or whatever works for you.

From Now On

GUYS. I HAVE NEWS. GUYS. GUUUUYYYYSSSS.

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

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

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

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

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

Ahh, fat MHC. How I hate you.

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

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

Call It What You Want

I am a feminist.

I think women should have equal rights, equal pay. I think we should have control over our bodies. I think women should be viewed as equal to men. I think women should be allowed to embrace our sexuality, etc. I think women should empower women, not tear each other down.

But, in a post Trump world, I struggle with the idea of being a feminist. I’m ready to turn in my feminist card, and it’s because of other feminists.

You’re probably thinking, what? No, you mean Trump. You mean the GOP. YOU MEAN MEN. Nope, I mean other feminists.

(For the record, the GOP & Trump can suck it)

Feminism is about equality, but lately it’s been about some exclusive club that requires flash over action. The biggest example of that is that feminism, equality, and celebration of women doesn’t apply to Taylor Swift.

In addition to having the highest selling album of 2017, donating generously to victims of hurricane ravaged Houston, flood ravaged Louisiana, and to Kesha’s legal defence fund, Swift was named one of Time’s silence breakers. For those of you behind on the times (pun absolutely intended), let me bring you up to speed. Taylor Swift was sued by a man who sexually assaulted her for defamation. Swift countersued for a dollar. She won. She defended herself against her abuser. After her victory, she donated generous sums of money to charities designed to help women who have been victimized by sexual assault. Swift’s only public interview in almost two years was with Time, to shed light on this issue (it’s an amazing read, check it out). RAINN saw a huge increase in women reporting assaults, citing Swift’s bravery as the reason. But instead of being proud of a group of women for telling their stories and helping other women tell theirs, I was floored by the responses;

“Taylor Swift didn’t even use the #MeToo hashtag! She didn’t tweet!”

“She hasn’t even denounced Trump. Her inclusion is false until she tweets denouncing Trump.”

“Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Rose McGowan had the best #MeToo of all time! You didn’t even tweet!”

Comments about Kesha deserving it more, Taylor hasn’t denounced Nazis (which she did, through her attorney), and until she tweets about Trump & uses the #MeToo hashtag, her experiences, her assault, her attempts to help women are invalid (ironically enough, Swift tweeting in support of the women’s march was heavily criticized, as she only tweeted. Why didn’t she attend?).

Wait. What?

Feminism isn’t about checking boxes to make sure you’re part of the super cool and exclusive feminism club. It’s not an itemized list of marches or protests you’ve been to. It’s about helping women. Swift has conducted one public interview, which was to highlight an issue she feels strongly about; protecting women from sexual abuse. She’s donated money to causes, she asked for a dollar to hold a man accountable for assaulting her. She donated to Kesha’s legal team to help her in her quest for justice. She also highlighted Kesha and her experiences in the article.

Instead of celebrating women, there was think piece after think piece about how Taylor Swift has not proven herself as a true feminist because she hasn’t written an apology album or even sent a tweet denouncing Trump. All she did was donate money. Not. One. Tweet. That’s when I started to realize that feminism isn’t about equality anymore. It’s about strong arming women to conform to the cause of the day, exactly how others want them to, or they’re kicked out of the club and vilified. When feminism stops applying to certain women because they didn’t dance like a puppet, or tweet with the right hashtag, then you are not a feminist. You’re just a mean person trapped in high school trying to bring down the personification of the head cheerleader.

A similar thing happened 15 years ago, when Christina Aguilera embraced her sexuality and released Stripped. The same feminists who wanted victim blaming and slut shaming to end were calling Aguilera a whore because she sang frankly about one night stands, women taking pleasure from sex, and embracing her body. While we now embrace Aguilera as a feminist trailblazer, I’ll never forget that the same people patting her on the back once called her a whore.

Emma Watson was also almost kicked out of the feminist club last year because she posed for Vanity Fair topless. What kind of feminist does that? Feminism seems less like a movement and more like a popularity contest. Action isn’t important, hashtags and analysis trumps action. Watson’s photo was somehow more important than her contributions to the advancement of women’s rights through the UN. Aguilera’s body of work was trivialized because she displayed her body. And they didn’t fucking tweet god dammit!

Women struggle to be taken seriously as it is; turning the quest for equality into a pissing contest to see who is the feminist most active on social media, or who marched the loudest, or who’s feminism is correct according to Jezebel or Daily Beast, isn’t helping. We look exactly like how we’re painted; as catty, jealous, vindictive bitches who like to boss each other around. A feminist doesn’t have to tweet about Trump to represent women; she can donate money. She can encourage victims. She doesn’t need to cover up (or pose nude). She needs to act in the level in which she feels comfortable, and in the interest of helping other women. That’s all. Stop policing feminism, because it’s making it harder for women to celebrate theirs. It makes it harder for us to defend the movement. Basically, if your thoughts are “not to diminish her experiences, but…” maybe sit down and shut up until you have something constructive to say.

For Now

In the never ending story that is my life, we’ll call this chapter “the time everything absolutely fucking sucked.”

I’ll keep the major details to myself, as there are a great many things that I still choose not to share with the internet, but trust me when I say this week absolutely fucking sucks. Because it sucks, I’m seriously contemplating functional alcoholism (despite the fact that I rarely drink), or maybe full Brie Mode (for those of you that don’t watch Total Divas, click here for the definition of Brie Mode).

Despite the fact that I have the most amazing friends back home, sometimes I feel like I can’t talk to anyone, because they all tell me “you’re so strong, you’re Superwoman.” I want to be a superhero, and that bad ass woman they all tell me that I am, but am I? I don’t feel very super. I feel more like “pitifully average human who is drowning under the pressure to be a good mom and a good writer and a good employee and a good Crossfitter and pay bills while still looking pretty and maintaining a social life, despite having one friend that isn’t a coworker.” Being a one woman operation is tough kids.

We live in a FB filtered world; no one wants to admit that their life isn’t perfect and maybe they aren’t the superhero that their inner circle thinks that they are. No one wants to admit that they sometimes think they’re a shitty parent or looks at their bank statement, which is currently negative $36 and wonders how Xmas will be wonderful when cheerleading fees need to be paid and the gas bill is due and one kid needs new glasses and another has a field trip & it all costs money. No one wants to admit that sometimes they just want a night off from trying to be the best and just go out with friends, but since you don’t really have any, it’s hard to go places (sometimes I feel like I’m in the ninth grade again, where I wonder if people actually like me, or if they just want me to help them with the grownup equivalent of helping them with their English homework). No one ever admits that they feel like their very personality is somehow deficient, and you are somehow too weird or annoying for people to actually like, so you feel like you can’t really be yourself around anyone. These are things we just don’t do. Instead, everything is perfect. Everything is fine. Life is awesome.

In my life, everyone is counting on me to be so damned inspirational. Spoiler alert: I’m not inspiring; Beyoncé is inspiring. I’m just me. I’m a mostly unimportant writer and kind of okay assistant cell phone manager who talks too much.

Sometimes I wonder why it’s not socially acceptable to admit you’re not killing it at life right now. That maybe you’re lonely, or stressed out, or you just don’t really feel very good about yourself. Wouldn’t it be so nice to be able to say “I hate literally everything. You ever felt like that?” And someone relate to that? Maybe then we wouldn’t feel like it’s somehow not okay to have moments of self doubt, or sad, or stressed. Instead, we push ourselves to be the superhero we’ve made ourselves out to be and you don’t want to let anyone down. I think it’s harder for women, because we’re taught at an early age that we’re in competition with each other to be the prettiest and the smartest, meeting all of the Game of Life checkpoints while also never getting angry, or feeling less than confident, and God forbid you aren’t a size six! So, we all kind of compete for the best highlight reel and you can’t really live up to the hype.

Sorry guys, I’m not Wonder Woman. I’m just little old me; a plain, boring human who struggles with self esteem and time management, and sometimes is overwhelmed by the enormity of her responsibilities. I’m actually not sorry. If I’m going to be some inspirational ray of fucking sunshine, I need to be an authentic human being. Authentic human beings sometimes hate everything and feel like they suck at everything and look to someone they think has their shit together and goes “man, I wish I had my shit together and was half as awesome as they are.” I look at another manager in my company and wish I was half as cool as she was! She doesn’t care what people think; she just does her thing. She doesn’t second guess every word or thought, hoping she didn’t do something wrong by being herself. She just slays. Who knows? Maybe she gets days where she feels like I do too and looks to someone else to inspire them. Maybe it’s Beyoncé. Who knows?

So, if you ever feel like that, let me be the first to tell you it’s totally okay. Humans are not meant to live by the standards of social media. Humans are messy, complicated beings who sometimes aren’t happy. So, embrace those moments where you feel like the world is crushing you. Allow yourself to feel it, so you can get back up again. It’s okay to feel down; it’s just not okay to stay there, not even for me. In order to be on top, sometimes you’ve got to slide back down a bit. Since I’m feeling down, there is nowhere else to go but up! So, I’ll focus all of my energy on accomplishing all of the things that I’ve set my mind to…

…if not, there’s always functional alcoholism, right?! Brieeeeee Mooooodeeee!

Walking the Wire

I don’t normally use my blog to discuss serious topics, mostly because I’m grossly under qualified to discuss them, and I reserve my writing space for happy stuff, or stories of my doing stupid things. But I’ve read a lot about the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and most of it has kind of made me want to barf. Mostly because of the level of victim blaming and the number of women who have said “this has happened to me too.”

Mayim Bialik, self proclaimed feminist and actress went on a rant in the New York Times about how she was blessed because she was smart, so men didn’t harass her. She didn’t get manicures and she didn’t flirt. She dresses modestly, so she’s never harassed at work. That’s all well and good, but harassment isn’t about what you wore; it’s about power. A self proclaimed champion of women shouldn’t be telling over thirty women that if they just dressed more modestly and not flirted, they wouldn’t have been sexually harassed.

Bialik wasn’t exempt because she’s smarter, or dressed better. She’s been exempted because she was lucky. We as women need to stop using the misfortunes of those that make us envious or inadequate to feel good. You will never feel good about yourself when you compete against other women. We’re all doing our own thing, so celebrate who you are, not how you’re better…and stop blaming women for being assaulted.

I think Ms. Bialik’s comments rubbed me the wrong way because it implies that women are somehow responsible for being assaulted, or it only happens to attractive women. Never “smart” women, or modestly dressed women. That puts blame on women. It’s their fault; they should have dressed differently, carried themselves differently. But that’s not fair. The fear that comes with harassment and assault lingers (I was afraid to give my mailing address to a friend yesterday, because an ex boyfriend had once asked a mutual friend for my number after stalking me for over a year. That’s one of the after effects of harassment), why add guilt and shame and the feeling of “you did it to yourself because of X,Y, & Z?”

Sexual harassment and discrimination can happen to anyone. I wear a ring on my left hand. I know it impacts my ability to meet men, because it looks like I’m engaged. But I was once sexually harassed at a workplace by a security guard. He refused no, would force me to hug him, etc. He got jealous when a platonic friend drove me home & asked me how dare I. So I bought the ring. Started wearing it. He apologized; didn’t realize that I belonged to someone. I had to be another man’s property for my declination to be accepted. I wore a uniform. How I dressed, my makeup, my hair had no bearing on his actions. It was about him being powerful and desirable, whether I wanted to participate or not.

That’s not the only time. I witnessed a trainer in my workplace get told by a newbie rep that she was only good at her job because she was hot. I once wrote an entire blog post about how a stranger grabbed my ass at a Tim Horton’s because he assumed that he could. A customer once screamed at me and threw paper in my face until my male manager had to step in. A grown man once pulled my headphone out of my ear to tell me that my sweater didn’t impress him and suggestions on how I could. I wasn’t even looking at him. This is not behaviour that was brought upon me by my dress or looks. It was brought about because women are told to watch what we wear and men aren’t told to behave themselves.

Almost every woman has a story of harassment. Whether it’s a catcall on the street, a male customer saying “not you, a REAL manager,” when they are told the manager is a woman. The guy who calls you sweetie even though you are his superior, or the mansplaining (a man once mansplained my own damn name to me). It wasn’t what we were wearing. It’s not about modesty. We need to stop pretending it’s about modesty or how we carry ourselves and start being open about this stuff happening and support each other, not tearing each other down.

I invite every woman who reads this to share their stories in the comments. Whether you have been subjected to sexual harassment, or you haven’t and want to support women who have, I encourage all of you to speak up. Don’t just say “me too.” Get loud. Get vocal. However, if you’re not ready, me too is good too. But please don’t stay silent. You are not alone. You are not the only woman. It wasn’t how you dressed or if you flirted. It was not your fault. If you have been sexually harassed; I believe you. I support you & you deserved better.