Show Me Your Fangs

I have a confession; I waste a lot of time on social media. 

When all of your friends are two time zones away, I get lonely, so I waste time on social media. My favourite places to waste time are on George & Brad Takei’s respective FB pages. Today he posted a hilarious meme that had me cracking up;

  
Don’t worry, all the Tumblr Social Justice Warriors were out in full force, explaining how Barbie was designed to fulfill men’s fantasies & create an unrealistic standard for women & He-Man was half alien (no he wasn’t) & little boys know the difference between a doll’s body & a real one because it’s make believe & girls shouldn’t have Barbies or Princess a Dolls because they teach them how to be damsels in distress. 

Let me tell you that all of this is bullshit. 

When I was a little girl, I played with Barbie. I had Dr. Barbie, Rock Star Barbie, and yes, I was gifted Reporter Barbie at the age of six. I didn’t see Barbie’s waist or hair & think “I have body image issues!” I was excited that she had a bad ass job & after work, she could dress up to go out with my Jordan Knight doll. 

Anyone who thinks Barbie is somehow hurting little girls makes me sad, because Barbie gets a bum rap. Barbie has had 150 careers, owns her own house, her own car, stables, an RV, a moped, among other things. No disrespect to the men out there that do respect women and their career choices, but I’m pretty sure a doll designed to fulfill the desires of men wouldn’t be an independent bad ass who owns her own stuff & works hard. What I learned from Barbie is that girls can do damn near anything they want. My daughters play with Barbie (although the younger two prefer Ever After High) and they always liked that Barbie was a vet, or a nurse, or a pilot. Yes, there are cooking sets, or beach dolls, but all people eat & go to the beach. That’s not sexist; that’s liking to eat & go to the beach. 

 

even Barbie understands the importance of converged journalism
 
What grinds my gears is the idea that boys wouldn’t feel body image pressure from a toy, but girls are fragile flowers that must be protected. Boys have body image issues too. While I don’t feel that the media or celebrities have the power to make you feel badly about yourself, as you choose how you feel about yourself & have the power to change it if you don’t like it, saying a little boy wouldn’t feel inadequate because it’s make believe play (you know, like BARBIE) is silly. Personally, I don’t get it because everyone on Eterna looked like He-Man, even Bo, that dick that pined for Adora. Maybe Eterna’s schools have a heavy focus on PE. 

 
Every super hero for boys is ripped. Did Captain America have the dad bod? Nope. What about Chris Pratt, who women say “got hot” when he got in shape for Guardians of the Galaxy? Men are bombarded with images of the triangle body. Again, I don’t think a magazine or a celebrity can give you body image issues, you have them because of you & only you can learn to embrace them or fix them, I’ve said this before. But if you did believe that, then why wouldn’t you believe that a toy could also affect a little boy as Barbie would a girl? 

  
At the end of the day, no toy, no magazine, no celebrity can make you feel badly. No words can hurt you unless that’s how you already feel about yourself. People call me fat, crazy, whatever, but I choose to love myself & focus on being healthy with a eating healthy & the odd treats in moderation & Crossfit. Words only hurt if you give them the power to hurt. But if He-Man is make believe & kids can’t learn body image issues from toys, let’s stop saying it about Barbie, as she’s cut from the same plastic. 

and we can finally focus on something important!

Away

I used to be that person who was way too open with my life online. Then I got burned & now I’m not. 

My personal life isn’t “out there” on FB, with memes & sap. I’m not that girl anymore. There have been random tweets, but again, this is rare. In fact, I don’t even think I tell my friends when I’m dating someone (aside from my closest friends). I’m very guarded about my life, whom I trust, because it’s something I struggle with. This is why it weirds me out when people put their personal lives all over the Internet.

WWE Superstar Darren Young took some heat from fans this week when he posted screencaps of an Instagram DM (which can still be found on Young’s Twitter), where a cameraman for the E! series Total Divas sent a shirtless snap to the former Tag Team Champion. He then sent back a photo of his partner & put the man on blast for trying to “break up his happy home.” Young defended his airing of his dirty laundry in some other tweets after fans called him out on his poor behaviour. As my friend Matt Bastard & I discussed jealousy & whether it means a lack of trust in your partner, I thought this whole thing was sad & really embarrassing for Darren Young. 

  
I used to be a bit jealous. Not much, but there was one friend of my boyfriend’s that made me feel uncomfortable. Maybe it was the fact that they used to date. Maybe it was the fact that she was overly flirtatious. I’m not sure. But it bugged me. Now, I’m indifferent. Somewhere along the way I became more confident in who I am as a person. This helped me realize that he loves me. It doesn’t matter if she’s pretty, if they used to date, if they were neighbours, or if she hypothetically showed up at his house naked. He loves me & chose me. And he respects me enough to be faithful to me. I’m sure he notices pretty girls, but in the end, he loves me & chooses to be with me & demonstrates this with his actions.  And I need to be confident in his choice & trust him. After all, my being insecure in his choice makes him feel like he needs to do more to prove that I’m his choice. My questioning his choice makes him question it. Lack of trust brings more mistrust. Now, I understand that he chose me because he loves me & I have no reason to question this, because I know he feels it’s the right one. So, instead of being insecure; I’m proud to be the woman he chose. 

I’m sure lots of women hit on him. He’s a good looking, intelligent man who works around people all day. I’m sure girls send him flirty Facebook messages & texts. But he loves me, so it doesn’t matter. However, I would question his character if he put these women on public blast, instead of just politely telling them he has a girlfriend. This would show me a lack of respect for people on his part & an even less respect for me. If you need to put a human on blast to prove your home is happy, then your home isn’t that happy. I don’t know Darren Young or Nick Villa, his partner. But I do know that they don’t seem terribly secure, as they had to put humiliate a stranger to validate their love. Maybe this cameraman wasn’t aware that Young was in a relationship. I’m not married, I don’t wear a ring. I’ve had men ask for my number because there is no obvious indication that I’m with anyone. So, I tell them & life goes on. A simple “thanks for the invite, but I have a boyfriend,” would have sufficed. Maybe they could have become platonic friends? Now, some poor guy has been shamed & humiliated for what could have been a simple misunderstanding. 

The only thing I took away from Darren Young’s tweets was that his relationship appears to be full of insecurity, jealousy & a lack of trust. So much so that he needed to humiliate a total stranger to prove how “happy” he is with his partner. Anyone who needs to go to such immature lengths to showcase a happy relationship can’t be that happy. The fact that these two make such a public front to appear happy makes me think their private is actually stressful. 

A little bit of jealousy is normal, everyone who loves someone might feel a small pang of jealousy from time to time. It means you are protective of your relationship & (when discussed) can help you & your partner find a comfortable place. But when your jealousy & possessiveness leads to you attacking someone & hurting someone else to defend your “happy home,” then you need to evaluate your partner, because there is obviously no trust there, and you can’t have a successful relationship when you’re looking over your shoulder wondering who’s looking at your mate. 

  

Raised On It

So, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been reading about the Ashley Madison hack and I find it completely hilarious.

I’m not one to revel in the misfortunes of others, but watching guys like Josh Duggar, who for years have tried to make LGBT families, divorcees and anyone who doesn’t fit into their traditional mold of marriage feel like they are somehow deficient try to squirm their way out of this makes me giggle. Watching them try to blame Satan for their hypocrisy warms the cockles of my tiny black heart.

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However, the fall of the Ashley Madison website brings me a personal joy for a more personal reason. During my year as a newlywed, my former husband & I had a million and one problems, most of which stemmed from the fact that we were far too young and not ready to be married. But he worked midnights and my roommate and good friend had discovered that this website was real. So, we looked it up and were horrified at the number of people we knew that were on this site trolling for affairs, one of which was my ex husband. In the infancy of our marriage, maybe even before we had said our I do’s, had been looking for an affair. I chose to stay with him for the next seven years, and I’m glad I did as we later had two beautiful children, but the shock and betrayal stayed with me, as our marriage was marred by a lack of trust, which was pretty valid as he cheated on me pretty much all the time. After our first year of marriage, I discovered that the weekend he sent me to visit friends in our hometown was so he could meet a friend in a hotel for a tryst. About two years ago, he admitted to me (while heavily drunk) that he had slept with the stripper next door. I received an email from his former friend’s wife confirming they had been sleeping together while I was pregnant and on bedrest with our second child. And he was once banned from working as a photographer at two separate bars in our old hometown for sexually harrassing the staff. These all stuck with me for years, negatively impacting my future relationship. I would remember the female friends who weren’t platonic friends, the comments about how if he didn’t think I’d get mad, he would be trying to get with our female friends, or the time he propositioned my best friend to have a three way with him and our friend Sarah. It bothered me so much that I didn’t know how to trust a man who said he loved me and it took three years of therapy to feel okay and accept that not every man on Earth was out to hurt me or cheat on me.

I sent an email to the creator of Ashley Madison and blasted them for providing this service. I asked them how could they sleep at night knowing that they were making it easier to break the hearts of so many trusting souls. The reply I got was that maybe I should have been a better wife and lover, and my husband wouldn’t have wanted to stray, a sentiment he would tell me when I would put him on blast for his flirting, or whatever I caught him doing (that he would always say was misunderstood, or he was misunderstood, because he was the victim and why wouldn’t I just do *insert sex act here* and he wouldn’t have to want to cheat?).

This is why I laugh when I see the cheaters on Ashley Madison squirming and crying about their privacy.

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I feel for the victims, and by victims, I mean the actual victims. The spouses who used the tool on Wired and got the unfortunate surprise of “Guess who’s email address was compromised?!” or the stammering conversations where they explain their behaviour. I don’t feel the tiniest bit badly for the “victims” who’s privacy was breached. Oh, I know the dark side, this could happen to anyone and boo hoo and credit cards aren’t secure and the like. But a bunch of horrible people are going to be exposed for betraying their spouses and I’m glad. I hope they feel violated and like their integrity is compromised and awful. You know, the way their spouses have felt for months when they have suspected for months that their partner was cheating, or when they found out the truth.

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I have had a few friends who have said to me that since I was a staunch defender of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence when they had their private photos leaked online last year, I should take the same stance on this. I disagree. There is a big difference between private photos that were meant to be viewed by one person privately (such as Jennifer Lawrence’s photos for then partner Nicholas Hoult) and cheating on your mate. While yes, cheating isn’t illegal and having your credit card information compromised totally sucks, you were betraying your partner, and in the case of a guy like Josh Duggar, you were doing it while condemning other people for not living life according to a belief system that you yourself weren’t following. So, I don’t feel totally badly for these “victims,” just the people they have been victimizing, for having to learn that the person that they are with actually sucks in such a public way. Even if you didn’t pick anyone up on Ashley Madison, you had an account, the intent was there and you sir or madam are a raging douchebag. Your partner deserved a million times better and you should feel violated, because you are walking a mile in their shoes and I hope you wear them well.

  
Maybe I’m biased, because I know how it feels to find out that your spouse has an account with a website designed to help him cheat on you and I know how people like Anna Duggar feel. I hope Anna Duggar takes her kids and leaves him and finds happiness with a man who recognizes how beautiful and special she really is, but I doubt her religion will allow it. Ironically enough, her church will likely badger her with the same answer that Ashley Madison gave me and she will stay with her unfaithful husband. If she does, let’s not shame her or call her stupid. We are not walking in her shoes. We don’t know what her “church” has done to devalue her. But for all of those who are scrambling to “save” their marriage and blaming the Ashley Madison hack, I don’t feel one bit sorry for you, because you already destroyed your marriage when you strayed (or attempted to stray) from your partner; it’s just now everybody knows you were doing it.

  
And to those encouraging people not to check the list for their partner; I disagree (although I haven’t for reasons that make sense to me). Chances are, you won’t be shocked by the answer. My Texan bestie looked up her own email & hubby, even though she knew the answer just for the lolz. But most people who are checking are either;

a) bored like me or

b) confirming an answer they already knew subconsciously, an answer they have every right to know. 

Leave The Night On

All of my deadlines are met, my articles are submitted, I totally forgot to FaceTime Matt Bastard & I’m tired af. 

Yay! (Unless you’re Matt Bastard. BUT I HAD A DEADLINE)

Sometimes when you burn the candle at both ends, you run out of wick & you start to feel it, which is me right now, but whatever, I get a day off soon, so there. This week is busy af as it requires some major choices about my current job sitch. Do I do what’s best for me or continue to be a nice person? The struggle is real. 

Speaking of jobs, hey guys, remember that time I got offered a job in my field & I couldn’t take it because I didn’t know how to drive?! Because Pepperidge Farm remembers. And today, IT HAPPENED AGAIN. 

 

I was actually caught in the rain, but the despondent look remains
 
I was offered a job in a place called Golden BC (I need an atlas because I never know where these places are. I assume they are small & have no Starbucks & probably scare me). They asked me to relocate, so I said “I did that not even two months ago. My children would kill me. I signed an 18 month lease. Uhhhhh…why don’t I work remotely building my portfolio because sleeping is stupid anyway?” I haven’t heard back yet. This may have prompted some kind of childish rage tantrum because for the second time in a year, I couldn’t take the job I want more than I want air. 

You’re probably thinking; MHC, aren’t you overreacting just a little? The answer; Duh. Have we met? Overreacting is where I’m a Viking. 

If this popped up a year from now, the girls & I would likely be headed even further west, but it hasn’t even been 60 days. So here I stay. I found a temporary maternity leave contract that I applied for, and we’ll see how that goes. But I’m determined & I’m so over the Universe’s cock teases. 

 

I’m nothing else, if not honest.
 
So, I look at the positives, because that’s my thing. Obviously, Western Canada has opportunity for an ambitious little creature like myself. And I have never lacked ambition. Or tenacity. I’m on the right track, as I keep getting offered jobs. In 47 days I can have a Cow Province license & learn to drive on the cow roads. And I can continue to reign as the Queen of cell phones until I reach the goal, as reigning over my phone kingdom gives me money. And I love money. 

 

This has nothing to do with anything , except this is how an Ontarian & a Eastern Canadian talk about my home

So, I’ll learn that these random things that make me want to scream & throw things are actually reminders that I am a good writer & I am someone that a reputable publication will hire & I am in the right part of the world (sort of) to do just that. I just have to keep building my portfolio & plugging away and I’ll finally reach the goal. 

   

Hey Mama

Because I’ve spent many years covering entertainment media, I read a lot of celebrity gossip. 

Let me rephrase: I read comments on celebrity gossip. 

I prefer the comments because I think it’s funny that people waste their days calling celebs names. I comment, but even my constructive comments get maligned with replies with poor grammar & calling celebs whores. Such fun. I love the Internet. I once talked about how parents wonder where their children learn bullying from. They learn it from you BULLYING STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET. 

But the Kelly Rutherford/Daniel Giersch custody case has been interesting, as it covers a world of issues, from parental alienation, international coparenting & what is truly in the best interest of the children (you can read the decision here). As someone who is now attempting to cross country coparent, I was very interested in seeing how this plays out. 

  
The decision references that while both are good parents, Ms. Rutherford’s attempts to marginalize her ex husband’s role as dad prompted the judge to choose to give him primary custody of the couple’s two children, as the minimum time he proposed for mom to see the kids was more than the maximum time he would have seen the kids with her plan. As Ms. Rutherford demands her American children be returned to America (the kids hold dual citizenship with the EU), one of the comments I see most is;

“Children belong with their mother, only their mother. What a horrible dad for taking those kids from their mother.”

Wait. What? 

One of my favourite blogs is Daddy Doin’ Work. Doyin Richards is committed to promoting the role of dad & encourages women to also allow dad to embrace their parental role. Kids need two parents that are active & emotionally present. You only need to step up when one parent doesn’t step in. And we need to stop with the antiquated idea that dads don’t matter. 

One of my best friends is a single dad with full custody of his son. I won’t violate his privacy with details, but he stepped up in a situation where a lot of men wouldn’t & he rose to the occasion & is raising a fine young gentleman. Another one of my friends from public school is fighting tooth & nail every day to be a hands on and present father for his children. Yes, there are deadbeat dads & yes, they suck. But if you are a mom lucky enough to have a partner or former partner who wants to be an active father, don’t be like Ms. Rutherford. Don’t shut dad out. 

Dads are damned if they do & damned if they don’t. Look at Stephen Curry, who brought his daughter Riley to all of his playoff games, & press conferences, etc. Women pissed all over him for not “leaving his brat at home with mom” instead if commending him for wanting to share his big moments with his family. But if he left his wife & owed back child support, we’d string him up for being a deadbeat. 

  
I know some of you are thinking “But MHC, you just moved across the country. Didn’t you shut dad out?” I once let myself think that way, but then I realized the difference. Mr. Giersch wants to parent. My former partner blows off Skype dates, and spent less than 10 days with them during his month with them, often leaving them with their grandmother for days. I would call & ask how Daddy was & if they were having fun with him & they answered “he’s at home”. He doesn’t call often. I can give all the access in the world & even offered to help him if he wanted to move closer to give him more access if need be, but he didn’t exercise his access when they were nearby. However, I will always try to encourage him to be a father, to the point where I practically force him, telling him he can’t send our teen daughter home after a few days because she’s annoying him, or demanding he call. If he wanted to parent, he’s got the opportunity. Maybe this idea that dads don’t matter bugs me because while I would kill for my kids to have a dad that’s invested in his children, other dads are being denied the opportunity to coparent. 

The other question I read from the “moms are the only option” supporters are “what would you do if you were Kelly?” If I were Ms. Rutherford, or the NCP, I would do the only option; I would move to where they are. Part of being a parent means making the tough choices. This was not an easy choice, but making more money & having full time hours while being able to supplement my income doing what I love made so much more sense than working two jobs & never seeing my kids to put a roof over our head. Sometimes you’ve gotta look at the big picture & do what’s right, not what’s best for you. If I was the NCP, I would have packed my bags the minute the CP said this was the plan. I would have been in the same city with them, so I could attend parent teacher meetings, doctor’s appointments, and birthday parties. 

We could all take a lesson in “what’s best for kids” from another celebrity; Britney Spears. 2007 & 2008 weren’t kind to Ms. Spears. But she got it together. We should all commend her for pulling her life together & conquering her mental illness & personal struggles to be the successful woman she’s become. But when she had it together, her sons Sean & Jayden were happily well adjusted in their father Kevin Federline’s Tarzana home. So, she didn’t try to get custody. She put her sons’ needs over her own. And Federline & Spears coparent well. She’s been spotted playing with Federline’s daughters with new wife Victoria Prince while cheering on her sons at soccer. They throw joint birthday parties. Her sons spend all their school vacation time with their mom, and Sean & Jayden win.  

Dads matter. If dad doesn’t want to be there, stop forcing him to try to be there, a lesson I’m learning. Trying to make a man parent only hurts the kids. But shutting out a man who wants to parent (or ridiculing a man for wanting to be a parent) hurts them too. So, even if he wasn’t an active dad, but wants to turn that around, let him try to be a dad. If he’s been a good dad all along, let him be a good dad. But what’s best for the kids isn’t just mom. It could be living with mom, or living with dad, or living with grandma. What’s best for kids is the life that is actually best for the kids.  

Renegades

I don’t like to talk about my personal life. 

Mostly because it’s mine. 

I’m sure that doesn’t make a lot of sense to anyone else, but it does to me. What is mine I like to keep mine. My personal life never goes on FB. Only a handful of people know when I am seeing someone. Any blog posts pertaining to my love life do not get shared on my personal or blog’s Facebook pages. Years ago, I got burned when I was open about my love life. Now I am not. I am far more reserved. I save that part of my life for me & only those closest to me. I don’t need to publicly shout from the rooftops that I am with someone & in love. As long as I’m willing to introduce you to those who are closest to me (my children), then you’re special to me. The rest I like to do slowly, in baby steps, so that I don’t feel in over my head. I once dove in too fast & was engaged after three weeks & married a little over a year later. I always felt like I was drowning, doing too much, too soon & ignoring the red flags. When I was here before, I knew I was with the right person, but I didn’t understand that you can know you’ve met your lobster but not be ready for the major steps. Maybe I’m a lobster that likes to wade in the ocean & not get flung into the pot. Truthfully, I like to let my partner take the lead on major steps & I can let them know how I feel as we go. I like to know their comfort level beforehand. I’ll have a timetable for the next logical step (ie; meet my parents) & unless they take the lead & suggest it much sooner, I’ll bring it up then. If that makes sense. Mostly because I want to do it right; quickly isn’t always “right.” Comfort level is key & mine is “wading pool.”

 

Everything needs a random Friends reference
 
Also, my taste in men is generally horrible. I once joked that I was going to buy a shirt that said “I attract losers.” I dated men that didn’t see my worth. I dated men who weren’t there for me when I needed them. I dated abusive psychos & my marriages ended when he tried to smother me with a pillow. I generally pick emotionally abusive or generally horrible people, with the exception of my current love, who was always the right person, just never at the right time. But it is now & it’s wonderful. But I also want to do things in the right way, so I’m more mindful of giving space. I’m more mindful of making sure we take things slowly & do things right & when we are ready, not just jump in, because this lobster likes surf. But I’m also protective of my choices & when those closest to me question my affection for someone & my willingness to give them another chance, I get annoyed. I’m a grown up, I know the risks & I am fine. But, I guess it’s the reasons that annoy me. 

“He won’t talk to you every day. He doesn’t even have the decency to send you a good morning text every day. That means he’s not that into you.”

“He’ll have free time & go out with the guys & NOT EVEN INVITE YOU & then leave again because he’ll rather be single & I’ll tell you I told you so…again. You should be his only priority, and you know you’re not.”

Or my favourite;

“You’re dumb & this is gonna blow up because he has no respect for you & I’m going to laugh at you when it does.”

Barf.  

Not all. Not unless it follows with “I am on my way with Starbucks,” because prioroties.
 
Nope. My boyfriend & I do not talk every day. Sometimes I’m busy & doing my own thing, as is he. Besides, we are grown adults, who needs someone to check in every day? Blah. I am not his only priority. He isn’t mine. My number one and two priorities are my daughters & my writing career. Everything else is secondary. If I can’t make someone my number one priority, how could I ask that of someone else? All I ask is that I am one of your priorities, as you are mine. 
Besides, cutesy words are highly overrated. 

(Before you say “MHC, you write novels in greeting cards”. I sure do. Those are actual feelings. Canned sentiment is not)

There are entire webpages dedicated to templates of “Good morning beautiful,” text messages, in case you were wondering about the romance level. It’s not original; nor is it romantic. It doesn’t mean he thought of you, it’s part of the dude playbook. If he wants to go out without me, go out! Have fun. My love is based on free will. This way, I know the choices he makes when it comes to me are 100% his & I respect them. I understand the concern of my inner circle, as historical precedent predicts a sudden and swift exit, and he’s not telling me what I used to think I needed to hear every second to make me feel secure. But I am secure & I know I’m with the right person for a great many reasons, which likely sound so stupid to my friends, but make perfect sense to me;

  • He knows my Starbucks order & brings it to me every time he sees me, & even makes sure my name is spelled correctly on the cup, because I am convinced that they don’t spell my name wrong. 
  • He brought me ice cube trays because I mentioned I didn’t have any & would have to pick some up later to make iced tea. 
  • He has remembered my favourite colour, book & movie for four years. 
  • He laughs at jokes I’ve told a million times. 
  • He listens to me babble away & is almost amused by my obsessive need to be the best at everything. 
  • He sits with me at the hospital when I’m dealing with a family emergency & makes stupid faces at me because he knows I won’t listen to his attempts to help anyway. But he doesn’t leave the room to go smoke, or go home when he’s obviously exhausted. He just sits & makes dumb faces or tells dumb jokes so I’ll laugh for 10 seconds. 

When he asked to be in my life, I asked why I should believe him & he said he would show me. Words are great, but actions are everything. I set timetables to make sure we are ready & he bends them to show me is ready & committed to being with me. He shows up at my door after time apart to show me that he missed me. Any one can type out a text & not hit send until morning, but someone invested will be there when you need them, or remember something stupid you said that would make your day brighter. 

 

I am in love with both
 
I may have terrible taste in men (or so I’m told), but I know I would rather be with the man who brings me ice cube trays than the guy who says the right words. I’ve been with men who know how to say the right words, but they never did the right things. Now, he sometimes says the wrong thing (not lately, but it’s happened), but despite how my friend sees it, I am a priority. He shows me I am a priority in a million little ways; with his time, with his level of commitment to me, by respecting my comfort zones, & even finding it oddly flattering when I write about him (which I never truly feel comfortable doing, but I’m overtired & had an idea which likely read better in my brain) & often texts me to tell me what he thought; once in such a sweet way it rendered me speechless (for the first time in my entire life). 

When given the choice ladies; pick the guy that brings ice cube trays over pretty words. Or if they can do both; pick that guy. The guy who brings the ice cube trays was listening to you & knew you needed them & wanted to make your day easier. That will make you smile far more than a cutesy message (although they can be nice). My father always said pick a man of substance, not a man who knows smooth lines, so I did. Over & over again.  And of all the choices I make in life (which are mostly terrible), it’s the best (not parenting or journalism) one I’ve ever made. 

  

Bright

Have you ever been happy, but not that happy? 

I’m not unhappy, or sad or anything, & I’m still generally happy with my life. But, I have been in this weird funk for the last few days. Almost mopey even. Even listening to the Overlord’s favourite song on repeat hasn’t helped. 

I wonder if it’s because I’ve been doing nothing but work & prepare my house except for two days this past month. Maybe it’s because my District Manager has expectations for me I don’t think I can live up to & the more I’m prepped to take over my store as manager, the more unsure I am that this is the right position for me. I’m excited about my latest article, an entertainment piece on an up and coming Canadian artist, but even my ever growing cow province portfolio isn’t making me upbeat. Can fatigue do this? After all, I haven’t been sleeping well. My youngest isn’t sleeping well because she doesn’t like when I go to work, she wants to be with me every second. So, after she falls asleep, I wrack my brain with trying to help her adjust, as well as what more I can do for them, for work, my life, etc. So, perhaps the lack of sleep caught up to me?

Maybe. There’s also that I’m homesick af. 

When you’re a person who thrives on social interaction, taking yourself far away from everyone you know maybe isn’t the best idea. I get so lonely, because I’m used to having friends around. I never really appreciated my break time chats with my friend/former coworker, or when my friend Bonnie would randomly invite me to lunch. I stayed away from home (Windsor) for so long to avoid someone I didn’t actually want to avoid, but was afraid of being let down if I went home & I didn’t see them, that I find myself missing it. It’s not a person or a thing I miss. I miss the feeling that I am “home.” 

 

The Detroit Skyline reminds me of home
 
It’s just stupid things, like wanting chicken wings & fries & a pint without having to check Yelp, because I know Hurricane’s & the Loose Goose have them & they’re yummy. It’s the idea that if I wanted to go out for said chicken wings, I could call Sarah & Nic, or Rena & we would just go (Damanda would just eat fries). Now…I know two people & we rarely have days off at the same time. It’s this weird feeling of “I don’t actually belong here & I’m kind of a floating island that no one knows & I want this place to feel like home.” I know it will, once I find familiar haunts (besides a lake) & meet people & maybe make friends with someone. But how does one make friends when they only have two coworkers & go to the gym? I’m so glad the girls have school, because adults trying to make friends sucks. 

 

my lake is really pretty though
 
Of course, I’m not completely alone. I have the girls. I have the two people I know. I have the person who I care more for than anyone else in the world. But I’m afraid that I’m heading towards a turn of events that feels like I’ve been there before (because I have…twice) & I know how they end. Spoiler alert: it never ends well for me. And no matter how many times I tell myself it’s not rational, it’s not going to happen this time because that’s what my gut instincts tell me, the far more emotional part of me, that sounds a lot like my best friend’s husband says “you’re dumb. You keep blindly whistling along, super happy & the ground is gonna fall out because you know what’s gonna happen next.” And no matter how much I focus on present tense, that nagging fear clings to me & I don’t like it. It just adds to my feeling of being an outsider. Because, as I’ve been reminded, if history repeats itself, I am completely on my own. I’ll have no support system to help me through, because they’re all waiting to say “I told you so.”

I was totally prepared for being far away until I actually was. Now I just feel like a spectator in the world I knew, spending way too much time on FB trying to feel connected, while simultaneously trying to feel like my new world is home. It’s weird; because I know if I was in my London house or home in Windsor, I’d probably just be doing the same thing; chilling with the littles, going to crossfit, blogging about my life. I guess it’s just a matter of building a life as we go. 

Fortunately, there are days off that I spend with the littles that things feel like they could be home (like when I finally got to see penguins or out audience with Taylor Swift) & I get excited because this could be home someday. It’s just not yet, & that’s a weird feeling. 

  

Giants

I often joke that I’ve turned my 8yo daughter into a “crossfit douchebag” & it’s my proudest achievement as a parent. 

Maybe it’s not the GREATEST, but I like it. 

To balance parenting & fitness, I often bring my kids to the gym with me. My teen daughter is preparing to start crossfit soon, as she is getting ready to start her quest to become the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history. And my youngest builds forts out of foam rollers. But my middle child, whom we call the Overlord LOVES crossfit. 

When her dad told her that girls with big muscles weren’t pretty, she cited the “prettiest girl ever” was our West London Crossfit coach Lacey, who was “pretty like a princess & stronger than boys!” She’s already told me a Lacey-free gym won’t be as fun, despite my telling her that the new gym has girl coaches. She says when she grows up, she wants to be pretty & stronger than boys (& will tell you why kale is amazing). 

 

I don’t post photos of my daughters, so you’re stuck with my post-wod selfie with Lacey
 
This brings me to a hilarious story. 

When our cable provider messed up connecting our internet & TV, they gave us a PPV credit, & I asked them what to do with it. The Overlord shouted “I WANT TO WATCH BLONDE LADY FIGHT!” If you’re wondering who “blonde lady” is, allow me to show you!

 

from mmanews
 
That’s right; my 8yo idolizes Ronda Rousey. 

As a big WWE fan, she absolutely LOATHES the character of Stephanie McMahon. In fact, her Stephanie action figure only exists for her Brie Bella action figure to put in the Yes! Lock. When Ronda appeared at Wrestlemania 31 & tossed Triple H & put the hated Stephanie in the armbar, a girl crush was born. Ronda is strong. Ronda is tougher than boys. Ronda could probably whoop a boy. Ronda won an ESPY & BEAT OUT BOYS. Ronda is pretty much the coolest person on Earth to her. Ronda is sooooooo pretty. And after explaining that unlike WWE, Ronda fights for real & the fight might not be long (“because the other girl isn’t Ronda Mommy,”) & we NEVER imitate WWE or  Ronda, we are going to watch “Blonde Lady” fight tomorrow (cue all the sanctimommies questioning my parenting!). 

from mmanews

I also love Ronda; she takes no crap. She showcases an image that women have been told wasn’t a real thing; that strong women aren’t sexy. They are masculine & ugly. The thing the dad told my daughter. I stopped trying to be thin long ago; I started losing weight to be healthier for my girls, but now the goal is strong. Maybe I’ll always wear a size 10-12, but my thick thighs don’t bother me anymore. They are the product of hard ass work & strength. Those thighs can deadlift my body weight & squat in triple digits. And they’re only going to get stronger, as my goal is a 200lbs back squat by year’s end. A few years ago, a woman like Ronda Rousey would have been mocked relentlessly for her physique, called a dude, & yes, it still happens, but when she shuts the body shamers down, we cheer with her. When similar comments were made about Serena Williams, JK Rowling shut them down like a boss. It’s cool to be athletic, strong, & strong women can be beautiful! 

 

It’s pretty much an awesome time to be woman, as we can now be proud of our bodies regardless of size, whether the media agrees or not. Tess Holliday made “plus size” women stand up and say “we are beautiful too, not a fetish or a niche!” (While I think sexiness comes from self love, I’ll give Tess credit) Women of colour are celebrated for beauty, not “exotic looks,” thanks in part to Lupita Nyong’o. And Ronda Rousey made the world see that it’s cool to be strong. 

I’ll get “uh, MHC, body shaming still happens, it’s REAL. Just because it doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing.” Yup, still is a thing. I get accused of it all of the time because of my fitness posts on social media, but here’s the thing; you are in control of your body. If you love yourself, no one can shame you. My belly isn’t taut & my thighs have cellulite, but I am strong. And I’m proud of my strength. The definition will come if I work hard. I’ll always have double D’s & big hips. But I also have daughters & it’s more important that I embrace those double D’s & deadlift thighs than I fit in a size three. And no amount of body shaming will make me stop loving my body so my daughters emulate self love. Tess Holliday is successful because when she looks in the mirror, she sees beauty. When Ronda Rousey looks in the mirror, she sees beauty (& the knowledge that she can kick the crap out of anyone who thinks otherwise). You need to see beauty when you look in the mirror (as I’ve said before) & then no one can hurt you. 

 

from usa today

There’s something awesome about women being able to look at any body type & see beauty. My teen daughter is a 00. She will always be thin. She’s often mocked for her thin frame, but I remind her that her body is perfect, as she’s an athlete, a track star. She’s proud of her fast, long legs & doesn’t need to stress about her chest or booty because she’s built to be an athlete, the thing she wants to be. And if her idol, AJ Lee, can buck beauty standards & be a champion, so can she. 

from wwe.com

You can listen to body shamers who tell women they’re too thin, too buxom, too fat, too strong, or you can embrace your body, like women like Ronda Rousey. I love that my 8yo thinks she’s cool, mostly because she is cool. She’s confident & proud, and that matters more than how she looks on the outside. 
 

That’s What You Get

I am starting to think that I am simply afraid to be happy.

I understand that all humans have a basic right to be happy. I am generally a happy person. I find ways to be happy even when everything is actually stupid. I pride myself on this. But when things play out in a way that makes me truly happy, I start to feel guilty, like do I deserve this? Is it fair that I’m so happy when other people aren’t, etc.?

I lead a very charmed existence. My life used to be very challenging & I’ve worked very hard to build myself in a way that I can be happy regardless of what’s happening in my beautiful life. I have been fortunate to have been blessed with three wonderful children. I have a talent I am passionate about and I’m growing as a writer every day. I’m building connections and career opportunities in my field and I’m super excited about that. My home is slowly becoming a lovely little house where I can raise my family. The girls love their new surroundings and like to chase the bunnies in the yard, they’ve already made friends their own age, and are always outside enjoying their new hometown. Business is even picking up at my day job, so I’m worrying less and less about money and focusing more on becoming a good manager and leader. You know, why I was hired in the first place. My friends back home are always supportive and my friends here are super fun. My girlfriend & I are setting up a playdate with her boys and my girls once the boys get home from camp. My frazzled nerves are often soothed by three words, sent by text message almost every day. They give me peace & security. I’m beautiful and smart and for the first time in my life, I don’t feel anxious and my self esteem doesn’t suck.

But I also find myself worrying that something is going to go terribly wrong. I find myself feeing increasingly sorry for the Dad, who seems to be miserable and that’s my fault. I know you could rationalize that if he wanted to see his kids, he would find a job here, or he would have actually spent time with them when he had them for the month, but I can’t help but feel badly that his life has gone so far downhill and mine seems pretty rad. Kids deserve two hands on parents and I keep hoping he’ll finally get it together and focus on being a good father for his children, but it never happens. And I just keep thinking that I’ve ruined his life somehow. I worry all of the things that are making me happy will suddenly be taken away and it won’t be here anymore. I hadn’t planned for certain developments, and now that they’re in play, it scares me that the other shoe will drop and it’ll go away & the thought scares me so much. I worry that maybe they prefer me as a zoo animal to be observed & watched than a woman to be loved & respected. I can see the girls are adjusting nicely, but I’m still worried that they won’t be happy or that I’m making choices that will impact them in a negative way, despite everything being positive. I also wonder WHY I feel badly that he’s miserable. If the shoe were on the other foot, he would revel in my misery. But I keep worrying that he won’t handle the transition okay, which causes me to distance myself from other aspects of my life so that I can try to help him adjust.

 

I understand all of these feelings are super normal. I understand that change is scary and letting people in is terrifying and trusting people is hard and people have free will and they choose to love you and they can choose to self destruct and there’s nothing you can do about it. I guess it’s all part of the adjustment; learning to trust your gut instincts (which currently tell me to relax and enjoy my life, it’s the overthinking that gets me) and learning to accept that feelings of self doubt and even fear are normal; especially when every other time you’ve been really happy, it seems to go away. You’ve just gotta remind yourself that it won’t go away. I’ll just continue to focus my efforts on raising my girls, self improvement, and most importantly, the written word. I apply for jobs I’m grossly underqualified for, just so I can get my name out there while I continue to work with my current magazines. I’ll continue to revel with my time with my girls. I’m doing every day crossfit, which means my body hurts like mother effer, but I’m feeling more like myself which means I’m much happier here. It finally feels like this is home. London never really felt like home. It felt like a stepping stone to someplace else. Maybe this was that someplace else? Or maybe this is a stepping stone to someplace else and in two years or so I’ll end up in BC working at some rural newspaper in some hick town, or I’ll actually go to the arctic. Who knows? All I know is I need to do what my Queen Taylor Swift says and “shake it off” and not allow guilt or feelings that the other shoe will drop spoil the happy life I’m building.

But it’s easier said than done & it’s something I need to work on to help me be a more confident person. But as we slowly adjust into a comfortable routine here, and as time passes, it’ll be easier for me to settle into my comfortable place & just be happy.