The Best Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made

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“What the fuck have I done?” I thought as I laid awake on my tiny twin bed staring at the ceiling of my dorm room. “What was I trying to prove? Who did I think I was? I am not adventurous, I am not brave. What.the.fuck.was.I.thinking?”

I waited three days for my new roommates to arrive and for 72 hours I chastised myself for the worst decision I had ever made; the soundtrack in my head a compilation of self doubt, anger and crippling loneliness. I’d only moved 300 kilometres away from home but as I laid awake in those ikea sheets, it might as well have been 3000. I’d left everything I knew behind in search of something I couldn’t quite put my finger on anymore. I looked at pictures of my friends back home, taped to my concrete walls, and I couldn’t remember a single reason why I thought attending the University of Calgary was a good idea. “You always have to be different don’t you?” I scolded myself, “you couldn’t just be happy with the status quo.”

Deciding to move away for university seemed like a great idea at the time. I spent a year at Grant MacEwan as a commuter student, not investing any real time there or meeting many new friends. It was a good year but I wanted more. I wanted something different. Calgary was close enough for visits but far enough to gain the independence I was craving. Away I went… applied, accepted, arrived. My little dream had become reality but now I was certain that it was actually a nightmare. (Looking back, it seems ridiculous, but those three nights were some of the longest in my life.)

Eventually my roommates moved in and I was so pleasantly surprised: we drank. we talked. we clicked. (Well 3 out of 4 of us anyway…) We bonded with our quirky neighbour across the hall and over the next three years we embarked on a wild ride together. I made strong, important relationships with my new friends, I navigated my way through university (including switching my major in a mad mid semester panic), and I gained the confidence I needed through my new found independence.

We moved from the safety of our apartment style dorm to a mouse infested duplex and we dreamed together for hours on end about our futures and the people we would become. Booze, books and boys, we learned many lessons in many different facets of life. We challenged each other’s biases and we bonded over our similarities. It felt like we were on the cusp of everything and yet at times “real life” seemed so far away, we couldn’t wait for it to come.

Time has a way of romanticizing the past and erasing the hard edges of a memory. Sure, there were tears and heartbreak, loneliness and anxiety but there was so much more laughter and compassion. I can’t help but look back on my time at the University of Calgary and be amazed at how three short years could have made such an impact on the person I have become and the path that I took to get here.

As I crossed the C-train bridge and headed home after dropping off my final essay, I stopped to take a moment and soak in the view. The mountains to my right, the downtown core and iconic Calgary Tower to my left, I reflected on the scared 19 year old girl lying in that twin bed furious at herself. “This was the best decision you’ve ever made” I thought to myself, my eyes brimming with tears of joy, “You did it, you really did it.” 

The 5 Most Important Things I’m Learning From Yoga

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Not sure who to credit for this awesome cartoon making the rounds, let me know if you do! 

The first time I tried yoga I was 17, worked at a gym, and thought yoga was a place for flatulent old people. My sister and I decided to give it a go anyway and ended up confirming my suspicion: we spent 45 minutes stifling hysterical laughter caused by the audible farts of seniors. A fantastic ab workout, but not something I ever wanted to do again!

As the years went on my view of yoga remained the same, I tried a couple more classes at the Y but it just wasn’t my thing. And then surprisingly, my husband (boyfriend at the time) thought it would be fun for us to do yoga together.

Mike’s parents had taken him to a hot yoga class (probably in hopes of finding him a nice yogi wife) and he loved it. After some convincing, he persuaded me to try a class with him. It was so different than my first yoga experience, it was a real workout and a nice relaxation for my mind.

From there I ventured to our local yoga studio. It took a little bit of bravery but eventually I tried all of the classes they offered and learned that classes can range from virtually catatonic to the hardest workout of your life. No matter which class I took – Hatha, Flow, Freestyle Friday – the lessons of the class remained the same:

  1. Be present
    Don’t think about what happened before you got here or what is to come, focus on the now and be in the moment.
  2. Every day is different
    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Some days you are capable of more challenging feats than others. It’s nothing to be annoyed about, it’s life.
  3. Honour your body
    We are all unique including the limitations of our bodies. Put your ego aside and follow what is right for you, not what you wish you could do.
  4. Plant the seed
    When you face a challenge that seems impossible, instead of telling yourself you can’t do it, plant the seed that perhaps you will be able to in the future.
  5. Thank yourself for showing up
    It may seem small but making a commitment to yourself and following through should be celebrated. You did it!

After coming back from my accidental fitness hiatus, it is more clear to me than ever that these messages are the reason I love yoga the most. In a yoga class, more than any other fitness class I have taken, you are in control and most importantly, you are enough. 

If you are interested in trying your hand at yoga, my go to studios in Edmonton are Bliss YogaSpa and Navina Yoga which just opened this fall. Both studios have an amazing atmosphere and fantastic instructors. Enjoy!

Little Black Heart: What does it take to make a difference?

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I once took a Facebook quiz, back when taking Facebook quizzes wasn’t just something your parents and grandparents did, back when only students could have Facebook profiles, back when all Facebook photos were party pics uploaded from a digital camera… sigh, the good old days. I digress… I once took a Facebook quiz and it was called: “What colour is your heart?” 

Behind my keyboard I clicked away, telling Facebook with brutal honesty, how I would react in different situations and who I am as a person. I clicked submit with glee as I waited for the results, which obviously were very scientific and meaningful. Submit… Processing… Black. Wait… what? The colour of my heart was black. Not pink, not red, not even green or blue, but black. That’s not even a colour! I stared at the screen perplexed for a minute as the true colour of my heart was automatically posted to my profile. Well little black heart, I guess the world knows our secret now. 

So, you’re probably wondering, 1.) what’s the point of me telling you all of this and 2.) should you really continue being my friend/colleague/acquaintance? I’m getting to it!

Over the past few years I have been volunteering my time with two different organizations in our city: Big Brothers Big Sisters (6+ years) and Make-A-Wish (1.5+ years). Shocking right? I guess they didn’t catch my little black heart in the interview!

The one thing I have noticed when people hear about my volunteer work is that I get all sorts of compliments and pats on the back. “You’re amazing!” “I don’t know how you do it!” “Oh man, I don’t think I could do that.” “You have such a great heart!” (Ha!) 

Now I love compliments (almost as much as I love getting likes on Facebook) but in the words of one of our three year old Wish Kids, “I’m not a princess, I’m just a regular girl.”

Before I started volunteering, I too put volunteers on a pedestal. I viewed “them” as different from myself. “They” were bubbly, keeners. “They” were probably nicer, smarter, and better than me. “They” were movers and shakers on a mission. I, was little black heart. I admired the difference they were making, but didn’t think I could do it.

After perusing the Big Brothers Big Sisters and Make-A-Wish volunteer applications for awhile and chickening out, I stopped and thought about it. I realized that “they” were just regular people too,”they” just decided to step outside of their comfort zone and follow their heart (whatever colour it may be).

My little black heart told me that if I found the right opportunity, I could have a positive impact on my community. So I leaped and I’ve never looked back.

What does it take to make a a difference? Being yourself and having the confidence to know that you can. Take the leap, you won’t regret it.

Coming back, when you’ve let yourself go.

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Oh hey old friends!

I’m writing to you from a place I have been before. I’m writing to you because maybe, just maybe you’ve been here too. I’m writing to you because quite frankly, I need a bit of a kick in the ass. Here we go…

I had the best summer. A little bit stressful, a little bit busy, but in the end, a great time was had. I travelled, I partied, I enjoyed the hell out of my new backyard. But what I didn’t do… was yoga, spin or barre. Like… at all. 

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but before summer hit I was seriously killing it (toot-toot). I was going to spin or barre at lunch and finishing the night off with some yoga. I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and began to view my body more by what it could do and less by what it looked like. I felt strong and it was empowering. I was doing poses in yoga I didn’t even think were physically possible!

It was a great place to be, but one day I just… stopped. I let the lure of sunshine, Netflix and wine on the deck carry me away. Four months of bliss but now I am here: ready to get back at it and absolutely terrified. It’s easy to workout when you are already fit. It’s hard to face the music and realize your body isn’t capable of what it once was and know that it’s your own damn fault.

Anyone who has been here before knows that the hardest part is getting up, driving there and walking through those doors. It’s nerve-racking. Like first date, nerve-racking. You know it’s either going to be great or terrible, there’s rarely an in-between. If you’re competitive with yourself like I am, the whole time you’re going to be comparing your current self to the fit, ass kicking version of you from before.

You’ll be frustrated when poses that used to be restful are now a shocking amount of work. You’ll be embarrassed when the weights you pick up are much lighter than before and still seem like torture. You’ll be annoyed when the instructor pushes you harder and counts out those last thirty seconds in the slowest.countdown.ever. “That was WAY more than thirty seconds you bastard, we know how to count,” you’ll think in a fit of blind rage. And then the hour will be up and you’ll realize that you did it, you survived. It might not have been pretty but you did it.

On Friday, I dragged my nervous self back to spin and I survived. Yes, I was way worse than before, yes I contemplated cancelling the class about 100 times before I actually went, and yes I felt discouraged while I was doing it. But when it was done? I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I’m not telling you this to dig for compliments, I’m telling you this because I’m going to need this reminder and you might to. It’s easy to feel good when you are doing all the right things, it’s harder when you’re clawing your way back. Working out, spin, yoga, barre, running, whatever your thing is: getting it back won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. That incredible feeling once you’ve accomplished even just that first class back, is your glimmer of hope.

Keep going, don’t stop. We don’t want to be back here again! And if you reeeeeally need to, hit up DQ afterwards, to remind yourself that after all, you do need balance. 😉

Are you pregnant? The worst question ever.

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It seems that no matter what point you are at in life, there is always that one nagging question that friends, family, and acquaintances can’t help but ask you. Even though you can’t stand that particular question, I bet you’ve caught yourself peppering others with the exact same one. Small talk, at it’s finest. 

For me, it started out in kindergarten when a well-meaning photographer tried to elicit a smile from me on picture day, “What’s your boyfriend’s name?” he quipped. I scowled. (There’s a hilarious picture kicking around somewhere to prove it.)

Moving through the grades, the question remained pretty stagnant, some form of “who do you like?” was always hovering around.

Eventually I outgrew that particular query but the question that replaced it was a doozie: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was so jealous of the kids that knew their path, “Be a marine biologist”, “Become a teacher”, “Go to medical school”.

Shit… I don’t know.

Once I muddled through the unknown and found myself in university I got hit with the most persistent double wammy of all time: “What are you going to do with your degree?” AND “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” (Yeah… I was single for awhile….) 

After finally making my way through fretting over my degree and being badgered about being single – I did it, I found a great job and I found a great guy. Boom, done. Hallelujah! Bring on the small talk people! 

Oh wait… “Do you think he’s the one?”, “Are you going to move in together?”, “When are you going to get engaged?”, “Are you going to start a family?”, “Are you trying to start a family?”,“Are you pregnant?” 

Nothing makes me more awkward than when someone asks me if I’m pregnant. Can’t a girl just drink a pop once in a while? We’re not on The Bachelor here, I don’t always have to drink white wine! I get it though, I’ve done it to people too and I’ve regretted it.

If someone wants to tell you that they are pregnant, guess what? They will. It’s too intimate. It’s too personal. And when you’re wrong, at the very least, they’re left thinking, “I really regret wearing this maxi dress without Spanx now.”

After some careful deliberation, I’m happy to report that I’ve come up with a litmus test to help you decide whether or not you should ask someone if they are pregnant. 

The next time you see someone and you’re wondering if they might have a bun in the oven, ask yourself this: “Have I had unprotected sex with this individual any time within the last 9 months?” 

Yes? You have? You’re home free, go ahead and ask – oh and congratulations, because you my friend, might have a baby!

And no, for the record, I’m not pregnant. 

 

 

 

Unpopular Opinions and Random Thoughts From My Brain

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Courtesy of Bitmoji. Look how cute I am as Mugato.

You asked for it. You got it. 

This will probably be the least cohesive blog post you’ve ever read. Consider yourself warned. This is basically just a day in the life… inside my head. Should I apologize in advance? I’m not sure yet.

1.) I love the Talus Dome. I do. I love those big beautiful balls. (There’s really no way to write that and make it sound ok, deal with it.) Still unhappy about them Edmonton? It could be worse, we could have Calgary’s “Blue Ring.”

2.) The world will not come to an end when Canada Post home mail delivery does. Guess what? I’ve never had at home mail delivery in my life and I have still managed to A.) Survive and B.) Get mail. It’s a miracle really, they’re considering making a statue of me to commemorate my heroic mail getting efforts.

3.) I think that #OscarsSoWhite had some very valid and important points.

4.) It’s a really good thing you have that “Baby on Board” decal in your car window. I was just about to ram into your vehicle and then I saw it and thought, “hmmm… better not.” (Editor’s note: I just learned that this decal is for first responders in case of an accident. Must be in the mom club handbook, who knew!)

5.) When “our kids” are getting married and they make their dance floor playlist, what will the “we have to add some oldies for the old people” music be? I, for one, am voting for some Jay Z, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Salt N Peppa, Old Dirty Bastard, Tupac and Usher. No “Brown Eyed Girl” or “YMCA” here my friends.

6.) Why do people get so obsessed with “Millennials” and the whole generation thing? It feels like one of the last acceptable ways to stereotype. I also don’t get when the previous generation complains about the current generation. Aren’t we all just a reaction of each other’s? But maybe that’s just my Generation Y showing…

7.) How the eff does anyone decide to become a driver’s training teacher? I’ve clutched desperately at the car door for my life in some of my friend’s vehicles (ahem… Nicki) and they passed their driver’s test! I can’t even imagine what driving with the kids who don’t pass is like.

8.) I really thought the movie Junior with Arnold Schwarzenegger was quite progressive. I feel a little mislead though, it’s 22 years later and men still aren’t having babies. What gives?

9.) When you post a photo of yourself looking off into the distance all I can think about is the person taking that photo and how weird they must have felt when you asked them to take your photo and then you just turned around. This especially boggles my mind when it’s a vacation pic – I imagine the photographer just running away with your camera while you’re posing your back off.

10.) That also brings me to the car selfie. Why? I don’t get it. 1.) Are you driving? 2.) Did you pull over? 3.) Did you arrive or is this before you left your house?
I’m pretty sure we’d all just rather see a picture of you at the place you were headed.

11.) Why are we so obsessed with Facebook Memories and Time Hop? In 2020 we’ll get a Facebook Memory from today and it will be a picture of us on our phone looking at a Facebook Memory from 2007 that we shared in 2016 while ignoring everyone around us. This generation, hey? 😉

12.) If you complain to a company’s social media account, they should be allowed to respond with the same amount of sass that you gave. It’s only fair. Respect = Respect. Well sass should damn well equal sass! (I’d be SO good at it…)

13.) I kind of miss your cryptic Facebook posts about “some people” who are so selfish and only think of themselves and how you’ll be better off without them in your life.

14.) I’m not really a religious person but I hope when I die there is somebody up there that I can talk to and ask a bunch of meaningful and important questions like: What the hell happened to my favourite blue Abercrombie and Fitch tank top that I lost in grade 10? How many pieces of pizza did I eat in my entire life? What IS my actual favourite food?

15.) And finally, how the eff does the internet work? I like to think I’m a smart person but I’m gonna go with magic because everything else sounds way too complicated to believe.

The Self-Conscious Blogger

I’m a shitty blogger, it’s true. I’m the reason I warn people not to start a blog, it takes some serious commitment. Right now I’d say I’m caught somewhere in between self-conscious and procrastinating.

The thing is, I actually blog all the time… in my head. It’s basically what consumes my daily commute. Well, that and rapping along to my “Old School Club Hits” play list. I pray you never pass me on the Henday.

What’s stopping me from blogging? I like your likes. I really like your likes. Every time I start thinking about blogging, I can’t help but wonder how it will be received. Like sending a note in the fifth grade to your crush that reads, “Do you like me? Yes, No, Maybe – Circle one.”

I wonder if you’re interested, or if you think I’m obsessed with myself for writing a blog in the first place. So instead of typing out a masterpiece (can you be self-conscious and full of yourself at the same time?) I end up batting the idea around in my head and leaving it in there.

Tonight I thought I would seek your feedback… Mom… and whoever else might be out there. Here are a few “blogs” I’ve been stewing on. So help me add a little dimension to your Facebook feed filled with “Tasty” recipe videos, posts about how stupid Donald Trump is and photos of babies. Let me know what you’re interested in…

  • Are we all completely obsessed with ourselves?
  • The Unlikely Yogi – 5 Lessons Yoga Has Taught Me
  • Volunteers Are NOT Amazing
  • Wedding Planning: Advice for brides to be.
  • Mommy Bloggers – You’re Scaring the Shit Out of Me (No, I’m not pregnant.)
  • Are you pregnant? The worst question ever. (No, still not pregnant.)
  • Merry Christmas: That time we scared the shit out of our neighbours.
  • Unpopular Opinions and Random Thoughts From My Brain

If you think of something else you think I should write about, let me know. I’m open to suggestions!