I have opened this page 1000 times since January. And I haven't lingered long before closing it again. A few things happened that I will write about in the coming weeks, but long story short, I let other people's opinions/comments and negativity get to me. The final straw was after I started writing about my weight loss surgery I received several messages, some from people who I thought were friends, where I was told that I was completely full of myself for sharing the story and that I should stop immediately.
And I did.
I listened. And I quit.
But in the last few weeks, several other things have happened, and I'm back. In the end a few things happened that gave me the redirection, ie, kick in the arse that I needed. First, Shayleen went to the now annual girl day that they do here in Fort McMurray for the girls in grade 5. For several days after that, we had many conversations about what girls can do and how we think about ourselves. I heard myself talking to her about making healthy food choices, working hard at school, loving her body and being kind to others. And then I had several nights in a row with older women, who ranged from their 20's-60+ where I could not help but think about how hard we are on ourselves as women. It made me sad. We criticize ourselves for our weight, our workload, our lack of work, how unorganized our houses are, how our kids are doing at sports, how our are kids are doing at school....all while trying to do the best we can do to get through every day no matter what is thrown at us. We deal with medical issues, depression, homework(christ I hate homework), our kids moving out, our marriages, our in-laws, our extended families, the deaths of loved ones, the frigging dog who keeps escaping, and feeding everyone. Our boobs are sore from nursing, saggy with age, any given week we need to lose weight while still are trying to make our butts bigger. We criticize ourselves the way that we would never criticize a friend. We hate our bat wings, the lack of time we have with our kids and we struggle with getting pregnant, losing babies, finding out we have cancer, and that our marriages isn't getting the work it deserves. So over the course of those few nights, I finally admitted to myself that life is complicated for all of us, and I once wrote about it all at one time. And I wrote about it because it felt good. I wrote about it, because when I was honest, people connected to that and reached out to me and shared their stories with me. I never told my stories before for any weird agenda or attention. Moving forward I want to start sharing again and not be so critical of myself. I am always open to criticism, but I need to write.
Here's the weird thing. Because I'm an elected official now, people have issue with me sharing my opinions. Which is kind of ironic because other people love that I'm real and approachable. So I will have to figure it all out as I move forward. But I also want to write about work some as well, especially to clear up misconceptions about issues when they come up. I will always be cautious of governance, but there are lots of things that I can address when rumours start flying about things that come up.
If you are on my social media, you know that I am quite wrapped up with everything that is related to Bills C-69 and 48. The week before last Mayor Scott, myself, Councillors LaLonde, Balsom, our CAO Annette Antoniak and some administration support went to Ottawa to meet with several MPs and Senators, along with a member of the Prime Minister's Office regarding Bill C-69. We went as part of The Coalition of Canadian Municipalities for Energy Action. A few of us were also able to meet very briefly with the Prime Minister. The Energy Senate committee came to Fort McMurray to hear from the residents of our region about three weeks ago. I will not mince words, if that Bill goes through without the suggested amendments, it will have very negative consequences for our region. While in Ottawa, we were also able to attend when Premier Jason Kenney presented to the Senate committee. I was proud of the work that we were able to do with the coalition. We literally hit the ground running and ran for two days. And I will continue to scream the Team Alberta message moving forward. I won't bore you with all the work details. But upon returning I heard many comments that "we flew off" to Ottawa on taxpayers money. So I have been dying to address that. I will always, as long as I sit as a councillor be conscious of every single nickel that is spent. No weather catchers on my watch, lol. And if you ever, ever wonder why I make certain decisions, just ask me. But I'm also hoping that I can use this forum to address such questions. The funniest part of those types of comments is the actual reality. We literally were so tired at the end of the first day of meetings that we ate chicken wings in our rooms. No fancy restaurant. It was a few girls with their feet up going over the agenda for the next day. And then I called my husband to tell him how the day went while we watched the end of a hockey game together. There are some cool things that you get to do as an elected official, but I will always put in the work and not take one second for granted. I remind myself every morning to get up and do the best I can for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and my family.
One last thought. I have heard other women's stories lately, and I often reply, "That's amazing, how did you do that?" or "You should tell that story." But I wasn't taking my own advice. So in the coming weeks, I will finish telling you how I have lost 148 pounds, and like the story of my bone marrow transplant, or when my husband, Tim was in a serious car accident when he was hit by a drunk driver, I will be as open and honest as I can. I hope you can take something away from the stories I share, but if not, I still feel better already for getting back to my writing.