What Weighs More? Your Body or Heart?

I am 5'10, 310 lbs.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am happy with who I am. I am happy with how I look. I am not looking to change my outside appearance though it will probably happen. I want you to know, that you are perfect exactly the way you are. Thick thighs, stick arms, big booty, flat ass, boobs, belly, chin(s). Tall, short, fat, thin, funny ears, crooked nose... You. Are. Perfect.

Now on to my actual reason for posting...

I joined a gym.

Ok, I joined the Y. Mostly for the pool. But I joined.

Today was my first day in the actual gym. I had a fitness orientation with Carla and learned how to properly use the machines. I explained to Carla that I was just looking to increase my energy to keep up with my 3 year old. Really I need to quadruple my energy and do everything on rollerblades to keep up with her, but its a start right?

Little does anyone know, I used to run. Like for fun, not just away from my problems. Though I did that too. After some asthma complications and medication related weight gain, I just never got back into it. My trainer, Carla, recommended the treadmill since running had been something I liked doing. Obviously I wasn't going to get on and run for an hour, but a brisk walk for 10 minutes felt good.

None of the cartoonish things I envisioned happening happened. I didn't fly backwards off the end of the treadmill. The machine didnt malfunction throwing me into a arm flailing run of death. I wasn't surrounded by macho guys flexing talking about supplements and protein bars and calling each other "Dude" and "Broski". Though I was completely out done by a little old lady in a mint green track suit.

I also learned a few of the strength training machines. I wasn't squished under a giant weight, I didn't fall off the machine, and to my surprise I walked out of the gym still able to move.

Slow and sweaty... I mean steady, right?


Light Your Own Flame

The 140 glow was starting to wear off... Waking up I was starting to feel a bit crushed. Like the dreams and promises were fading and I had used up my 15 minutes. I was sad.

Then I decided to push through...

I started the 5 Dollar Project.

The past two days have been a whirlwind of cookies and gift cards and people. Im starting to feel that spark again.

6 hours our twitter account (@5dollarproject) has over 100 followers
Our website has had over 500 unique page views
We have been donated a second 100 dollars to keep the project going
20 people have joined the revolution on facebook
50 people got smile cookies
2 people now have gift cards


I really need to take this moment to thank Kevin Magee and Marc Scott. Kevin who was just being kind and had no idea what the money he spent buying back a prize I won would end up doing. And Marc who believes in me and the project enough to put both his money and his mouth where my heart is to help keep us going.

For 3 years I have lived off social assistance and the kindness of strangers and it is time for me to give back. I may not have a penny to my name. I may be running the project from a crappy laptop and a beat up van. But damn it I am going to run this project right into the hearts and minds of those who feel the world has lost it's ability to be kind.


Break In The Pattern

I'm sure by now everyone needs a little Jodi break. Ok so maybe I just need day to compose myself, either way.

When my friend @chickymara (on the Twitter) said she had a post that needed a home, I said I had a space that needed a post. Plus she said it was a post about lady things so you know I cant let this go. I mean, funny story about vaginas?! IM IN!

Plus the name of my blog IS My Accidental Life... and this, well, was an accident for sure.

Without further ado...

Peri-Menopause Ain’t Much Fun

Remember when you were a teenager and your greatest fear was wearing light coloured pants and then getting a surprise ‘visitor’ at school? Yes, I’m talking about menstruation: your period, the curse, ‘that time of the month’. But, then, as you got older, ‘Aunt Flo’s visits became more regular, and other worries like whether you had under boob in a bathing suit, muffin tops, or ass crack in your jeans took over. That’s until the peri-menopause takes you over.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Perimenopause, also called the menopausal transition, is the interval in which a woman's body makes a natural shift from more-or-less regular cycles of ovulation and menstruation toward permanent infertility, or menopause.

Women start perimenopause at different ages. In your 40s, or even as early as your 30s, your may start noticing the signs. Your periods may become irregular — longer, shorter, heavier or lighter, sometimes more and sometimes less than 28 days apart.

Note the bolded words. They are important.

About a month ago, I was picking up my son from his sleep away camp bus. So excited to see my boy, I forgot that it was most likely THE DAY for my ‘friend’ to visit, and having rushed out the door, I did not prepare properly with the appropriate emergency supplies. Plus I’d worn a LIGHT colored pair of baby blue linen shorts that were particularly expensive (from Bloomingdales).

(Usually I don’t keep tampons in my purse since they seem to come out of those slinky wrappers very easily and then I have loose applicators and cotton ‘inserts’ floating around in my purse. I have handed my kids a tampon instead of gum on too many occasions. I’ve learned my lesson.)
Anyways, while I was waiting for the buses to come, I started to feel quite ill –like hot, and sweaty, and all achy. I was being overcome by the heat of the day. It also felt like a vice was taking hold of my stomach, and was tightening by the minute. I thought I’d pass out. I pretended I was getting the flu, since I didn’t have tampons with me.

As an aside, I had gotten the days wrong for his camp return (since I’m so organized) and had actually booked a dental cleaning for the poor child the same day as his return. So, we were not going home. As soon as I picked him up, we were off to Subway, and then the dentist (who also happens to be my brother).

We were driving along, and he was chattering away, and I was sweating and wanting to double over in pain. Imagine you ate 100 cans of beans. That’s how my stomach felt.
We went into Subway, and I said to the kid, trying to hide my mounting desperate agony, ‘You wait here; mommy has to pee like a racehorse’. By now, I was shaking with nerves. I had no idea what I would find down there. Nobody had pointed at me screaming, ‘Call an ambulance, that lady’s butt is bleeding!!!’. Thus, I still had a measure of Hope that all was well down there. That Hope that was quickly dashed in that Subway bathroom. For, what I found in my baby blue linen shorts can only be termed as PERIOD-MAGEDDON. It was scary. It looked like my uterus had fallen out. All over my shorts, my thighs, my everywhere. Using every piece of toilet paper in that Subway bathroom I created a mommy diaper to rival no other, and rejoined my son to order lunch, a fake smile plastered on my face.

And then, sitting at the counter, I spied my saviour- a Shoppers Drug Mart. I said to my child (who is 12 so well old enough to sit at Subway for minutes on his own) ‘Mommy needs to go to the drugstore for a minute. I’ll be right back’. I waddled over to Shoppers, snagged a box of Tampax, and some triple strength Midol, and headed back to retrieve the kid.

Driving to my brother’s office, all was very quiet. I could feel the box of heaven sticks burning a hole in my handbag, when my son piped up, ‘Mommy, what did you have to buy at the drugstore?’ Not knowing what to say, I went with honesty. ‘Mommy got her period and needed to buy tampons.’ He turned purple and didn’t say another word. I’ve never seen anyone so happy to arrive at the dentist. Once there, I high tailed it to the bathroom…again. But I had a dilemma. What to do with the makeshift lady diaper and the unsaveable panties. Making an executive decision, I shoved the whole mess in the Shoppers bag, smushed it into my purse, and went Commando. While wearing baby blue linen shorts. It was brave. And slightly liberating.

What did I learn?
Tampons: Don’t leave home without them.
Period-Mageddon can happen at any age. Don’t get cocky.
Oxy Clean gets stains out of baby blue linen shorts. Get some

Want to read more from Mara? www.beniceorleavethanks.com


Where do we go now?

All day I've been on cloud 9. Cloud 109. Cloud 649 even (Just imagine! #EndCornyCanadianJoke)... I'm ready to save the world and make a difference and end the stigma behind social assistance and homelessness and mental illness and and and

I have no fucking idea how the hell I do it.

There's a long time between now and June and lets face it, opportunity isn't just gonna hang out in my kitchen with a beer and some kraft dinner waiting to hit NYC for 9 months. I need to buy diapers and put gas in my car and I've been told saying "Don't you know I trended higher then Bieber once!" is not a form of payment accepted at my local Walmart (Maybe in Stratford?)...

So what do I do?! Where do I take this? Come on universe! Don't tell me I was game VIP and then bench me the next game. I want to write and talk, share ideas and twirl (though the twirling is not work related).

I want to help save the world for Monkey and it sure ain't gonna happen behind the counter of a Tim Hortons.

So help me. I'm fucking terrified. I refuse to just let this go. I'm ready for the next phase of my life. I'm ready to be someone. I'm ready to be someone who gets up every morning and does something great! Something other then math to make sure I have enough diapers for the week. I want to be the one to hand out the pillows.

So who wants me?

Who can help me?

Who is coming along for the next chapter in the book of Jodi?

Why, Mr. Pulver, I hardly know you...

So, wow, yeah.

#140ConfOnt - You blew my mind.

I laughed, I cried, I fulfilled my dream of one day skipping out of a building with the Kitestring team.

I also will never be the same.

I had the privilege of speaking at the Ontario 140 conference in Kitchener yesterday. For 10 minutes. For 10 minutes they said - you own that stage. "You will be great!" "You will rock!" -- I was more worried about throwing up on some ones shoes.

For 10 minutes I told my story. Not the whole story, not even a fraction of my story, but I told the part that mattered in that moment. I'll be honest, I have NO idea what I said. Something about Oprah and pillows I'm told, makes sense, sounds like something I would do. What I said truly wasn't as important as what happened when I walked off that stage.

I fell in love.

I walked off the stage into a sea of open arms ready to hold me and tell me I was amazing and strong and brave. That I was funny and heart-warming. That I was ok. I managed to hold it together on stage, but off stage the release of this weight from my shoulders was followed by many many tears.

I went outside, I took deep breaths, I looked back at the hundreds of people who had just held my hand through something so hard and I fell in love with each and every single one of them. I fell in love with the human race again. My switch was flicked and I saw the world not as something I was going to be battling against forever, but as something I would be battling for.

I was ready to take on the world in that moment.

Walking back into the conference my phone was vibrating almost non-stop. I had to turn off the vibration because it was so distracting. My twitter timeline was blowing up. People at the conference, people at home, in offices, in parks were tweeting about me. I can only assume that this is the social media equivalent of a rockstar having their name chanted at a concert. I couldn't keep up, hell twitter couldn't keep up.

Then I saw it... "KarmicEvolution is top trending now in Canada."

In Canada.



I turned to Laurel Crossley and handed her my phone. Then... its a blur of tears and sobs and hugs. I sent that phone all over the damn conference. Shock, glee, amazement - 11 am I started dreaming and apparently wasn't waking up any time soon. To quote the Record "Immediately following her 10-minute talk she was trending higher than pop sensation Justin Bieber on Twitter".


Can we take a minute and just digest how HUGE that is?!

Justin Goddamn Fucking Bieber!

Wandering in a teary daze around the lobby of the conference, I was super thankful for Jeff Pulvers hug policy. The hugs and love and positivity were coming in fast and furious. People I look up to like Jeff Pulver and Alexandria Durrell and Craig and Wendy Silva were using words like "proud" and "rockstar" and I was in a fog of joy and disbelief.

Then I had another moment of realisation... Jeff Pulver - this icon of social media. A man with brilliance and inspiration to spare - cared. He wasn't just a figure head. He wasn't someone to be intimidated by. He was a guy who genuinely loved watching people succeed and be inspired. Money, fame, position meant nothing, he was one of us. We were all just people. In a room full of entrepreneurs, home makers, business people, dads, sisters, uncles, wives... we had more in common then we knew. Status meant nothing. We were there to just be, we had actually entered the state of now.

I also realised I wanted to work for Jeff Pulver and feel what he gets to feel every day. I actually may have wanted to BE Jeff Pulver but I was willing to settle for living vicariously through him.

Which leads me to McCabes. Most of McCabes was a blur too. The people, the food, the lights, the booze. The whole room was radiating light and for once I felt completely comfortable standing in this crowd. After all, we were just people.

Standing outside with Jacki Yovanoff and Chris Farias, two of my closest friends, someone must have dropped some magic dust. Jeff walks out with Stephanie Montreuil and I say something along the lines of "I think my new dream is to work for you Jeff". As my friends are pimping me as the perfect employee, it happened.



I can't even remember at this point what was said, how it was said, or if I stayed upright.

And now my big news.

I will be speaking at the 140 Conference in New York in June.


Little Ol' 10th grade educated, unemployed, solo mom me.


I think my name is Jodi, but honestly I also think I'm still asleep.

To see the record article click here.

To see the stream of the conference (I am at roughly minute 21) click here.

And please take the time to watch the other amazing speakers! Especially my friends Chris Farias and the Kitestring Crew, Craig Silva, Heather Hamilton, Laurel Crossley, Chris Eh Young, Alexandria Durrell, Taylor Jones, Dee Brun and of course Jeff Pulver.


I Never Knew...

Three years ago I didn't know I wanted to be a mom. I just knew there was a tiny perfect being in my arms and I couldn't let go. Over the last three years I've learned a lot and now I want to share that with all of you.

I've learned that it IS completely different with your own child. Poop, pee, puke, pre-chewed food all seems quite normal when it comes from your own kid.

I've learned showers are a luxury not to be taken for granted.

I've learned when buying socks, always buy in large packages that are all exactly the same.

I've learned the best friends a woman can have are her mother and her daughter.

I've learned that the past is the past and there is a lot of forgiveness available for those who ask.

I've learned that age is a number, it's your state of mind thats important.

I've learned that friends who are true don't fault you for mistakes but learn from them with you.

I've learned that sometimes you just have to laugh.

I've learned that sometimes you just have to cry.

I've learned that parents are expected to know the names of every dog, cat, squirrel and bird that exists on the planet.

I've learned there is a lot of dogs named Jim.

I've learned that people will not last forever, but their dreams never die.

I've learned the more people you trust with the skeletons in your closet, the faster they turn to dust.

I've learned kindness and beauty is everywhere if you look hard enough.

I've learned if your children are involved you can do anything.

I've learned that eventually you stop thinking about how actions impact yourself and start thinking about how actions impact your world.

I've learned you can live without food and shelter but without love you die.

I've learned dreams are the wish your heart makes, but truth is what makes you push for them.

I've learned I don't hate Disney Princesses - but I still hate Barney.

I've learned that sleep is not something I will ever get used to not having enough of.

I've learned I will never stop wishing my grandparents could be here watching my daughter grow with me.

I've learned that princesses can be tomboys and it is perfectly acceptable to wear your crown in the dirt.

I've learned that to really see your child you have to look through someone elses eyes.

I've learned that some days are just a write off. Accept it and move on.

I've learned I can live with nothing more happily then buried in stuff.

I've learned I don't know how to let go of some of the past and not panic over little things.

I've learned that where deep breathing fails, wine succeeds.

I've learned that if being yourself isn't enough then the standards are too high.

I've learned that Disney Junior is far superior to Treehouse TV.

I've learned it's ok to be happy.

I've learned that my world doesn't revolve around my child, rather we orbit together keeping each other from randomly flying off into space.

I've learned that those wacky wavy arm flailing tube men will always make me smile.

I've learned you are never alone if you have a twitter account.

I've learned so so many things, my list could go on forever but my brain is screaming for sleep. I think the most important thing I've learned though is that I never stop learning as long as I keep my head high and my heart open.


It Just Ain't Pretty

My twitter bio says "Fierce fighter" and I often get asked "What up with that yo?" (I may want to start teaching English but I digress). I usually just laugh and say "If you ever find out it will be too late.". Today was a possible example of my fierceness when my friends happen to be the subject.

Now I'm not getting into details, it's past, it's gone, it's water under the bridge but a good lesson in social media etiquette. A few people I am very close to were in a round about way accused of cheating in a contest. Now as high schoolish as this may sound, many of these friends have careers based strongly in or specifically surrounding their online presence. These are people with clients that need to find them trustworthy and ethical in all situations, INCLUDING an internet contest.

Lets just say I left none of my thoughts on the situation in my head.

Social media is an all encompassing playground with people from all points of life and what gets put on the internet can not be taken back and forgotten, the internet is forever. Now what you do to your own personal reputation is up to you. Hell I've been told on more then one occasion I may be too brash or forward or "not PR friendly" online. I choose to project myself on to the internet with no filters. Yes this does limit my opportunities every so often, but this is my choice.

Now if I was to project something on to another person in a negative light I had better be damn sure I know what I'm talking about and have good reason for doing so simply due to the fact that I am taking that persons reputation into my hands. That's the funny thing about the internet - you put two random words in a search engine and you never know what will show up. If I tweet about a company service failure that tweet can and will be found one day and will possibly impact the future use of that company.

It's cooties for grown ups. If Timmy tells the whole school yard Sally has cooties, Sally will inevitably hear about it the rest of the year. Thankfully kids have the summer to forget things and find someone new with cooties. Imagine if any time someone said "cooties" Timmy popped up out of nowhere to point fingers at Sally. THIS is what the internet is. A never ending pointing of fingers screaming "Sally has cooties!".

Next time you make an offhand, backhand, random comment about someone think about this...

Elephants and the internet - two things that never forget.