Wild Women: Mackenzie L

Happy #womancrushwednesday everyone!

This is Mackenzie and it’s my absolute honour to introduce you all to her today! Her passion for everything she loves is completely inspiring. She is smart, strong and open minded. She’s madly in love with all things spooky, musical, and her two ridiculously adorable nephews. She cares so deeply about others and the love she has for those around her is so obvious and heart warming. Take a peek into her life below!
You can follow Mackenzie on Instagram here.

Tell me something you’re grateful for, what makes life good?
I have always reveled in the simple things in life. A movie night with my family, a fresh new day planner, sitting on my deck in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, or even clean bedding can make me feel thankful and grateful for the life that I have. I like to think that my heart is wide open and I have so much love to share. Like everyone, I have my bad days- but I let myself feel those raw emotions, practice self care such as meditation or deep stretching, and jump right back into my positive mind set. I have been practicing mindfulness recently, and have learned that taking a moment to stop, reflect and slow my breathing can do wonders for my attitude for the rest of the day. In summary- I love the life I am living!

Who or what inspires you?
People inspire me. One of my favourite things in life is learning about people and their passions. I could listen to someone talk about their life for hours- even if I don’t know them on a personal level. I have always identified as an empath and connect very deeply with humans and animals alike. A lot of the things that make me feel inspired I have plucked from other people, to be honest! For example, my boss had my coworkers and I pick one word for 2018 that represented some goals we wanted to obtain this year. My word was “Accountability.” I began to realize that everything I was saying when I presented my word also correlated with things I wanted to work on in my personal life. I have that same word hanging from a bulletin board in my room at home to remind me of my goals for the year.

What makes you feel safe?
The easiest way I could explain this would be with one word: confirmation. I have diagnosed GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and tend to worry about and over think almost every situation that happens to me. I double and triple check I have my personal/work schedules correct, that I have understood conversations correctly, and that I have explained myself correctly as well. Sometimes I’m sure it may be a bit annoying to be on the other end of me saying, “So you promise I didn’t offend you when I said that?” 3 or 4 times, but it helps me feel safe and sleep soundly knowing that I have been as thorough as I could, and outside of that there is nothing else I could of done differently.

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What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about so many things. I am passionate about my career and the crucial work I do (early childhood education), I am passionate about the human race and progressing forward while recognizing our mistakes in the past, I am passionate about music, I am passionate about saving our mother earth and limiting my plastic usage and buying local whenever I can, and I am passionate about the people I hold dearly and strive to lift them up and celebrate their successes.

Do you have any regrets in life?
It may be a bit cheesy, but I don’t think so. You can always turn those “not so smart” choices into teaching moments and learn and grow from your mistakes. I don’t think I would be the woman I am today without a few road blocks and “bad” decisions!

What is something you’ve struggled with in life? What has it taught you?
Until recently, I really struggled with having close friends who weren’t an open book like myself. I have two close friends who are quite private and do not share much about their personal life. For years I took it as a slight against me, that they didn’t trust me enough to open up. I began to close up myself and we inevitably drifted apart. It took me up until this past year to realize that not everyone is as comfortable sharing as I am, and I need to stop taking it personally and reach out to them. Since then, both of those friends have opened up to me in their own ways, and all it took was less prodding and guilting and more of “I am an open door if you need it.”

You work with kids, what made you decide to get into that? What’s the best thing about it?
My mother ran a daycare in our home from the late 80’s until 2000. She decided shortly after to go back to school to obtain her Early Childhood Education Level 3 Degree. She took classes and worked in the university daycare while having 3 kids at home. After graduating, she worked at numerous centres, holding positions like floor lead, room supervisor and assistant director. In June 2017, she took over the director position at a daycare and had reached an important milestone in her career. Throughout her journey, I observed and learned how important the work she did was to the families in our neighbourhood, at the university and in those centres. In 2013, she asked me (knowing I was not happy at my current job) if I would like a summer position at her daycare. I hopped on it, but never thought it would lead into a career. In those 5 years I have also obtained my Early Childhood Education degree, worked as a nanny, worked in daycare centres and early learning centres, dabbled on the admin side of a daycare, worked at an emergency receiving home, worked as one-on-one support for a child with special needs, and now at my current position I supervise and operate a before and after school program at one of Regina’s biggest elementary schools. Building a bond with the children and their families is the fire that ignites my passion. Hearing things like, “my child has grown so much since they have been here” or “we can’t thank you enough for your dedication to our child” is the sole purpose I do what I do. I plan to continue educating how important those first 5 years are, and lifting up myself and my fellow ECEers to a higher standard- #weareNOTbabysitters !

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What does a typical day in your life look like?
If you asked anyone around me, they would probably laugh and say I am super busy and live out of my car. They are half right- but I hate the word busy! I try to use “productive” in it’s place. I work from 6:30-9am at an elementary school, and then depending on the day I either head to my work’s central office to do a few hours of admin, or take care of my nephews and get some much needed hugs in! I head back to my job for the after school program which runs from 3:00-6:00pm. In the evenings I work casually for a home builders company and sit in show homes from 7:00-9:00. Sometimes I work every day a week for the builders company, and sometimes I work once a month. I really enjoy it, as it gives me time to catch up on any computer tasks I may have. If I don’t work the show homes, I usually make plans to see my family or friends, or head back to my home that I share with 2 great roommates. On weekends I start my days off slow, drink lots of coffee, watch movies, listen to records, thrift shop and hunt for garage sales. I love all things vintage and previously loved.

Are you a feminist? Why do you think that word weirds people out?
I believe in this day and age, there is no reason for anyone to not identify as a feminist. Equal rights and empowerment for all women? Sign me up! I would absolutely define myself as a card carrying feminist. I think it weirds a lot of people out for the same reason that religion or mental health can. Unless you’ve got your finger on the pulse or are really passionate about something, you may tend to only see the extremist side of things online or in the news. Some people seem to tie the word “feminist” with malicious man hating, which at least in my definition, is not the case. The more we can educate and spread awareness that we ALL need feminism, the more progressive steps we can take as a whole to support our mothers, sisters, friends and daughters.

You go to Calgary Comic Expo every year (and never visit me), what’s it like? Why do you go? Who’s your fave person you’ve met there?
I absolutely love going to the expo, but in all honestly it is incredibly draining. Tons of people, tons of visual stimulation and tons of loooong lines! I’ve learned my lesson the hard way and only go in small chunks throughout the day rather than spend the entire day there. It is all very exciting, don’t get me wrong. I love the panels and meeting some of my pop culture idols.
My favourite person I have met so far would have to be the grandfather of zombie flicks, Mr. George A. Romero. He was so gracious and genuine, and we had such a motivating and inspiring chat. He told me it was because of people like me that he never stopped making movies- the hardcore horror junkies. I’ll never forget his warm handshake and thoughtful words. I was heartbroken to hear of his passing last July, and to honour his memory I have began my own Halloween tradition that I actually borrowed straight from him- making chili for Halloween supper. I hope my recipe can hold a candle to his!

You love music a lot. What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? What made it the best?
Oh boy, do I ever. If I could take road trips to see bands every single weekend, I would! Chalking it up to my favourite though? That’s a tough one! If I really had to choose, it would be when I saw Matthew Good in his own stomping grounds (Vancouver) on November 13th, 2015. A few hours before we were set to see Matthew perform, our news feeds were flooded with headlines about the Paris attack when another favourite band of mine was playing, Eagles of Death Metal. I was upset, furious, and heartbroken. How could I go to this show tonight after hearing what had happened in Paris? How disrespectful would that be? I just saw EODM play 2 months prior to this. After some serious consideration, we headed to the venue dragging our feet. We drove over 18 hours for this show in snow storms, we have to go.. right? Matthew put on the best show I had ever witnessed. This was my sixth time seeing him, and it was like the first time. I cried for the first two songs, which happened to be two of my favourites. Before he went into the third, he stopped and talked about the Paris attacks. He said that we are here tonight to mourn and acknowledge what had happened, but we are also here to stand up and come together as music fans and not let some disgusting people take that away from us. And you know what? He was right. I danced the rest of the night away with an aching heart for the music fans in Paris. That night forever changed me.

What is your ultimate goal for your personal and professional life?
Both professionally and personally I want to never stop learning and growing. I want to use my brain, my hands and my words for good. I don’t want my mental illnesses to define me. I want to sleep 8 hours a night and splash my feet in every ocean and watch the people around me succeed and bloom along with me. As cliche as it may seem, my goal is to be happy.

Thank you Paige for letting me open up both creatively and eloquently. You picked some fantastic questions!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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