Do you eat a piece of fruit daily? I’m guessing most of you don’t. I know I don’t. I’m good for about two pieces every week. My diet isn’t bad per se. I don’t eat meat, I hardly ever have dessert or sweets, but my fruit intake is abysmal (I also eat a ton of bread, but we aren’t talking about my carb intake this month and you can take away my carbs after I die and not a second sooner). Fruit is a wonderful source of fiber, it’s got all the healthy sugars you crave, and it has very little effect on blood sugar levels when consumed whole. Please rid yourself of the idea that you will get be unhealthy if you eat fruit because it has sugar in it. It’s not like eating a candy bar full of sugar. Far from it.
Most adults don’t get enough fiber and to combat this we’re downing disgusting FiberOne products and hoping a powder that dissolves in water will help with this. The best thing you can do to get more fiber is eat a high fiber diet. So that’s what I’m going to try to do this month and I’m going to do it through fruit. We need 25-30 grams of fiber a day and most of us are only getting around 15. Only 1 in 10 American adults get enough fruit in their daily diet according to the CDC. An adult should consume 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit every day. Are you even close to hitting that mark?
I only had a few different fruits rotated to me growing up because I was terribly picky about what I would and wouldn’t eat. I would eat apples (granny smith only, skin off and cut up was the only way I’d eat them – I was gross), bananas, cantaloupe (sliced not diced, must be refrigerated) and orange slices (peel on, no white stuff – fiber – showing) only at soccer games. If my fruit was brought to me any other way I wouldn’t eat it or even recognize it as a fruit. That was the extent of the fruit I’d eat. I had grapes once at a friends house and hated them. My brother ate Kiwi’s and I was disgusted by the brown fur on them. I wouldn’t eat Watermelon because of a Rugrats episode. The seeds in strawberries repulsed me. The giant seed at the center of peaches grossed me out so I wouldn’t eat them. I mean the list just goes on. So here’s my shameful secret: I’m still grossed out by all of this. All that’s really changed is that I’ll eat watermelon, strawberries, raspberries and mango – sometimes. But not often enough.
My goal this month is to learn to love fruit again. All kinds. I want to eat a piece every day, rediscover my old favorites, try some new ones and really gain an appreciation for whole fruit foods. Every week I’ll update you on what I ate that week and what new fruit I tried. I’m also going to be reading two books and watching one documentary and I’ll fill you in on good tidbits from all three. The documentary is called Fruit Hunters and you can watch it for free on YouTube. The two books are Banana by Dan Koeppel a book on the history of our most consumed fruit and The Fruit Hunters by Adam Gollner – the book based on the documentary.
I think you should join me too. It’s good for you. Unless you are following a ketogenic diet (WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF PLEASE STOP, IT IS SO BAD AND YOU ARE STARVING YOUR BRAIN OF CARBS AND ROBBING YOURSELF OF HAPPINESS) or have some sort of intolerance, there really is no reason to limit the amount of fruit you eat.
When I stopped reading, listening or watching the news at midnight on January 31 here were the headlines in my mind:
It’s freezing all over the United States except the west coast because of a polar vortex
Russia is using Mueller’s private case files to discredit the Russia Probe
Conservatives are mad at the Virginia Governor over a late term abortion bill
McConnell is mad about a democratic house bill to make election day a federal holiday
Venezuela is in turmoil
The EU rejected Theresa May’s plans to change Brexit deal
Everybody has measles in Portland/SW Washington
The CEO of Starbucks wants to run for president and everyone hates that idea
So after a week of NO NEWS AT ALL, here is what I picked up from people around me in my liberal bubble during the week just by listening to conversations:
Liam Neeson said something racist
The government of Virginia also did or said some questionably racist things, also something about sexual harassment
Women wore white during Trump’s State of the Union, which was filled with bad rhetoric
Maroon Five is the worst
If you don’t live in America or only get your news from conservative sources I’m going to guess your headlines looked a lot different. I heard nothing about anything outside of American news and all the news I did pick up included American politicians/celebrities being the absolute worst. I am kind of dying to know what’s happening in Venezuela but I haven’t heard anything.
Damn that’s some shitty reporting from me! Well, except the part about Maroon Five. I didn’t watch a second of the Super Bowl, but I didn’t need a Super Bowl performance by Maroon Five to tell me that they sucked. Everyone loves to hate [insert musician that plays at the Super Bowl]. Doesn’t matter who it is.
I am ITCHING to dig into these four news stories I heard about in passing, but unfortunately it’s week two of my challenge and the only place I can go look up what “really” happened is FOX NEWS. Just to get a taste of what my next post is going to be like let’s do an experiment. I’m going to look up one story on the State of the Union, Liam Neeson and the Virginia government on Fox News and report back right now on what I found.
State of the Union: The night was miserable for congressional democrats. Trump urged for bipartisan cooperation. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t applaud, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand didn’t even stand up once and Nancy Pelosi clapped weird.
Liam Neeson: Admitted that he once wanted to kill a ‘black bastard’ for revenge. Jesus Christ. Anyway, Fox News is reporting that Michelle Rodriguez said he’s not racist because he stuck his tongue super far down Viola Davis’ throat in the movie Widows. Oooookay. Anyway, Neeson apologized for having those thoughts and Fox News gives us no context as to why he would even bring that shit up, but there you go.
Virginia Government: Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is involved in a allegation of sexual assault at the 2004 DNC. State Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to donning blackface at a college party in 1980. Fox News is frothing at the mouth at all the bad things these democrats have done and noting any silence about this on the left.
I already have a headache from this and it’s only been one day of Fox News. Next weeks posts should get weird. I almost miss not know what was going on in the news. I’m also going to make a fun game of how many times the Fox News front pages has a story on Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren or Hilary Clinton. We will see who the winner is at the end of the week!
We made it! Week four of honest photos. I wanted to close this challenge out with mental health and motherhood. Before we get there I want to reiterate what I’ve been trying to show you all with this challenge. Here is the takeaway: SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE.
Let’s go back to the ‘girl Greek island’ I Googled after I asked myself to close my eyes and imagine my dream vacation. I just posted the first picture I found, but the truth is I could have chosen from thousands.
“Our depictions of travel on social media have become an area in which homogeneity has started to be seriously discussed. The problem is all pictures have become identical: iconic tourist destination in the background, woman with the back to the camera wearing a cute dress, clutching at a straw hat. When you travel to any picturesque spot in the world today you encounter lines of young women trying to recreate the same images”
Katherine Ormerod, Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life
There are entire blogs dedicated to where the best photo ops are at tourist locations and if you go to them you will see a LINE of people waiting to get that same exact shot. So I want to remind you again. Here are some images of the same place all those above pictures were taken.
Really quickly I want to tell you a story of when I was in Vatican City. I was wandering around this pillar statue that was in the middle of the area with all of these stone barriers surrounding it to stop assholes from ramming their cars into it. These really stunning young Swedish women were sitting on two of the barriers with one empty between them. They had their fashionable boots up on the empty barrier touching in the middle and they asked me to take their picture. I took several because I know what it’s like to want OPTIONS before you post. I gave their phone back, they thanked me and I got back in line to get into the Basilica. I passed the area again twenty minutes later (the line to get in is very long), and the two women are still there. This time I watch them ask a guy to take their picture. Have they been there this entire time? He takes their picture, they examine it for a moment before asking ANOTHER PERSON to take their photo. You guys. Is this how we spend our travel time now? Sitting on a cold stone barrier all day asking people to take photos of us in the same positions until we get one we think is post worthy? This can’t be our lives….
So here’s where your mental health comes into play. Weeks ago I asked you all to close your eyes and imagine your dream vacation. I bet most of you thought of photos you’ve seen online from OTHER PEOPLE in locations all over the world living their best life. The truth is you don’t know what was going on in that person’s life when they took that photo and had a caption that just said #bestlife or something else equally absurd. We’ve all done it. We’ve all posted inaccurate representations of our lives. I hope that the last three posts I’ve done have shown you that. What I want to challenge you all to do is when you start to feel that fear of missing out, the anxiety of not living as ‘exciting’ a life as what you see other people doing online, take a step away from the photo that is making you feel that way and imagine the real story behind that photo. If you imagine the girl looking at the ocean with a small Greek village island surrounding her, imagine seventeen other girls standing behind her waiting to take that same photo. Is that how you want to spend your time? Waiting to take a photo of your back so you can put it online and make people feel envious? Is that how we want to spend our time, money and life energy? I’m going to go with no.
The feelings you might have when you see photos like this can be extremely detrimental to your mental health. It can lead you to feel like you aren’t enough. Impostor syndrome starts to reel it’s ugly head. I challenge you to unfollow anyone that makes you feel inadequate. I used to follow a ton of celebrities on Instagram. Now the only verified accounts I follow are the Obama’s (duh) and The Happy Pear, because those boys bring me JOY. I used to scroll feeds of beautiful celebrities feeling less than, wishing I could have the life they do. Without those posts in my minds eye every day I feel so much happier. I follow people I know in real life. My feed isn’t so overwhelming now and in turn I find myself engaging more with people I actually care about and know. I challenge you do to the same. It will do wonders for your self image and mental health.
NOW ONTO BABIES! is a phrase I never thought I’d type.
I want to preface this with the fact that I am not a Mom. I don’t plan to be either, but I suppose you never really know. However, I have a lot of lovely wonderful friends who are mothers and some who are even about to become mothers! It’s VERY exciting for me to witness. I am so impressed sometimes when I see people I grew up with or people whose hair I used to hold back while they puked who are now actually raising small infants and doing a damn good job at it too. I wanted to talk about motherhood though because Ormerod’s book has an entire chapter on it and I think it can really help some women out there who are struggling because even I know, as a non-parent, how fucking hard it is to raise children and god damn people on social media who talk about it like it’s fucking sunshine and rainbows all the time 24/7. Mostly because it can make mothers who aren’t experiencing that to feel like complete shit.
I think we all need to do a better job of being up front and honest about raising kids. It’s okay to show beautiful family photos like this one (the two following excerpts from Ormerod’s book):
“You may see a photo of someone baking vegan treats with their kids, pristine homes in the background, handsome husbands just out of eye shot…these can make a mom who hasn’t showered in three days and eats take out noodles feel incomplete.”
So you feel like shit when this happens because they make it look so easy! Why isn’t it easy for me! Well here’s another bit that I suggest thinking about when you see something like this and it makes you feel less than:
“You can take a perfect motherhood pic and then get right back to the sofa with your sweatpants with baby sick in your hair and no one would know. There is zero point in using those perfect images you see to judge yourself on what you’re doing. ”
The truth is, and I say this with the limited extent of my lens as a non-mom: Motherhood can be a very vulnerable time. As women, we could all do with telling each other our honest experiences, particularly when it comes to our bodies. Enough of the shame.
And don’t even get me going on ‘body bounce back’ shit. Okay, I’m gonna get going on it anyway. Women’s bodies are kind of fucking incredible. We literally GROW HUMAN CHILDREN in our bodies. FOR MONTHS. Our bodies change drastically in this time. Not to mention all the crazy shit that can happen to them after the actual act of giving birth. This disgusting pressure we put on mothers to have the exact same bodies as they had pre-birth is one of the worst things we do to a mother’s mental health. You have just been through something truly incredible and your body will need time to heal and repair itself. Sometimes it doesn’t always go back to what it was 100%.
Celebrities in particular have staff dedicated full time to get them back into shape within weeks of giving birth, with nutritionists, personal trainers, the luxury of not having to go back to work right away 9-5, not to mention NANNIES. I don’t know any mother in real life that has those kinds of resources at their disposal. Most of them just seem to be trying to support their new families as soon as possible after their baby comes into the world (via their vagina. Did I mention women’s bodies are kind of amazing and also insane).
Not every woman’s pregnancy is the same. Our experiences during and after this time are really going to be unique to our own bodies. We need to listen to our bodies and not let photos other people may take while on similar journeys make us feel bad about where we are at in our own journey.
Okay, whew. We made it and I’m only left feeling slightly angry after typing all that. Just one more ‘GO MOMS’ for all you amazing women out there procreating and shaping our next generation. If you want to do a good job, then you already are. If you’re worried about if you’re doing it right then you’re doing it right. Just like with schooling, careers, and every other facet of human lives NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING. We are all just doing the best we can. We are all this dog:
Remember if photos of other people are making you feel like shit….unfollow them. They aren’t doing it on purpose (I hope!), but that doesn’t matter. You gotta do you first. Don’t let these images of a moment in someone else’s life, ruin YOUR life. Remember that that’s all it is: a moment! We don’t know what was actually going on before, during or after that photo was taken!
That wraps up honest photos month! I hope you all enjoyed it. Let me know what you thought in the comments or anywhere else online. I’m pretty much ‘hollishillis’ on every platform. If you have ideas of what I should do next let me know! I have February mapped out for my monthly challenge and it’s a doozy you guys. I’m actually having real anxiety of how I will manage it. Here’s a hint: news.
Push-up Update: I’m back at it! The first week I did knee push ups and fucked up my shoulder, then I was out two weeks, but I’m back and doing wall push-ups now. I’m trying not to feel weak and sad about this. My journey is not everyone else’s journey. I have to take care of my body and go slow and as much as I want to just get back down and do the knee ones again I’m going to do the wall ones for another week and then try to move to the knees ones again. I did 40 total this week and I was a little sore, but nothing was damaged so I’m feeling good. I still think I will be able to do 100 real push ups consecutively by the end of the year. Slow and steady wins the whatever. See you all for February’s challenge next week!
“Will you take a picture of me at my rock bottom?” I asked my Aunt in her kitchen in Spokane. She had just handed me a giant Costco box of Clif bars her kids wouldn’t eat and some leftover food for my journey back to Portland. I would end up eating those Clif bars for dinner every night for two weeks until they were gone.
We were visiting Spokane for the weekend, just a few weeks after I’d been fired for the job I moved to Portland for. We were there to get the rest of our stuff out of storage. I had just spent the last few hours lamenting my woes to her about what I assumed was my terrible decision to move away. I had $167 in my checking account, no savings, no job and two higher education degrees that at the time felt as worthless a receipt paper.
Like many other millennials, I was promised that if I went to college and got a degree I could graduate and go do anything I wanted. If I just worked hard, someone would pay me for my hard work. Unfortunately no one told us the economy was going to collapse in 2008 and thousands of graduates would be left scrambling for any part time job that would pay them so they could eat anything besides Clif bars for dinner.
“Many millennials began their working live after the financial meltdown of 2008, when the stock market lost half its value. If they followed their parents’ script, went to college, and took on debt, expecting their parents’ results. Instead they were greeted with an economy in free fall and fewer opportunities in the traditional job market.”
We made our way back to Portland and our tiny room at my Aunt and Uncle’s home. Jesse continued to work, and I continued to job search and sleep as much as I could. I didn’t do much else and being awake became kind of exhausting. Eventually I managed to get a part time job that paid $10/hr at an upscale outdoor mall in a city just south of Portland. That income allowed us to apply for an apartment in another city south of Portland and we moved again into a really shitty apartment that we could only just barely afford.
I had a lot of fun at that job, but it was still customer service and it felt like a huge step back from the management position in customer service that I left in Spokane. Except now I was paying twice the amount of rent and didn’t have health insurance on top of no full time work. I was making friends though. They were fun and I dipped back into the drinking again. I would not say I had a problem with drinking I just spent too much of my time and money doing it. I was just coming out of my depression and my new friends helped with that a lot. They also liked to go out a lot and I just went along and had a good time. My Instagram posts from the time do not lie about this.
I still felt really stupid for leaving a full time job that paid more to start a part time job that paid less. So I made sure to make my job seem extra fun and cool online. The thing is it was fun and cool. I was working for the property management company for the mall and they let me help out in the office a few days a week doing some marketing, which was the field I was trying to get into. My boss was crazy, but the people were nice and my coworkers were really wonderful. But still, I wanted everyone online to believe that it was paying me much more than it was and it was a full time real career job. That was just a damn lie.
Eventually I had to get a full time job. The part time work was not cutting it and I also really needed to figure out something that would boost me into marketing. So I took a job at FedEx Office, which was really another glorified customer service gig, but with the promise of learning Adobe Creative Suites on the side. A promise that was kept and allowed me to get my next and first career job. So it all worked out but I just have to say that that job was almost worse than any other customer service job I had previously. I don’t know what it is about a place that is literally just supposed to ship packages and print paper for you, but holy shit I’d never been so disrespected in my life. So I spent a lot of time really fucking mad. I’d go to work mad, come home mad, and spend my time off getting mad about having to go back to work. What a nightmare.
The cool part about FedEx though was that I worked with a lot of older people who were really helpful and encouraging to me to not work there forever. They really helped hone my Photoshop skills and we got in some damn good Photoshop wars.
Eventually I’d come home from work and apply for five jobs a day. I was getting interviews like crazy, but nothing was panning out. Then I got a call for a job I didn’t even remember applying to. They wanted to interview me. I spent the next day actually reading through my job application and figuring out what in the world the job was for. Honestly, I still didn’t get it. It was an architecture and engineering firm and they wanted a marketing coordinator to work on things called proposals and put them into layout so I had to know InDesign. Well, of all the creative suites, InDesign was not my strongest, but what the hell. I did the interview and more than the job or the company I really felt strongly toward the woman who interviewed me. She was really excited about my background and didn’t mind at all that I had no experience in the industry or doing anything remotely like this. I almost cried when she actually looked at my education and said my degrees were what helped her make the decision to call me for an interview. Every interview I’d been on before then hadn’t even asked me about them. She could tell from all the side work I had been doing that I was really serious about landing something full time that could benefit from my writing and computer skills. I accepted the job and my income doubled over night.
I did it! I was working full time, not living pay check to pay check and I had some amazing coworkers….for about three months. Then the restructuring came. The company wasn’t doing too well. They laid off my boss, who was really my support with the company, then my amazing co workers all started to take new jobs because they didn’t like the new management. Also, I hated the projects we were working on and without the support of my old boss I was left to do a job I wasn’t really prepared for or hired on to do. Still, my online presence was assuring anyone who was watching that I had MADE IT.
So I spent my days looking for a way out again. My group that started with six people went down to 100% turnover in a year. They hired one person to help me and I was suddenly the most senior marketer at the company with one year of experience. Luckily they hired someone really amazing who had been in the industry forever and realized her mistake in taking this job the moment she showed up. We both were trying to get out and she actually helped me get an interview at the company I work at now.
Now I could tell you that my new job of almost two years is perfect and wonderful and I have it made. It’s true my income shot up again with it, and I do have a great office location with amazing coworkers. I am lucky in that regard. but I am coming to realize that this industry is not for me. I like it well enough and it works for now, but I’m not raving all over social media about my perfect occupation or anything anymore. It just wouldn’t’ be the truth. The truth is it’s working for now and I’m happy enough.
Five years ago I would have looked at me now and thought YES WE FINALLY DID IT. WE HAVE ARRIVED. But the more I work and the more time I put into something I’m not super passionate about the less I think I really have ‘made it’. I’m starting to realize that there is nothing more valuable than my time. The moments I have left. How do I want to spend it?
So that’s the truth of my entire journey from Spokane to Portland. It’s been kind of crazy. The beginning had lots of downs, and I wasn’t always honest online about any of it really. The last three years though have been really lovely and I’m enjoying it a lot. We’ll see what happens next, but I promise I’ll be more honest about it as it comes up.
Push Ups: Still on a resting break as my wrist has been killing me this week, but I am 95% healed and will take up the task of getting back to it this next week. I don’t want to give up on this goal.
Behind the video: I felt like sharing one of the later videos with you all this time. Mostly because it relates a bit to what my post for this week will be for honest photos. This was posted in September of 2013 just a few days before I was going to be fired from the job I hated that I moved to Portland for. I was already job searching so I had a feeling the end was nigh I just didn’t realize how nigh. In the video I talk about a disturbing job posting on Craigslist and try to make light of my situation. In the realm of honesty I was not in a good place, not happy with my move and really upset at being so far from my significant other. Enjoy the throwback!