Honest Pictures · January 2019 - Honest Pictures

Honest Pictures – Week Two – Honest Social Media

LiveJournal: 2004-2006

MySpace: 2005-2007

Facebook: 2007-Present

Instagram: 2013-Present

That is the lifespan of my social media accounts. These were and are the big four where I can remember portraying myself for the first time in a way that wasn’t always 100% honest. These four platforms of Live Journal, MySpace, Facebook and Instagram are the ones where I put enough of myself into them that I can still go back and see what kind of person I was pretending to be when I was on them. Livejournal wasn’t for pictures. It was for airing your teenage thoughts in an extremely vague way and hoping someone would comment and ask you if you were alright or say that they thought you were funny. It’s the first social platform I can remember being solidly addicted to. Here is a sample of 15 year old me being sad on it.

This was the least embarrassing entry I found. I cringed so hard today reading all these that I think I broke a blood vessel. I was the weirdest teenager. Also, remember when texts cost money and weren’t unlimited?

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) MySpace took off in such a different direction than it was in in the early 2000s that you can’t go back and see your posts or your friends. Profiles have changed and the platform looks nothing like it once did. If you still have an account you were too lazy to delete, it’s impossible to go back and see what you’ve posted, which is probably a good thing. I remember being a bit of wannabe ‘scene kid’ when I was in high school. I was really into going to local shows, dyeing my hair bright shades of red, wearing belts sideways, and taking many many selfies with my giant digital camera hoping that I could pull off a great MySpace bathroom pic.

This is the closest I ever got in photo form to feeling like I was belonging of being super fucking cool *CRINGE*

It was the first time I remember feeling like I could never look a certain way. Remember those scene hair cuts the girls had? Short, weird layers, highlights, parted on the side. I wanted to have one so badly, but my hair was just too thick to pull it off. Now I love my thick hair, but I remember just thinking it was the worst thing to not look like everyone else I was seeing online. I also was poor. I couldn’t go buy band t-shirts, collar shirts to stick under them, multiple studded belts, etc. My parents would also kill me if I got snake bite piercings, which fortunately I only wanted really badly for a week or two. This is all extremely embarrassing now that I type it up, but it’s the truth and it’s important to tell it because this was the first time in my life that I played the COMPARISON GAME.

Depressed

Then came Facebook. Instagram luckily didn’t exist in 2008-2009 when I first moved to Seattle to go to school. I can only imagine how my mental state would have deteriorated even further from it if it was around. I did however post on Facebook a few times about how awesome I was doing, how Seattle GOT me and how I was living this great life at college. I felt like I had to lie and let people think I was doing really well there. I saw everyone else living their best lives online and I thought, why is my life not like that? Not even thinking that maybe those people weren’t doing as good as they said they were.

Truthfully, I hadn’t really made any friends, I lived in a single dorm, ate alone and walked to class alone. I had a few friends that were living in the area and saw them sometimes, but mostly I was alone and my boyfriend at the time (now husband) lived six hours away. My parents had just gotten a divorce, I moved to a city I didn’t know anyone in, I was dealing with a some problems that were all about to come to a head, and I was depressed. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but it took me a year after I graduated and moved back home to finally understand how bad it was.

Starvin’ like marvin’

Facebook was JUST taking off and no one really understood how it worked yet, or what you were supposed to do with it. I didn’t really post on any social network sites during this time, but I have a few pictures I took of myself during this time and was close to developing an eating disorder. This is one of the few pics I have at the time. I wasn’t unhealthy thin yet, I don’t have any pictures of that time, but I was eating hardly anything and I continued to from October 2008-June 2009. Luckily I moved back home after I graduated and my eating habits returned to semi-normal although it wouldn’t be until 2012 that I really felt I had a normal relationship with food again. I still look back at my time in Seattle as a really lovely time, but sometimes it scares me to think about the person I was becoming.

Essentially all this so far has just been to show you how social media shaped me from my very first account until now. How we put the version of ourselves out there that we want other people to see. To show you that what you see isn’t always the truth.

Then came INSTAGRAM. I resisted getting an account for SO LONG, but finally took the leap in 2013. I do really enjoy Instagram. I’m not knocking it, but I think it’s important to be honest about our lives when we share photos and also to help people realize that what you’re seeing is a curated, chosen snapshot of someone’s day: not the real life they are living.

I think the best way to show you the truth is sharing some photos I posted during the first two years that I moved from Spokane to Portland. The in between time from my undergrad degree in Seattle to my life in Portland was filled with a great part time job in Spokane with the best coworkers who turned into the best friends, lots of drinking (I just turned 21) and getting a masters degree because I didn’t want to grow up and school seemed easier. Also Spokane had ZERO jobs at the time and I eventually turned 23 and really needed to get my shit together. So I started applying to jobs in Seattle and Portland and I got one in Portland immediately so I put in my two weeks, packed up my car, prepared to do a long distance relationship (again) and peaced out of Spokane. I was nervous, but excited. I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing, but I knew I was never going to find the job I wanted in Spokane. Also, from the moment I moved there in 2002 I’d been trying to escape.

Peace out Spokane. Bigger and better pastures is what this picture says. What this picture doesn’t tell you is that I spent two hours crying before I took it, not wanting to leave my boyfriend (again) and unsure if I was making a good decision.

I was going to stay with my Aunt and Uncle in Portland until I could save enough to move out. Jesse was planning on following me once he found a job and all we had to do was save money and wait. It would be EASY. And if it wasn’t easy (and it wasn’t) I sure as shit wasn’t going to tell anyone about it. I started my new job the next day and realized quickly that I had fallen into a terrible, terrible call center scam. Oh, stupid me. Stupid me. Still, it wasn’t a bad company and if you could crush it hard enough at sales you could move up to actually do search engine marketing for them (the job I thought I was getting). It just took some dedication and time. Unfortunately for me, I’m really bad at sales. Really bad. Mostly because I don’t believe in them. I’m really against selling someone something they don’t need or really want. So for the next two months I got up at 4am, drove to work pep talking myself and crying, got on the phones, didn’t make sales, and felt like complete and utter shit.

Honesty for once, but I tried to turn it into a joke. I was drinking half a bottle of something every day.

One great thing about Portland is we have the BEST food. THE BEST FOOD. I didn’t know anyone and I was sad so I spent a lot of time after work eating. And when that didn’t make me feel better I spent a lot of time after work drinking. I made this all sound VERY cool of me but I was putting on weight and getting majorly depressed. Even more depressed than my time in Seattle and this time I knew how to recognize it. All I wanted to do was sleep. On the weekends I’d wake up, pretend to be normal for a few hours and then go in my room to pretend to job search and just fall asleep again for six more hours. I was spending every moment I wasn’t at my awful job sleeping, drinking, or eating. I missed Jesse. I missed my old job (actually almost tried to get it back and admit defeat). I missed having friends. I missed not having panic attacks at the thought of going to work.

Mercifully the job fired me at the 3 month mark (just before I would have been eligible for health insurance, nice job America). **Side note: I was able to get insurance for a year and a half after this for free through the affordable care act and I am so grateful. It allowed me access to birth control, dental care I desperately needed and antibiotics when I had an infection during this time)** I was confused, scared, but also a bit happy because I didn’t think I could handle it much longer. I kept it to myself for a few days intending to tell Jesse on Monday. Instead he called me first and told me he found a job in Portland. Well….here we go. We decided to make the move official and he came to live with me in my tiny room at my Aunt and Uncles where I put on a brave face and job hunted while he went to work every day. We were both pretty miserable and it was definitely a low for us. I blamed myself for moving us here and our unhappiness, but we honestly couldn’t go back. There were no jobs where we were and Jesse liked his. That was a silver lining. I would job hunt like crazy, go on interviews daily, but anytime I wasn’t doing that, I was back to sleeping and eating and pretending to be happy when I was awake (luckily I kicked the drinking). So what were my posts like during this weird limbo period? Oh they were the exact opposite of my real feelings. A bunch of pics of me eating Portland food and living my best life in the big city. Ooo the ocean! Ooo bridges! Ooo cheese factories!

Sometimes the truth soaked through and I let people see a bit of what I was feeling (see below), but I never really just came out and said it. I AM DEPRESSED. I REGRET MOVING HERE. I SPEND ALL DAY IN THE DARK SLEEPING OR WATCHING TV WISHING I COULD TAKE BACK THE LAST THREE MONTHS.

I’m grateful we moved here though. I really love Portland (it’s been six years!) and I’m so happy we came here for several reasons. One of them being that I got to know my niece really well, who was just a newborn when I first came. She’s been such a joy in my life and I’m so grateful I got the opportunity to watch her grow up.

I’m going to stop here in late 2013 and pick up next week right here as I talk though the photos I was posting after this time in my life. Mostly because it’s really career and job focused and I wanted to talk about social media and photos we post in relation to money and careers. I’ll be sharing what I posted during the few shit jobs that followed this period all the way up until now. Sometimes I was honest…sometimes I wasn’t.

I want to wrap up honest photos on week four with some truths about motherhood and pregnancy. I am not a mother and I have not been pregnant, but the book I’m reading on Social Media had a really wonderful chapter on this that spoke to me as a woman and I wanted to share. Also, I know a lot of you reading this are pregnant or have kids and I think what I read was really important and I want to share it with you all.

Let me know in the comments about your social media untruths. Was there a time you made a big life decision and made it look MUCH cooler than it actually was? Until next week.

PUSH UP UPDATE: I didn’t want to share this with you all because I was embarrassed, but in the realm of honesty I have found myself in this month….I had to stop push ups this week because I hurt myself. This isn’t as embarrassing as showing you that clip from my LiveJournal, but still I’m not very pleased with myself. Sad to say I probably should have started with wall push ups instead of knee push ups. I’m recovering now from a pinched nerve in my shoulder and an aggravation of my mild carpal tunnel (yay office life) in my wrists because of the work I’ve done so far. I didn’t want to stop making progress (because I really was), but I also was warned from a friend to take my push ups easy because if you push your body too hard when it’s not ready you could end up doing some real lasting damage. So I listened to them and to my body and stopped. I’m hoping to pick back up with wall push ups next week once I feel I’ve fully recovered. I’m committed to doing 100 real push ups in a row without stopping by the end of the year. I just have to take a bit of a detour. Any advice if you’re an exercise person IS welcome.

December 2018 - Minimalist Wardrobe · Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist Wardrobe – Week Three and Four

There is a book I used to pour over when I was kid. I’m not sure who got it for me or how it came to be in my possession, but I actually still own it. I found it again while doing my Marie Kondo method on all my books. Surprisingly it still sparked joy so I kept it. It’s called “Sally’s Room” by M.K Brown. My only guess is my Dad bought it for me as a joke as a child…or in the hopes it might bring inspiration. If it was the latter, it worked.

The books is about a girl named Sally who never cleaned her room. Her room hated it so much they finally decided to do something about it. They marched out of her room, down the street and straight into Sally’s school. Sally’s teacher asks who the room belongs to and defiantly Sally stands up and says it’s hers. And she likes it that way. Eventually she goes home to an empty room and realizes how much room there is in there without all her stuff. When the room barges back in, Sally realizes she has to finally face the facts and clean.

I used to take this book out every time I had to clean my room and follow Sally’s cleaning and organizing method. She puts all her games away, finds her favorite sweater, folds her clothes, makes her bed, etc. In the end she finds that it’s a room where anything can happen.

I pulled the book back out and felt like I’d been through Sally’s journey so many times in my life, but it finally feels like it’s going to stick.

I kind of always knew this about me, but I really love throwing things away. I love cleaning and organizing. Even with all this going for me I found it hard to give up a lot of items this month in my minimalist wardrobe challenge. I don’t miss them now though! I had bought so many clothes I never wore before. It seemed wasteful to throw them out. But did they spark joy? No, they just made me feel bad that they didn’t fit or didn’t turn out to be part of my style as much as I wanted them to be.

I ended up finishing “The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth more Than Anything You Can Buy” By Cait Flanders. I don’t think I’ll be going through her exact path of only buying consumables for the year, but I did like her idea of only buying something when an older version of it is broke and needs to be replaced. She also inspired me to clean up my consumer debt. I don’t have a lot compared to the average American, but I have accumulated some from my wedding in October (photographers are expensive!). I’ve made a plan to set aside large chunks of my income each month to wipe out the debt by the end of May and before my zero interest runs out in August.

“One thing debt and clutter have in common is that as soon as you start letting it pile up, it can be harder and harder to see your way around it.”

Cait Flanders, The Year of Less

She also had a great idea of unfollowing all the stores, newsletters, etc. on social media accounts and unsubscribing from all of consumer emails. I started doing this and instead of 25 new emails in morning I’m getting about three. It’s a good start and I love not having the feeling of missing out when I get an email about picture frames on sale from Pier One with free shipping. I don’t need any more picture frames! And if I suddenly do, the Good Will has plenty of great options for $5 or less.

I have a plan for my wardrobe to become more capsule oriented and once I do my research and purchase the two items I’m really feeling I need to supplement in, then I think it will be complete. I’m really pleased with this journey and if you’re feeling like you want to declutter, organize and make getting dressing in the morning simple AF, let me know if I can help in any way! I am NOT an expert, but I’m feeling confident about the process.

Stay tuned for what my January challenge will be! Hint: It’s time to get honest.

YouTube Throwbacks

How to Handle Rejection

Behind the video: I was so intentionally vague in this video about what I was actually rejected for. Here is the gist: I had two degrees at the time: one undergrad, one grad. I was making $9/hr and getting yelled at every day by customers. I was 21 and living at home in my childhood bedroom.

The interesting thing looking back on this video is that this was one of the most carefree and fun times of my life. Yes, I was getting yelled at by customers every day, but I was also working with my friends, going out every night and I had zero responsibility. Yes, I was only making $400 a month (if I was lucky), but with expenses only being my phone and putting gas in my car, I was living the good life. I was just stuck with this impression, like most millennials I think (thanks to our parents!), that you go to college and when you get out you magically get a job. I had two degrees and I had nothing.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do, which is try to go back to school – again. I applied for an online program at my alma mater. I was going to get an Master in Library Science and move to Washington D.C. to work for the library of congress. The school rejected me and I was back to square one though. It was a good thing though. I’d probably be archive Donald Trump’s tweets if I had gone that route.  I realize now as much as I love books I’d probably spend most of my days injecting Narcan into people and kicking out public masturbators. I mean…that’s been my experience with libraries anyway…

So the biggest take away looking back is that every rejection I’ve faced since then (there been a lot more than my 22 year old self in this video), has been FOR THE BETTER. Each rejection that I thought was the end of the world was actually the best thing for me. Without those rejections I wouldn’t have gotten other opportunities that popped up that suited me better.

December 2018 - Minimalist Wardrobe · Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist Wardrobe – Week Two

It has been a true joy to get dressed for work this week. Why? Because I’ve barely had to think about it! I have ten items of clothing that I can mix and match tops and bottoms with and all of them make me feel comfortable. The only thing I’ve had to check is if it’s raining that day and if I should bring my waterproof coat. That’s it! 

So I started the week off going over my shoes, which wasn’t difficult seeing as I didn’t have many to begin with. I knew that I did have few pairs in there that I liked, but never wore so those went first. In the end I went from 14 pairs to 10. Not that interesting, but it felt good to toss some I’d been hanging on to. I’ve got a pair of navy blue heels for weddings and formal occasions, which go great with my one formal dress that is also a navy color. I’m pleased. 

Once this task was completed I dug back into Marie Kondo’s book feeling really smug about how my closet and drawers were less full now and only filled with things that spark joy. I was really feeling like an expert at this point. Then we got to her section on folding and I found out I’ve been folding clothes wrong my entire life. So that was a nice way to deflate my head.

Watch Marie fold!

Here were the two big takeaways:
“The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a small smooth rectangle that can stand on its own.”
“Never tie up stockings or ball up socks.”

With those two things in mind, and after countless hours of watching people fold clothes (something I never thought I’d do), I once again dumped all my clothes out of my drawers and began my refold. 

I was slightly miffed, but the end result speaks for itself:

The last bits of Kondo’s book had some of the best bits because it expanded beyond the wardrobe. Her blunt advice about how to organize and tidy papers? THROW THEM ALL AWAY. Papers don’t spark joy. Sounds good to me! I spent a good day after work this week happily freeing myself from electrical appliance manuals and pay stubs from many jobs ago. 

She even gave me permission to throw away – gulp – GIFTS.
“The true purpose of a gift is to be received, not kept always. Presents are not things, but a means for conveying someone’s feelings.”
Consider the feelings conveyed, singing birthday cards I received for my 22nd birthday…in the trash you go! 

Kondo goes through how we should tidy books, photos, papers, kitchen appliances, and the one everyone dreads: personal mementos and keepsakes. That was the hardest for me, which is why she suggests to do it last.

“Possessions: Face them now, face them sometime or avoid them until the day we die. Life becomes far easier once you know that things will still work out even if you are lacking something.”

Maire Kondo

So wardrobe is done. It only took me half the month and that’s because I’ve been slowly donating clothes over a period of months now. This was really just the final push to let go of some of those things I was holding onto for no reason. So if that wardrobe is done, what do I do for the next two weeks?

Well, I’m trying to shove one more book in on this subject and I want to see what comes of it. It’s called “The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth more Than Anything You Can Buy” By Cait Flanders. It’s a long title that really spoke to me. So I’ll be letting you know all the fun tidbits that come of that read. 

I’m also planning my January challenge and getting ready to really start promoting this website! Thanks to anyone who is reading early. I will be posting a new YouTube Throwback this week and on my Book Reviews tab I’ll be posting my favorite fiction and non-fiction reads of 2018!

December 2018 - Minimalist Wardrobe · Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist Wardrobe – Week One

My wardrobe makes me feel…

Lizzie knows what’s up

That’s the first prompt  Jessica Rose Williams has for her readers in her Year Round Capsule Wardrobe Guide. So how does my wardrobe make me feel? Overwhelmed, unhappy uncomfortable and annoyed. That’s a lot of  negativity and once I started to get to work on my wardrobe this week I could see why. I really only had four items of clothing I actually liked wearing. So what in the world was I doing with the rest of this shit? How come when I was asked what are things I never wear I said dresses, but still owned a whopping total of TWELVE DRESSES.  Why did I say I felt good in three-quarter length sleeve blouses but owned only one? 

The workbook is great in helping you decide your personal style needs, what your goal is when it comes to your capsule wardrobe and really assessing why this is something you’re interested in. Me? I’m sick of staring at my closet and drawers every morning feeling overwhelmed and unimpressed. I’m sick of walking around the office feeling uncomfortable four out of five days a week because once I wear my favorite outfit I have to wait another week to wear it again. Why isn’t my wardrobe full of favorite outfits? 

I want to tie my work with William’s ebook guide to another book I’ve been reading this month by Marie Kondō. In her book, the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up she suggests when beginning to tidy there are only two decisions to be made about stuff: Whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it. She insists that tidying has to begin with discarding. William’s suggests taking every single item you own out of your wardrobes, cupboards, drawers and any other hiding places. Lay it all out in front of you. I mixed this advice with Kondo’s belief in tidying by category. Don’t go drawer by drawer because sometimes you have sweaters in a drawer and sweaters hung up. Place all like items together and get a good idea of what you really have. 

Once everything was out of hiding I took another leaf from Kondo and held every item and asked myself ‘does this spark joy?’ Along with that I added in Williams questions: Would I wear this right now? Have I worn this in the last year?  Does it fit me properly? and Do I feel confident when I wear it? 

“Do you feel happy wearing clothes that don’t give you pleasure? You thought it looked cool in the shop…then why did you never wear it? Was it because you realized that it didn’t suit you when you tried in on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or color, it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you.”

Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

So here are all my clothes out of their drawers, sorted by category and laid bare:

Inventory: Cardigans, 10; Shirts, 7; Leggings, 6; Blouses, 2; Tank tops, 10; Jeans, 10; Pants, 3; Skirts, 1; Sweaters/Zip Ups, 8; Pajama bottoms, 7; Pajama tops, 10; Shorts, 5; Workout bottoms, 4; Workout tops, 3; Shorts, 5; Dresses, 12; Coats, 3; TOTAL ITEMS OF CLOTHING: 106

It’s amazing to have one hundred pieces of clothing and really only wear or like half of them. I already mentioned my 12 dresses….yikes. I also had ten pairs of jeans, only four of which I ever wore. There was a huge imbalance of items I liked to wear vs the amount of those items actually in my closet.  Through William’s journal prompts I found that my three key words for my personal style are neutral, timeless and relaxed. It’s boring, but it’s me. I feel comfortable in black, gray, brown and sometimes floral print. That’s about it. So why did I have so much of everything else I didn’t like? Time to toss!

Donation Pile!

Two hours later here is the Inventory and much less exhausting closet: Cardigans, 5; Shirts, 5; Leggings, 3; Blouses, 1; Tank tops, 8; Jeans, 6; Pants, 1; Skirts, 0; Sweaters/Zip Ups, 4; Pajama bottoms, 3; Pajama tops, 6; Shorts, 4; Workout bottoms, 3; Workout tops, 3; Shorts, 5; Dresses, 4; Coats, 2; TOTAL ITEMS OF CLOTHING: 63

I ended up with a lot of extra hangers. I’m storing these for now because even though I have cut down the wardrobe I’m eyeing ten or so more pieces that I don’t like that much, and would like to replace with things that suit me better and can be more versatile. The reason they’re still in there now? Well, I can’t go down to 2 shirts and 2 cardigans at the moment. It won’t work with my work week. So as I start to learn more about my personal style this upcoming week I’ll be keeping an eye out for new clothing items that are neutral, timeless and relaxed and can all mix and match together to really create that perfect capsule wardrobe look. 

I’ve made big strides this week, but I still have a bit more work to do this month. Updates next week!