Adulting: How I Am Failing At It

The question of maturity was never a real problem for me. When I was a kid, I was always called mature for my age, and I took pride in that. Being thought of as “immature” became kind of a big fear of mine.

And then I finished graduate school.

After college, people usually find a sucky job and pay sucky bills and have sucky responsibilities. So, I wasn’t too thrilled. I mean, I was looking forward to graduating — graduating is always exciting. Plus, grad school tore my soul a new one.

Yeeep. Pretty much. I questioned every single day that I was in grad school. But now that I'm in the "real world," I question every day that I'm not in school.

Yeeep. Pretty much. I questioned every single day that I was in grad school. But now that I’m in the “real world,” I question every day that I’m not in school.

But living in the real world? My impression was (and still is) — work to pay bills until you die.

That is no way to live. That’s not living at all. I’d rather jump off a building. So naturally, I started to freak out.

My boyfriend thought it would be a good idea for me to follow my dreams and write, while he works to support us. I mean, he’s a nurse (an RN) and has two jobs — one at a hospital and one at a nursing home. Sounds good on paper. But now that it’s actually been playing out for some four months, it’s… not… all it’s cracked up to be.

I mean, it great for my literary career! Two books coming out soon, one actually under my pen name, from a publishing company!! Really excited. I haven’t spent this much time on writing and editing since… ever. School had always been in the way. Now I can write and edit and publish without restrictions. I can do NaNoWriMo guilt-free!

Well, when I say “guilt-free,” I mean, I won’t feel guilty for working on short stories or my novel when I should be writing papers (oops).

But. There’s some guilt there. My boyfriend is working his ass off, not even getting full checks yet, so we’ve been struggling a little. And he’s always exhausted and sometimes stressed. So… I worry. A lot.

But every time I’d ask him if he needed me to work to help lessen the financial strain, he’d say it would be fine and that we should stick to our plan…

So fast-forward. Last night, I asked him if I act my age. He says I act like “a teenager whose soul hasn’t yet been crushed by adult responsibilities,” “immature in a good way,” “child-like rather than childish.”

He also said he now knows our plan is kind of a bad idea, but me working out in the real world would cause me to be miserable all the time. (He’s known that for a while.) And then he’d have to come home to me being miserable all the time.

I told him that yes, that may be true, but it’s not fair to him. And then he said that I can’t help my mental illness. Which is true, I can’t, but using it as a crutch makes me cringe. Have my depression and anxiety rendered me so mentally and emotionally fragile that I can’t function in a normal workplace?

Yeah, I’d be miserable, but, given my depression, I used to be miserable all the time, so that wouldn’t be anything new. The problem here is, now my emotions affect someone else. And after working 8-, 12-, or 16-hour shifts he’d come home to the mopey, depressive wreck that would be me. There would be no happiness in that relationship.

I realize this blog post is very personal. And a huge downer. Originally, I was going to write about Skyping with my host family. But, I really needed to write about this. I’m feeling some type of way, and I really don’t know what to do.

I’m not going to lie. Part of me misses my cushy campus jobs and my graduate stipend because it would be nice to have money of my own while working at a job that doesn’t make me hate life.

I worked retail once, two summers ago. It’s very… It doesn’t make a difference in anyone’s life. No one really wants to be there. It’s not creative. It doesn’t challenge my brain in any way.

Retail is pretty much purgatory. And I’m sure food service is much the same (except worse because I’m extremely squeamish).

So.

Yeah.

I don’t know if I feel better at all after writing this.

See you next Monday.

Are We Omnivores?

EDITS AND CORRECTIONS: In my haste to choose images for this blog, I neglected to notice that the “Top 10 Sources of Veggie Protein” has some grossly manipulated numbers there.
I was also given a lot of flack about the teeth charts being incorrect, though no one has thus so far told me why they are wrong. So..
I’ve been told that B12 is sourced from bacteria and algae. The more you know! 😀
And finally, it’s been said that eggs aren’t really all that bad for you. My sources for that are probably out-dated. But I mean, the egg and dairy industries have their fingers in many pies — and a shit ton of money — so I remain slightly skeptical of egg and dairy studies. That said, even if eggs aren’t terrible for you, they’re still a product of animal cruelty. Yeah I said it. 
Finally — Yes, I’m still a vegetarian, but I’m slowly making my way down the path to veganism. Wish me luck~!

Really.

What the hell are humans supposed to eat?

I’ve been asking myself this for quite a while. I mean, I grew up eating meat and drinking milk. I developed a deep love for macaroni and cheese. Bacon was my shit. (Ew. It really grosses me out to think about that now.)

Then, when I was rather young, about 12, I decided to cut out pork. I literally just cut it from my diet forever. That was the first step.

Around 19 or 20, I cut back a lot on the red meats and pretty much became a flexitarian (“A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products.”)

And finally. In May of 2014, at the age of 21, I gave up meat completely.

It was Mother’s Day, and we all went out to eat at Olive Garden, and I had the Tour of Italy dish. I asked for no meat in the lasagna (I’d pretty much cut out beef by then), but the chicken parmesan was okay (I still ate chicken occasionally).

But then… I couldn’t get over the fact that I was eating a corpse. I was eating a corpse. I’m not a cheetah or a wolf — humans aren’t carnivores. Why the hell do we eat dead animals? Because we need protein? Um… check this out:

protein

protein2

So that begs the question: Why are people still propagating the myth that you need meat for protein. Or that little Timmy is a growing boy and an athlete and needs to eat that steak?

But here is a far more intriguing question. What are humans really supposed to eat? Carnivores eat meat like nobody’s business but never get high cholesterol. Ever. But humans? High cholesterol is definitely an issue. Animal proteins and hormones in meat also do not belong in the human body. They cause all sorts of trouble.

So then. What can our teeth tell us?

teeth1

teeth2

Nothing, really. Nothing we didn’t already know. What these pictures neglect to tell you is that herbivore and frugivore are not mutally exclusive; neither are omnivore and frugivore: “A frugivore /fruːdʒʉvɔr/ is a fruit eater. It can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type. Because approximately 20 percent of all mammalian herbivores also eat fruit, frugivory is considered to be common among mammals.” And well, humans did come from fruit-loving ape ancestors.

So. Are we omnivores? We sure as hell don’t need meat or animal products for protein.

But we do need vitamin B12, which can only be found naturally in meat, eggs, and dairy. “Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.” So, it’s not inconceivable that early humans were meant to be flexitarian omnivorous frugivores.

But that doesn’t mean that we, as modern humans, need to continue to eat this way. Meat, eggs, and dairy all cause a lot of problems in the human body that the mainstream propaganda likes to keep hidden. First of all, eggs contain an insane amount of cholesterol. Eating more than two or three eggs a week is enough to put you at risk for diseases and serious health issues in the future. And dairy — this is funny. Humans are the only animals that consume milk into adulthood. We’re also the only animals that drink another animal’s milk. How bizarre is that? Cow milk is perfectly designed for calves. Are we baby cows?

This hilarious commercial can STEER you in the right direction. (Hahahaha! … I’ll see myself out.)

But seriously, we can fortify our foods with B12 now. Countless cereals, drinks, plant-based milks, and vegan products are fortified with B12.

If you need any more convincing, have no fear! I’ve collected some literature for you:

  1. Four Reasons You Need to Stop Eating Eggs
  2. One minute and 30 seconds into this video, you find out that the federal government has deemed it illegal to label eggs as “healthy” or “nutritious” … because that would be lying.
  3. WebMD concludes that you don’t have to drink milk to be healthy.
  4. NutritionMD’s 8 reasons to eliminate dairy from your diet.

So! There you have it, my friends. Make of this information what you will. I’m just the messenger~

Until next Monday!

Dear Fat, Skinny, Fit, Healthy, and Chubby People…

I know I’m writing this a little late, but the Internet recently went a little mad over Youtube personality Nicole Arbour’s video Dear Fat People.

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while, and now I have the perfect excuse. Hopefully I can pull this off with more finesse.

I have some pretty strong feelings about this fat vs. skinny nonsense. I’m not talking about fitness yet — I’ll get to that later. Right now, I’m talking about the fat people who body shame skinny people, and the skinny people who body shame fat people, and the ridiculous obsession with being skinny.

Okay, look.

In the first place, body shaming is not a helpful thing. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere, and it doesn’t motivate anyone to be healthy. Stop telling skinny girls to eat a sandwich, and stop calling fat girls whales. All right? I used to be unhealthy and fat. Then, I starved myself, and I became unhealthy and skinny. At one point in junior high, I was eating 800 calories a day. I went from double-digit pants sizes to a size 8, and I was ecstatic. But all my friends and family were worried about my health. When I was a freshman in high school at a 4th of July picnic with my friends, they kept an eye on me and pretty much hassled me about not eating any food. At one point, my mom wouldn’t let me leave her sight after eating because she thought I might be bulimic.

If I didn’t have people like that who cared about me, I might be dead right now. Eating 800 calories a day is not okay.

I wasn’t even eating healthy things, either. I didn’t look at vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, or anything like that. When I looked at the nutrition facts, my eyes went straight to calories. As long as it was delicious and I didn’t go over 800, I was happy. That is a shitty way to live.

Starving yourself is not glorious. It will not make you happy. Eat. EAT! Your body needs nutrients!!

Back then, I was obsessed with being skinny, not healthy. If I were motivated to be healthy instead, things would have gone a lot more smoothly for me. It wasn’t until I was 18, a freshman in college, that I began working out and eating right. When you treat your body well, you feel good. I love the way my body feels after a good work out. I’ve cut a lot of junk from my diet, and I’m very keen on fruits and veggies. When I was younger, I was all meat and potatoes, but now? I’m disappointed if I’m eating a meal that does not involve vegetables or fruits in some way (unless it’s pizza. I fucking love pizza. I would eat cheese pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it wouldn’t kill me). I’m also a vegetarian now. I’ve been so for over a year and don’t plan on ever going back to meat. While I highly recommend it, you don’t necessarily have to cut out all meat to be healthy.

And contrary to popular belief, it is possible to eat well without having to purchase $6 salads. If you do a bit of research, eating well doesn’t have to empty your pockets.

I dance ballroom. I got to Planet Fitness. I buy most of my food from the organic aisle. I FEEL GOOD. And you know what? I look good, too. When I say that, I don’t mean “I look skinny” — I mean I look HEALTHY. I gained a little muscle. My skin, hair, and teeth are all healthy.

Healthy comes in many shapes and sizes. And don’t trust the Body Mass Index (BMI). It doesn’t account for “muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and racial and sex differences.”

Right now, I’m about a size 4 or a 6, depending on the clothes and the store because women’s sizes are stupid, but my ass is kind of big. It’s gotten a lot smaller since I started dancing, but it’s not as small as I would like. Sometimes it makes me sad. Sometimes my stomach isn’t as flat as I would want it to be, and I feel fat. But you know what? I get over it pretty quickly, because I’m a god damn dancer. I’m a lean mean dancing machine. My legs are amazing. I even obtained some upper body strength — something I never thought I’d achieve because I used to be such a weakling. (Seriously. I could only lift 40 pounds at one point.) And I’m healthy. I find clothes that look good on me and call it a day.

Whether you’re chubby, skinny, fat, toned, or what-have-you, your body is a well-tuned machine. And you only get one. Be good to it, and it will be good to you.

Do something active that you enjoy. This is for everyone. Moving around is good for the soul. (Real talk: I have depression. And while I have meds for it, I also know that getting up and being active also helps. Sometimes I need a kick in the pants to get up and go, but when I do, I feel worlds better.) Build some muscle, get your blood flowing, do some stretches, lose some fat, build your endurance, or some combination of the above. Try something new! Sports, dance, martial arts, yoga, hitting the gym, Zumba, working out to Youtube videos in the comfort of your own home…. Join a fencing club! If you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stick with it.

Sedentary lifestyles aren’t good for anyone, whether you’re skinny, fat, or anywhere in between. The human body wasn’t made to sit around. Even if you’re watching T.V., do some squats or something during commercials.

And don’t exclude mental wellness! 🙂 What you think about yourself and the way you look at things makes all the difference. First of all, no matter what you look like, don’t ever let anyone make you feel “less than” based purely on your body shape. If you start exercising to lose weight so boys will think you’re pretty, chances are, that motivation is not going to last. Things like that also often lead to unhelpful methods like yo-yo dieting.

BUT.

If you exercise because you fucking want to. Because you want to feel good. Because you want to be healthy. Then it’s more likely to work out. For some people, it makes them feel more confident. I can attest to that. I feel worlds more confident than when I was younger.

Now, at some point, I need to talk about the “thigh gap” phenomenon — might as well insert it here.

Ahem.

WHO. THE FUCK. CARES. whether you have one or not? Girls who are naturally skinny with wide hip bones will have a thigh gap. It’s normal for them. Some skinny girls don’t have one. Not all fit girls have one, either. It is not a deciding factor of beauty. Shaming girls because they do or don’t have one is pretty stupid. And if you don’t have one naturally, you won’t ever have one — not while you’re healthy — and it can only be achieved by starving yourself. And then you’ll be malnourished, and your muscle will waste away.

Also, guys don’t care about thigh gaps — they really don’t. You have one? Cool. You don’t? Cool. Seriously, that is the last thing on any guy’s mind.

No. No. No. NO. NO. NO. NO! See this picture? It’s shaming. This is called shaming.

(Side Note: While searching for images for this, I stumbled upon Thinspo. Oh my god…. That is seriously the scariest shit. If I had seen those images when I was between the ages of 12 and 17? Damn. I would have spiraled down a really, really dark path. Type “thigh gap thinspo” into Google images to see what I mean. Those people are seriously disturbed.)

And, here’s where my unpopular opinion comes in.

I don’t think the fat acceptance movement is wholly a good thing. Loving ourselves is a start, yes. But we already have the media saying, “Skinny is Pretty,” which is not a good thing. From that sprouted the attitude of, “Well why do I have to be skinny to be pretty? Fat’s pretty, too!” And so now we’re back at the beginning of this post.

“Fat girls are pretty. Fuck skinny bitches” versus “Skinny is the beauty standard. Therefore fat = ugly.”

Both sides seriously need to stop that. Like, right now. “Fat acceptance” should be “self-acceptance.” I know that’s what some people mean when they say it, but the phrase “fat-acceptance” insinuates that we should just overlook the health issues that come with it. I feel that for some people, it means to be complicit to the possible harm you’re doing to your body. But look at the plus-sized girl on the cover of Women’s Running magazine. That’s what I would call “self-acceptance.”

Little known fact, some of the same health issues an anorexic body suffers also apply to obese bodies, such as heart problems. We shouldn’t be encouraging people to be skinny or fat. We should be encouraging them to be healthy.

Yes, healthy is pretty, but healthy also keeps your body functioning the way it should.

P.S.

I’m not saying anything new or revolutionary. I just felt like contributing my opinion to the conversation. Anyway, you can’t judge someone’s health by simply looking at them (again, look at the running girl), but you know your own habits. That’s why you should be healthy for you. At the same time, saying, “HEY YOU. BE HEALTHY” alone isn’t going to help. It mostly depends on you. It’s a struggle. But you can do it. You’re worth it. You’re worthy of living an awesome life. But I know it’s hard sometimes.
Especially if you have an eating disorder. You are not alone. I had an eating disorder… If you do, please get help. Whether it’s binging, purging, starving — please. get. help. If you need, call these hotlines.

It took me eleven years to get where I am now, to love and accept myself, and to treat my body the way it deserves to be treated.

You are strong. You can do the thing. ❤