May I Just Say (An Eloquent Editorial)


I go to a support group for people living with bipolar and depression (often co-occuring with other mental health challenges) and have been noticing a trend lately. I’ve been noticing this trend in my personal life as well, and thought I’d just address it because it’s ridiculous.

Please do not tell people with mental disorders how to treat said disorder.

Honestly…just mind your own damn business. Unless you’re my doctor, you have absolutely no right or authority to tell me how to take care of myself.  I’m specifically addressing people who think it’s their right to tell others to stay off medication.

I have Bipolar II. I take medications to stabilize my severe mood swings, which at times have led me into the darkest places imaginable. I really, truly don’t think I would be alive right now if not for my medication. I see a therapist, and she’s also life-saving. My support group is absolutely essential to maintaining stability. These three things, combined with a good diet and not living a sedentary lifestyle, are the reason I’m happy to say I’m very stable at this current moment.

What people don’t understand about me, what they don’t see when I’m alone and at my worst, is that I work my fucking ass off to stay sane. It’s offensive that people think they are allowed to tell me how to handle my life. It’s offensive that one of my support group peers was told by a naturopathic doctor to discontinue his lithium and antipsychotics. I understand having differing points of view, and I understand that when someone finds something that works for them they want to share it. I also understand if you’re suffering with the same mental illness and sharing about your own experience. But if you know nothing about the mental illness you’re trying to treat without the proper education, you just don’t get to casually suggest that people go off of their life-saving medication.

I don’t want to hear it. My life has been hell for the entirety of 2017. I’ve also struggled through some extremely dark periods throughout my adult life before my diagnosis. I’ve had hypomanic and depressive episodes while unmedicated, and I remember them and shiver. Being inside my mind during those episodes is absolutely fucking terrifying. I honestly find it disgusting and negligent that anyone would try to tell me to medicate with herbs or non-FDA-approved supplements or berries or kale or marijuana or skydiving or dolphin therapy or space exploration.

I’m skeptical of medication. Truly, I am. I’ve told doctors I will not take certain drugs because of their potential side effects and lack of research on them. But the side effects of being inside my brain are sometimes much more dangerous than the ones inside of a pill. I’ve researched. I’ve weighed the costs and benefits. I’m an adult who has made an adult decision to save my own life.

So stay the fuck out of it, ya know?

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holaaaaaa


sunset 9:12Here I am, sitting in the dining room of a small Spanish grandmother, looking at a silver plaque of “La Ultima Cena de Jesus” (The Last Supper) whilst a cool breeze blows across my shoulders. It’s bright out — surprisingly less humid than the past four days — and I can hear the neighbors chatting over the lazy sounds of the occasional car passing by. Concha (who, judging by the many many many depictions of Jesus around here, is Catholic) is in Jerez visiting her sister and has left us her home for the next few weeks. Here. In Cadiz, Spain.

It still doesn’t feel real, honestly, that I’ll be in this city for another two weeks before heading up to Barcelona, then to Brussels. My mediocre Spanish skills, however, are very real. I studied the language until I was 20, but that was four years ago, and it’s disappointing how little of it stuck. But every moment I spend here, with my brother-in-law’s family, I improve. It’s out of necessity, really, since their English skills are worse than my Spanish ones. It’s like everyone says: I understand much more Spanish than I can speak, which results in me understanding entire conversations but being able to add very little. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the only words I know are “sí” and “me gusta.”

I’ve spent two of the past four days at the beach. Or, more accurately, floating in the ocean for as long as I can until the sun sets and I get cold. I’m so used to the frigid waters of Pacific Ocean on the Oregon and Washington coasts, so actually getting in the ocean is such a treat, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna waste it. It tastes sooo salty (fun fact: I got some up my nose and it hurt like hell but suddenly my sinuses were very clear, so there’s an upside to everything) but all that extra salt makes me buoyant, and I’m getting a kick out of watching the sun set over the Atlantic whilst I prop my feet up over the salt water. The sunsets here, y’all. The sunsets.

So much has happened, so here’s a synopsis: eggs, potatoes, smoked paprika, white fish, gelato, humidity, a store called la cucaracha, tinto de verano, mediocre (and shy) Spanish, broken English, beach, sunset, more beach, boats, more sunset, mangoes, more mangoes (fun fact: the mangoes they sell here are almost as good as the ones we bought off the street in India, but I think these come from Brazil), and just a touch of jet lag.

I’d forgotten how exhausting it can be to live in another country for a while, but I think my Spanish is improving daily and I’m honestly enjoying not really knowing what’s going on anyway. This entire world is catching fire (both literally and figuratively) lately, so I’m allowing myself to ignore all of that at least a little bit and just enjoy my time abroad.

And now, I head to the beach once more. ¡Adios!

Webs


Three spiders have made their homes outside my apartment windows. Sometimes, I watch them spin their webs in the dark, orange streetlights barely illuminating the fibers. Usually they’re sheltered from the rainy Oregon weather but every so often, when it rains sideways, huge holes appear in the meticulously symmetrical designs. I’m always so amazed at the spiders’ diligence. They never stop. They’re never deterred. I’m assuming they’re never discouraged, though I don’t have much understanding of spider brains and emotions.

I’m proud of them. I’m inspired by them. They’re my little friends, my little roommates, and I root for them every night while I fall asleep. I hope they know how much I care about them. I hope they know how much they matter to me.

I hope they feel me, silently cheering them on in solidarity, because if they can rebuild, so can I.

Remember?


Remember when I used to blog? Yeah, I barely remember either….

I’m watching Julie & Julia, the movie that started this whole blog off in the first place. I figured if Julie Powell could utilize her writing and cooking skills through a blog, that maybe I could try my hand at it too. At first, I wrote a lot about how much I loved Julia Child — her spirit, her television persona, her life. Then, I wrote complete and utter silly nonsense. All the time. I’d write a post almost every day, about the books I’d read, the things I noticed about people.I wrote sarcastic posts about boys who had rejected me. I wrote about my declining mental health. I wrote about writing. About college. The Bachelor. Rabbits. Dancing. Barney…

So when I started writing almost 7 years ago on this very site, I didn’t really expect my life to go this way. I thought I’d be a writer by now. Then I thought maybe I’d be a psychologist. Now I’m in cosmetology school, which I wouldn’t have predicted but definitely won’t complain about. Clearly this path hasn’t exactly been linear. I just…thought I’d have it all figured out by now. I’m 23, after all, and when I was 17, I trusted my future self to take care of everything.

This blog was my everything. I had a solid following, an actual subscriber base that cared about my wellbeing and loved my humor. It used to be called Writer’s Block. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll run kicking and screaming,” the caption at the top warned. A picture of typewriter keys occupied the banner. The web address? bymyink.wordpress.com. Now? Cappy Writes. A web address that matches the blog’s name. A picture of a packet of letters I bought at an antique shop. No tagline. A lot of sadness. Anger.

I’m not lamenting what used to be, really, so much as finally remembering. Realizing.

Obviously, I haven’t put the time and effort into blogging that I used to. At its peak, blogging was a tool to help me learn about and expand the world that I occupied. It was a way to gain support, to express myself, to hone a craft. It was pure. It meant everything to me. It was how I showed the world who I was, at a time when I thought I knew.

But the past few years haven’t been easy on me. My “mood disorder not otherwise specified” developed into generalized anxiety, a panic disorder, and depression. I was suicidal for a while when I was 18. I went through a surprisingly complicated breakup. I found Hinduism. It helped. New obstacles popped up. I got through them. I went to India. I got E. coli. I came out as bisexual. I graduated college, moved to a new city. I started cosmetology school. And through that all, the anxiety ebbed and flowed, but stayed mostly beneath the surface.

So now? I don’t know. I’m not okay, honestly. Something new is happening inside me, and I can’t understand it. I dealt with some serious depression over the summer, which is unusual for me, as it tends to stay contained within the “fall and winter seasonal affective” bubble. The panic disorder seems to have stayed away, which is one of the only things I find myself grateful for these days. The world doesn’t seem real lately, and neither do I. I’m going through the standard identity crisis that most people in their early 20s seem to experience, sure. But on top of that, some weird depersonalization/dissociation issues are cropping up. Therapy is happening. It’s rough, trying to stay afloat, stay alive, when you’re not even sure what’s going on anymore. I know all of that is vague, and I wish it could make more sense to me too. Just know that I’m dealing with it. I always do. I just don’t always know what to do anymore.

What does this all mean? In terms of this post, this blog, me, my life? I don’t know. All I know is, I got 15 minutes into watching Julie & Julia and I just got this itch to write. I’ve been cooking a lot lately, too. I’ve noticed that the worse I feel mentally, the more I cling to activities and people that used to make me feel calm and human and happy. This blog, more than anything, steadied my life when everything felt like it was going up in flames. So maybe it’s time to jump back in, ya know? To see a little humor in all the bullshit around me. To tell the world what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling. To share my story again with anyone willing to listen (and some who are very unwilling but are forced to because I’m a witch and I’ve hexed them).

So I’ll try, if you’ll help me. Your job is very simple: to show up and to read. I don’t even know how many of you are still out there, how many are new to my blog today, how many of you aren’t spam robots trolling through wordpress………

But yeah. I’ll try. No guarantees I’ll be funny, because half the time I just want to cry. But I’ll be here, writing into the abyss, for as long as you’ll have me.

 

Free to Be You and Me…Until You’re Uncomfortable?


I’ve noticed that people tend to be all aboard the gay rights train until their kid or friend or coworker comes out to them. For whatever reason, we can theoretically accept strangers for who they are but are unwilling to tell loved ones that they’re still important to us and that we love every bit of them, even the gay bits. I can guarantee there are several sociological studies on this phenomenon, and I’d be interested in seeing WHY we do this to each other.

It’s fucked up, y’all. Sorry, but I have to say it. Also, I’m definitely not sorry. Nope.

Denying people the right to come out to you is not-so-subtly implying that you disapprove of who they really are. It means you’re scared of the truth, that you’re unwilling to let them live a happy and full life, that you’re being willfully ignorant.

People also tend to be very accepting of gays until you tell them you’re bi. At that point, they tend to act like you simply like to slut it up with both genders, or they ask you if maybe you’re just going through a phase.

Yes…I’m going through a phase that has lasted my entire life. Look, I knew I was bi before I knew that being bi was a real thing. I knew I liked both women and men when I was five years old. If five-year-old Cappy knew, then 22-year-old Cappy knows, and 99-year-old Cappy will still definitely be on that bi train screaming “choo choo” at the top of her lungs. You know, to carry on with this weird train metaphor that I started at the beginning of this post.

I don’t have a whole lot of openly bi role models. Bi people tend to be pushed to the wayside because we’re not “fully straight” but often aren’t classified as gay either, so it puts us in this weird limbo where nobody wants to accept us as part of their group. The governor of Oregon is an openly bi woman, which means a lot to me. It’s nice to see bi people doing amazing things with their lives regardless of the fact that they’re majorly discriminated against by several large groups. I remember she got criticized about being openly bi, though, because people said that wasn’t an important factor in her identity so they didn’t feel she should be open about it.

While I understand that people say these things in an attempt to be accepting (“I’m so accepting that I don’t even want to know if you’re gay or straight”), they are actually being discriminatory. Nobody says that to straight people. If we can’t be out as gay or bi or trans or whatever we really are, then we likely cannot date openly or share this big part of ourselves with friends and family. It encourages people to stay closeted, feeling like they’re living a lie and experiencing huge mental stress. Saying there’s no reason for people to come out is like saying you don’t care about them, because you would extinguish a huge part of their identity. It’s selfish and wrong to expect sexual minorities to just shut up, put their head down, and go about life as if they were straight or cis het.

Basically, the rule of thumb should be this: are people letting the straight people do it? Marriage, dating openly, having sex, talking about their sexuality…we’re letting the straight people do it, so we should let gay and bi and pan and trans and all the people do it. And for goodness sake…when someone comes out to you, don’t push your insecurities onto them. Tell them you love them. Tell them they should be open and wild and free with their gayness. And if you’re feeling uncomfortable with all of it, talk to someone! There are like…500000000 online forums and information centers for you. We want you to be comfortable, too. Just not at our expense.

cherry pop


Its my day off, so I’m laying on a blanket in the park reading a book and watching people play with their dogs. There’s a little breeze, the kind that barely glides across your skin, the kind that feels so soft it’s like a little kiss hello. My feet sit in the sun, the rest of me shaded by dark purple-red leaves, just a hint of sunlight filtering through. 

Sometimes the city can be so loud. People yell and cars backfire, and I live too close to the hospital to expect peace and quiet. But here, there’s nothing but the rustle of leaves, the clink of dog collars, the gentle whiz of bikes rolling past. I pull the stem off a cherry and hear a satisfying pop, something I’ve never noticed before but want to hear again, over and over, and I wish I could record it, post it here, remember it. 

I’m just pleased to be here. Happy to be alive, happy to have moved, happy I have the day to myself. Happy to hear the cherry pop. 

Happiness at the Hands of a Band


I saw a Neutral Milk Hotel concert recently and ran into a friend of a friend who had been a fan of the band since 1999. She’d waited 16 years to see them in concert, and was so excited (and incredibly intoxicated) to finally be there.

She said, and I’m quoting here: “I cried all day today thinking about this concert. When it’s over, I’m just gonna kill myself.”

It cracked me up so much, and it also touched my heart. It’s nice to see someone radiate so much joy over something so simple as music. It reminded me of when I cried at my second Death Cab for Cutie concert. I was sober. I had no excuse. But it was the best concert, so I suppose I’m justified.

I love you guys. Just know you bring me a lot of joy all the time :) xo

I Have Arrived


Everyone in this city is the friendliest person I’ve ever met. They’re all so happy, and each person is nicer than the next, and I don’t understand. I’m almost always in a good mood, at least around strangers, but I’d thought I was in the minority on that front. But nooooo, everyone here is so stoked on life and has been drinking so much Yerba Mate that they’re basically high on life (and quite a few of them might be actually high, as well).

And they’re so attractive here! The men have excellently groomed beards and the women are like little flower children and I swear to god I’m in heaven. I haven’t worn makeup in days, I feel like I could “forget” to shave my armpits for the rest of my life and someone would be super into it and date me solely for that reason, and my awkwardly growing out short haircut probably looks like a purposeful style choice.

It’s amazing. My roommate and I are constantly trying to figure out whether people want to be our friends or are just ridiculously  nice…I’d like to err on the side of friendship, because why not? I started training for my new job yesterday, and all of my coworkers are fabulous and I’m going to marry all of them. That’s probably relatively acceptable here, too, right?

I keep walking outside and breathing in so deeply that I practically pass out. I’m sitting in front of the open window looking outside at all the trees and listening to the traffic (it’s rather loud, which is new, but I’m getting used to hearing sirens once every few hours) and….it’s like the sun smells good.

I love it here, you guys. I’m so happy. I feel no stress. I feel like myself. I’m so, so happy.

xo

I Live in Mist


What is it about weather that inspires us to write? More specifically, why are we always moved by rain? I suppose rain symbolizes new beginnings as it cleans the streets and helps the crops and flowers grow. I think there’s something more, some other reason that we like to write poems and songs and entire novels about rain. But I have a feeling that by the end of this particular post, that reason will remain a mystery to me.

It’s absolutely pouring here. Monsoon status rain outside my window…and I don’t take monsoon rains lightly, having been caught in several during my stay in India…but I don’t think I’ve ever seen rain this powerful in this tiny little town, and I just love it. All my windows are open, and I went outside on my tiny porch to feel the mist on my face. It’s just…wonderful. It made me write.

I’m scared and anxious lately because I move out of my college town in three days, and within a few weeks will be living in Portland. I want everything to be for sure: I want a nice, cheap apartment in a good part of town. I want a job (literally any job). I want to be happy there. I want to know things about my future in Portland, but unfortunately that’s the weird part about making plans for the future…you never really know anything until it becomes the present. It’s exciting, all those unknowns, but in another sense it’s really really not. It’s just terrifying.

I went to India basically on a whim. I mean, I was heavily invested in going, and I researched a lot, but there’s no way to be prepared for what India presents you with. I just sort of showed up, very white and very naive, with a lot of sunscreen and Pepto Bismol in my suitcase. And I was fine. I survived. I got e. Coli, which was absolutely horrific and not really an experience I’d recommend to a friend, but I totally survived. And I loved my time in India. Every experience was new and exciting, every conversation challenging and beautiful.

So I guess I just need to pretend that this massive new step in my life is like traveling to India. It’ll probably be easier, now that I think of it. I’m relocating from one town in the Pacific Northwest to another (albeit much larger) city. My apartment was dingy, plain, and randomly full of tiny lizards in India…wherever I live in Oregon will be a step up. I’ll have my health. I’ll have a fantastic roommate who cares about me and will look out for me if needed. I’ll have every new opportunity I could ever imaging presenting itself to me, all while wearing the cool vibe of Portlandia…

I’m still terrified. But maybe I can be terrified in a way that at least puts things into perspective. I had this same mini-panic a few weeks before I went to India…this time last year, actually. I just sat there and thought, “I cannot do this.” But I did it. I’m kinda awesome.

It’ll be more than fine. This new part of my life is going to be epic. 

You guys, I figured it out. Just now, totally unexpectedly as a breeze ran through the window I’m sitting next to: it’s rain smell. Rain smell, combined with all those other cleansing qualities and new opportunities that rain represents. It’s rain smell that inspires us, with its woody, green notes and crisp coldness. No matter where I travel, rain smells like the Pacific Northwest. Even when I was in India, rain brought me home.

Healthy Living, or I Sexy-Danced for My Cat


I hate New Years Resolutions because I think that every day, not just January 1, presents an opportunity for change, but I think I’ve accidentally made one…

I’m going to lose weight. How much is my own business, and I share enough of my life on here as it is, but it’s really important to me that I lose it. I want to be healthy, feel better, get active, eat well. And…judging by how much pizza I ate last semester alone, this change is a little overdue. But better late than never, I guess! Plus…as much as I’m always yelling “love your body no matter what!” I want to feel sexy again, and it’s hard to do that when most of your clothes don’t fit. I suppose I could go all Lady Godiva on everyone, but I don’t particularly feel like getting arrested.

I’ve been back in my apartment for the last two days, and since then have been cooking for every meal, juicing, and exercising. Plus, I’ve had so much water that half of my life seems to be spent in the bathroom. Again, I share too much of my life on this blog. But I feel really good! A little more energetic and excited for the future. Y’all know how much I love to cook — the more complicated the recipe, the better — so this is fun for me.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday, so I went on a run around my neighborhood, past my old apartment. I bumped into an old friend — the little tiny kitty cat that lived upstairs — and she ran up to me for a cuddle. If every run involves snuggling tiny cats, I’ll lose this weight in no time.

But the weather changed today. It’s been so cold in my apartment that I checked at least 5 times to make sure the heater was actually working. There’s fog outside my window — so much that I can’t see outside. And so, with no other option but to stay inside and die slowly, I decided to work out and generate some body heat…and my sister had just given me a Zumba DVD.

Zumba is ridiculous. I probably burned more calories laughing at the instructors and myself than I burned from the actual workout. I kept yelling, “I CAN’T SALSA WHAT IS HAPPENING” while my cat stood under my feet and only just escaped being trampled at least three times. He retreated to his cat castle while I did this weird dance move that involved more shimmying than was really appropriate and I’m pretty sure I learned to booty-pop.

So I guess today’s lesson is…if you want to lose weight and you need to keep warm, you can always sexily dance for your cat.

xo