Who, What, Where (A Brief Autobiography)


Contrary to popular belief, I am indeed still alive and well. It’s been a rocky road (unfortunately not the ice cream, though I desperately wish it was), and I have absolutely not fulfilled my resolution to continue blogging more often, as it’s been about 4 months since my last post. I’ve said this before (so many times) but this started out as a humor blog exclusively, but as I’ve gotten older and faced adult challenges, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to be constantly hilarious. I’m still hilarious, but am faced with the fact that I am a multi-dimentional, emotional human being. Of course, that’s okay. Less entertaining at times, but okay.

So what have I been up to? Dealing with multiple mental health crises, honestly. I stay pretty private about it for the most part, mentioning it only in passing unless talking to specific people about it, but you’re all part of the internet so I feel a little more anonymous and lately am less concerned about talking about it anyway. I don’t feel any shame about it anymore, but I also believe it is my story to tell when I want to tell it, and only when I want to tell it.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar II at the very end of 2016 and began various methods of treatment at the start of 2017. It’s been difficult, to say the least. Everyone has their misconceptions about what bipolar even is and I’ve received a lot of unnecessary and unsolicited advice from both strangers and those close to me. Be warned: the comments section here is not a forum for advice, but is perfectly allowed to be a place of kindness and support if you really feel the need to speak to me on this subject. This is not a dialogue. It is absolutely a monologue, and I feel perfectly fine drawing that boundary.

I will give very brief and basic introduction to what Bipolar II looks like for me. I know a lot of people don’t understand the disorder (or didn’t even know it existed in the first place):

I live my life in one of three states at any given time: hypomanic, stable, or depressed. I also occasionally experience mixed episodes, which cause me to swing from depressed to hypomanic within short periods of time. Hypomania is sometimes defined as “mania lite,” but I find that definition both overly simplistic and invalidating, as it implies that it isn’t distressing or difficult to live with. During hypomanic episodes, my symptoms range, but can include extreme irritability (what I call “road rage whilst walking”), insomnia, restlessness, compulsive speech, persistent risk-taking compulsions, increased focus on projects (I’m talking picking up an activity and not stopping for days — I’ve acquired several lovely hobbies over a short period of time) and lack of appetite. These episodes last for at least 4 days, but typically last longer for me. I also rapid cycle and at one point had 5 or 6 episodes within a two month period, which was super fun except when it totally wasn’t.

Essentially, I don’t sleep, I don’t eat, and I can’t shut up or stop moving. Sometimes this all feels really fun and freeing, because suddenly I’m the life of the party. Often, though, I feel scared and get the sense that I don’t know who I am or what I’ll do. In general, emotional swings that severe are really distressing.

It ain’t easy, folks. It’s taken a lot of dedication and effort to work toward stability and feel like myself, but I’m getting closer every day. I think. My goal is to keep the hypomanic and depressive episodes fewer and farther between so I can remain stable longer. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it doesn’t. I barely slept for the past three weeks, and started absolutely losing my mind until I finally found the perfect combination of relaxation, essential oils, tart cherry juice, and ocean sounds to get 9 hours of sleep for the past four nights…this is probably the only reason I’ve found the energy to write this post in the first place. That combination may not work forever, though, as I’ve learned in the past, and I’ll have to switch things and work even harder. Extra medication is sometimes involved, sometimes not. It’s hard to know what will help at any given time.

I’m finding plants have helped me heal a lot lately. Doesn’t matter how hypomanic or depressed I am, potting a plant will make me feel sane, if even for just a few hours. Plus, I gain little green friends and purify the air in my house all at once. An unexpected but absolutely appreciated medicine, for sure. Celebrating life and maintaining my creativity has been essential — there’s a lot of art, bass playing, and journaling that goes into my stability. I remain vague about other parts of my treatment because it ain’t nobody’s business but those are also difficult and frustrating at times. Support groups help the most.

I’ve had a lot of revelations over the past 8 months…about life, my will to live, what and who I love, what I deserve in this life and the next, what I want to focus on and what I want to leave behind. I’d 100% prefer to not live with bipolar, but if I have to, at least I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self exploration to learn how to manage it.

Hopefully I’ll write again before another four months have passed, but you never know. Either way, know that I’m here, I’m alive, and I’m more than just this disorder.

xo

If you’re interested in learning more about mood disorders, NAMI is a really great resource. If you happen to be a person living with bipolar, DBSA meetings have benefitted me more than I can ever explain. 

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Can We Discuss Disney Princesses Though


I was on the phone with my dad yesterday crying (surprise) over my lack of romantic luck recently. He gave me some really wonderful advice, the most hilarious of which came when he said, “The worst thing Disney ever did for society was write those stupid happy endings.” Or something to that effect — I tend to describe things a little more sassily than he does.

Anyway, it got me thinking: according to Disney, everything works out in the end if you’re a quiet woman in a patriarchal society. I am not quiet, and I’m actively attempting to smash the patriarchy at every turn, so I’m a little concerned about what this means for my love life. Also, I’m not exactly straight so I just wanna know what Disney would recommend if I’m trying to woo a mermaid, but I doubt I’ll be getting any answers on that front any time soon.

I’ve never wanted to be a princess, but I’m realizing that in a Disney world, I would have to be in order to fall in love, so uh…here we go. Now, there are a few (million) necessary adjustments I must make to my life in order to attain princess perfection:

  1. Become tiny. Which might be difficult since I’m 6′ and not exactly slender. Maybe I can cut my legs off at the knees, which would successfully reduce my weight and height in one fell swoop. It would also allow me to become helpless. Maybe my prince would be down to push me around in a wheelchair for the rest of eternity (which is obviously also how long our love would last).
  2. Replace my sweet mother with some horrible woman who wants to lock me in a tower or make me mop her floors and take care of her fat, evil cat. I could probably start looking for that type of woman at the local Chicos clothing store. The more chunky jewelry, the better, I’d assume.
  3. Become straight. And probably develop a dwarf and/or squirrel fetish.
  4. Don’t leave the house unless I look immaculate (note to self: find fairy godstylist). Only do housework if forced to. Allow mice to take up residence in my apartment.
  5. Immediately unlearn every self defense skill I’ve ever been taught. Walk into forests alone at night. Take food from strangers. Make deals with weird octopi in ocean caves. Make out with frogs even though they probably have weird swamp bacteria all over their bodies. Totally wander into random cabins in the woods without worrying about some racist hillbilly coming in and axe murdering me while I’m fast asleep.
  6. Let teacups teach me about love. Employ candlesticks for both light and therapeutic advice. Become easily impressed by silverware. Become way too obsessed with my hair for anyone’s good (this one might not be too tricky for me).
  7. Stop talking. This might be hard, as I don’t think I’ve spent more than 3 hours in silence at any given time. I even talk in my sleep, for goodness sake.
  8. Assume kissing men will always be magical and totally save my life. Because obviously everyone knows how to kiss me the way I’d like. None of them will shove their tongues down my throat (princes don’t actually possess tongues, anyway) or drool on me (and yes, before you ask, that has happened to me and I really don’t want to talk about it). Let random twerps kiss me just in case it helps my situation in life.

I think that’s it.

And yes, I’m super serious about the squirrel fetish.

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.

 

November 9, 2016


You may have noticed that uh…my country has made a terrible decision.

The fact that Donald Trump is the president elect made it hard to get out of bed this morning. Just existing today has been a struggle for so many of us; I’m afraid and angry and sad and disappointed and horrified. And the fact that I am not alone in my terror just seems to make it worse. I’m not only worried about myself and my rights, but the rights of millions of other minorities, people of color, LGBT+ people, immigrants, etc etc etc…

I want to shut down. I want to scream, I want to cry. I want to give in to the most primal parts of myself that are trying to tear me up from the inside out. And in a few ways I have. I left school early because I just couldn’t see straight. Breathing is hard. I’m trying to see the sunlight for the gift that it is, trying to smell the fall leaves and feel joy but…there’s a fog covering my brain and I don’t know when it’ll lift.

The only thing keeping me afloat is a sense of duty toward America. I want to take care of her now. I know a lot of people’s immediate reaction is to run away, to move elsewhere. And if that’s something you feel you have to do in order to be safe, then do it. Really. I promise I understand.

But I’ll be here, because I won’t abandon this country only to watch it be destroyed. When something you love is being abused and mistreated, you don’t leave. You support it. You love it. You take extra care of it. You fight for it. I never felt particularly patriotic before, because patriotism felt tainted by selfish, radical right wing politicians. But today, I feel the need to hold this country tighter to my heart than I ever have before. Because we need it. We need extra love, extra kindness, or we might just fall apart.

There are too many unknowns. I’m scared for my rights as a bisexual woman. I’m scared for the safety of those I love. But I promise you we will find a way to get through this. We’re gonna be okay. I don’t know when, and I’m not really sure how, but I’m gonna go with my gut on this one and say somehow it’ll all be okay.

Take care of yourself. Do things that make you feel alive and happy. Take care of your soul, lest it be crushed. Take a break from the news if you feel like you can. Do what is best for you. Eat well. Sleep if you can. Kiss your mother. Find a dog and pet it. Allow yourself a few moments to rebuild, then move forward. There’s a lot to do.

Its time to be there for this country and make sure everything we value is taken care of. I’m very angry, but anger has never solved anything. We have a chance to truly define who we are as a country, so act with grace and love. Let unity dominate your thoughts. Let your every action be driven by kindness, not hatred. Allow yourself to be afraid, and know that is valid. But try to be motivated positively by that fear and be productive, not destructive.

Be a beacon of light, because this is the darkest time we’ve faced in a long while. Remember that peace has gotten us through tough times before, and it won’t fail us now.

I love you all. Please take care of yourself and everyone you know. We are flawed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rebuild.

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. 

Long Lost


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a friend I used to have, a friend whose soul I just understood. We connected on a creative, spiritual level, and the friendship we shared was one of the closest, most meaningful ones I’ve ever experienced. I shared everything with her, and she became my biggest fan, biggest cheerleader, biggest love. It’s hard to have that deep of a friendship and then watch it slowly slip away.

The details matter very little, honestly. We drifted apart because we both had busy lives at separate colleges. We had boyfriends, friends, career choices to make. But lately I just can’t stop wishing I still knew her.

Because I don’t know her anymore. I know absolutely nothing about who she is, what she does, where she is. I have a draft of a novel she wrote shoved in my closet somewhere, and I remember what she said she wanted out of life, but I don’t know her. I don’t know if she changed her career plans and moved to Argentina, or if she’s engaged, or if her family is well. I don’t know how her brother’s doing or if he loves college as much as I hoped he would.

It’s a part of life, drifting away from someone, slowly and maybe a little bit purposefully. I should make some gorgeous statement here about how I know everything will be all right, how someday I’ll stop feeling so sad whenever I think of her. Or maybe how I’ll find her number and call her up  and we’ll chat about the old days. Everything will be fine.

But I don’t have her number. I have an extremely old email address, which I used a while back to contact her, to no reply. I don’t have an address. I don’t have Facebook. I can’t just intrude on her life like that anyway, because it’s just not possible. So there’s no hope. I’ll never know her, and it breaks my heart because she was my best friend. The best friend you could ever hope to have — passionate, loyal, protective, creative, beautiful. I miss her. I don’t know if she misses me.

Sometimes, there’s no hopeful statement to close with. Sometimes you just cry a little and wish you’d never said the things you said, wish you’d never done the things you did. Sometimes you just have to be an outsider, completely in the dark about the life of someone you were supposed to know until you grew old. Sometimes you have to crumple up the joking speech you were going to make at her wedding, because you were going to be her maid of honor, and your children were going to call each other cousins because you loved each other like sisters, like more than sisters because you chose each other’s friendship.

Sometimes you just disconnect, and there’s no way to fix it. Sometimes you just have to live with the regret.

Happy Happy


I just wanted to sit down and write something in the middle of the night because…I’m happy.

I’m happy because I’m warm in my bed and it’s absolutely frigid outside. I’m happy because I’m going home this weekend to visit my family and exist outside of this college town for a few days. I’m reading Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, and every page I read reminds me of who I’m going to become — spirited and wise and silly. I played so much guitar yesterday that my fingers are still sore today. I’m listening to The Doors, Peter Paul and Mary, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young…and realizing how much beautiful music has made my life worth living. I spent the day with my roommate studying at a coffee shop and actually got a lot of work done. I’m happy because I’ve got two exams this week and feel enormously unprepared for both of them but…when has that ever stopped me? There’s always time.

I’ve found people I love and I spend time with them. I tell them how I feel about them. They feel the same way back.

I smell like incense almost every day because I bought champa flower oil and haven’t been able to stop sniffing myself for the past year. I worked out and ate cookies today.

I’m happy because…I’m me. And I’m a happy person. Even the word “happy” looks happy and that makes me happy, too.

One Time I Wrote Fanfic


It was awesome. There’s something really exhilarating about writing absolute tripe on the internet…maybe that’s why I like blogging. Anyway, it’s some of the most ridiculous nonsense I’ve ever written but I thought I’d share it with you here, because…because it’s Downton Abbey fanfic and Carson is sassy in it. So you’re welcome.

 

Midnight in the Library

In which Carson keeps it tight. Meow.

“Carson.” Thomas leaned against the doorframe, his sleeves rolled to the crook of his arm, vest buttons undone. His chest rose and fell quickly over labored breath. “Carson, I need you.”

Charles Carson looked up from his desk, his glasses at the tip of his nose. He pulled them off to chew tenderly on the end of his wire frames. “Oh?”

Thomas walked forward, leaning on the desk and pushing his face toward Carson’s. A small trickle of sweat ran down his temple, his hair disheveled, chest still heaving. “You’ve got no idea.”

This had become a common occurrence lately, as Thomas became more and more stressed with his duties serving Branson, so Carson was not particularly surprised to see him in disarray, panting above him. At first, Carson had disapproved of Thomas’ growing familiarity, running into his office at all hours of the evening, constantly needing advice or support of some kind. But loneliness gets the better of even the most upstanding men, and he’d begun to find Thomas’ adoration difficult to eschew. Carson was leaving tomorrow, anyway, without a word to anyone, not even Thomas. So no, it wasn’t surprising that Thomas arrived in Carson’s office at midnight, as the last bits of his candle flickered weakly. What was surprising, however, was that a desk still separated the two men.

Thomas led him into the library, fingers lightly grazing Carson’s hip through his jacket while he spoke. “I just can’t get these books straightened.” Never mind that book-straightening had never been an actual duty around Downton. Never mind that, had it been, Carson would have been even less capable of the task than Thomas. Never mind that they could be caught at any moment, suspiciously wandering the upstairs while the family slept. Nothing mattered now. Not now that Carson was leaving Downton forever. This was their last night together, and it would be spent in their place. It would be spent in the library.

It was too much. Carson found no reason to stay at Downton now, not now that he’d sullied his position and all it stood for. He’d loved every moment of his mischief, loved every warm breath that had passed from between Thomas’ beautiful lips, loved every second they’d spent alone in this darkened room. But he could no longer look Lord Grantham in the eye at dinner with these secrets ricocheting through his head. Given his propensity for telling the truth, no matter the cost, Carson knew he wouldn’t make it much longer without outing Thomas and himself as the sinners they were. The incandescent, passionate, sinning lovers they’d become.

It had been the false premises that intrigued him, always gave him that giddy fluttering in his stomach that he’d never experienced before. The questions Thomas had needed to ask him in the wee hours of the morning, drawing him from his bed in just a nightshirt. Before, he’d walked a tightrope of perfection that had thrilled him; polishing candlesticks had made his heart race in a way no woman ever had. But Thomas was an enigma, the most beautiful enigma, and now that he’d tasted freedom with Thomas, staying at Downton felt futile.

So he stood in the library, that same candle glimmering away in all its dying glory, his arm against a bookshelf as Thomas stood between him and so many classic pieces of literature, his breath catching in his throat, passion choking him as it never had before.

“Thomas,” Carson breathed. Thomas’ eyes twinkled wildly, his lips curled into the most glorious smirk he had ever seen. He exhaled heavily, leaning closer.

The candle flickered and, in a tiny burst of light, died.

Mating Rituals


My roommate fed me a cheese curd from Dairy Queen earlier today and I told her I loved her because…cheese. She just stuck it right in my mouth cuz she loves me, and now the feeling is mutual. Then…then she uttered the funniest, truest thing I’ve heard all week:

“Before you mate with the wild Cappy, gently feed her cheese curds. Don’t be too aggressive or you might scare her off.”

She’s right. I like to be fed cheese gently. Take notes, fellas.