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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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

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.

Stars


It looked something like this, only a little less sparkly. It was better. Because I was looking at it with my eyeballs.

It looked something like this, only a little less sparkly. It was better. Because I was looking at it with my eyeballs. Also, there was a moon involved.

I’m not entirely sure who decided to call movie stars “movie stars.” They are people who act in movies. They are in no way comparable to actual stars, and I decided this tonight while I was on a quick walk around my block (the walk was quick because it was very cold and I had not anticipated quite how chilly it would be).

I looked up at the sky tonight, y’all. This shouldn’t be that big of a deal, only I realized while I was looking up that…I never do that. I don’t even remember when the last time I stopped and looked at the night sky, honestly. But it was so brilliant. I don’t think looking at stars will ever get old for anyone. Ever.

There was a moon, and some stars, and it’s not exciting to describe but…the moon was so glowy and the stars, though sparse, were absolutely luminous. That’s one of the perks of living in the country: there’s not so much pollution to cover up the stars. I wonder what it would’ve looked like in the days of the cavemen, when the o-zone was relatively unaffected and the stars shone through, unfiltered.

I wanted to take a picture, but there is no technology (at least that I can afford) that can capture what my eyeballs and my soul can. Because I think when you look at stars in person, there’s something that happens inside you…that little spot between your belly and your chest just glows, and it feels like it tries to reach up and touch the sky. I can’t take a picture of that. I can try to write about it, but even this barely does it justice since I keep saying things like “I looked at the sky and there were stars” which isn’t exactly poetic.

Anyway, it made me think that, even though I try to appreciate my surroundings whenever I think of it, I don’t think of it enough. It’s my March Resolution now: notice things more. It feels nice to see beauty.

Also, I’m listening to this right now and it’s making me feel so happy, and I think you should listen to it, too. A little folk-rock for a Friday evening. I had so many tests this week my brain is sliming out my ears, and I like to think this music is healing me.

Oh. It’s Christmas.


ImageWell, it’s not Christmas exactly. It’s Christmas Eve. Regardless, it kinda snuck up on me!

There’s a list of questions going around YouTube that vloggers answer, and it’s all about Christmas. Since I don’t make videos, but I really wanted to answer the questions, I thought I’d write a quick post about it instead! Hooray!

1. What’s the best Christmas gift you’ve gotten? Hmm. That’s a tricky one. My grandmother (Brownie) gave me a huge recipe-keeper book one year. You write down recipes in it and it has little organizing tabs in it. It also has clear sheets that you can paste old recipe sheets onto to preserve them. Basically, it’s the most basic, seemingly boring gift, but it clearly had a lot of thought behind it, and it’s been really useful to me over the years. I love to cook, and I know I’ll keep it til I’m dead. Maybe they’ll bury me with it.

2. What’s the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever gotten? I don’t think bad Christmas gifts even exist. If someone bothered to give you something, and took time out of their lives to pick it out or make it for you, then…what are you complaining about, exactly?

3. Sing a line from your favorite Christmas song. Every day! Would be like a holiday! When my baby…when my baby comes hooooome!

4. What’s your favorite Christmas film? Mixed Nuts. It’s got Steve Martin, Juliette Lewis, Madeline Kahn, Adam Sandler, and Rob Reiner in it. There’s a lot of shouting, a crazy man in a Santa costume, and Liev Schreiber is a cross-dresser. So really, what’s not to love? (The answer is nothing.)

5. If you could re-name one of Santa’s reindeer, what would you name it? I think Vixen is a pretty silly name for a reindeer. It sounds like maybe, when it’s not Christmas Eve, she has a job as a stripper at some dive bar in Iceland or something. So I’d rename Vixen to…Maude. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Maude. 

6. What’s your favorite thing about Christmas? Everything. I like that everyone’s in a good mood (do that more, people). I like that we get to cook a lot. My family usually has a nice little Christmas party and it’s nice to be reminded that we have a lot of wonderful friends. And I like snow.
I think maybe my favorite thing about Christmas is the snowy nonsense that happens. We go sledding, and my dad typically biffs me in the face with a few snowballs, and I get snow down my coat and freak out. And people can never seem to figure out how to drive in the inch of snow we get before Christmas, so they get all panicky and it’s pretty hilarious. Aaaaand I like how shiny everything gets. Shiny and bright.

Anyway, that’s the end of that! Merry Christmas to all of you, even if you’re not Christian (I’m not…but I still celebrate Christmas because I believe in love and happiness). I hope you have a fabulous time with your families and friends, and hopefully you’re in a nice mood. Yay!

Goodbye


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The view from Haylie’s apartment. Spectacular.

I’m leaving Seattle and I want to cry. This has never happened.

The Ice is Getting Thinner by Death Cab for Cutie came on my iPod, which doesn’t help since it’s full of tragedy and sadness and practically pulls the tears out of your eyeballs anyway.

I’ve never had a great experience in Seattle. I typically get shouted at by at least 3 people, or a cab driver tries to kidnap my suitcase, or the weather is depressing. This weekend, though, was my island. I visited my beautiful friend Haylie who is my spirit animal, and…the weekend was a dream.

We went to a cat show, y’all. There were so many Maine Coons I practically peed, and I watched a cat judging thing (weird–they’re all number one in my heart) and got stamped with a cat stamp. Every time a cat got loose they’d yell “CAT OUT, CLOSE THE DOORS, DO NOT TRY TO CATCH THE CAT” and it was weird and wonderful, just like the entire show.

Ate the best curry I’ve ever had. Bamboo shoots? Yes.

Pike Place Market: homemade latte flavored Greek yogurt? YES.

Got slightly accosted by a man who pretended to take a bite out of the pastry I was holding. He got way too close to my head and I screamed and jumped, and he laughed and said “I didn’t mean to scare you!” Really? Then he had the audacity to try to hit on me, so that’s apparently a thing that happens.

Saw Tegan and Sara live, which was actually incredible. I don’t know why I was kinda surprised, but I wasn’t really sure that I still liked them. My dad had randomly bought their album So Jealous at a record shop in Seattle and I might’ve fallen in love with them freshman year of high school, but it’s been at least 4 years since I actually listened to them much. They’re really good live, though, and even though Haylie and I sat basically behind the stage, it was still pretty brilliant.

Ra Ra Riot, however, sucks. A lot. They were technically a good band, and the singer has a nice voice, but he’s much too “oh-whoa-ho!”-y for my taste. I don’t particularly enjoy bands with no energy, and even though the violinist and cellist were both sassy and awesome, there wasn’t much that could save the lead singer from being incredibly lackluster. Also, I’m pretty sure the drummer was a wizard and possessed the crowd at one point. Nobody was really into it, and then suddenly everyone was screaming and twirling around in the stands and on the floor, and Haylie and I could only wonder what is this black magic? (I’m pretty sure that’s actually a thing, though, that everyone in the crowd knew about; when the singer sang a certain line, everyone knew to twirl. I definitely prefer to think that it’s black magic.)

And of course Death Cab was brilliant, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less. I saw them 5 years ago in my hometown, then saw The Postal Service over the summer (amazingamazingamazing) and now all I have to do is see Ben Gibbard solo before I can die happy (I mean, I’d love to see The Strokes, but that might never happen so I just have to dream).

I miss Haylie. I miss Seattle. I miss feeling free. Coming home was weird — I was in a coma for the entire flight, and came home and wanted to cry. I think this weekend sparked a bit of an existential crisis, so look forward to some moody “who am I, what am I doing, blah” posts in the future.

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Baby flower children frolic in fields and rainbows. Meow.

Thank You


Dear Death Cab,

Thank you.

Thank you for playing Transatlanticism in its entirety last night. Thank you for not speaking between songs because “that’s not how you’d listen to an album.” Thank you for making me cry like an idiot in the middle of thousands of people.

Thank you for turning the 5 minute long We Looked Like Giants into a solid 10 minutes of pure glory. Thank you for encapsulating everything I ever was in one album; for being the most beautifully nostalgic noise I’ve ever heard. Thank you for reminding me of everything that was supposed to happen in my life but didn’t; it was terribly sad to remember what I’d wanted, but it was necessary for me to remember.

Thank you for being hilarious, Ben Gibbard and Sassy McSasserson (Chris Walla), after you’d finished Transatlanticism and you dedicated the next batch of songs to your first label (this one’s for you, guys!); Chris, sitting at keyboard, piped up and said, “This is a frugal song…about frugality.” Thank you, Ben, for randomly realizing that you’d worn the same shirt in 2003 (“I’m fucking not even kidding…I was wearing this shirt!”) and talking about how you “don’t change clothes just because fashion dictates it.” Lovely little monkey. It was a great shirt, by the way. Thank you, Ben, for rocking back and forth as you sing because you just can’t help it. Thank you for practically moonwalking.

Thank you for being so good live that I forgot about the buffoons sitting behind me who were so drunk I was legitimately concerned for their safety. Thank you for being so good that they knew all the words to every single one of your songs, too, even when completely sloshed.

Thank you for stealing every word from me. I wanted to write a long blog post about you but can’t even put any of it into words. These sentences are barely coherent or cohesive, but I want you all to know that I love you. Everything you’ve done is precious to me, and you have a permanent place in my heart.

Thank you.

I Am A Child, Neil Young


I’ve finally learned what it is to be a child.

Being a child is crying because you want something you can’t have, even when you don’t even want it anymore. It’s lip quivers for no reason. It’s doing things you know are wrong because you want to.

Being a child is awfully like being an adult.

Being a child is total confusion. Figuring someone else knows all the answers, and that maybe one day you’ll know them too. But then you’re an adult and you still don’t know any of the answers so what have you been working for this whole time? That’s when the lip quivers start again, only you’re an adult so why can’t you pull yourself together and fake it?

Being a child, though, was also fun. And that’s what we miss when we decide we’re adults. Who was the poor bastard that pulled 18 out of a hat and told us grow up? Now you’re an adult and therefore expected to understand the world and yourself, and you’re going to stop having a good time. You’re supposed to work and hate your job because everyone else does. But we all like fun, so why so serious? Why do we mandate that once you’re an adult, once you can stress-smoke until you puke, you have to hate everything and be cynical and just generally frown at everything?

I am a child, I’ll last a while.
You can’t conceive of the pleasure in my smile.

I refuse. I refuse to pretend that I know things. I refuse to drink things that taste gross (I’m lookin at you, Americanos) because I’m an adult and supposed to tolerate — no, accept — the bitterness of life.

So hey, I am a child. I cry when I feel sad. I cry when everything is beautiful, so beautiful that I’m overwhelmed and I think is this all in my mind? Is any of this even real? I cry because maybe I’m nothing, maybe all of this is nothing, maybe there’s no reason for me to bother smiling when everyone else swallows, grits their teeth, and looks the other way.

I’m Peter Pan in a world full of Captain Hooks, but I will feed you all to that crocodile and whistle on my merry way. And you’re not going to tell me no. I’m an adult, after all.

Come On, Comedown


2013TheStrokesPA-3734757210113Y’all muffins know how much I love The Strokes. I’m pretty sure that at one point I credited them for “saving me,” so they’re a pretty deep part of my life. Also I would like to marry all of them. Specifically Julian, but I’ll take Fabrizio any day of the week (except Sunday, that’s for Jesus).

Their sound has always been intense. Julian’s voice is deep and sometimes very dark, and I love that. Its full of feeling, and these days that can be hard to find. That anger and depth got me through high school, and I’ve swooned more than once to it… I don’t know if anyone else has felt this way or if I’m just nuts, but The Strokes make me feel so good I start to feel bad. So much amazing is happening in their music that I feel nauseated and want to throw up…so yeah I’m probably just nuts.

That all being said, what the hell, guys. Their 5th album, Comedown Machine, came out today (last night on iTunes) and I peed my pants in excitement and listened to it in bed and…I was initially severely disappointed. I still can’t completely decide how I feel.

Here’s an awesome question that really needs to be asked, as loudly and angrily as possible: “What’s with the falsetto, Jules?!” I liked your growl before. It was real, it was different, it was rock and roll. It was sex in music form, for more reasons than one. This falsetto sounds like every emerging band’s sound, and I don’t need to listen to another grown man sing like a lady.

I liked Julian’s solo album, Phrazes for the Young, and it had a lot of ’80s going on in it, but it was the loud ’80s, not this marimba-y, potentially sleep inducing ’80s shit that’s going on in songs like Slow Animals and Chances. It’s good if you want an album that’s “perfect for spring!” (as every magazine has said about Katy Perry’s “summertime” hits), but I remember a time when The Strokes were suitable for every moment of every day, all year long.

Why, then, is Jules singing about finding a dog and settling down, when at one point he was singing about getting 40s and getting screwed up? I understand “evolution and change” is necessary, but please don’t buy a house in suburbia. Either way, One Way Trigger is so disjointed that the lyrics are the least of its problems…whaaat is happening?

I’m okay with Tap Out, and All the Time is my favorite of the album (give me more of that!), but…I can’t handle Call It Fate, Call It Karma. If this is their last album, I will be severely disappointed and might personally demand another. I will find you, guys, and I will make you be a rock band again. Angles was pushing it, though I learned to love that sound, but…give me something to freak out to. Give me something to fall in love with, the way I fell in love with Is This It.

Give me something with a little life in it.

Polite Raps 2: Even Politer Raps


Shoutout to my girl Caity, this one’s for you, girl. Ayeeeeee!

That’s the way it goes when you party just like I do. B****es on my d*** that used to brush me off in high school
But I understand, cuz I was a little weird back then and now you like me because you see how awesome I am. Also, I’m sorry I called you a bitch.
Take over the world when I’m on my Donald Trump s***
Look at all this money, ain’t that some s***?
Money is nice. I work for the money…but mostly I just want true love because that’s all that really matters.
We gonna take over the World while these haters gettin’ mad
That’s why all my b*****s bad, they see this crazy life I have and they in awe
We gon’ win, you can take the lose or draw
We’re awesome. So are you. You can hang out with us if you want, because this isn’t exclusive and I’m not a jerk. Be my friend!

Because really, Mac Miller is too freakin’ adorable to be rude! 

Ey b****, do you really really really wanna go hard?
Go in the crib, steal your stepfather’s credit card
And take the car do circles in the parking lot 
Scream at the top of our lungs like
La la la la la la la la la la la la
I just wanna have a nice time with mah gurls, and I’m really sorry I stole your credit card but YOU AIN’T MY DADDY! But really…sorry. And also, I’m in jail, so could you pick me up? Apparently we’re not supposed to do circles in parking lots…oh yeah, your car’s all banged up…sorryyyyyy!

So I ball so hard m*******s wanna find me
first n****s gotta find me
What’s 50 grand to a m******* like me
Can you please remind me?
Ball so hard, this s*** crazy
Y’all don’t know that s*** don’t phase me
Guys, seriously, I don’t know what just happened but I had a very explicit lapse of consciousness and I sincerely apologize for using the N word… Also, I’d like to donate 50 grand to poor people because it does matter!
And I’m really sensitive to stuff, so actually that s*** does phase me. I just gotta act tough.

Cappy OUT. (Please picture me throwing my mic to the ground.)