Hello friends, family, and curious readers –
This is my first, personal blog post!
After deliberation, I decided to name my blog Captain Morgan has Adventures. Aptly so—there are a couple of meanings behind the name. First, I was often called “captain Morgan” as a child and as a teenager. I don’t know the origin of the nickname, but it first stuck upon friends during my middle school years; later, the nickname emerged again—organically—among mentors during my early university years at the University of Alaska. The second reason—more personal—is simply that I have grown attached to the name, and I consider myself an adventurer at heart.
The reason I started this personal blog is because I feel my life has become too illusive. I have never been the type of person who can easily describe her history, tastes, or pursuits. Technology complicates my image. Its drive for simplicity—though productive in many facets—oftentimes leaves the individual feeling “cut short” of descriptive accuracy; this current failure of social media to portray the immense diversity of a Self concerns many others, I am sure. Captain Morgan has Adventures is my attempt to more accurately share my Self. If you find me to be uninteresting (or unbearable!) then please, don’t read my blog. This is my place for honesty and transparency, not entertaining. I have not envisioned a specific audience for this blog, nor will I consider an audience when crafting its posts. I should also mention that you may find posts containing “plot holes”—meaning, certain connections between information may be lost on the reader if they are unaware of the unmentioned connection. Naturally. The essence of a Self can only exist as a whole; irony—plain and simple: we lose the larger context when we focus on a smaller context. This reality aside, I will do my best to share as many of the connections as I know how, but I have allowed my Self the right to speak more generally about certain information and more specifically about other information. Also, over the next couple months, I’ll be tinkering with the design of my blog. Please be patient with me as some pages may be temporarily down for maintenance (or vacant entirely)!
That being said, I think I should jump right into it.
written May 29, 2018:
regarding October 2017 through May 2018
CHARLESTON. Quaint, creative, elderly—and yet, unstable, predictable, young. Three years in the heart of the Lowlands, and one of my favorite things to do is still people watching.
Pouring rain. Mid-day. October. Cold.
I sit on the sheltered steps of my front porch—bundled in flannel, jean, and the smell of cigarettes. More accurately, this is not my front porch—it is my landlord’s front porch. I began renting a room in the historic home after no longer being able to afford my previous home. Before my previous home—evicted from my apartment. The Courtyards was to be demolished due to black mold.
Staring down the asphalt and creaking wood funnel of neighborhood, I think about the Courtyards. Its second-story balcony (my second-story balcony), my favorite place for people watching—
In a landfill a few miles inland. I shake my head—no point dwelling on a depressive era.
My phone rings.
It’s my mom, but I pick it up quickly to silence Indiana Jones’ theme song. Gotta get that changed.
My mom asks me about the pneumonia, double-ear infection, and bronchitis. How I managed to contract all three of these simultaneously, I haven’t an idea—aside from the smoking, biking three miles in the rain to class every day, or the fact that I don’t have heat in my room.
“I’m hearing that you should go to the ER, Morgan.” I roll my eyes. The ER. I had already been once that year, and I still hadn’t been able to pay it off.
I tell her I’m on an antibiotic—prescribed by a physician at the school’s student health center. This calms her down a little bit, but I can still sense concern in her voice. I cough—wheeze. Neither of us can deny that we hear mostly sludge—little breathing.
“Please let me come get you.”
THE FACT that I accepted my mom’s invitation to come home says a lot about the state of my mind on that biting, damp autumn evening. I had recently lost my food-and-bev job—acquired two more jobs within the next two weeks, then quit both due to a lack in energy. Where I had once been able to work full-time and attend university, the structure of my Charleston lifestyle had begun to lose its functionality. I can blame the rising cost of living, the weather, family turmoil, recent traumas—or my sickness—the unison of all five, however, is what I know did me in.
Then, seven months later, I find a sixth item—it was obstructed from my view during the actual moments of crisis.
MY PARENT’S SEPARATION occurred in June of 2016, but its climax was birthed by a much longer series of events leading up to the unpreventable final battle.
I have described the state of our family, preceding that fateful June day, as “a tin of sardines shaped as an iceberg—floating in a frigidness of innocent and ignorant fantasies.” The fact is that icebergs are very beautiful. They present themselves as naturally-occurring forms, up until the moment they become destructive—or up until the moment one realizes the misplaced chunk of mass resulted out of unnatural circumstances. My family’s dynamic was both.
While I have decided to save the explicit details of my family’s unraveling for another post, it is important for the context of October 2017 to know that my home life had been in turmoil for the entire duration of my life.
It is also important to note another unavoidable context: I believe I have a relationship with God—if not the god of lore, still certainly with the God of our universe: our Creator, so by automatic extension: my Creator.
I do not think it is such a leap to assume that there is a subconscious immunity against adversity that results from believing you possess a purpose in life. Research on the human brain—across multiple fields of discipline, in fact—strengthens daily an argument for the necessity of human purpose. This belief in a purpose had become lost on me. With it, my will to live had been laid to rest, much like a fallen tree whose only purpose is now to be converted into a new form of energy.
I consider my mother calling me, and welcoming me into her home: the event that set off the necessary transformation of my stagnant matter. Context–
My choice to continue to live was the result of believing there was a point to continuing to live.
To decrease suffering and increase happiness. And so–
Die in Charleston; rise from the ashes in North Augusta—
MY FIRST SIX MONTHS in North Augusta were brutal. The transition—the loss of my local friends, the loss of my university, and of my home—are obvious learning curves. When you add not having a car, severe sickness, and haunting memories, you create a war inside your Self.
The war was real.
The depression, anxiety, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that had been kept alive by my past were again reinforced by my present. Psychologists call this “the dark side of neuroplasticity”—a clever slogan describing the human brain’s tendency to reinforce a neurological pathway whenever it is used, regardless of whether or not the pathway in use is actually helping us to survive and to thrive.
I spent my first six months in North Augusta carefully “restructuring” harmful neurological connections into connections that would increase my chance of survival and give me a greater quality of life. For me—
Something better than a life I would be willing to die for: a life I would be willing to live for.
MENTAL HEALTH. Two billion-dollar words. Together a trillion.
Literally. Do you realize that there are at least 100 trillion possible neurological connections in the human brain?
This is just a current approximation. Future research and advances in technology could reveal an even deeper infrastructure: farther extents of biological complexity so minute–
We cannot currently differentiate between them.
I first picked up my interest in mental health when I was misdiagnosed with bipolar type II disorder in March of 2017. The psychiatrist I had been seeing gave me meds used to treat bipolar after only meeting with me—briefly—twice: Latuda and lithium. Another story. Context–
A severe reaction to the medication introduced me again to death. You could say
My fascination of the human brain increased accordingly.
Farther, my fascination chugged on–up the mountains of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
So close. I did not much care what tomorrow held. Or the next hour. Or the next minute.
Second. Being published twice didn’t touch it.
THE JOURNEY to heal my Self has been slow, but vital. For me to socialize with friends again after months of being alone with my wounded Self, was monumental—
The kind you write home about.
AUGUST 23, 2018. The date rings in my head even now. It’s not an annoying ring, not one you want to silence. It is a ring of triumph—
Bells of redemption. It will be the first day of classes at my new university. I will be studying psychology and neuroscience, specifically those branches involved in clinical care and rehabilitation research. Transitioning to this from being a theatre and anthropology double major will pose its own learning curves, I’m sure. I’m 23 years old, single, already hold a college degree, and have docked somewhere between 120 and 130 credit hours. I’m nervous—
Nervous for calculus. For anatomy. For intro to neuroscience, for God’s sake.
Excited. The kind where butterflies are in your stomach, and you know they’re no longer bees.
If my purpose is to write books, and poems, blogs and songs, paint, design, and draw…if my purpose is to create, because, as a child—I worshipped the Creation of God and the creations of the Creation—
I have always believed it is. Then, my purpose is also to heal, because I have been wounded.
The funniest part about all of this is (yeeeesss, there’s a funny part) I have always wanted to be a healer. To heal, I believe, is to create. I think this is why I have always gravitated towards the arts—you read a book, look at a painting, watch the sunrise—
You are inspired.
You see a creation, and you obtain a sense of renewal from it. Mental health is not so simple, but it is worth it. The pursuit of mental health gave me the motivation to live. It is my position that such a gift from God, the gift of mental healing, is in every way like a good book, a painting, a sunrise—
You are inspired to share that which has been shared with you.
PS: If you’ve made it this far—you’re still with me. Word. Thank you.
Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy. – Albert Einstein