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ENTRY I

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.

——

POST ONE
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.

Context.

——

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.

Point–

To decrease suffering and increase happiness. And so–

Die in Charleston; rise from the ashes in North Augusta—

Rise.

——

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.

Disgustingly simplified–

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.

Horizon lines—

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.

ALWAYS,
Morgan

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

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ENTRY II

So, my new post was delayed nearly two weeks. Yuck! The past weeks have been difficult – in fact, calling them such feels as if it is an understatement. I have struggled to know exactly where I should begin with this post; while it is my desire that this post retains balance, I know that some parts of life are not balanced, and there is sometimes nothing within the power of the individual to be done about any of this uncomfortableness.

I want to begin where my heart first wanders.

I have learned over the past half year that it is sometimes best to distance our Self from toxic situations and toxic relationships. This has been a major learning curve for me, because I am used to all or nothing (it’s a Pisces thing ~ hence the two fish with tails bound swimming away from the other). About six years ago, I made a decision I know to be best for my conscience, and this decision was to never again permanently burn a bridge between my Self and another individual. While I still believe this with all my heart, I have more recently come to understand that burning bridges and distancing one’s Self hold dramatic contradictions when compared to each other by their intentions. They could not be farther apart in distance – to summarize, to burn a bridge is to damn the healing of the relationship, to distance is to wait patiently for healing. There is another aspect in the intentions of both of these that often goes uncommunicated, as it is an uncomfortable topic for many, including my Self, of course. This aspect is forgiveness: to not forgive is to damn healing, to forgive is to welcome healing.

Let me explain how I have come to this musing. I recently lost my dad. No, he is still breathing on this Earth. I mean a different kind of loss, still valid, though overlooked. About a week ago, I made a decision that, for all it lacked in joy and comfort, it made up in peace and patience. I had to tell my dad that we cannot have a relationship at this time.

I did this not just for me, but also for him. I did this for us. If you have never had to distance yourself from a person in order to kick healing into motion, then I understand how this could all sound counterproductive. An example to which I may turn to explain can be found in the simple but profoundly revolutionary theory of evolution.

According to the theory of evolution, it is the fittest for survival that are the most likely to survive.

Using this as our foundation, it stands to reason that if one wishes to discontinue any unfavorable trait, the strength, and thereby effectiveness, of such trait must be weakened. If this is still confusing, try visualizing the theory of evolution as breaking an addiction. When an individual has an addiction, the only way to weaken the effectiveness of the addictive drive is to discontinue all usage of that which fuels the drive. Likewise, through the discontinuance of a relationship dynamic, the unhealthy dynamics are naturally weakened. The weakened dynamics can then make room for new dynamics, because the new dynamics can now overpower the old dynamics in their weakened state.

When we apply this theory to relationships, it becomes clear that unhealthy relationship dynamics can be weakened, and ultimately diminished, by discontinuing their usage. Sadly, without close proximity, and without mutual effort, there are very few ways to accomplish eradicating unhealthy relationship dynamics while still remaining in contact. In this scenario with my dad, the only solution that would welcome healing was to sever the unhealthy dynamics through the shutting down of the outdated, toxic relationship, thus creating an opportunity for pattern and time to choke out the toxicity.  Let me be clear again, before I move on: this severance applies to a lineal time scale, not between two individuals. By distancing our Self from an unhealthy, pre-existing relationship, we are able to welcome a new, healthy relationship to form between those two individuals. I welcome and, obviously desire this type of healthy relationship dynamic for my dad and me, as I do with each person who is dear to my heart.

This is exactly why I took the first step of distancing.

Moving on –

As of late June, I registered for fall classes.

What does one do when feelings of excitement and feelings of fear originate from the same breath?

As a woman who was abused as a child, a teenager, and into her early young adulthood, I’ve found that old wounds can sting, as a scar is still more tender than untouched skin. In short, I was taught as a child and teenager that neither my emotions nor desires matter, and that respect is attained through servitude and submission. While I have never considered myself to be vain or self-centered, it has proven more difficult than I expected to learn that my emotions and desires do matter, and that servitude and submission are not always humble, but can rather work as immorality disguised as humility. This being said, one of the hardest things for me to do is to merely guard my heart and to be courageous in voice regarding what I believe.

Facing a quickly approaching deadline – the start of fall classes – I’m reminded every hour by my own mind that I still do not have a vehicle, and as such, much seems bleak. I feel that I am trapped in a world I have managed to escape several times before, and yet – I find myself here again, now 23 years of age, and with little to show for more work and unwavering dedication than many my age. I say this as a fact, and not to take away the work of others: I have never met another person from my generation who has fought as long and brutally for their education. Thank God! While I would never wish this struggle on anyone, it does not change the fact that this destiny of mine can be a very lonely place to be. In fact, the only person who I can think to compare to my Self in these regards is, actually, my mom – a woman of 54 years who is still working toward becoming a nurse while supporting children. For me, I started college at age 14, with dreams of futuristic invention and strong leadership. I wanted to change the world. I was full-time by 16, and, as of July 2018, I have attended seven different higher education institutions — soon, to become eight. To this day, I do not have my bachelors degree. I still have a dream. While the minute details of this dream have certainly undergone drastic altercation, the overall picture has always remained the same: enlightenment and inspiration.

So, as I am excited, I am also exhausted. I am scared and nervous. And when it comes to guarding my heart, I feel utterly alone.

Where will we all be months from now?

Years? Decades?

I hope all of us will say: closer toward healing. As for the Now in my lineal time line, all I know to do is pray for such healing and make active choices that welcome such healing — guarding my heart from the temptations of those choices and thoughts that perpetuate damage.

Isn’t that all that any of us can do?

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” 
― Charles DarwinThe Origin of Species