Daddy Issues

People have told me you don’t need dads or moms (or anyone for that matter) to live a fulfilled life. Maybe that’s not entirely wrong, but it does seem incredibly sad and lonely to think about a life without people who know you and genuinely care for you.

Those caring roles seem to naturally stem from parental figures, but I’m realizing I also have the ability to choose those people – or allow them to choose me.

My dad left when I was about 8 years old, I could get into specifics, but I don’t have the time to waste crying about that shit for a whole day – so I’m just going to say he left, and I’ve basically been fighting for his attention ever since.

I know, I know – this is such a common issue and I’m not special and I need to grow the eff up.

But I think that’s part of the whole problem. People are always telling me others have it worse and I should be grateful for what I have. But this whole dad issue has been rocking my boat for 20 freaking years, and maybe it’s because I keep thinking it shouldn’t be rocking my boat.

In the future, I’m sure I’ll experience something far worse that will make me realize this shouldn’t have plagued me for so long, but for right now – in this moment – I am upset about a very common issue that I’m sure more than 1/3 of the world experiences.

When I was a kid, I thought the more cool things I did  – the more my dad would come around. Deep down, I wasn’t into being on the cheerleading team or whatever other social sport was popular at the time, but I thought the more events I had – the more chances my dad had to show up. It turned out to be a shoddy plan filled with lots of disappointment, but I kept up with it through high school, always hoping my name would be called for the squad or homecoming court. Not because I actually wanted to be on the team or named pretty by public school kids riddled with pubescence, but because I wanted an excuse to call my dad and tell him to come see a game or walk me down the football field.

I know, so desperate.

When the sport/popularity contest didn’t grab his attention, I decided to go all in with prayer. I threw out my secular CDs, broke up with my now hubby to “focus on Jesus”, and started spending my weekend nights reading the bible. I even canceled my senior cruise to spend one month on the mission field – somehow justifying that if I was a better Christian I’d get what I wanted. I drank all the kool-aid possible, and spent every day praying that my dad would come around, or at the very least not die. (I’ve always had a fear of him dying) I took it as my personal responsibility  burden to not let him ruin his life, and at 18 years old, the weight of that shit got pretty heavy.

For the past ten years, I’ve been trying to convince myself I don’t have daddy issues – I thought I left all that behind with my fake ass high school years, but here I am, 28 years old, still crying over a dad that was only actively in my life for 8 years.

I don’t get it.

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You can’t spend your whole life thinking about a few years that weren’t that great.

My recent trip to Italy became the soul searching trip of a lifetime. I called my dad before I boarded the plane, even though he didn’t know I had a trip planned. I cried when he didn’t answer – which is why I usually never call in the first place. As the plane took off I thought about what he’d really know about my life if I died.

Morbid, I know. I’ve got daddy issues. TAKE IT EASY ON ME.

I realized he doesn’t know where I live. He doesn’t know that I’m enrolled in Lit Crit courses, or that I even have an interest in writing. He calls my husband Michael. He doesn’t know that I’m not sure about the whole Christianity thing, or that I had two miscarriages, or that I graduated summa cum laude, or that I genuinely like the taste of whiskey. If this plane goes down, he would still think of me as the seven year old driving go-carts through our woods.

Worst of all, I would die with him thinking I voted for McCain.

Our first stop was Venice, and it hit me on our second day there that I wasn’t going to keep focusing on a few years that sucked.

I have a good life, and I need to stop worrying about what happened before I got here.

I don’t know what happened in Italy, but I gave up trying to save my dad, and I gave up searching for his attention. I realized I can dictate what comes in and out of my life, and I made it my personal agenda to start that right away – in Venice where I felt altogether disconnected from the world around me, yet completely cognizant of the people I want to be in my life. Call that egocentric, or snobby, or whatever you want, but when I figured out there are some things I can actually control – I thought it best to start building a life I love.

I have people who chose to be in my life. Why am I focusing on the one person who didn’t?

It’s a strange concept to accept when you’ve been eager for the love of a specific person, but there are other people in this world who will care about you. Sure, it would be nice if it was that parent you’ve been trying to grab the attention of, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s important to be aware of the relationships you’re missing out on while you’re waiting for the one person who keeps letting you down.

Daddy issues are weird, especially when you’re almost thirty and you thought you’d be over it all by now. But the truth is, it’s a constant struggle to understand why someone who should want to be in your life isn’t.

I had a few bad years, but I’ve had just as many good years. Escaping the constant feeling of rejection isn’t me not being true to myself, my background, or my family. It’s me choosing to create a better life with people who decided a long time ago to be by my side.

Some people call that giving up, others call it moving on.

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Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

A few months ago I got letters from the grad programs I applied to saying I didn’t make the cut. You may remember me writing that sad post about the tears I cried and my determination to figure out a new dream/plan of action.

Some people didn’t like that I suggested you have to give up on things, but sometimes I convince myself I’m okay with failure in a desperate effort to handle the rough realization that I don’t get everything I want.

I know, #firstworldprobs.

When I heard a no from the programs, I had to tell myself I had other options – even though I knew I didn’t. My dreams hadn’t changed, but the wind in my sails was straight up stagnate (ie: the whole effing boat was sinking and my shoes were bricks).

Continue reading “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”

I Didn’t Get into Grad School [and other failures]

Wednesday I received an email from Pratt Institute. It said something along the lines of:

Dear Cap,

NO.

Okay, they didn’t say it quite like that, but that’s what it felt like in my gut/heart/tear ducts/legs.

Pratt was supposed to be my “sure thing”. I’ve applied to a few other dream schools, but Pratt was my safety net. To be honest, I’m still really confused why I got rejected. I mean, I may be a hot mess in real life, but I look pretty dope on paper. 

I got the email mid-way through my 13 hour work day, which meant I had seven hours to somehow figure out how to fake being okay and keep my shit together. I left work around 8:45, took a 35 min train ride home, walked a mile through a dark park, opened the door to my apartment, and headed straight to my bed to cry.

This wasn’t my normal Cap Cry. This was one of those devastating cries.

The ones where you feel like your life is ruined and you’ve got no future and everything you’ve worked for has gone up in smoke and you’re trying to live a life you can’t handle and you’re about to break from exhaustion and if you have to go to one more god damn PR meeting you’re going to break down in the middle of your office like a two year old who can’t reach their goldfish.

FOR REAL. EVERYTHING SEEMED LIKE SUCH A BIG DEAL. 

I cried for a solid hour still wrapped up in my wool coat, work shoes, and dress pants on my bed. I think at one point I even screamed “I just wanna write shit that matters!” (#kanyedramatic)

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Today, I’m still sad. I woke up with a little less faith in myself, a little less pep in my step, and a very bitter heart.

I couldn’t figure out why I felt so defeated. My career is always filled with rejection. I write something, send it off, get no answer, and try again.. and again.. and again. Sometimes it pushes me to work harder – sometimes it makes me want to build a tree house in Canada and change my name to something really hippie and carefree like Margot Sunshine. (Not sure why Canada is part of the escape plan) 

The blow shouldn’t have hit me so hard. I’m actually lucky to be doing PR for a great company, but there is still a side of me that just thought I wasn’t ready to give up on the end goal.

I’d actually just asked a friend – “When do you stop trying?”

I’m still curious. When do you realize what you want to do and what you can do are not always the same thing? I thought I would never settle, and while I’m lucky to have a great job – the idea of grad school made me feel like I still had a promising future. It made me feel like I was still on the path of becoming a writer.

Now, I feel like I’m done.

I think it’s okay to accept that some things don’t work out. Sometimes life does feel unfair. Sometimes your input doesn’t necessarily match up with the output. Sometimes you have to accept failure.

I’m not suggesting you give up on your goals. Try with everything you have to get what you want.

But if there comes a time when you realize you’ve given it all you can to no avail – It doesn’t mean you won’t be happy.

It just means you have to build a new dream.

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Come at Me, Bro!

My maintenance man, the one you may remember me talking about in They Outran the Rain just kissed me, and I don’t mean in a sweet, British, double cheek way. I mean in a flirtatious, is he going to throw me back in my apartment and have his way with me way.

He bear hugged me, squeezed me in tight, and kissed me in that awkward, high cheek area near the ear.  Let me rephrase that – his sloppy lips were on my ear and he kissed repetitively until the shock from the awkward encounter finally left my body and my limbs found the strength to push him off of me.

(#sorrynotsorry)

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Continue reading “Come at Me, Bro!”

One Girl’s Letter to her Dad

When I was in the 5th grade I won an essay contest for D.A.R.E.  In the essay, I had to explain my pledge to stay away from drugs.  I wrote something very cheesy and expectant for a typical elementary kid.  You know, something really thought provoking like, “drugs are bad.”

I’m pretty sure my essay would have left that “Heaven is for Real” kid in the dust though… had our sentences been juxtaposed.

The essay wasn’t life changing, but I wrote it with passion. And it wasn’t because the DARE officer showed my formative brain horror videos of drunk drivers and families abandoned by victims of drug overdoses, but because I had already witnessed that in real life. When I look back on the essay, I realize it was a pledge to you.  It was me promising I would never turn out like that, while somehow simultaneously begging you to come back. Today, I’m writing a new essay.  Not in hopes that you’ll put down your habits (I mean, I do hope that too), but in an effort to say, I get it.

Continue reading “One Girl’s Letter to her Dad”

The Etymology of Cap

I filled out one of those random Facebook questionnaires today.  I usually keep scrolling when I see those, but my stepdad specifically tagged me, which made me feel obligated to share pointless facts about my life.  The first series of questions asked three names people call me – Capper, Cap, & Doddle Bug.

I can’t really explain any of the nicknames.  I mean, I know stories of where they stemmed from, but I think they slowly became more and more elaborated over the years. So, I’ll spare you the sketchy deets. The just – some older gentleman at my childhood church was called Cap.  He and I were besties. 

My mother claims she named me Catherine Aimee (Ahhh-Meee) because she wanted me to have a “classy” name.  Turns out, as you grow up – sometimes you don’t live up to your classy name and people have to make up boyish alternatives that better suit your all beige.. all jean.. all sneaker lifestyle.

Hi Cap.

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No one ever gets the name Cap right on the first time, which means I usually have to pretend I’m cool with being called Cat or worse – Cathy.  Eventually people start catching on to the “pppp” sound, but some slow rollers are still missing it three + years down the road. #awkward 

Side note:  Close friends call me Capper, which is an instant reminder that they know EVERYTHING about me.  My heart gets warm and fuzzy when I hear Capper.

No one in NYC calls me Capper.

My mom, sister and brother are the only people allowed to call me Doodle.

I usually introduce myself as Catherine because, as I said above, no one gets the “P” on the first go.  I tend to just let people figure out Cap on their own.

What I’m trying to get at is we don’t just come out being the person we’re meant to be.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of mispronunciations to get people to understand you.  Right now, I feel like I’m living a steady “Cathy” life.  No one in NYC really catches on to my vibe, and the writing gigs are kind of none existent.  In NYC, I have to show people who Cap was before she was Cap, because they didn’t see me get here.  I’m basically starting at Catherine Aimee and trying to deconstruct from there. But I don’t have 27 years to do it.  I’ve got like 30 seconds.

ITS ROUGH Y’ALL.

I just wanna transition from Ziggy Stardust to Major Tom without the hassle.  (RIP BOWIE)

The other day I was talking with my mom about how to be who you want to be in life.  I mean, you can read lots of motivational books that may help, but what really gets a person to go out in search of themselves?

I think we’re always evolving.  Some names aren’t always as glamorous or fun as others, but they make the final you that much more unique and weird and more understood.

Here’s to making people in NYC catch that “p”.

 

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Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Eighteen

As a 27 year old at the Christmas table this year I suddenly felt old enough to give all of the annoying advice I hated hearing at 18.

I say this all the time, and I’m sure its not a novel idea – but there’s some creepy side of me that wishes I could go back to 2006 and coach myself through those younger years filled with confusion, self exploration and that rough realization that this world is HUGE and we are SMALL.

I know I can’t go back to Cap in 2006, but I’m gonna make you suffer through what I’d tell her anyway…

Just look at me as that annoying Aunt whose place card you keep moving around the table because you’re sick of hearing her talk. 

Continue reading “Five Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Eighteen”

Iron Sky


I like to people watch.  I’m that person you catch missing train stops, running into brick walls, and falling over pavement because I am awe struck in my made-up story of the unlucky individual sitting/standing/reading/sleeping beside me. I pretend as though I get people, even when I have no idea who they are or what they’ve been through.  I make up stories about where they’re headed in life, where they came from, and what they’re running from.

You could say I’m a silent narrator of the human race, but like – a really bad one. 

To some extent, I believe we all pretend to understand people.  Maybe its to relate to one another, or to feel a connection, or maybe its just so we don’t feel so distant in such an immense world.

But an individual’s true story will never fit into the template you’ve created in your mind. 

The attacks in Paris, the people of Iraq, and the Syrian refugees prove this.

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I will keep the following  as PC as possible:

There are many cultures, but only one human race.  We are all a part of this, and I hate to be the one to tell you – but to believe in equality means to believe it past the confines of your religion.  To believe in love, to believe in freedom, to believe in the right to live goes far beyond your family and friends.

It seems easy to freely state a belief in something, but to see what your belief means beyond the familiarity of your current practices can be challenging.  To have the core of your morality truly tested, you have to break away from your comfort zone.  To close borders and cast hate, but pray for peace is only creating more of a disconnect.

I will not pretend that I know the answers to the current state of our nation and the world, but I know for us to gain any true sense of unity – we have to practice a more compassionate lifestyle.  A lifestyle that seeks to understand, rather than judge.  A lifestyle that hopes to open doors instead of close them shut.

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They Outran the Rain

The 6 train is my worst enemy.

The only thing that makes the disgusting cat calls, awkward eye contact diversion, and dance routines doable for my 2.5 hour commute each day is a set of earphones and a good read.  Every once in a while, I look around the train and think…

I should probably acknowledge this person’s existence.

But just as that thought makes it’s way to my frontal lobe, someone tells me there’s a seat available on their lap, and my duty as a caring human seems to vanish.

Khaleesi, y’all

I’m not trying to insinuate that I’m irresistible in New York, I’m just letting you know the men here are bold and they all appear to be fresh out of the pen.

At least the ones in Spanish Harlem.


Side Note:  The maintenance man in my building calls me “mama” on a regular basis, and I’ve totally come to love him and his gross affection towards Mosie, which probably discounts my frustration with the aforementioned topic.  


Continue reading “They Outran the Rain”

Big Girl Panties

Hey yo. Hey yo.  Haaay Yooo.

I feel obliged to tell y’all that Cap found her big girl panties.  They’ve been buried somewhere under lots of fear and uncertainties, but they surfaced yesterday in the form of floral prints, jazzy colors, release parties and modern décor.

I know, so stylish.

I think I’ve died and gone to grown up heaven. 



When you’re in school, no one tells you how terribly awkward and uncomfortable the limbo stage is after graduation.  It’s so easy to be a dreamer in school.  It’s easy  to think about all of the epic, meme worthy jobs and experiences you are going to have because you don’t really have to figure out how to go about getting there.

In school, I had such a wide array of plans.  Ultimately, I just wanted to be able to write, but I was game for anything.  After two months of applying for jobs, and slowly feeling like I was destined for life as a #schlump, a friend over at Southern Living gave me the best advice.

Advice so simple it became the most frustrating thing I’d ever heard.

I emailed Travis at my low point.  I believe the opening line went something like…

HOW DID YOU DO IT?!  TEACH ME YOUR WAYS.

Travis replied coolly.  “What kind of stuff do you want to write about?”

“ANYTHING!” I said.

“What do you want to write?”

(cyberspace crickets)

I was so caught up in telling people I was an English Major interested in writing that I somehow forgot to come up with a game plan.  Sure, I knew I’d kill to write short stories or screenplays… but #lyke what was I going to do for a real job?

You don’t really graduate school with a column in Vanity Fair or a book deal.

It was the getting there that was really throwing me off.   I kept taking shit jobs that weren’t getting me any closer to the dream.  It was really difficult to realize that even in limbo – you have to have a game plan.  You have to know what you have to offer, understand your interests, and find a way to make a job out of it.

But that’s really hard to grasp.

Because for four years you probably heard everyone tell you the world is your oyster, and it is.

It’s a big effing oyster that you have to figure out how to navigate.

just go

What I’ve learned through this limbo is that you have to be true to yourself.  You have to understand where your strengths are and you have to have a game plan while you make your way to your big game plan.  Do what you know you like, but not just frivolously.  Do it with passion and with a compass locked in on your end goal.  Take risks.  Explore your options.  But you have to eventually narrow down your choices.

Figure out how to do one thing well – not a lot of things half assed.

Be willing to step out of your comfort zone, but don’t disregard what you really want.  People are going to be eager to take advantage of your naivety.  They are going to want to cash in on your willingness to do “anything”, because they realize you are desperate.  But don’t be desperate.  I mean, you can be in real life, but not in the job world.  Know what you want, know you’re good at what you do, and write (or whatever you do) what you would want to read.

Also, never trust a man who wears a broken watch.  Just trust me on that.

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