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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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”

Blow a Kiss, Fire a Gun

I’m sure you’ve heard naysayers explain that everyone in NYC is out to get their “piece of the pie”.  I bet you’ve heard New Yorkers are always tired because they’ve been climbing their way up the corporate latter, or that we value money and status over family.  You’ve probably heard the young people in Brooklyn are all wannabes, and that we have an unrealistic view on the real world.  And I’m 99% certain someone told you everyone in Manhattan is living off daddy’s dime.

Most of that is true.

Continue reading “Blow a Kiss, Fire a Gun”

A Fan Girl Reviews Edward Sharpe

I’m not usually one for reviews, but after the concert I just watched – I feel like the world should know a few things.

First – Alexander Ebert is a musical raconteur.  Everything from the effortless open, to the walk through the crowd, to the Total Request Live style playlist, to the New Orleans vibe second line farewell made me (and the entire crowd in Prospect Park) fawn over him.  I went wanting to dance; I left wanting to be his best friend.

Alex Ebert

Many of the recent concerts I’ve attended have been filled with far too much production, but not Edward Sharpe.  The show didn’t feel as though I was watching a marketing ploy, or witnessing a hipster trend.   It felt as though I was meeting someone, and that someone just happened to be a musical genius.  I enjoy an eclectic mix of music, so I’ve seen a strange array of shows (ie: rap, punk, pop, jazz, indie… the list goes on).  I’m a sucker for a full band and packed stage – so there’s rarely a show I don’t enjoy.  However, there are very few I leave thinking:

HOW? HOW?! ARE THEY EVEN HUMAN?  

Paolo Nutini and Radiohead were my standing favs, but Alex just pushed his sexy, hair-bunned self somewhere on the top.

From the start, I could tell this show was going to be more like a jam sesh in a friend’s basement – and I was totally down. The show seemed to gradually bloom into activeness.  There was no announcement, no crazy chanting, not even a burst from the side curtain.  The band just simply wandered out on stage.  Nothing was hurried, there were no feelings of agendas or time restraints.  It just flowed.  For a while, I wasn’t even sure Alex was on stage.  I thought I saw his infamous white jacket swinging about, but the fumes from the girl’s Mary Jane in front of me made me worried I had things confused.

The show, while obviously deserving full attention on the band and lead, seemed to focus more on the group and experience as a whole.  Throughout the entire show, I felt as though I was VIP.  The camera for the JumboTron in the backdrop was positioned from the back of the stage, and showed the crowd through a distorted fish lens that looked as though it was filter with the Lark Insta setting (my go to).  It was as if we were watching the show through the band’s eyes – like we got to be a more significant aspect than the typical singer vs. crowd set.  At one point, Alex sat on the corner of the stage and let other band members perform songs from their personal collections.   He asked the lighting crew to turn the spot light off, and coolly mentioned that this show “wasn’t about him”.  The reaction from the crowd must have made him question his significance, as he quickly followed with a laugh and hesitated, “Well, I guess it is.”  

Still, despite the realization that Alex Ebert is the real focus, the entire show felt like it was about us – the crowd.  He did some typical crowd interactions like grabbing cameras for selfies, but even that wasn’t on the same basic bitch level as  most concerts.  After a few hand shakes, sing-a-longs, open mic moments and selfies, Alex did the unthinkable.  At least for my mind.  He jump off the stage and made his way to the very back rows.  I was seated somewhere near the front – so I was instantly frustrated with my luck of seats.  But Alex didn’t disappoint.  He followed through the crowd – stopping to let us all gaze into those baby blues while we planned a life with serenades and dope baby names like Harriet and Margot.

That could have been my own, personal take on the crowd walk experience.

When he made it back on stage, I thought my heart would explode from the perfection of the night.  He continued the show, stating that he wished he had more time to play.  However, the city wouldn’t allow the music past 10:30 pm.

So Foot Loose of you, NYC.

In an effort to squeeze all possible entertainment in, Alex began taking request for songs and playing snip-its of each.

This is where the magic happened.

Fans first requested Lets Get High.  The band began playing the first verse and chorus, then asked for more request in hopes to play as many bits as possible.  Someone requested Brother, and I must admit I was initially frustrated, as the song was not one of my personal favorites.  However, Alex shared the background story to the song – expressing how it was about a friend who led them to NYC and died shortly after.  His reminiscing shed light onto another facet into the complexity of the band, and showcased yet again that he can capture a crowd with more than just music.

As mentioned earlier, he is a raconteur on all levels.  Brother, easily became my favorite performance of the night.  It’s also currently tying with Truth for my favorite song in general.

Finally, (thank god) someone requested Home, and the little basic bitch fan girl in me was jumping with joy.  The crowd was instructed to sing the intro, then Alex asked the audience if they had stories to share.  MY HEART WAS OVERFLOWING.  I love other people’s stories.  He walked around passing the microphone as fans shared the various stories that brought them to NYC, to Prospect Park and to our night together.  Some explained that it was their birthdays, or that the songs brought relationships back together.  Two guys even popped marriage proposals.  I felt like I was living in a weird sitcom/movie mix of Friends and Wes Anderson.

As if that wasn’t enough, the band closed out the whole show with a killer second line that felt wildly reminiscent of my home town.

Not to mention, the second line send off was a nice deviation from typical encores and endless chanting into the dark abyss.  This felt real.  It felt like no one wanted to say goodbye, but the goodbye was too beautiful not to experience.

Thanks for making all my fan girl dreams come true.

-Cap

New Yorker Status

I’ve been in the city for a week now.

My bedroom looks oddly similar to a crack house, my hamstrings are tighter than they were after my rock climbing adventure in Maine, running an 8miler in downtown Charleston, and that 5 hour yoga lesson I taught last summer combined.  There is more dust than I know what to do with on the upper ledge crown molding that runs throughout my apartment, and the OCD traits within me are currently being taunted because I don’t have a step stool to reach said collection of allergen holy ground. I hold my breath every time a cashier swipes my credit card, and I have to close my eyes when I withdraw cash from Chase ATM.

I don’t want to see my balance Chase.  YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

Is this what dreams are made of?

Yesterday I asked someone how to successfully move in to the city.  After a weird glance was shot in my direction I said, “NO, REALLY.  Like how do you move all your shit in?”

They laughed in my face.

The only way I can be adventurous is to dive in full force without contemplating real life scenarios like money or sanity. I have to go in blind, completely naïve, and with an intense sense of childhood wonder.

Typically, this method proves to be severely flawed, and breeds lots of wine intake until some level of order is restored. 

But I don’t mind it.

Just when I really start to get pissed at myself for being a dreamer – I see some random guy playing a piano in the middle of the park or some lady burst out in song mid Target aisle, and the stress from the quickly fading balance in my checking account seems to vanish.

This city’s crazy talented people bring out a better side of me.

They force me to step outside of my box, they force me to smile, they force me to be accepting of everyone, they force me to see the opportunity in life, and they force me to keep dreaming. They are a daily reminder of why I wanted to be here.

Someone once told me if you want to be the best at something, surround yourself around people who are better than you.

That’s exactly what this city is.  The whole place is better than me.

-Cap