This post is about Cab Franc, depression, tattoos and Radiohead. Don’t worry, it’ll all come together I hope.

It might come as a shock now because I’m a fairly nice, happy person but I was super angsty as a teen. I listened to a lot of Pedro the Lion and would cry fairly often. What I would learn at 18 was that my angst was in a large part due to undiagnosed depression and anxiety. I started some medication and therapy and saw vast improvements. With treatment I felt like my old self, though I wasn’t sure I had ever felt as content as I was. That’s not to say there weren’t ups and downs. There still are. I’ve been treated for depression for 10 years and I still hit lows.

Today I am experiencing one such low. I know that, as usual, it’s situational and temporary but that doesn’t mean I always know the culprit. That said, I’ve learned how to cope when a low hits. I take it easy, watch a movie or read poetry-- something low-impact that will take my mind off of things without whitewashing the situation. I’ve also taken to researching wine when I’m feeling depressed. For some reason, reading about wineries and looking at maps soothes me. That’s what I’m doing tonight as I sip Franc by Field Recordings. This is one of my favorite wines by one of my favorite wineries but I haven’t had it since winter. It is 100% Cabernet Franc grown in Paso Robles.

It smells brightly of fennel and black pepper. On the palate, the black pepper holds true while some dark fruits come into play as well. Notes of plum and black cherry pop on your tongue. It is the perfect balance of acidity and lightness with a body to it. This would be perfect with black pepper chicken thighs but could hold up to a pasta dish as well. It is also the perfect wine to pair with a bit of feminist poetry and some Radiohead.

The Radiohead album I’m listening to is OKNOTOK, a reissue of OK Computer released 20 years after its debut in 1997. I learned about this a few months ago and was thrilled because Radiohead is hands down my favorite band and has been since high school. OK Computer is also one of my favorite Radiohead albums, Let Down and Lucky being my two favorite songs. I loved the idea of hearing previously unreleased tracks but was also obsessed with the title of the album. Can’t so much of life be described as OKNOTOK? Someone asks you how you are and you say fine but really mean anything but. Maybe this is just what comes to mind with someone who has depression but it rang true for me. So much so that I decided to have it tattooed on my body.

I decided I wanted the tattoo about a month ago and luckily have a friend who is a tattoo artist. I went in yesterday for my appointment and was thrilled with the outcome. It’s kind of like a constant reminder of my own struggles with mental illness/health but also just a general reminder it’s okay not to feel okay from time to time. It’s hard to remember that sometimes when we are inundated with photos on Instagram and posts on Facebook about people living their best lives. But guess what, a lot of that is bullshit. Even the most put together person doesn’t enjoy their life 100% of the time. It’s helpful to remember that when you’re feeling down.

I struggled with deciding whether or not to post this. It’s more about me than the wine I’m drinking. But I feel like we desperately need to hear stories from people who struggle with mental health and are in recovery. I am so happy to have found a treatment plan that works for me but I am so aware that it is not as easy for a lot of people. If you are struggling, I hope you can take some time for yourself and do something you enjoy-- whether that’s meditation or researching wine. And just remind yourself that it’s okay to not feel okay. It’ll be okay eventually.