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but the monsters turned out to be just trees // rosemary bourbon apple cider

but the monsters turned out to be just trees // rosemary bourbon apple cider

I’ve been going through a rough period and noticed a bad pattern occurring in my mental health. I did this really cool thing though: I called my doctor and made an appointment to discuss it. That was yesterday. Today I slipped a little bit further into a depression. After the exhausting challenge that is getting out of bed and preparing for the day, I often do feel a bit better when I get to work. I needed a little bit of extra comfort today though, and for some odd reason, I found that in Ryan Adam’s cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album.

“Out of the Woods” was playing and the lyric “but the monsters turned out to be just trees” caught my attention. I had an incredibly physical reaction to this string of words; my eyes welled up with tears and I started to laugh. It reminded me of one of the first times I went to the doctor to discuss my mental health. I was about fourteen years old, just started high school. Having confided in my doctor that yes, I self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts, she proceeded to go down her list of uncomfortable questions. She asked me if I was seeing things or if I heard voices talking in my head. I looked at her with a confused expression, not sure what exactly she meant by “seeing things.” She then proceeded to explain the question, stating “for example, do you see faces in trees?” I said no.

A few days later, I was walking home. It was around this time of the year; there was no snow on the ground but it was definitely chilly out. I was hyper aware of my emotions and actions after talking with my doctor. Was there something seriously wrong with me? I walked past a tree and I stopped dead in my tracks. It had a face. I stared at it and spent a good minute thinking about all the things my doctor might diagnose me with now; all the words she’ll type into my file.

I finally realized that someone had actually placed this face on the tree. To this day, that face was the most realistic tree decoration I have ever seen. I called my mom, half crying and half laughing to tell her what happened. We still laugh and cry about it to this day.

And so, as I face another doctor’s appointment and the possibility of another diagnosis, another label, hearing the Taylor Swift lyrics “but the monsters turned out to be just trees” was a comforting reminder that no matter how dark my situation may seem, I’ll always find something to laugh about and I’ll always have someone to laugh about it with.

Here’s a recipe for a cocktail that I created with my mom and mine’s favourite things (she loves rosemary and cinnamon sugar, I love bourbon). I’m sure we’ll drink many more as we continue to laugh and cry as we go through life.

rosemary bourbon apple cider

serves 2


  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 8 oz apple cider
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ice

1. In a shallow dish, combine the sugar and cinnamon.  In another shallow dish, fill a centimetre high with water. Dip your glass (use either a highball or old fashioned glass) in the water then into the cinnamon sugar mix.
2. Carefully drop one or two ice cubes and pour the bourbon and apple cider into the glass.
3. Mix the drink with the sprig of rosemary and serve.

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