When I was a little girl, I helped my step grandma complete a puzzle one summer.
I don’t recall it perfectly, just that it was some stupid, soothing almost Thomas Kinkadesque picture of a stream or some shit like that, and when we were done, she had it glued together and framed, and gave it to me. It hung in my bedroom for many years, but only in the last few years have I realized I don’t know where it’s gone. Perhaps my stepfather took it when my parents divorced, I mean it did come from his mother so that would make sense I suppose, but I had a hand in that too. A part of that is mine. There’s so much that’s just gone now, so little left for me to hang onto, that I cling to anything I’ve had a hand in, which is why I defend my art so vehemently. Even if I myself am not good enough, I know with full force that my work is good enough. The problem is, a lot of art is so introspective, something that will make people think and analyze themselves and question things, but nobody wants to do that. Everyone is too happy being spoonfed what to think, what opinions to have, and then being told they came up with said thoughts and opinions in the first place, so they can feel clever.
I want this to be made perfectly clear. I am not saying I deserve anything, any praise, recognition or what have you. My work might, who knows, but me as a person? God no. I don’t deserve to be famous or popular simply for making something people like. People like my artwork, that’s a separate entity from me. I just want to be able to do it, to live comfortably enough doing it, and to have people enjoy it. I just want to make others happy, feel connected to something, to make them…not…feel like me. I am so unhappy, that I work actively to make those around me feel good, so they never have to feel as low as I’ve felt, or do feel. I want to make them better. I want to make them what I’m not. What I can’t be. Look at how unhappy artists are. Sylvia Plath put her head in an oven, Van Gogh lopped his ear off. I’m not saying I am anywhere as good as these people, because heaven knows I am not, but I don’t want anyone to feel as bad as I do.
So many people tell me to give up, that maybe I should delegate my art to being a “hobby”, saying it doesn’t “provide for me”. No. I would rather starve than fail at the one thing I was put here to do. I haven’t been doing this for 90% of my life to have it be boiled down to a fucking “hobby”. So many people hate their jobs, and keep the things they’d love to do instead as their careers as their “hobbies” simply because it doesn’t “provide” for them, but where’s the fucking logic in that. If I’m already this unhappy doing the thing I love, the thing I was put here to do, why the fuck would I ever do something that’d make me even unhappier, with less time for the thing I love to do? Perhaps if my parents had wanted me, if my family had loved me, if I had been fulfilled in that sort of way, I could say “Okay, well, this is just a fun thing to do on the side”, but the way I see it, when the only thing I’m here to do isn’t good enough, then there’s no reason for me to be here at all.
Art…it’s all that I have. It’s been my entire life. An escape from the ever ongoing existential dread that is my existence. Movies, books, television, music, comics, painting, drawing, video games. Art in all its glorious outcomes, it has been my friend. I came home everyday, from a school where students endlessly harassed me and teachers were of no help, to parents who yelled at me for not being better and made no effort to really know me or help me, who told me I’d never be good enough. I came home to that, every single fucking day, and having art, any kind of art, any medium at all, be my only escape…
…I have to give back to it, for all that it’s given me.
Hey. I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, then maybe you’d like these other things I made, like my webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, my writing over at Medium or my podcast, “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality”. If you really like what I do and really want to support me, you can either donate directly to the PayPal or help out at my Patreon. Thank you so much for reading, it means the world to me.