When I was about 7, I was learning to ride my bike in the apartment complex my mother and I were living in at the time. I was finally starting to get the hang of it enough to be doing it on my own, so I was riding around in the parking area of the complex one afternoon when I lost control and skidded. My bike hit a long drain pipe, the old metal ones that hang down the side of the building, you know? Anyway, I was pretty happy that I wasn’t hurt and my bike was okay and that I didn’t damage anything badly, until I heard the sound of wasps. Apparently, these wasps had made a nest inside of this pipe and were now pissed as all get out and wanted revenge, so out they came, like a tornado of anger, and, being the 7 year old timid girl I was, I of course took the fuck off and left my bike there for someone else to bring back.
Since that time, it’s become abundantly clear to me that that’s what my life is; just a series of getting chased by wasps.
This pattern would repeat itself again and again, but not with actual wasps. I would wind up spending a good majority of my youth running away from things that wanted to hurt me. Mean girls, mean boys, mean teachers, all intent on making my life much more painful than it needed to be. Since then, I’ve run away from everything. Everything in life has come to resemble wasps. Forming relationships? Scary wasps. Fixing myself? Wasps that’ve been maced in the face. Responsibility? Wasps that you once said you’d invite somewhere and then instead took their hive and stuck it in a paint shaker for 14 hours nonstop while blaring the worst muzak you could find at top volume. And then when they finally were let out, dazed and confused, you punched each one right in their stupid face, just for kicks.
When you go through life seeing everything not only as a challenge, but a challenge that can utterly destroy you, it makes you not to want to try and overcome any of them at all, for fear of the pain they’ll bestow upon you. So, by running away that day, I taught myself it was okay to run away from everything. I’m not saying that a 7 year old girl is any match for a gutter drain full of angry wasps — I mean I’m tough and all but I was only 7 — but it stuck the idea inside my head that if something is that scary, that overwhelmingly terrifying, then it’s totally justifiable to turn the other cheek and run the hell away, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 20 years.
When the people I was working with in film school left me hanging, despite committing to finished a dedicated project we’d spent two years working on, with only a few more days of shooting to complete? I just swore off ever working with anyone ever again.
When the one therapist I actually managed to sort of like and build something with decided to move out of state and practice elsewhere, despite knowing my trust and abandonment issues? I just swore off ever going back to therapy altogether. (For the record, just as a hint of true irony, this therapist is also the one who diagnosed me with “Avoidant Personality Disorder”, and then moved out of state, so, take from that what you will).
When the first girl I ever decided to talk to and tell her I had a crush on her decided to be egregiously rude regarding my feelings, and all because I happened to be a girl who liked her? I decided it wasn’t worth it to ever try and find love and that I was better off alone.
Since these times, I work with my girlfriend on my projects, editing things side by side and we’ve been together nearly 3 years now, and over the last few years I have done a ton of personal introspection and analysis, trying to fix the things I don’t like about me. So okay, maybe these moments were made of wasps at the time, and I ran the other way, but I’m coming back now, and that’s the thing I want to talk about.
The thing about wasps, about any sort of creature that attacks you, is that there’s a way to overcome it. I’m not in any way condoning the killing of innocent wasps, but if you need to defend yourself, then by all means please do and that’s where I am now. I defended myself from failure by running the other way and now I’m ready to call in the exterminator and get these fucking wasps taken care of once and for all. The colony must collapse, the enemy must die and only I must prevail.
When you’re fighting a war against yourself, and that’s what this really is, a war against my perception of lifes challenges towards me, eventually you come to a stalemate and realize that no matter what happens, you’re either going to be the loser or the victor, because you’re fighting yourself, and you have to decide which side you want to be on. Do you wanna continue to let wasps run your entire life? Do you wanna continue to let wasps terrify you at every turn? Or, do you wanna grab that bug spray, get outside and destroy that nest that’s kept you from ever moving forward?
When I was 7 I was chased by some wasps and it changed my perception of myself.
I’m 29 now, and to be honest, my perception isn’t much better, but I’m finally willing to challenge it, and if that ain’t progress then what the hell is.
[This is a repost from a Medium article I wrote]
I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, the new season of my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality”, or my writing over at Medium. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!