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If You’re Sick & You Know It, Clap Your Hands

I’m not really sure how to handle this. I’m not used to recovery.

When you’ve spent your entire life being traumatized, terrified, and abused…you sort of become used to it. And, if it’s the only thing you feel regularly, then it’s not only something you become used to it, but it becomes normalized. It’s just how you feel. But, 2017, despite all of the horribleness that’s filled it (and let’s be totally transparent here, it’s been 97% horribleness, this year’s sucked eggs), has probably been the best year for progress on my mental health. It’s kind of amazing, because you’d think everything I’ve gone through this year, all of it being rather traumatic and miserable and in some cases literally abusive, would’ve had a negative effect on my mental health, and yet…

…yet I’ve managed to pull myself back up every time and keep on trudging along, continuing to find myself actually thinking I’m better than those who hurt me than thinking I deserved what they did to me because something is clearly wrong with me. I’m no longer actively calling myself the victim all of the time, and that’s…that’s a really weird, unfamiliar feeling to have, especially for someone who’s been a victim for the majority of her life. But now I see myself less a victim and more a survivor. I’m no longer just accepting that I was hurt and that that’s who I am (though, in no way am I saying that people who feel this way should feel bad for it taking them longer to get better), now I’m saying, “Well, I got really hurt and used and yes that’s a major part of my identity, but I am more than that too. I’m going to be okay.”

I’m going to be okay.

Never in my life did I ever imagine myself actually saying these words to myself. It doesn’t get better, don’t ever buy that bullshit line, but it does become moderately tolerable. Recovery is a scary word for me, especially because for so much time, I even denied I was sick or hurt. When told I had depression by multiple doctors, I denied it. I told them it wasn’t depression. I have denied being sick for so many years, until I finally realized there’s nothing wrong with being sick, nothing shameful about it, and it’s just another facet of my personality. What was shameful was denying it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a sick person, mental or physical wise. What’s wrong is that we make people ashamed of their sickness.

I am in recovery. I am recovering. I am recovering from a whole hell of a lot, but I’m still here. That’s not to say I’m fixed. Recovery doesn’t end, that’s the thing. There’s no end point, where suddenly I’m magically all better and I’m no longer in recovery. I will be recovering until the day that I die, that’s just how it works. Recovering from a multitude of things, always and forever, and that’s good, because starting to recognize that I’m ready to recover means I’ve moved past everything that hurt me. I’m still depressed. I still get sad thinking about the trauma I’ve endured, but I’m ready now. I’m ready. I’m alive, and I’m sick and I’m recovering.

That’s the nice thing about being a work in progress. You’re never out of things to fix.

Hi, I’m Maggie. If you liked this post, you might like some of my other work, like my depressing webcomic, “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry” or my writing over at Medium. You can also donate to the PayPal and help my girlfriend and I get groceries and pay our rent. Anything is greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!

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The Black Sheep

There’s no questioning it, I am the black sheep of my family.

Even back when I was involved with my family, I was always the odd one out. Whether it was christmas spent together or some vacation, or hell even just day to day life, I was always the one who didn’t belong. So it only makes sense that I’d come to be the black sheep. About three years ago, after leaving my abusive family behind in the dust physically, I cut off all contact with them on social media, leaving them forever in the dark about my doings and whereabouts, not that they were ever remotely interested to begin with, as the only reason any of them had friended me on Facebook in the first place as simply to relay information to my mother so she could use it against me. When my girlfriend and I visited California, where I’m originally from, a few times in the last two years, I never saw any of them and the few texts I did receive possibly seeing any of them were mostly, “Why don’t you talk to your mother? Why do you talk about her that way!?”

So I’m the black sheep. But, because I have no siblings and nobody really cares about me, I’m not one of those cool gay aunts that people routinely ask about, who’s shrouded in mysteriousness but who is really way cooler than my nephew/nieces parents. No. I’m just the one who is completely forgotten. Nobody asks about me. Nobody wonders what happened. Nobody tries to contact me. On one hand, it’s wonderful, because I have nobody left to let down and disappoint except myself, but on the other hand a part of me wonders what was so wrong with me that even the people I was born into don’t care about me. It’d be one thing if I was just the sort of black sheep I mentioned before, the one who’s shunned her relatives herself, who is surrounded by questions, but I’m not. I’m the opposite. I’m the one who got shunned. I’m not the one people ask questions about. I’m the one nobody asks questions about. After a lifetime of abuse, you’d think that this would be a dream come true, not having to deal with those people anymore, but…

I just never felt welcome anywhere with any of them. Even though my extended family, aunts and uncles and whatnot, weren’t directly abusive to me, most of them also never really made me feel all that welcome or genuinely loved. I always felt out of place and only there because I just happened to have been born into this group of people. Rarely did anyone ever bother to actually get to know my interests, so christmas or birthday gifts were always relatively generic. Clothes. Not even clothes I liked. Media. A lot of time, media I didn’t like, more of a “oh, she likes movies! This just came out on DVD, get it for her!”. Even to this day, I wonder who really knows me. It’s not like it’s that hard to know who I am or what I like. I post things I like to social media, I talk about my interests & hobbies openly. It just seems like nobody bothers to listen. And I’m not saying this in a “Why doesn’t anyone pay attention to me!” sort of way, this is more of a “Well, I guess….I’m just not all that worthy of being known or cared about” sort of way. See, the thing about abuse, especially abuse from people like your family, who’re supposed to love and care about you, is that that then carries over into every other relationship you ever form from then on.

I have people I know who care about me. Certain close friends. My girlfriend. And yet…a part of me is absolutely convinced they don’t. That they’re doing it out of pity, or shame, or because they feel they have to because nobody else has. I know this isn’t true, but when you become so used to abuse, so used to it that you need it to survive, then you believe it no matter what. Call it stockholm syndrome if you must, I don’t care what label you assign it, but what I do know is that I suffer from it and I suffer greatly. What’s even more sick is still missing it. Is missing these people despite knowing damn well what they did to me and how they made me feel. I’m the black sheep. I’m the deserter. Not because I deserted, but because I was driven out. They had an entire flock, and saw me and went, “She’s not like the others, get her out of here.” Even growing up, the few friends I did have, I always had to contact them, they never made an effort to contact me. I’m not just a black sheep to my family. I’m a black sheep to every single relationship.

Then, you might meet some people who make you trust others again. Who make you believe that you are worthy of being loved, are capable of finding people who care about you. You’re so starved for attention and affection and kindness, that you latch onto them and trust them deeply. Then they hurt you too, in ways similar to or worse than the others before them have, and make you really retreat back into your hole. They shatter that trust they’ve built, because they were using you or just didn’t really care all that much. That’s what happened this summer. Someone I trusted for 4 years, someone who considered me a part of their family, they in turn wound up being just as bad as my parents, and destroyed any hope I could have for trusting others again for a very long time, and they took no responsibility for it. No, like all other abusers they wanted the abused to take the blame. Once again, I’m the black sheep, cut off from contact of someone I trusted for years.

So fine. I’m the black sheep. I’ve accepted that, and you know what? You all need a herd to be with, but I don’t, and I’m finding that maybe it’s better this way, because it’s taught me to survive on my own. To be strong. That nobody except me can tell me how worthy I am and how capable of success I can be.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any shame?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags the same;
One for the parents,
And one for the “friends”,
And none for myself
Because that’s where it ends.

I’m Maggie Taylor. Did you like this thing? If so, well, I make other things you might like too. You check out my webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, or my writing on Medium. You can also submit a piece to my new site, “Sad Party”, where I encourage others to share their struggles with mental illness so others don’t feel as alone. Also working on some other big projects for the end of the year, so be on the lookout for those! Thanks for reading!

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The Unhappy Manifesto

Despite my best efforts to be a goody two shoes, perfectionist, law abiding young lady from the age of coherence to now, I’ve always apparently just been nothing more than inherently polarizing, without even realizing it was a bigger problem than I thought. I mean, I knew some people didn’t like me, hell I don’t even like me, so I get it, but I didn’t realize to that extent that they didn’t like me. However, after some very recent events this past summer, I know realize that to a lot of people, I’m just sorta not all that good I guess. The worst part is, I continue to be sorta not all that good to the people I most want to be hella all that good to, and it’s….it’s fucking heartbreaking.

I’m in no way ever trying to make myself sound like a perfect person, like someone who puts others before herself at all times or wants to gain the sympathy of complete and total strangers via a pity party blog she runs on the internet, but I do want it made clear that I at least try and do good by others. Because of how I’ve been treated by pretty much everyone throughout my life, I go really out of my way to be nice to those I let get even remotely close to me. I’m so closed up, that even the ones who think they know me rarely now me as well as they think they do. A few years ago, I told an ex girlfriend of mine something, and her response was “I never would’ve known that!”. Be aware, this is a girl I spent about 9 years being close friends with and then spent a year romantically involved with, and yet even she “never would’ve known that”, in regards to what I just told her. So, I try and be the best to the people I really care about, try to be genuinely nice to the people I don’t even know all that well and still try and retain an identity not at all known by anyone at all. It’s a tough life, y’all.

And yet, despite all of this, despite my best efforts, I am not a “liked” person, because even the people who I’ve known for years don’t know me that well and the others, the ones who have claimed to love me and want nothing more than my happiness (like the people I mentioned from this past summer earlier in the post), end up not really meaning that. I am not important. I am expendable. I am not good enough. I am polarizing. So, okay, I’m trying to work with that. For so long I wanted to please. I wanted to make my parents proud despite their obvious disinterest in my actual well being as a person, and I would try to reconnect with people I used to know who cut me off out of nowhere without saying a word, who I thought I mattered to. I wanted to make people love me. I wanted to create things people would be happy about. Now I’m trying desperately not to care as much. I’m trying to be ok with not being ok enough.

So I’m polarizing. Alright then. I’ll learn to work with that. The people who really do like me like me and that should be good enough. The problem is that you’re never sure who those people really are. You think you have a good idea, but…but people are so goddamned two faced. Now, with the advent of social media and online profiles, we as actual people, are nothing. Our profiles are everything. That’s the best of us distilled down to our successes, our triumphs, our goodness, and I don’t want to be one of those people who say “technology is bad!” because it isn’t. It’s helped created friendships I only could’ve once dreamed about, but to so many, I am just “that girl with the depressing blog” and not a real person, but I am real, and I do care. People may see me as polarizing, and, well, that’s on them. But I see me as I really am. I really do try and really do care. And even to the people who hurt me, to the people in my past, my parents, the people from this summer…I understand. We’re imperfect creatures. I don’t blame you anymore. We are who we are. If you find me polarizing, I might find you transparent and abusive, but I guess that’s just who we are, and only we alone can decide if we want to work on who we are. It has taken me two decades to get here, but, I know now that I am more than the sum of your opinions of me.

Reach out to me. Get to know me. I want to create a community out of sadness. I want to build a home from despair. Trying to be perfect got me nowhere, but accepting my imperfections have gotten me so far. Be polarizing. We can do it together.

I believe in us, flaws and all.

Hello. My name is Maggie. I make things, for you and for my own survival. If you like this stuff I made, you might like some of my other stuff, like my depressing space webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, and the site where I ask others to say how bad they feel to help others feel better, “Sad Party”. Check it out. Hit me up. Let’s be miserable together.

ADDENDUM: I am aware that a new “This Won’t Hurt A Bit: Memoirs From A Post Medical World” was supposed to come out Monday, October 23rd, but alas that could not happen. I apologize and it will return next Monday. Thank you for understanding.

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I Don’t Give A Fuck About Birds

A few years ago, a pigeon flew into the comic shop I frequented while I was at the register.

Literally everyone else stopped and stood and gawked at this poor, confused bird and oohed and awed and I merely stood at the register looking at my phone, waiting for the guy to come back from fighting it to finish my payment. Reflecting back on this moment makes me realize just how absolutely detached I am from the world. And before I go on, I want to clarify, I’m not saying I’m better because of this. If anything, I wish I could be like everyone else. All people seem to need is a little distraction that they’ll tell to their friends, family, co workers. These stories will grow. The others who hear it will add on. Suddenly THEY were there and it happened to THEM too.

 “Yeah this pigeon came in while Mike and I were at the store and it screamed that his name was Rungar and that the owner had killed it’s father, and then the owner and the pigeon drew samurai swords and it got fuckin’ WEIRD, man.”

pigeonEventually the tale of the heroic pigeon who slain the murderous shop keep to avenge his fathers untimely death will be written in the aviary history books and told to the young chicks in school, when birds eventually rule the world like we all know they will. But, before we get too ahead of ourselves (I like to fantasize about bird societies as much as the next girl), let’s discuss my detachment from society. People just need little things to amuse or entertain them. A bird flying into a shop. People slow to a crawl to see a fender bender. I mean, Twitter basically was invented for this reason, filling people in on the mind numbing minutia that we all go through, day in and day out.

But what happens when you’re like me, and you’re so disinterested in the world, or at least the world as it pertains to people, that you wonder what’s wrong with you?

I mean, let’s face it. That’s not normal. I mean to me, a bird flying into a store isn’t new. I’ve seen birds in billions of places that birds are not expected to be. Shops. Restaurants. College campuses as they prepare their morning lectures on philosophy. Birds are weird, dude, they really get around. But I’ve seen it. Nothing interesting about a fender bender. No reason to slow yourself down to witness people calmly exchanging insurance information. Is it in the hopes that they’ll witness something better? That somehow this mundane simple exchange of insurance information will come to violent blows? And if so, what does THAT say about society? That we’re bloodthirsty? That’s…discouraging, to say the least.

Then again, I just about wrote an entire novel about a bird society and their pigeon warrior god, so maybe violence is built into human behavior.

It worries me. It makes me contemplate the possibility that maybe I’ve taken so much bullshit from people over the 28 years that I’ve existed that I simply don’t care to participate anymore. I don’t care about New Years. I don’t get involved in trending topics. I DON’T CARE ABOUT A BIRD FLYING INTO A STORE. In a way, I suppose I could also look at is as a blessing, because maybe it makes me detached in a good way? Like, maybe I’m above it all because I realize that low shit doesn’t matter. I don’t know, I’m just reaching to find any reason to not hate myself these days.

A bird flew into a store and the world didn’t change one bit.

But I guess if that’s what humans need to make their mundane, repetitive, tedious lives a bit more entertaining, even if for just a few mere minutes, than maybe it’s a good thing they can be so easily bemused, and I secretly wish I could join in too.

I for one welcome our pigeon overlords.

Hi, I’m Maggie Taylor. Like my blog? Maybe you’d like my other work too. You can view more content like my depressing space webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry” or my new site “Sad Party”, where I encourage people to revel in their sadness so others don’t feel so bad themselves. Also, you can donate at my SquareCash if you’re so inclined. It’d be more than appreciated.

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There’s No Room For Me

I can remember every single room I’ve ever been in.

It doesn’t matter where it was; family members room, friends room, my room, parents room, classroom, etc. Any room. Not even bedrooms, either, no, it extends to bathrooms, kitchens, garages. It doesn’t matter. If there was a room and I was in it, I can recall every single detail about it down to the rivets in the goddamned floorboards. What’s really “funny” about this is that I actually have a rather sketchy memory. A lot of my adolescence I’ve actually blocked for my own sake and then there’s just a lot I don’t remember in general, but I can remember every. single. fucking. room.

I’m sentimental, that much has been made abundantly clear from this blog by this point I’d think, but even so, I’m amazed at what I can recall. For a major example, one of the few friends I had growing up, his mother was an apartment manager and they moved around the city alot, which meant he wound up occupying multiple bedrooms in multiple apartments and all within a 3 or 4 year radius. I remember every single one. I remember the one overlooking the parking lot and the dumpsters with the big window, I remember the one right by the pool that was essentially filled with nothing but his futon bed, and I remember the one in the small house they rented when we first met. I remember them all.

And yet, despite all of this, I have never once felt at home in any one of them. How sad is that? A lifetime of rooms, even my own bedrooms, and I have never once felt at home in any of them. Maybe one day I will find my room. Maybe I won’t. Who knows. All I DO know is that I can remember these rooms better than I can remember relatives I knew for years or ‘friends’ I’d had forever. Voices. Faces. All lost to time. Rooms, though, rooms are the constant.

I think it’s because a room is something you yourself occupy; your energy, your space, and so you’re fit to remember it, even if it isn’t your own room. So, for the sake of some transparency for once, here’s some of my old rooms. Enjoy.

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Once More Around The Sun

Today is my birthday.

When I was a little girl, I never dreamed I’d live past being 10. Then it got pushed up to 20. Then 30. Granted, while I’m only turning 28, I’ve learned a few things. The first is to stop counting upwards using only increments of 10’s, and secondly that for as long as I can put off ending my life, I might just make it further in life. I’m not happy, don’t mistake what I’m saying for growth, cause it’s not, but what I am saying is that for some people, existence isn’t a struggle. They enjoy being alive, at least on a base human level, enjoy seeing friends, having their families, getting jobs, having relationships, etc. But for others, it’s a struggle, and for me it’s an absolute slog. So, other people go through life, sometimes having a midlife crisis or so along the way, until they finally reach their 80s and die. Meanwhile, I’m actively bored of existing, yet because there’s such a stigma surrounding suicide, shaming people who simply don’t want to hurt anymore, and also because I’m always constantly in the middle of something (a movie, laundry, writing this blog post you’re reading), I keep having to put off killing myself.

Now, people may take that and go “Well, that indecision means you really don’t want to do it then!” and while I respect everyones right to their opinion, no, they’re wrong and they should shut up. Did they make this diagnosis from the comfort of their bedroom doctors desk chair? You don’t know me, or what I’ve been through or how I feel. I WANT to die. I do. I just keep having shit come up that has to be taken care of, and I’m not one to flake on responsibilities and abandon projects. In essence, my perfectionism is extending my life sentence, and yes I say life sentence and not life span, because much like prison, I didn’t ask to be here and I certainly want it to be over with. Now, I’ve written a blog post in the past about how if you can come up with things to do like “I can’t kill myself until this tv show is over” or “I can’t end my life until I feed my dog” then you can keep yourself from dying, but this isn’t that.

This is about literally being so busy to never have time to die. People complain all the time about being ‘so busy’. Every single college student will tell you that, that they’re ‘so busy’, like getting up at 11 is so hard when they forget that they used to get up at 7 to go to high school. People stay busy with jobs, with social lives, with hobbies. Everywhere you look, at any given point, somebody is doin’ something. They’re reading a book, or riding a bike or watching a movie or having dinner with friends or going on dates or working until closing, or, yes, being in school. Everyone has a constricted schedule in which what they want to do often takes a backseat to what they have to do. In my case, the thing that keeps getting pushed back is killing myself, and it doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it. Just like those other people, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to take the weekend off for themselves and try and learn a new language or see the new action flick, they just don’t have the time or the energy, and let’s face it, killing yourself takes a lot of effort. My preference has always been to hang myself, but then I gotta get a rope so I gotta probably go to the hardware store and buy a rope and then learn to tie a knot good enough that it won’t come undone, and then find somewhere to hang myself, find a surface high enough that it’ll kill me when I’m not standing on it anymore. I mean, by the time I got to the actual act of hanging myself, I’m wasted half my fuckin’ day just prepping, and that’s without a note! Honestly, who’s got the fuckin’ time?

So, this is just what’s working for me. I hope those who are struggling also continue, as I don’t want anyone else to die. I just personally don’t wanna be alive, but I am, and I’m working with the hand I’ve been dealt. So let’s go for one more round universe, take me around the sun another time.

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How To Fail So You’ll Succeed

People often get irritated with me for continually saying that I suck, that I hate my work, that I’ll never be successful or that I don’t wanna do what I do anymore, but what they fail to realize (somehow, even after I tell them this) is that I need to externalize the internal in order to continue going. I need to believe I’m bad so I can continue to prove myself wrong with each new success.

By belittling myself to myself, by telling myself that I’ll never reach my own standards, all it does is make me feel incredible when I do reach those standards, when I do reach even a small piece of success. That drive is what keeps me going. If I don’t say these things, that hatred sits inside of me and festers into a horrid bubble of pure rage, and then I never get anything done. That’s way more unhealthy. I succeed because I believe I can’t.

Now that isn’t to say there aren’t times I really do believe what comes out of my mouth, because believe me, there are, and it’s a lot of the time too. Being touched by failure for the majority of your life, outside of career and inside career, really makes you feel pretty fucking terrible about your chances with success. That being said, more often than not do I use it as a way to continue to push myself towards the goals I wish to achieve with my work, and my life in general. Negativity is a bad copying mechanism? Bitch, please. It’s my only coping mechanism.

My entire life I’ve been told by people that I will never succeed. By my peers, even some people in my family at one time or another, and yes, you eventually start to believe a little bit of that, or all of it, in some peoples cases. But for me, spite thrives my craving for success. You wanna tell me how much I suck? We’ll see how much I suck when I’m happy and successful and you’re bitter that you’re still suck in that loveless marriage or in the same crappy job you claim you hate but can’t leave to chase whatever dreams you might’ve once had. Guess what. Dreams don’t go away with age. You will always have your dreams, so stop saying you can’t go after them after a certain age. THAT’S real negativity.

You hate me for achieving my goals? You hate me for even attempting to? Go try and achieve your own. Be happy. Tell yourself you can’t, and then do it, and prove yourself wrong. Be a successful failure. “Fake it ’til you make it”? No. Fail it, then nail it.

Own your sadness.