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Close To Monsters #30

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Created, Written & Drawn by Maggie Taylor

This weeks comic is brought to you by the fact that you are nothing but an amalgamation of all your parents flaws and problems. Wanna write your own caption for this comic strip? Then head on over to my Patreon, where for a mere 25 dollars a month, you not only get all the previous rewards, but also get the write a caption for one of these, and get credited for it!

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!

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”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” 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!

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This One Goes Out To You

Wanna hear quite possibly the most ironic thing of all time?

When I was a little girl, my mother used to play a lot of music in the house and in the car. I have to give my mother some credit for exposing me to a lot of media and helping widen my knowledge of pop culture, especially when it comes to music, so. One day, the song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses came on, and I can’t remember where we were or what the situation was, but I distinctly recall her saying to me:

This was the song your father and I picked for you. This is your song.

If you’ve read my blog, and you know anything about my parents, my childhood, my relationship with my family or anything pertaining to that, you’d recognize this statement as full on fucking hilarious. Like, Emmy Award Winning Best Writing in a Comedy Series type of hilarious because it evokes so much foreshadowing and irony that nothing beats it. My parents are NOT the kind of people who believe in the lyrics portrayed in this song.

My mother, back in the day, was fairly okay. It wasn’t until she really got re-married when I was about 8 and started living with a psychologically abusive stepdad that she took a turn for the worse. There was a time when she was rather enjoyable and loving, but that all quickly changed and now, no matter how much she swears up and down she has changed, I cannot believe a word of it because I’ve been at the firing line firsthand. My father has never cared about me, at least not outside the abstract sense. He cares that someone exists who will carry on his last name (Taylor is not actually my last name), but seeing as I’m infertile, there’s hilarity in that as well. He has rarely reached out to talk since I was a young adult and often left me wildly depressed and disappointed as a little girl. I was usually nothing more than a bargaining chip between the two of them growing up, especially for my father, and it’s taught me to be extremely wary of people in general when they say they care for me.

When you dedicate a song to someone, you do it because you honestly, genuinely believe that song encapsulates how you feel towards the person you’re dedicating it to. We’ve all heard it said, that couple that goes, “Oh, this is OUR song!”. The song they play at their wedding, that they had on the radio on their first date or something. That one tune. But to dedicate a song, especially one as ultimately schmaltzy as “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, to your newborn daughter and then turn around and abuse her for years to come is completely insulting to the entire concept of dedicating songs to people. I mean, imagine taking lyrics like this:

I hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain

and turning right around and inflicting that pain on your own child. You hate to see an ounce of pain? Then stop fucking hurting me. I know. I know. Every kid grows up to hate their parents and eventually realizes how much they loved them and blah blah blah. No. Some kids actually grew up in a broken fucking home. My home might’ve been lavish and we might’ve had money, but that didn’t make it any less goddamned broken, alright? My parents often fought about me right in front of my bedroom door so I’d feel bad, they often allowed my stepsiblings to make fun of me openly without defending me one bit, they often made fun of me THEMSELVES, which was hilarious, given that I actually put in the effort to get to know my stepfather and we shared more of the same common interests than his own children shared with him, and yet he STILL treated me poorly. Gee, I wonder why I don’t get close to people anymore? Hey, Maggie, why don’t you open up and let people in? Because if my body is a temple, then you fuckers are here to desecrate it.

…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get that emotional. I’m just sometimes in utter awe at the fact that people can be that two faced. That deceptive, especially to themselves about themselves. I was a scared, somewhat challenged little girl. All I wanted was a mom and a dad, any dad, who loved me. Who believed in me. Who supported me. Who wanted to be with me. You know what the end result in this is? By dedicating that song to me, and then not following through on loving me themselves, sometimes it feels like Guns ‘N Roses loved me more because, oh, it’s MY song. Think about that. I’m a 28 year old woman now, and I have a more parental connection to a fucking 80s rock ballad than to my own paternal figures. How is that ok.

I am nobodies sweet child.

Especially not yours, mom and dad.

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The Name Tape

s-l1600When I was a little girl, one of the things my mother got me was this tape. It was blue, and it had your name on it, and about 5 songs in total. I was able to find a picture of it. Now, granted, my name isn’t Kevin, nor am I a boy, but this was the only image I was really able to find of these things.

I had a walkman, and I often listened to music when going out somewhere because the noises of society would be far too overwhelming and often distress me. I have very clear memories of sitting in front of our air conditioner in the mornings before my mom woke up, listening to this tape on repeat. Why? Because the songs on these tapes made me feel special, like someone had created it just for me, because kids are dumb and believe stupid shit like that. But, there’s another reason why it hit me so hard, and that’s because I had nobody else telling me I was special, at least not for some other reason, like academically or whatever.

See, when I was very young, I was often told I was bright or articulate or special because I had excellent memory, could recite entire stories at the drop of a dime and did fairly well in school, and thus a ton of praise was heaped on me. But nobody ever told me I was special just. for. being. ME. I know. I know. I can hear the hateful masses clammoring to be the first to tell me, “Waaah! The ‘everyone gets a trophy’ generation didn’t get pampered enough!”, yeah yeah, whatever. Fuck off. First of all, as kids, we didn’t create that concept, okay? That was for the parents so they didn’t have to deal with their kids crying because they didn’t also win something, alright? Our parents created that shit, not us, okay? And secondly, yes, being told you’re special as a child, especially when you’re a child like me, would’ve actually been very helpful because when someone tells you long enough that you’re NOT special, guess what? It decimates your self esteem and you stop ever being able to believe in yourself, and being that I never understood why everyone was mean to me or didn’t like me, it made me feel absolutely worthless, because nobody was telling me I’m special even without those strangers acceptance, and that I just need to focus on believing in myself.

Believe it or not, that shit MATTERS.

So I would listen to this tape, because this tape at least believed I was special for just being me, and that was something. Here were these singers who, despite obviously paid to do this, were telling me that I was actually special. That I did matter. And for fragile broken 6 year old me, that meant the WORLD. Nostalgia is a fickle beast. Some shows I rewatch from my childhood, they really don’t give me the same feelings I had when I watched them originally. It’s cool to rewatch them, but it does ultimately nothing for me beyond the “enjoyment” factor. But this tape…I can go on youtube and listen to the songs (granted not with my name in them), and it’s like a punch to the gut. I nearly start crying. It all comes rushing back to me for just a half hour and afterwards I feel so much better, so much more grounded.

In the end, a cassette tape raised me more than my family, and there’s a lot to be said about that.

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!

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”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” 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!

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The Wrong Girl

I first heard the word in my 1st grade class. There was a boy named Edgar. He had a bowl cut and often wore purple turtlenecks, and whenever another student asked what was wrong with him, the teacher would respond with, “Edgar is autistic.” None of us knew what that meant of course, but that’s what they told us.

I heard it again when I was about 12. I was at the public pool and I was sitting on the rim talking to an older woman who was there with her son who was maybe 4 or 5. She was telling me about how he loved this show on PBS because of the characters and the bright colors, and that’s when she said it, “See, he’s autistic”. Again with that word. Still no context for what it meant even then, but I knew it meant ‘different’.

I heard it again in 8th grade when, despite my glaring social and academic problems, I was still in regular classes and sometimes we’d see these kids from the “Special Education” classroom walk by. Often the other kids would snicker, point at them, call them “retarded”. The teacher would respond, “They’re autistic, be nice.” Now I was learning it was bad to be this thing.

I would hear this word crop up time and time again, but while I knew that my teachers were having meetings with my mom and stepdad, I never knew that they were using that word in reference to me. I am a girl. We present differently. Sure, I hid under desks in classrooms and I cried and hit myself and I memorized entire books and movies and I had no interest in forming “friendships”, but I didn’t know that was what that word meant, nor that they were trying to pin it on me. My mother wouldn’t have it. She swore up and down she knew what “mentally challenged” kids were like, and that I was NOT one of them.

Only in the last 3 years have I come to start to accept it as what I am. Doctors told her, teachers told her, other parents told her, and yet no, I had to be “normal”. So they kept me out of classes that could’ve helped me, they didn’t understand why having tags in my shirts was a terrible thing and why I couldn’t go to places with large crowds, often forcing me into uncomfortable situations and thus making me cry and scream, and then yelling at me for crying and screaming. I did not have a good childhood. I didn’t even have a decent childhood. I had a childhood of being told I was different by everyone except my parents, who told me I was “normal”, so I had no idea what I was. All I knew was that nobody wanted to be my friend, and that was fine by me. I had books. I had stuffed animals. I had myself.

But myself is no longer a viable, nor enjoyable, companion to keep. Now I want to run away from myself every day. I want to unzip my skin like a costume and slip outside of my physical prison and run as far far away as possible. My problems have become easier to deal with now that I understand what those problems ARE. And yet…and yet everything is still too much. Too all the time. I scream internally now because the world doesn’t let you scream out loud. I still hit myself. I am wasted opportunity. I am an example of what you shouldn’t do. I cannot do a single thing on my own and fail day to day life 24/7. I am 100% co-dependent and cannot cook for myself and cannot drive and cannot live on my own.

I became the ugly word they believed it was, because that’s what they made me believe I was, and I hate them every fucking day for it.

I was a little girl. I needed HELP. I needed LOVE. I needed to be told “You are this and this is okay to be”. I still don’t know who I am, except that I am a broken person. That’s all I’ve ever known about myself, is that I’m “wrong”. That’s my identity. Wrong. That’s what I am. Wrong. Wrong.

Wrong.

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!

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”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” 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!

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Birds My Father Hated: Episode 9 “Grackles”

In the penultimate episode of Season 1, Mavis talks about how birds helped her get her autism diagnosed, and fondly recalls the therapist who gave the diagnosis. If you want to hear the season 1 finale RIGHT NOW you can if you subscribe to my Patreon for as low as a buck a month!

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!

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”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” 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!

 

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Birds My Father Hated: Episode 7 “Parrots”

In this episode, Mavis remembers her speech tutor, and more importantly, her speech tutors parrot, and how they changed her life for the better. If you like this podcast, want to support it or help me make more like it in the future, then go support my Patreon, where for a buck a month, you can have access to next weeks episode right now!

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!

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”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” 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!

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Birds My Father Hated: Episode 3 “Songbird”

Episode 3 of “Birds My Father Hated” is now available to the public! In this weeks episode, Mavis recounts a childhood camping experience that nearly lead to a horrifying conclusion. Be warned, this episode is rather dark. To hear next week’s episode right now, you can subscribe to my Patreon and help support this and much more content for as low as a dollar a month! Thanks and I hope you enjoy the show!

Buy My Book!                Support Me Via Patreon!

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”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” 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!