I am not a religious person.
At one point, I considered myself an atheist, but I’ve long since outgrown that edgy teenager position and now consider myself just “spiritual”, and if we’re being honest, “spiritual lite”. I mostly believe in Wiccan ideals, believe in the earth and energy. All that beautiful crap. But sometimes I think about there possibly being a heaven, and I think that if there was, and by some chance I wound up there, I hope my grandfather is there, because if he is, there’s one thing in particular I’d love to ask him:
“Why didn’t you try harder to keep my parents apart?”
Aside from the tree, the one I feel the worst for is my grandfather. Not only did he fail to keep these two people apart, people who clearly shouldn’t have been together, but then he had to watch my father abuse my mother, knowing he tried to protect her from this. So, I am the human equivalent of a leftover Mexican dinner. Something someone thought they wanted, then when they got it home realized it wasn’t what they wanted at all, and then started to blame the other person who making them order it. My father beat my mother. I am not going to be quiet about it. He did that. That’s a thing that happened. He did this mostly while he was on copious amounts of drugs, and also wildly blackout drunk, not that that excuses it, but I want the context to be there. He was in and out of prison most of my life, and only after my mother had taken me back to California to live with her parents, did he track us down and try to make amends.
One of the biggest problems with me is that I have no home. The closest thing I had was my grandparents, and now that they’re dead, it’s been sold, and I have nothing. My mother remarried to a man who wound up being incredibly emotionally abusive, which in turn made her incredibly emotionally abusive; meanwhile my father was dating girl after girl who could supply him with whatever drug he wanted at that moment in time, and the weekends I spent with him were often spent alone, on the torn up couch of his run down rental house while he either slept or fucked his girlfriend in the other room. I think this is why nowhere feels like home, because growing up, I never had a single house that I felt safe in, and the only one that came relatively close no longer belongs to my family.
In essence, I do not belong anywhere, in any way, and let me tell you, that really wraps a persons perception of reality and the “meaning” of life.
And now I have to find ways to fill my time until I die.
I think this is partly why I create. Why I make art and write books, because it gives me some sort of control over something, unlike in my actual life, where nothing is ever in control, much less my control. I have to do something with the time I’ve been given, and the only way I can make sense of the world aground me, the world I was thrust into without any reason and against my own will, is to analyze it through the eyes of other characters. I never fit in at school, everyone always made fun of me and growing up I was really lonely. To be fair, I was a pretty weird girl. I collected dead animals and liked ghosts and wore flannel in elementary school. Not that who I am warrants bullying, that’s never an excuse, but on some warped level, I kind of understand, because god knows I hate myself more than the other kids hated me.
I tried so many things, trying to find where I belonged, as every kid does growing up, but in such a different way, I wasn’t doing this to discover what “clique” or whatever I felt most comfortable with, because I was super antisocial. I was doing this to literally find a purpose to a life I didn’t feel deserved a purpose. Was I a band geek? I joined band in 7th grade because a friend of mine did, and I thought that’s what you did. You did whatever those around you did. But I didn’t enjoy it, nor was I any good at it, but I still suffered through an entire year of it, because guess what…it could be who I was and what I was destined to do! Maybe this was why I was given this existence! Of course not. That’s fucking stupid.
I don’t really remember how I fell into writing. I remember I used to come home from school and wanted to retreat to a world I was in control of, and so I started writing and making up worlds and people, but I know that wasn’t when I settled on it, because at some point I started drawing and thinking I could have a future making comics or something. Then I went into film making and did that for a long time, before settling onto the term “artist” because it encompassed everything without pigeonholing me into one medium, and I think that’s honestly the best description of my comfort level with my unwanted, unexpected existence. I have to do a little bit of everything, because one thing simply isn’t enough. I need more than one reason to be here, because I don’t have one reason to begin with. So how do you cope with being alive when you weren’t supposed to be? For me, it became creating other things that had no right to be here.
Now…I nearly died when I was a little girl.
I got very sick and dehydrated, and wound up in the hospital for months. I don’t remember much, but I do remember having to almost relearn how to walk. I also nearly died when I was born, because my umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck when I came out, and nearly strangled me to death. That’s twice before the age of 5. Something was clearly out to get me. This is a belief that I have struggled with ever since then, call me batty or not, I don’t care. I struggle with the idea that I should have died, that I wasn’t supposed to be born, and thus I was supposed to die, and I cheated death and won and since then everything for me has been absolute shit.
I know. Believe me, I recognize it’s an absolutely ludicrous thing to believe. But, I do believe it, and somehow, continuing to live, even when I want to die, is the most rebellious thing I can do. So how do I cope with existing when I shouldn’t? I exist. I continue living and tell life, “Guess what, fuck you, I’m here, and nothing you can do can change that. Only I can change that, and only when I decide to.” I drew the most strength from not dying, and not giving into the urge to kill myself, and creating things that wouldn’t be here without me, whether people see them or not. I am an enigma. Everything from the get go, from my parents courtship, has been set against me even being here, and yet somehow, against all odds, against any attempt by life or my own hand, I remain here.
I think that’s how you cope with existing. You exist.
I am not a religious person. But sometimes I think about there possibly being a heaven, and I think that if there was, and by some chance I wound up there, I hope my grandfather is there, because if he is, there’s one thing in particular I’d love to ask him, and that would be “Why didn’t you try harder to keep my parents apart?” but instead, I wouldn’t, and I would realize that by allowing all of this to happen, my grandfather gave me the one thing I’ve always searched for. A meaning. I am here because he failed, I am unintentionally his greatest achievement, and my parents greatest mistake. I am the culmination of bad choices and shortcomings, but I exist because my grandfather failed to keep my parents apart. So I will live with that in my heart, knowing that I am here to keep his spirit alive, his drive and ambitions, and be the good person he and my grandmother brought me up to be. I exist because he couldn’t forever. Yeah, I wouldn’t ask him that question.
Instead I’d stand with him and enjoy the sunset.
[This is a repost of a Medium article]
I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I’ve done, like my 2015 novel “You Ruined Everything”, 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 , buy prints/stickers and more at my online store on Big Cartel, or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!