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Wear My Art On My Sleeve

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.

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Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality Episode 1

It’s here. The first episode of my podcast about fixing your mental health with robots. “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality” is a ‘medically mandated auditory therapeutic session between the listener and their assigned betterment host, in this case, Samantha Gold. Samantha tries to help the user assess and analyze their complex psychological issues, perhaps bypass them and move on, all while giving information on her own issues. It soon becomes clear things are not exactly as clean as they seem, as the user begins to form a bond with Samantha, and she tells you a story about sadness.’ so I hope you listen and enjoy it. This is just the first of many podcasts I hope to publish to my audio network so hopefully you stick around and see what else comes! Also, if you support my work on my Patreon, even if by only doing the dollar a month tier, you get behind the scenes content, Patreon only posts and the podcasts a whole week early!

Hey, I’m Maggie. You like this thing I made? Then you might like other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, or my writing over at Medium. You can also donate at the PayPal or follow/support my work on Patreon! Anything given will go to paying my rent and groceries, and be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!

 

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My Mom’s Going To Haunt Me

It’s gotta be some sort of cruel irony that I’ve spent a good portion of my life running away from my mother both in a physical sense and a personality sense, and yet despite all the effort, I’m going to wind up carrying her around after she dies since she has chosen to be cremated and as her only child, I’ll be stuck with her ashes.

My mother has made this stance of hers clear for years, likely ever since her brother died when I was a little girl. She says that she hates the idea of being buried (too confining, as if your corpse would notice), and that she doesn’t want to be reincarnated and thinks by being burnt that you cannot be brought back because your essence is literally released into the universe. While I don’t make fun of her for these things, shit, we hardly even speak, I also don’t believe in it myself. But, the fact remains…no matter how far I run, how hard I try to break free, how much I tell people I want nothing to do with my family and they don’t care about me either, I will end up with my mothers remains, because I am her only child and it’ll all fall down to me. The only upside to this is that my father likely won’t be cremated, so thank god I won’t end up with them both.

There’s a famous quote, “We all become our parents”. That quote is a load of giant bullshit. While that quote might be totally applicable to people who like their parents, admire traits their parents have and want to emulate them as adults themselves, it’s absolute crap for people who have been abused by their parents and spent their lives running away from them. I assure you, aside from a slight overlap in musical taste, I have nothing in common with my mother. We have very different “religious” beliefs, political stances, overall viewpoint of the world and so on and so forth. And it goes beyond your usual “millennial” vs “baby boomer” aspect. First of all, I don’t really consider myself a millennial more than any other reason because I hold a lot of values held by Generation X. While I recognize it isn’t ideas that determine what generation you’re a part of, it’s the year you’re born in, I still hold fast to that belief. So this gap between us goes far beyond the usual generational differences. It’s likely it goes far beyond that because of how she treated me most of my life, so please, do not ever compare me to my mother. I assure you, we aren’t alike. In fact, I am so different from my parents, I don’t even take after them physically.

Hilarious. I’ll spend years running away, trying to escape a woman who made my life a literal living hell a lot of the time, and made my self esteem go in the toilet, and it won’t matter how far I go or what I do to put distance between us physically or otherwise, because in the end, all that matters is that she’s gonna end up in my possession anyway. She’s going to get what she wants; being stuck to me, always a presence in my life in some way. She’s going to be a presence in my future childs life simply because she’ll be there in an urn. I guess there’s truth in the whole “you can’t outrun your problems” concept.

So okay, my mother will have the last laugh because she’ll force her way into my life one way or another in the end. I can’t fight it. Sometimes you just have to give applause to dedication. Sure, she may be with me in an urn, but, as someone who didn’t expect to live past 14 and is now nearing her thirties, the fact I’ll outlive my mother, someone who made me want to die for so long, is a somewhat comforting fact and one she can’t take away from me.

She’ll never truly win.

Hey, I’m Maggie. Did you like this thing I made? Then you might like some other things I make, like my webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry” or my writing over at Medium. If you want to support all the work I do, you can donate directly at my PayPal or follow and donate at my Patreon, where for a dollar a month (the basic tier), you get posts early, along with behind the scenes content! Anything you give goes to survival and is greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!

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Happy Comic #4

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Still here, still angry about upbeat comics.

Hey, I’m Maggie. If you liked this thing I made, you might like other things I make, 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 helping my girlfriend and I survive the year by paying rent and buying groceries, anything given will be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!

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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!