0

A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Lies

There’s one photo that encompasses my entire childhood (that I will not be posting here).

My stepfather was a professional photographer. He not only made it his living, but his hobby, so much so that we often had to pose for stupid photographs like the one I’m speaking of, which has me sitting, nicely dressed, backwards in a dining room chair, making me appear as if I’m on the back of a NYT bestselling crime novel I’ve just published to rave reviews. Not only this, but we actually had a large framed photo on our wall where my stepsiblings I all got two rows to ourselves to make goofy faces and then smile at the end, because that’s the sort of household I grew up in. Give someone an outside appearance at a happy family to cover up the inner turmoil. That’s the thing I love about photography, more than anything. IT FUCKING LIES. 

This photo irritates me on a number of levels. Not only was I ever a happy or a good looking daughter (hell, I’m not even the best looking woman in the world. I mean, I know I’m up there, but I’m not #1), but it signifies the fact that not only was my childhood a lie…but it’s a well documented one. Having your parent be a photographer means being stuck with photo album after photo album of family photos ranging everything from christmas mornings to graduation. So the photos lie just as much as I was lying about myself to everyone around me regarding my lesbianism and so much more. And it’s all documented. Wonderful. It’s not necessarily that I HATE the photo, but it’s more along the lines of…I hate what the photo is showing. The photo itself is well taken, but it’s presenting yet again a false image. That other one I mentioned? That one with the rows? That was hung literally next to our front door as an instant image to be seen when you entered as a guest.

Oh, what a happy family!

Far from it, lady. Childhood is hard enough, but it’s even harder when you have to deal with declining mental health or a rejected sexuality. I’m certain the difficulties vary person to person, but for me personally…it’s the photos that are the worst. A lie of a lie. And the worst part is that it makes me feel like I didn’t even start really being alive until I came out, so there’s a documented childhood for a person I never identified as. That’s…unsettling to say the least. It also explains my enormous self hatred for having my photo taken as a kid, to the point where I’d leave the room or cover my face. I didn’t want to be documented. I DIDN’T KNOW WHO THE PERSON IN THE PHOTO WAS. Other people look back at photos and say, “What a happy child I was!”. I look back and say, “Who the hell IS this?”

These days though, I take a lot of selfies. It’s not because I’m vain (you have to first have self esteem for that, so I’m safe) or anything, but simply because I finally kind of like how I look. It’s a small consolation for the hell I had to put up with, but at least what I’m working on fixing my self esteem. But, that’s what suburban life is, at least when I was a little girl. Parents didn’t want their neighbors to see how screwed up their family was. Judgment was important to them. They wanted their family to be portrayed as happy, good, people. So they kept trimmed lawns and took lie filled photographs and they upheld to the highest standard an image of excellence and perfection to hide the problems they had. Nobody talked about divorce. Nobody talked about mental illness or homosexuality. It’s amazing how far we think we’ve come from the 50s, when really the only thing’s that’ve changed are our cable packages and how we process our food. There’s still bigotry, and hatred, and total lack of decent humanity, ESPECIALLY regarding treating your children and, a lot of times, often, yourself right.

So yeah, there’s one photo that encompasses my entire horrible childhood.

But there’s a billion that encompass my bettering adulthood.

And that’s kinda cool.

Hey, I’m Maggie Taylor, and this is my blog. If you like what I do here, you should check out my depressing space webcomic, “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, or my new site “Sad Party”, where I ask others to revel in their sadness so others can see they’re not alone. If you wanna support me, you can always donate at my SquareCash. I’d really appreciate it.

Advertisements
0

Orb Of Despair “Peer Pressure”

OOD6

Orb Of Despair is back again with more vague grey area life advice.

If you like what you’ve read here, and wanna help support me in my artistic endeavors, and not ever make me put on pants, then perhaps you should consider donating at my Kofi? It accepts PayPal and you don’t even have to give more than 3 dollars! It’d be greatly appreciated and help buy groceries, pay for our rent and more. Thank you.

0

Art Is Dead

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the concept of a “legacy”. Perhaps it came from the fact that my family didn’t pay me any attention or that I didn’t have any real friends, I realized that if I worked hard enough, was skilled enough, got lucky enough that I could make something that would stand the test of time, even to a small amount of people, and mean something to them after I was gone, thus making me remembered. I wanted to be here even after I wasn’t here. I was so terrified by the concept of nonexistence that I just had to find a way to exist, even after I didn’t physically exist anymore. I drew, I wrote, I made films, I did a million things to try and fix this problem, and ultimately after 15 years none of it has made a single lick of difference.

Now, on the cusp of my thirties, I find that instead, I’m wanting to leave as little a footprint on this planet as possible in terms of my existence. I want there to be no evidence whatsoever that I was ever here. How does one go from obsession with legacy to obsession with nothingness? I don’t want a paper trail. I want my birth certificate, any identifying papers (ID, social security, you name it), and anything I ever made to be burnt to a cinder or at the very least, locked away tight in a safe nobody can ever reopen. I want to have not existed. Sometimes I sit down, and I look through the art I’ve made, the novels I have unpublished on my computer, and everything else, and I just think who am I to be filling the world up with more uninspired garbage nobody is interested in? Why don’t I do something worthwhile, actually leave the world with something worth caring about, try and better it somehow in the short time I’ll be here? But instead, I continue to force “art” out of me all for the sake of nothing other than my own ego.

I used to qualify it by saying I made art to help myself cope with things. That it was my therapy, and it helped me deal with everything around me. I realize now that that’s a pretty huge lie. That was just my way to continue making shit without realizing I’d lost interest in it. But now I realize I don’t really enjoy anything anymore. I thought that after so many years I’d really found my calling, but I have no calling. I have no purpose. My art isn’t a career, it’s barely a hobby, and I have no reason to be here. Maybe I’m just going through a really rough patch, I’ll willing to entertain the idea, but…

But after a lifetime of abuse from almost every angle, of disinterest in everything I do from almost every angle, including my own at this point, why bother doing anything. Why bother even being here. What happens when you lose interest in the one thing that’s kept you around your entire life? What happens then?

What happens indeed.

0

A Blue Ribbon In Sucking Less

To clarify right off the bat, I am neither for nor against the whole “everyone’s a winner!” campaign. While I agree that, yes, children should be applauded for their actual accomplishments rather than just being a participant, I also recognize that for some kids, just being a participant is a goddamn accomplishment. I know this because I failed to be one, and the few times I was one I wasn’t told that it was a good thing, so I just assumed “Well, I hate this and nobody else seems to be happy about me being here, so screw it” and became ever more introverted. Then again, my parents never told me they were proud of me about anything, and that hurts. Try as I might, they never once told me they were proud of anything I did accomplish, nor did they tell me it was important for my own sake, so at some point I just stopped trying altogether. Eventually I stopped doing homework, classwork, or participating in life in general. The things I did do of my own accord, like get my film degree or get paid to write, they didn’t say they were proud of those either, which only minimized them to me. Why should I do anything if nobody else is going to care? If it’s only important to me, then how important can it actually be?

See, nobody ever taught me about self worth. When I was in 8th grade, I had to pick an elective class, so I chose art. I hated it. It ruined art for me for years. However, my teacher did see something in me, and picked a painting of a flower that I did to include in the Rotary Arts Show in our town. I got noticed by her, by other artists, and even got a ribbon for it. My parents didn’t care. Oh they went to the art show, sure, because it was expected of them, and my mother still has the painting because it’s something she can show off to others, to lord over them, a sort of “my child is better than your child” situation, because in the end, it’s all she has that I did well in. It’s not that she’s proud of me for painting it, she’s proud of herself for birthing someone who painted it. She’s proud of this extension of herself. At the art show, or even afterwards, nobody told me, “Hey, good job” or “That was a really great painting, well done”. I just got ignored like always.

Self worth. If I don’t mean anything to anyone else, why should I mean anything to myself? If nobody else sees anything worth believing in in me, then why do I even matter? I kill myself to create content, I drive myself to the brink of exhaustion chasing perfection when it comes to what I do, and yet…nobody ever says “Well done” or “Man, I love this!” or anything of the sort. These days, my girlfriend is my biggest supporter, which is so weird to me because if nobody else ever said anything, how can I be sure she isn’t just saying it out of pity? And see, the fucked up thing is, I realize this is all fucking irrational, but because nobody ever said they believed me, or were proud of me, then I can’t help but shake the notion that nobody ever will be, even if they say otherwise. I say that I do what I do because it helps me survive, which isn’t total bullshit, as it does help me categorize and clarify everything in my life, and in the bullshit world surrounding me, but when it comes right down to it, self preservation just isn’t enough. I don’t need admiration. I don’t need adoration. I don’t need a star on the fucking hollywood walk of fame. I just need to be a participant.

“Everyone’s a winner!” is a dangerous motto to bandy about because no, not everyone is a winner, and despite how often you tell your child that, some of them just aren’t gonna be winners. Take it from a girl who was told, when she was very little, that academically she would be great and was then abandoned when they realized she wouldn’t live up to their standards. Take it from a loser. Sure, your child might end up having some talents, but not all talents are bankable, and even the ones that are that they might obtain, you still have to get lucky enough to be successful. Success isn’t just hard work. It’s also a lot of luck. So, to tell your child they’re a winner, and then have to watch them fail repeatedly, all it does is send them the message that you’re a goddamned liar, and you only said that to protect their feelings. I’m not saying to tell your kid they fuckin suck. That’s even worse, obviously, but make sure to clarify to them that they need to find their strengths and aren’t good at something just because they were involved in it. Everyone’s a winner? No. But everyone should be a participant.

I’m 28. I lived through a lifetime of abuse, failure and a suicide attempt. But guess what, I’m still here. I’m still participating, and I think I deserve some fucking acknowledgement for that. Where’s my goddamn blue ribbon?

If you like what you’ve read here, and wanna help support me in my artistic endeavors, and not ever make me put on pants, then perhaps you should consider donating at my Kofi? It accepts PayPal and you don’t even have to give more than 3 dollars! It’d be greatly appreciated and help buy groceries, pay for our rent and more. Thank you.

0

This One Girl In Band Class

When I was in 7th grade, I had to take an elective class. I chose band, because a friend of mine chose band and you’re dumb when you’re a kid and just wanna do what your friend is doing. I also made another mistake by choosing trumpet, which my asthma sincerely thanked me for. However, during my one year in band, I also met a girl playing trombone named Natasha. As a burgeoning lesbian, I had the absolute biggest crush on this girl, and we talked a lot in class and when we saw eachother around campus. People weren’t too fond of me because I was weird, and while people liked her a bit more, she had the same sort of issue. Come 8th grade, when we were learning what high schools we’d be attending, she discovered she was going to a totally different highschool than I would, and since social media wasn’t as much a thing back then, it was harder to stay in touch, so I was pretty sad about our lives parting ways.

After I graduated highschool, I moved to a small, seaside town. On the drive over the small mountain between where I grew up and the new place, I stopped and had lunch at a diner on the highway. When I walked in and sat at the bar, someone said my name and low and behold it was Natasha. We sat and chatted for an hour or so while I ate and just discussed how our lives had gone since then and what we were both up to at the moment. She’d had a kid. She was living on her own. She had a steady job (she didn’t seem dissatisfied with her work, but what do I really know?) and everything seemed to be on the ups for her. Seeing someone I knew in person as a kid now as an adult really fucked me up though. Seeing someone via social media, it’s filtered, in a way, you know? It doesn’t seem as real. But seeing someone my age succeeding in person? That messed me up, dude.

All it did was drive home how poorly I was and still am doing. I’m 28. I graduated high school. I have a film and multimedia degree from a trade school. I have never had a “real” job. The closest I’ve come to employment is the freelance writing I’ve done for a few years, which stopped paying about a year ago now. I am 28 and I am fucked beyond every comprehension. I have no money to my name, I am living in a bedroom without paying rent because it’s the only option I had, and I rely on my girlfriend for everything. I could’ve been so much more. I could’ve done so much more. But, when you get no support or enthusiasm from your parents ever, it makes trying seem pointless. I wanted to impress people. I wanted to impress my parents. Seeing everyone else my age have an apartment, some buying full homes, some having children and getting married…

…it’s soul crushing. It makes you wonder why you should even go on trying. And that’s when the depression I’d been dealing with for my entire adolescence finally kicked into high gear and I found myself wanting to die. We compare ourselves to everyone around us, society values us at how much we accomplish, who has enough money, the nicer car, the better job, so when you have nothing whatsoever, it makes you realize not only do you look upon yourself as a failure, so does the rest of society. It isn’t just a personal thing. It’s how you feel everyone feels about you. Society tells you if you don’t have as much as your friends that you’re not as successful, and then society has the gall to follow that up with, “But don’t worry about what others think about you! Their opinions have no meaning!”

I’m a 28 year old gay woman. I don’t have children, I am not married, I don’t own any property, I don’t have a real job and I, by all accounts, am a failure. But that’s okay. I’m GOOD at that. I’m GOOD at failing. I’ve been succeeding at it in spades all my life. Would I like to be “successful”? You betch yer sweet bippy I would. Am I ashamed of being “unsuccessful”? Hell no, cause I know nobody can hold a candle to my shame. Time and time again I have to relearn that it’s okay to suck. That it doesn’t make me less than anyone else. That it, in and of itself, is something I succeed at doing, and to take pride in that because if I don’t, I wouldn’t take pride in anything.

Okay, so Natasha might have her life seemingly together.

But I have perspective, and that’s just as important.

If you like my blog, want to see more content or just wanna help a poor, disillusion lesbian, then maybe donate at this link? Be greatly appreciated. You’d be helping me get food and stuff. Thanks! (For those who wish to donate and don’t use SquareCash, I will have a PayPal set up this month, so look for that!)