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”, the satirical online newspaper of “Nowhere, US”, my podcast “Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality”, or my writing over at Medium. You can also donate to my PayPal or support my work at Patreon, where you’ll get access to patron only content and new content early, all for as cheap as a buck a month! Thanks for reading!
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 Sometimes I sit down, and I look through the art I’ve made, the novels I have unpublished on my computer, and everything else, and I just think who am I to be filling the world up with more uninspired garbage nobody is interested in?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.
I haven’t made anything in a while, and I was having a crisis the last few weeks, so I made some cartoons in paint. Enjoy.
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.
We need to collectively, as a society, stop believing that anything has inherent value or meaning or purpose, because guess what…nothing means anything.
We, as human beings, created everything. All our precious little labels and identifiers that we so proudly wear as bumper stickers or put in our blog bios? They don’t mean a god damn thing, because we made them up, therefore they’re not even real. Everything we believe in, things people tout as facts, opinions, whatever, they’re none of that. They’re concepts. They’re ideas. They’re shit we came up with to differentiate ourselves from other people that we hate. To continue to believe that the inherent nothingness means a damn thing is false hope. You’re believing in nothing.
Now, that isn’t to say that there’s something wrong with believing in nothing. Hell, the entire human basis for faith and politics are based on believing in shit we came up with ourselves. Nobody ever handed us a list of what was going to be important as we continued to evolve. Just one day one large group of people decided to have different ideologies than another large group of people, and suddenly we were split down the middle and later on that splintered even more as peoples ideas narrowed or widened. Now we have the political or faith system that has culminated from our shitty, sudden beliefs. But, if believing in something like God gives you comfort, helps you through your day to day life and makes you happier, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that so long as you don’t use that belief to harm others or stop anyone from living how they do or believing what they believe. So, it’s not wrong to believe in nothing, but it is wrong to use that nothingness belief to harm others.
But I still think the sooner we all come to our senses and admit that this is all such a colossal joke, that none of this means a god damned thing and that we just created a bunch of shit to complicate our existences, the better off we’ll all be because maybe it’ll allow us to reach a better middle road. I know that for me, personally, realizing that there’s no such thing as anything really cleared a lot up for me in understanding the world and others around me. This positive nihilism has allowed me to continue living, allowed me to laugh at everything around me and has ultimately saved my life. Without accepting that nothing means anything, I’d likely be dead.
It just sort of helps put everything into perspective. Bad day? It’s ok, because it doesn’t matter in the long run. Good day? Awesome, because you might not have another good day for a while. None of it means a damn thing, but it’s still nice to experience. That’s what existence is for; to exist. The meaning of life is to live it, even if it means you have to laugh at it 99% of the time.
Frankly, I’d rather laugh than cry, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.
When I was a little girl, every year in elementary school at the end of the year, they piled us into the auditorium like cattle, made us sit on the floor and watch a video presentation of photos and video clips and such taken over the course of the year of the kids, and along with the video was the song “Forever Young”. Every single year they did this, every single year we heard “Forever Young”.
Do you really want to live forever?
That’s an actual lyric from this song they played to kids in elementary schools. To be honest, I doubt a lot of kids wouldn’t take any note of that, but being who I am, I did, and it fucked with me. I had family members die when I was still in elementary school, it’s true, but I don’t think it was until having that hammered home in my head every fucking year that I truly became self aware of mortality. Ever since then, I’ve had a problem accepting that I will die, and once I had that realization, the realization that we all die anyway no matter what, I hit an even bigger realization: Why bother living at all. Hello suicidal tendencies, thanks Alphaville.
And with there being so many songs out there about mortality, about life and death and sadness and existence, why the fuck was it the quintessential 80s prom slow dance anthem that made me question life as I knew it? The real issue is that once you hit that peak, there’s no going back either. That’s one oopsie you can’t unwhoopsie. As if a kid doesn’t have enough problems leading into adolescence, I hardly doubt nihilism is something they also should have to deal with. I had a lot on my plate as it was; being autistic, keeping my sexuality a secret and being somewhat ashamed of it, and great now I have to wonder about the meaning of life itself on top of it. Great. Book reports? Fuck book reports. Existentialism is where it was at.
But…there’s shockingly an upside to being that self aware, especially that young. It really puts everything into perspective, makes you realize you need to make the most of the time that you have, if you want it to mean a damn thing once you are gone. For me, that meant writing as much as I could and creating as much art as I could. Something to leave behind. Something that meant something to someone. Something that meant anything to anyone. The way I saw it, the only things that lasted were the things we created to last, so we needed to leave behind as much as we could for others to remember. Or, you know, remember at least until the sun explodes and literally everything dies, but still.
Existence, it’s…a weird thing, honestly.
People literally tell you that life is a gift. That it’s precious. They often tell you this while they’re eating an animal. Life is only precious if it fits their idea of what life is and who deserves it. Not that I’m any sort of animal activist, but still. They tell you that you’re so lucky to be here at this point in time in history. Really? A planet plagued with overpopulation, with war and famine and injustice and hatred and greed? I’m lucky, huh? I guess we are, because it allows us to create art mocking these things. It allows us to write songs that speak out against these things. Songs that enlighten us and change our frame of mind. Songs about being young forever. Yeah, I would like to be forever young, actually. When you’re young everything is fresh and new and exciting, not stale and cold like when you’re older. Maybe that’s the point of the song. To recognize how jaded you can become. To push the truth that to survive, you need to stay forever young, even if only at heart, because otherwise you risk becoming cynical and spiteful and cruel. Being forever young allows you to deal with things with a childlike innocence, a view of the world where everyone isn’t just painted black and white but with every color in the crayon box. People say kids are inherently evil. People say that hatred is taught. I think I’ve stated before that I think love is the one that’s taught, because you have to teach kids not to hit and to share, but that doesn’t mean kids are entirely evil in general.
Kids should get more credit than they’re given for seeing the world a lot more clearly than any adult really does. A national tragedy happens and all the adults look for meaning, search for reasoning, ask “why did this happen” and mourn for years. A tragedy happens and a kid says, “Well…that sucks. Nothing I can do about it. Oh well.” Is it because they simply don’t understand the enormous ramifications? Possibly. But they say ignorance is bliss, so maybe there’s something to that.
People say Bob Dylan is a spokesperson for the world. People say John Lennon was a lover for the world. We’re all allowed to have our opinions, but honestly, Alphaville are the true heroes.
Do I want to be forever young?
Yes. And I will flourish because of it.