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Coping With Tonal Shifts In Reality: Episode 4 “Let’s Hang It On The Fridge”

Having taken last week off due to exhaustion and sickness, we return this week with a brand new episode of my podcast about fixing your brain with robots. In this weeks episode, Samantha may accidentally break USER 147s heart by recounting a story about her childhood, and moving on. If you like this podcast, you can subscribe to my Patreon, where, for a mere buck a month, you can get each episode a whole week early!

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” 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!

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Michael & Gina Sit On The Roof

technologiesMichael had been up here so many times in his life, watching the stars or waiting for fireworks with a good view. This roof had become as familiar to him as his own house had, except he’d spent so much more time here, at Lucy’s, that it almost felt more like home than his own home had. He glanced over his shoulder at the sound of someone coming onto the roof behind him, only to see his friend Gina crawling up to sit beside him, handing him a coffee mug and holding one for herself. Michael took the mug and took a long sip as Gina settled herself beside him on the roof.

“I think I’ve spent more time on this roof than I have inside the house, oddly enough,” Michael said, and Gina smirked.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” she said, “This roof has seen so much more action than anywhere I’ve ever lived. You remember Lillian Burk? That girl I was in band with in high school, the sort of gothy one?”

“Yeah, I remember her,” Michael said.

“I brought her up here on New Years and kissed her,” Gina said, smiling as she looked down at the coffee she was swirling in her mug, “She ended up not being into it in the end, but it’s a very vivid, happy memory for me. This roof is where I had my first kiss.”

“Did you ever tell Lucy that?” Michael asked and Gina laughed.

“God, no, never. No, Lucy and I weren’t the sort of secret sharing best friends everyone seems to be in love with concept wise. No, we were more like the ‘let’s go to college together and be eachothers bridesmaids’ sort of best friends.”

“I remember when Kyle Lowman fell off this roof,” Michael said, taking another long sip from his mug, “Remember that?”

“I do remember that!” Gina said loudly, pointing at him, “I remember he was getting angry at Tally Spimoni for something, and he lost his footing and slid off the roof into the bushes below! He wasn’t even hurt, but he acted like he was, and of course that made Tally be all apologetic and shit. God, those two belonged together.”

A long pause came over them, as the cool summer air picked up, wafting past them, turning the weather vane on the roof a bit, the both of them watching.

“Everyone’s gone now,” Gina said, “Some are dead, some just moved and lost touch with, the only one we had left really was Lucy, and her roof. I don’t want to lose the roof. I’ve already lost my best friend.”

“They’re going to sell the house, you know that,” Michael said.

“I don’t see why we don’t just pool our money and-”

“Yeah, I can barely afford my rent, let alone half a house,” Michael said, interrupting her before she got too attached to the idea like she usually did, “No, I mean, I’m right there with you, this roof has been a major part of my life for so long, I don’t want to lose it either, but…but we’re going to, and we just need to accept that. You know, I lost my virginity up here.”

“What?!”

“Yeah,” Michael said, chuckling, “Yeah, to Carmen Tortona, from Saint Marys, remember her?”

“You lost it to a girl from a catholic school? Wow, that’s impressive,” Gina said.

“She wasn’t very catholic as it turned out,” Michael said, “But it was like, sometime in the fall, early October, and we were over here hanging out and we were seniors, I remember that, and I think we were here pet sitting cause Lucy had to go visit her grandma or something, and her parents asked me to watch the dog, so obviously I invited a girl over to a house I had all to myself a week.”

“What a casanova,” Gina said, grinning.

“Well,” Michael replied, “I do what I can for the ladies. But we were up here, and it was like one in the morning or something, and we were talking about graduation and stuff and, I don’t know, it just sort of came up that we were both still virgins, and that we liked one another enough and that we both could’ve ended up having our first time with worse people so why not do it with eachother, right?…it was nice.”

Another long pause, as Gina looked at her nails.

“Did you see Lucy after she got sick?”

“A few times,” Michael said, “Did you?”

“I couldn’t,” Gina said, “I feel awful about it, but she told me it was fine if I couldn’t stomach it. The worst part is when she told me she was going to die, I was sad but the first thing that ran through my head was ‘oh no, we’re going to lose her house’. Am I a bad person?”

“Buildings are important to people,” Michael said, shrugging, “I mean, I don’t get it but it’s true. A lot of times, when people recount memories, what they don’t realize is that the memory isn’t so much about when or how it happened or with whom it happened, but where it happened. That’s what actually helps you remember, is the setting. That’s why you were scared of losing the house when she told you she was sick, because this is where so many formative moments in your life occurred, right here, on this goddamned roof. You don’t want to lose that, nobody would.”

Another pause, and then Michael laughed and looked at Gina.

“Let’s take a shingle, each,” he said, “That way, we’ll always have some of the roof with us. Often times these homes when they get sold end up getting redone anyway, so why not? Nobody’s going to miss a few lousy shingles.”

“That’s a good idea,” Gina said, as the two of them got onto their knees and started prying some of the looser shingles free from the roof. They then picked the ones they liked best, and each took one. As they sat there, staring at their respective shingles, Michael sighed.

“Don’t worry,” he said, finishing his coffee, “There will always be other roofs, and there will always be other Lucy’s, cruel as it may sound, but there will never be another Lucy’s roof.”

Gina smiled, stood up and held her hand out. Michael took it, as she helped him up, and the two of them headed down from the roof, through the house, locking it up and out to their cars. Standing there, in the driveway, Gina looked at Michael.

“I’m hungry, you want to go get something to eat?”

“I could eat, yeah,” he replied, “You pick and I’ll just follow you.”

“Okay.”

The two got into their cars and drove away. As they left, Michael couldn’t help but glance at his rearview mirror, back at Lucy’s roof one final time, and smiled. He didn’t mean by his statement that Lucy wasn’t special or unique or that she could be easily replaced. Everyone was special and unique and couldn’t be easily replaced. He just meant that there would never be another roof like Lucy’s. One that held so much history of their youth, of their time spent together, their friendship. Other roofs would hold other history, the start of their own families, their own holiday traditions, their eventual children’s youths, but there would never be another like this roof. Yes, there will always be other roofs, other Lucy’s.

But there would never be another Lucy’s roof.

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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Gracie Walks Down The Hall

technologiesGracie was standing in the kitchen, just staring at the coffee machine.

It was just finishing up her drink, while the rain dripped off the gutters over the kitchen windows. Gracie glanced out, picking at her nail polish, and felt like her head was swimming in a fog, like she was having trouble remembering even the most basic things. But, that aside, it was a comfortable day. A cozy day inside while it poured outside. It seemed like it was always raining these days, and then Gracie realized she couldn’t remember the last time she left the house. Not that that was particularly a problem, as she loved the house and would rather be here than anywhere else in the whole world.

The coffee machine stopped and she picked up her mug, taking a nice, long sip. As she finished, she didn’t feel any different…any warmer. She still just felt empty, like always. She’d read somewhere that this was just another symptom of depression, that not only do your interests go away but your appetite becomes less and less, and you stop feeling anything at all. Gracie certainly had been treated for depression in the past, but she wasn’t even feeling bad these days. Actually, she wasn’t feeling much of anything at all. Still, she had her house. When her husband had died, the house had become hers, and she had been fighting tooth and nail to keep it, taking any odd job just to make ends meet, along with her 9 to 5 job of graphic design, which she’d grown to hate over time, probably thanks to said depression.

Gracie walked down the hallway, looking at the photos on the walls; trips she and Jake had taken, or family get togethers for the holidays, or the shots they’d each put up of their college graduation, and finally the one of their wedding. Gracie held her mug in one hand as she reached out and touched the photo, smiling warmly. It had been a stunning service, and they’d both been so enthralled with one another despite having been together 4 years prior to the wedding day. She’d been feeling little pangs of pain in her heart since his death, but the last few days she, much like drinking her coffee, didn’t feel a damn thing this time. This house was all she had now from him. It meant the world to her, and seeing as her family moved around so often she never felt like she’d had a home to call her own, until now. This was her home, and she adored it. She would never leave it.

As Gracie entered her bedroom, she stopped in her tracks in the doorway, dropped her coffee mug to the floor, letting it shatter into a million pieces. Right. That’s right. She had to go through this every single day, that’s why she hadn’t been feeling anything for the last week. Gracie sat on the end of the bed and sighed, looking at the floor before looking over her shoulder at her body resting against the headboard, blood splattered on the wall behind the bed, gun in her right hand. Every single day it was something she had to remember. Gracie wiped the tears from her eyes, though they weren’t coming as strong as they had been the first few days.

She’d lost her husband, and then she’d lost herself. But she hadn’t lost her house.

She’d never lose her house.

Hey, I’m Maggie. If you liked this thing I made, 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 feel so inclined to help keep me and my girlfriend from being homeless, you can also donate to our PayPal and literally help us pay rent and buy groceries. Anything is greatly appreciated, and 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!

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Beauty

I was once a leaf, perched high atop a tree; I was once a flower, growing from the ground

I was once a painting, made for all to see; I was once a song, a symphony of sound

But seasons change and leaves fall out, they’re stepped on, crushed to dust

And flowers are all picked out, to give to those you trust

And paintings are stored in closets, never to be seen again

And music, it becomes muted, and never makes it to the end

Everything that was once beautiful, that we held in high esteem; everything we all admired, everything that made us dream

It all goes away eventually, nothing’s as it seems; beauty gives way to darkness, laughter gives way to screams

So destroy me all you want, erase my heart and soul; quiet all my thoughts and words and take away control

Because no matter what you do, I was beautiful one day; and I know that’s more than you will ever get to say.