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Pennies From Heaven, or, Songs I Used To Sing For Grandpa

My grandfather and I used to go on walks around his neighborhood.

At one point, he’d taught me to sing the song “Pennies From Heaven”, and sometimes we’d sing it together while on these little walks. This is, among other memories only featuring my grandparents, one of the only good memories I have from my childhood. Honestly, if you ask, most of the good memories I have of my childhood revolve around them. Whether it’s sitting with my grandmother and cracking walnuts or watching TV with them late into the night, they seem to be the only constant in my “good” childhood memories. When they died, so did anything really good in my life, and that’s been kind of hard to reconcile with.

I tried so hard to search for new things to make me happy. Art, media of any kind, love from another person, but in the end, none of it, especially after a good chunk of years, did the trick. At least not to the extent that they had done. But then, I realized recently, I was so obsessed with the best times and the worst times (IE; the rest of my life) that I was forgetting that I could make new best times. It’s not like there’s an expiration date on happiness. It isn’t something that goes bad if left unattended too long in the fridge. You can always make new happy memories, given the right circumstances.

I think I’m often so damn depressed that I forget I can still be happy, and I think I sometimes feel like if I DO find myself feeling happy that I then must’ve been faking my sadness, but that’s ridiculous. Nobody is unhappy 24/7, not even me. I mean, it’s close, but it’s not 24/7. But yeah, I’m in the market for some joy. It’s time to start feeling a lot better, even if my new happy memories don’t include my grandparents. By fixating on them, the time I spent with them, so often, I am doing myself a disservice. I’m not allowing myself to grow and make new happy memories. It’s hard, sometimes, to be happy…especially given my living situation (about to be homeless, so if you wanna help my girlfriend and I fight that, we have a gofundme) and financial standings, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You have to first learn to take happiness in small chunks, where you can find it, whether that’s a meal with someone you love or a book you’re enjoying or simply just cleaning up your living area because a disheveled living area can make you feel disheveled by proximity. Or…in my grandfathers idea, it can be a song about pennies.

I haven’t listened to Pennies From Heaven in almost 15 years at the most now, I bet, if not longer. I don’t know that I could, honestly. It feels like it was from a time that I don’t have access to anymore, that it’s been somehow locked away from me. Even though I know how easy it would be to listen to it; I’d simply go to youtube or open spotify and I’m sure within seconds, a few keystrokes, I’d have it at my command, but…if I am going to try and move forward, then why look back? I need to associate new music with new memories, not be stuck with old music from old memories. Wallowing in the music from that time period doesn’t do anything from me. I have the memories. I don’t need the music. Maybe one day I will listen to Pennies From Heaven again.

Maybe one day I will listen to Pennies From Heaven with my own children, or my own grandchildren.

And I’ll be happy.

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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 feed over at Ello. 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!

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Paper Vehicles

I sailed a paper boat into the ocean, I flew a paper airplane into the sun

Fake vehicles for fake people, crafted from suicide letters and private notes

I wrote the things I couldn’t say and I rode them away; secrets and dreams, whispers and screams, pleas from within and at the end of the day

I crashed them into mountain ranges and sailed into raging storms, knowing full well they’d destroy me

I sailed a paper boat into the ocean, I flew a paper airplane into the sun

Fake vehicles for fake people, folded from birthday cards and family photos

I took the things I could remember and I used them to escape; photos turned to sails, cards turned to wings, knowing I’d fail at each of these things

I crashed them into corn fields and sailed into coastlines, knowing full well they’d destroy me

I sailed a paper boat into the ocean, I flew a paper airplane into the sun

Fake vehicles for fake people, structured from unwritten nobels and sketchbook drawings

I took the things I once cherished and I captained them to ends; books became jet engines and art became anchors, destroying my things as I destroyed my self

I crashed them into buildings and sailed into whirlpools, knowing full well they’d destroy me

I sailed a paper boat into the ocean and I flew a paper airplane into the sun

Not to escape who I had been, but to escape who I’d become

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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 feed over at Ello. 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!

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The Dead Tooth Society

This may be a bit impersonal, but hey, what’s a little impersonality (is that even a word?) among strangers on the internet. Ever since I was a little girl, I was told to brush my teeth, much like most of you, I’m assuming, were also told. And for a good long while I did just this, I brushed my teeth every single night and morning. Then, sometime around age 10 or 11, I just…stopped. I just cold turkey stopped brushing my teeth. Because of this, I am now nearly 30 and my teeth are in awful shape. I have begun brushing them again, and it’s helped a bit, but the damage is done. And when I say “awful shape”, I mean they’re crooked (not that brushing your teeth helps that any), slightly yellow and pockmarked, and my bottom right molar flat out cracked about two years ago and has had a hole in it ever since, thus making it basically unusable if I want to eat on that side of my mouth. It rarely hurts, but still.

In hindsight, I think a lot of my rash decision in stopping brushing my teeth was because I wanted to, in the long run, hurt myself. This is a little weird to me because, for a long time, I never thought about my life “in the long run”, as I sort of expected to kill myself when I was, oh, 20 or so. Obviously that didn’t happen, not that I didn’t try, lord knows, but I’m still, sadly, here. But I guess, as I said, in hindsight, what I was trying to do was hurt myself in more ways than one. I didn’t see myself necessarily as something or someone worth taking care of and keeping around. I had a weird situation with my teeth as it was as a little girl, because my mouth was too small, and I had too many teeth, like some sort of sideshow sharkgirl or something. I had to have a surgery when I was about 9 or so and have a lot of them extracted so that my new teeth could come in regularly, which they pretty much did, thank god.

I’m telling you all this because, well, for one, I apparently don’t believe in anything like “too much information”, but also because I want to drive home a point about depression. People often talk about depression in ways like ‘it’s not just laying in bed or crying in the shower, it’s not as dramatic as the movies make it out to be! it can be as simple as just not eating a whole day’ and while I agree with this statement, I also think it goes beyond THAT. I think it even extends to things unconsciously that you do to yourself, like me and for whatever reason deciding to stop brushing my teeth, which I know recognize in retrospect as being a way to hurt myself. I succeeded, I must admit. There’s nothing I’m better at than taking bad care of myself. It’s a gift, really. But yeah, it’s a lot of subconscious things as well, especially in regards to hygiene. I know a lot of depressed people who say depression zaps them of their energy to even be able to bathe, and I’ve experienced that as well. Nowhere near as bad as others or nowhere near as bad as failing to take care of my teeth, but still.

It may be too late for my teeth, it may not be, but I’ve decided it’s not too late for me. Teeth can be replaced. I can’t be. Sometimes to save your whole self, you have to sacrifice a part of you.

DTS Image

image created via Maggie Taylor

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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 feed over at Ello. 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!

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SAD PAINTING: “No”

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I have decided to do a series of SAD PAINTINGS. Each painting will be a lovely background with a big, awful word across it. These are the only ones in existence, so if you want to buy them before they’re unavailable, be sure to do so. You can buy this one right here.

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!  Visit My Online Store!

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 feed over at Ello. 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!

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Close To Monsters #47

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This weeks comic is brought to you by the fact that the only thing school prepares you for is how to ignore warning signs.

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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 feed over at Ello. 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!

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Orb Of Despair #9 “You’re Not Unique”

OOD9

Your favorite orb is back, with your least favorite truths.

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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!

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What To Do When You Weren’t Supposed To Exist

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?”

But let’s go back a bit. I am, in total honesty, an enigma. The circumstances surrounding my conception are equal to that of “hey, you want some dip with these chips?” and someone else replying “yeah, that sounds good”, so you get the dip but then after you’ve had the dip a while you realize you weren’t cut out to eat said dip, oh and also the person who got said dip you want to punch in the fucking face repeatedly, which is, to be blunt, exactly what my father did to my mother. That’s partially what makes my youth so confusing; you’d think someone who experience first hand abuse wouldn’t turn around and then redistribute it to their child, but hey, I guess trauma works in mysterious ways. My grandfather once told me a story about how much he hated my father, and how my father once took a chainsaw to their house late one night, while drunk, and started trying to cut down their cherry tree in the front yard.

 

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.

So I’m not saying my parents didn’t want me. I’m saying that they were, like many other people of their generation, people who were incredibly damaged and decided to start a family because it was what was expected of them. So while I wasn’t “unwanted”, I was certainly nothing more than a merger to save two failing companies. But what happens when this newly merged company then flounders in sales and goes out of business? What happens to its assets? IE; me? Therein lies the problem. Where I once was a commodity, now I was leftover stock. Something that somebody had once wanted and was now just forgotten, sitting in the back shelf of the warehouse with a 90% off sticker on the box. So my mother and I moved in with her parents when I was very young. I spent a good portion of my childhood with my grandparents, with my grandfather walking me to school and watching soap operas with my grandmother while we sat at her kitchen table and cracked walnuts together from their backyard walnut tree. My mother was working all the time, and when she remarried, we moved to a city over an hour away and I didn’t see my grandparents nearly as much. Aside from my grandparents, I have never really felt like a part of my family, I always felt like a tumor attached to this living creature. Something everyone acknowledge, put up with but never got close to or really accepted. I should not have existed. My parents should not have had me. But they did.

 

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]

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon! Visit My Online Store!

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!