The following strips were done from February 6, 2012 to April 27, 2012, and are a collection of memories I have regarding my childhood. While they are not all of the memories I have, they are the ones that have affected me the most. This is, in essence, a short story of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother. For discussion regarding these strips, please refer to here, which is the comment section for the last strip in this series.

February 6, 2012
Memory Lane 1
Ohhhh-kay. So yeah, here goes. I will more than likely be locking comments on this run of strips, and then reopening them when I finish up what I want to share. Not sure how long this run will be, but I can’t see it lasting more than two weeks, and that is with me planning on an update every weekday. So here’s hoping I can keep up with the update schedule, and I’ll see everyone on the other side!

February 7, 2012
Memory Lane 2
I’ve blocked a lot of my childhood out, and for the longest time this was THE first memory I had. Now that I have Nathan, I’ve slowly started to remember other things. I think it’s yet another reason why I’m wanting to do this, since I’m starting to remember other stuff I went through, and it’s all just been starting to weigh on me more and more.

I’ve cited this journal comic as a form of therapy for me on a few occasions, and I’m really hoping that in the end, I’ll be able to work through some of these things.

February 8, 2012
Memory Lane 3
Yesterday’s and today’s strip took place at the same place. There’s a lot of bad memories in that old 2nd story apartment in LaVale, MD. I’m going to wrap up one or two more memories (that are important in regards to who I am today) in this apartment, then I’ll move on to a little bit later in my life.

February 10, 2012
Memory Lane 4
Normally I’d write stuff down in here a bit more in depth, but I think I pretty much said it all up there in the comic. At least this one isn’t *too* bad.

I’ll continue on next week with a couple more things from when I lived in that apartment, and then start moving on to later stages in life. Eventually I will cover how I handled things as a teen and then how I’ve handled them as an adult. Memory Lane is looking like it’s longer than I originally thought.

One last thing I want to say before I wrap this post up is that I want to thank everyone for their support lately. The amount of support I have gotten after starting this up has been surprising to me, and it is very heart warming to see so many care. So thank you all for the emails, tweets and messages over facebook. It really does mean a lot to me, and hopefully with everyone’s help, I can deal with all of this a bit better once it’s all said and done. :)

February 20, 2012
Memory Lane 5
I don’t remember this teacher’s name at all. What I do remember, is she was my Kindergarten teacher at Cash Valley Elementary in Cumberland, MD. I also remember telling my mother that my teacher had hit me, but I don’t remember if anything happened afterward. Just another one of those things that sticks out.

February 21, 2012
Memory Lane 6
This will hopefully answer any questions or looks I get about my teeth EVER. I’ve been teased constantly about it my entire life. Even at my last job I got crap about it. I’m not proud of it, and I don’t know why some grown-ass adults can’t even bring themselves to not make fun of me for it. This accident knocked all of my front upper teeth out of alignment, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to get fixed, but growing up, we were too poor for dental care, and even as an adult, I still couldn’t afford it until now with the benefits I receive at my new job. I have actual dental insurance now, FINALLY. My teeth are something I hope can get on the road to being straightened out by the end of this year.

With all good luck, I’ll be 30 and wearing braces, and it will be awesome.

February 22, 2012
Memory Lane 7
And let me tell you, I remember distinctly that those teeth were not loose at that point at all. They were simply turning this darker color (I guess the tooth was dying?? Can that even happen to baby teeth still in your head?), and my mother decided that instead of taking me to a dentist, she’d play the dentist, and decided that they needed to be ripped out.

That’s the way it was with the majority of my baby teeth, really. I only recall one that fell out naturally and painlessly. Otherwise, the rest were all yanked out of my head when they were just starting to loosen. So yeah, say what you will, but losing teeth was always pretty traumatic to me. :/

February 23, 2012
Memory Lane 8
Yep. All that over sweat pants. Priorities, don’tcha know?

So in the time period between this comic and my last one, my parents had divorced, and I had moved twice. My father took off to I have no idea where. I didn’t hear from him again for years and years. In this strip here, I was in the 3rd grade, and in my 3rd different school.

The next few strips involve this specific incident, and then I’ll be moving on to something else.

February 28, 2012
Memory Lane 9
I don’t really have much to say about this one, except that it’s a continuation of the previous one, and that this one was especially hard to do.

:/

March 1, 2012
Memory Lane 10
Just a reminder: she is mad about me getting a hole in my sweat pants that were bought at K-Mart.

And about that first line, “You were stupid when you were born.” It was something said by my brother, who is two years younger than me (so at that time, he would have been in the 1st grade). Yeah, it’s definitely one of those dumb things little kids say to each other to try to hurt each others’ feelings, and it did when he said that to me, because heck, I was 7 or 8 at the time. Almost any insult would have. It made it that much more painful when my own mother said it to me.

Over some cheap clothes. It was worth holding a pair of scissors to my neck over CLOTHES.

March 15, 2012
Memory Lane 11
Sure, there is color in this strip, but it’s not the end of my memory lane strips yet. Trust me on this. That phone call tied so much up together of my childhood, that it hit me like a ton of bricks when thinking about it after I got off the phone with her.

To be honest, I spent the next half hour after that phone call trying not to have an emotional breakdown while trying to do my job at work. I just don’t know. I’m still processing it. I’m sad, angry, confused, upset. I’m also just really upset that it made my grandmother upset, seeing as how she had heard things my brother told her about what she had done to him, but she was not aware at all that I had gone through the same stuff. So now here she is, reading my comics, and just now finding out what I went through. Even other relatives have let me know that they had no idea what was going on. Just thinking about it right now, about the manipulation. How well she was able to hide what she was doing to me and my brother, and honestly, just typing out my feelings in this blog post, has been enough to drive me to tears. Just that no one knew. No one could help. And we were too afraid to get help. I mean, she was already beating the crap out of us routinely, if we told anyone we were being abused, what would she have done to make it worse? Killed us? I lived with that fear my entire childhood.

Ugh. I’m freakin’ almost 30 years old here and still having emotional problems. Sigh. I probably always will, though.

But I am very happy she told me, as it answered a huge question I’ve always had. You’ll see. And Gramma, if you’re reading this, I love you very much.

March 27, 2012
Memory Lane 12
Still not sure how I feel about this information. :/

April 4, 2012
Memory Lane 13
That is my father sitting there in the last panel, just to clear up any confusion. And yes, I was cutting myself. I was about 17 at that time.

April 16, 2012
Memory Lane 14
-no comment-

April 18, 2012
Memory Lane 15
-no commment-

April 20, 2012
Memory Lane 16
Seriously, who *hasn’t* done this?

I’m going to make a big effort to finish up this memory lane run of strips next week, just gotta get another late night in to get some work done on ‘em. I will say one thing, though, that doing this has helped me deal with all of this so much better, and I thank you all so much for being so supportive :) I just have this one last big memory that I have to get off my chest before I can move on from it. I won’t say too much about it other than it’s the one that sticks out in my mind the most.

April 23, 2012
Memory Lane 17
-no comment-

April 24, 2012
Memory Lane 18
-no comment-

April 25, 2012
Memory Lane 19
-no comment-

April 26, 2012
Memory Lane 20
-no comment-

April 27, 2012
Memory Lane 21
And with this strip, I’m bringing my Memory Lane series of strips to a close.

When I started this story line, I had the intention of just touching on things really quick that had happened to me. But what happened was as I was remembering it all over again, I started looking more in depth at what was going on, and what was said. And what ended up happening has really just… wore me out. There’s a reason I had tried to forget all this, to try to block it all out. I realized that as I was making these, it was seriously starting to affect me in my personal life as well. I started becoming unhappy, so much so that my wife was noticing and was beginning to worry. I would spend my days and evenings at work just thinking about what I had gone through, remembering the pain and all the tears I’ve shed. And I hadn’t even written about everything that I was going to. Because I’ve been through much much MUCH more than this at the hands of my mother. But to keep going would drive me further into a depression, which is something I am desperately trying to avoid.

There’s a band my wife introduced me to when we first started dating, called New Found Glory. They’ve got a song called Tell Tale Heart, and there’s a line from it that goes, ”I’ve learned that time can heal your wounds, but the reminder of a scar will stay.” I really don’t know if I can agree any more. While some terrible things have happened to me, I’ve been able to use those things to shape me into the person that I want to be. Those constant reminders of what I’ve been through, help me stay on that path. I firmly believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. I do my best each and every single day to be positive and upbeat, and to be there for anyone who wants to talk. I’m sure I probably come across as happy-go-lucky quite often, sometimes obnoxiously so, but I really can’t help it. In the face of everything I’ve gone through, if I chose to be a negative person, then I’ve essentially let my mother win. And I refuse to let that ever happen.

I’m sure a lot of you are wondering about my current relationship with my mother. Well, there really isn’t a relationship between me and her at all anymore. The last time we tried to talk was through email about 6 years ago. She had found me through classmates.com after not speaking for about 5-6 years prior to that, and we had started talking a bit. Well, I decided that the only way I was ever going to be on okay terms with her again, would be if I confronted her with what she had done to me. She denied it all, and said I was making it up. If anything, she said that I was jealous of my brother, of all things. I don’t even understand that part. But anyway, me being the hot-headed 24-year-old that I was back then, I snapped and blew up on her when I wrote her back. With my face full of tears, angry that I had let her hurt me one last time, I wrote back the nastiest thing I’ve ever written. Among other things, I told her that I wished death upon her. To be specific, I said “I hope you die in a fire” to my own mother. And at that time, I meant it.

I regret ever saying that to her, despite what she put me through. Because I do not EVER want to be that kind of person. It disgusts me that I ever wished death upon anyone.

I’ve not had any contact with her since, and I don’t plan on ever having any contact with her again. As far as I know, she has no knowledge about this comic, much less that I have a son now. I do not wish for this to change, as I am happy this way: with her out of my life. Anyone who says different is full of it. I’ve no wish to ever make amends with her. I tried once, and it bit me in the ass.

Anyway, enough about my whole mess.

The biggest thing I wanted to do with this Memory Lane story line, was I really wanted to try to reach out and connect with other people who may have gone through the same thing. One of the biggest things I’ve always felt with all of this was that I could never totally relate to someone because of it. I always felt alone, isolated. The freakin’ weirdo in the bunch. I was always afraid that if I did say anything, that it would chalked up to “Oh well, that’s childhood for ya” and that it would seem like I was complaining about nothing. But the outpouring of support from everyone has been tremendous. I’ve talked to people who’ve suffered verbal, physical, mental, and sexual abuse at the hands of people who were supposed to protect them, and my heart goes out to all of you, and know that you have a friend in me. I finally feel that I’m able to deal with my past better than I’ve ever been able to in my entire life now. And I can’t thank you all enough for all the support you have given me. Just thank you all so much for everything said to me in email, over Facebook, and over Twitter. If it wasn’t for all of you, I would have definitely never kept this story line going for as long as I did. So thank you all so much for your understanding, patience, and support through this. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much <3

Well, I guess that about wraps up everything I wanted to say. Comments are now open again, so that’s pretty cool, yeah? :) I definitely want to hear from everyone and anyone who wants to share their story. I’m more than willing to listen, as you all have been so patient listening to me.

Also to everyone who has submitted question to my Ask Christopher page: I will get to them soon!! Some of you are so goofy with the questions, and I much appreciate the laughs delivered to me that way :D Soooo yep. And one more thing: I’ve got an announcement to make next week (hopefully on Monday) and I think it’s pretty awesome!!! See you guys back here next week!!

As always: Thank you all so much for reading <3

”Even nerves of steel deserve a breather, weight wears down the infrastructure. Hearts of gold can still feel lonely if they don’t know they’re not the only ones.” – Everybody That Loves You by Bomb the Music Industry

For discussion regarding these strips, please refer to here, which is the comment section for the last strip in this series.