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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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40 Responses to 749

  1. Tiggy says:

    Is that Hitler without a moustache?

  2. Forrest says:

    Guess I fill Nan’s role in my family!

    So, what would be an “Incompletely Normal” family?

  3. m says:

    Whats a ‘paodophile’?

    Someone really into ‘bread-like steam buns’ or someone into ‘an obsolete unit of mass which was used in South Asia’?

  4. subo says:

    thats a serious amount of heartach.

  5. rockingrev says:

    To be completely normal Morma would need to have been BOTH of Jim’s wives.

  6. looks normal to me… is that david mitchell?

  7. Miriworm says:

    Not surprised your mum’s an alcoholic! :-D

  8. Carole says:

    Phew! That’s a relief…thought it was just me! :lol:

    Every family has its issues, so I suppose it is fairly ‘normal’ on that basis.

  9. Kayte says:

    Loving gramps!

  10. Lisa says:

    Ha! Now I feel normal! My grandmother was a double amputee (diabetes), Mom committed suicide (very sad), brother is gay (rest of family disowned him) and Dad was a pedophile (the REALLY not normal). Maybe now we can get that Norman Rockwell painting.

  11. Forrest says:

    m, in #5, it is this:
    My wife’s ex is one.

  12. Me too cartoon man! me too!

  13. You have no idea how much I needed this today.

    (Have not felt the need to be “normal” since my teens. Until now.)

  14. jonbirch says:

    ‘normal’… it’s overrated, if indeed it actually exists. families are a right ol’ mix of stuff… or, mine is. :-)

  15. AnneDroid says:

    Lisa @ #10, you’ve had a lot to contend with. I feel for you.

  16. jonbirch says:

    lisa… your ‘norman rockwell’ comment is priceless as well… much better than my cartoon! :-)

  17. Tiggy says:

    My birth family are like that one. Grandmother chronic insomnia. Uncle severely autistic. Niece Aspergers. My Mother God knows what, not retarded but just oddly simple, diagnoseds as schizophrenic but she clearly wasn’t – she was a ‘blue baby’ and poss. autistic. Aunt, nervous disorder. My Brother schizophrenic and addicted to fruit machines – how tacky! Mother’s first husband compulsive gambler and general bastard – kids in a children’s home. My Father Arabic sailor (‘like Sinbad’)sailed away.

    ME – dysthmic depression from babyhood until I moved to the healing waters of Bath, where verily I lay down and wept and then found I was mysteriously okay and went to the pub.

  18. jonbirch says:

    even within families who think they’re problem free with no skeletons there are or have been a lot of shenanigans going on.

  19. Tiggy says:

    Yes, and so many families think they are normal and other families are odd and the children are brought up to think the family is normal when in fact the parents are neurotic (in a bad denying way) and screw the kids up. They present themselves as nice people, but the shit has to land somewhere and is projected onto someone or onto society.

  20. Forrest says:

    I want to tell a story.

    It is one of those “Be very careful what you open the door to” ones.

    It might be out of place.
    It might be entirely appropriate.
    It might should be kept private.
    It might not.

    I’m proceeding anyway, “Damn the torpedoes!”
    (which were then what we call mines now)

    Three years ago, I was having a nervous breakdown as my health had crashed to the bottom and I could not possibly work enough to pay the bills.
    One day I had a nervous breakdown and was running around the house doing crazy stuff. Instead of helping me, my “Helpmate” was sitting on the couch making fun of me.
    I asked several times for her to stop making fun of me. I took a hammer and smashed her water glass.
    I continued to say stop ridiculing me.
    Finally she got up and began waving her finger under my nose proclaiming “I’ll use ridicule on you whenever I feel like it. I’ll keep using ridicule. And you’ll learn to live with it!”
    At that point my worst nightmare had come true, I had nothing left to lose, made fun of all my life, now my God-given, yeah, right, wife and helpmate had torn me down the worst way possible.

    My heart was shattered, my love murdered, and my soul ground into the mud.

    On to of that, several years previously, my brother’s wife, Becky, had moved from ridiculing him to taking a knife and trying to kill him.
    As of that moment right then, I had nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing at all, left to lose.

    Well, I did what might be expected of someone in emotional crisis.
    She said she’d not call the authorities since she’d badgered me into it, but if it ever happened again… And we’ll keep it ourselves.

    I’m now regretting agreeing to the “we’ll keep it to ourselves”: it should have been brought out and dealt with right then.
    Right then.

    Now, three years later I’m in trouble with the law, even been to jail, because the second part of the equation has happened again.
    If part 2 of the equation has happened again, has there been a part 1 of some nature happen again?

    okay, here goes, to hit submit comment or not?
    gonna go think about it a bit then come back.
    yeah, about 5 minutes later – it gets submitted.

  21. Forrest says:

    with all that having been buried for 3 years, those wounds have done zero healing, they are as raw as they were that sunny spring afternoon.

  22. subo says:

    Dear Forrest, just read your posts above, and aware of something of the intensity of pain in the situations described. I know you are talking about real heartache, and remember some of your previous posts where you’ve talked about difficult situations

    I want to share with you that I believe we can build into our lives the good things we need, we can create good relationships and live in love and peace with others, no matter what we’ve done, or how traumatic the things we’ve been through have been

    the worldwide 12 step movement offers a place to pick up a spiritual path and begin to live a very different way to the one handed down to us from our family systems, it’s practically free, well researched and works across a number of situations and levels, this is just one way to follow a spiritual path and find good things

    for me, taking a spiritual path has led me into a much better place than the one I grew up in, for me it began in a Tazie celebration, and an invitation to look for the wellspring of trust, which I’ve continued to find in CoDA. It may not be the right time for you to look at these things, but I will pray for good things to begin to come your way

  23. Forrest says:

    Thank you subo.

    Kind of gotten along the impression the you’ve had some real heartaches of your own.

    I can hear the heartache dealer’s infomercial now –
    “Yes! folks! the real thing, 100
    percent guaranteed actual heartache made of only the highest quality materials available.
    Call now, operators are standing by!
    And remember, these heartaches are the real thing and not those cheap imitations!”

  24. Forrest says:

    I want to _think_ I’ve worked at building in good things needed and good relationships needed, maybe that is delusion, don’t know.
    I don’t trust me to know much of anything now.

    I’m really frustrated at how those efforts seem to fail: am I undermining myself? Do I secretly want to fail? What is gained by failing? Is there fear of success?

    I am afraid of being alone again.
    But, hey, I’m alone right now. Except for the cat and my hobbies.
    and there have been several cycles over the decades that always seem to end up in this same place – alone with my cat and my trains, boats, books, writings, and kites. The only thing that has changed is the cats, they only live so long.

    Is it that _I_ have not changed?
    Well, that’s hard to believe since there are people who say that they see that change has happened.

    I don’t see how this marriage can continue, there’s seemingly too much heart damage, too much distrust.

    I don’t know, I’m lost at sea and I don’t trust God any more. Or Jesus. (okay then, if that’s true, why do I keep coming here?????)

  25. subo says:

    take care Forrest

    yes have worked through heartach’s, rejection, abuse, it’s taken a huge chunk out of me, yet I believe God’s holding me through it, and giving me good things in the hear and now

    all the abuse I grew up with left me frozen and tense, forgivness and trusting hasn’t meant pretending nothing happened, it has though given me the choice of how I walk forward, learning to take care of myself

    all the best

  26. Tiggy says:

    Hmm, maybe you should change your wife if she’s gonna be a bitch! Has she always ridiculed you?

  27. Forrest says:

    No, Tiggy, she hasn’t always, and maybe not again after that. That one hit was like after you’ve dropped the nuke, it doesn’t matter if you don’t do it again, you’ve already turned the place into a parking lot.

    Funny thing is, same wife is now fighting tooth and nail for me.
    And she is making a difference.

  28. Tiggy says:

    I think the first step is to trust yourself. I found recently that the biggest step in healing was to realise who you are apart from other people’s opinions.

  29. jonbirch says:

    hey forrest… love and respect. you are a beautiful cut diamond around here and i for one treasure you immensely. x

  30. Forrest says:

    hi Tiggy;

    Not confident that I do or do not on either point.

    Not confident of much of anything right now.

    One thing am definitely confident of is appreciating input and encouragement from Y’all here.
    Thanks, gang!
    You help.

  31. Forrest says:

    hi jon;

    feel more like a broken lump of coal staining everything I touch.

  32. beckyG says:

    I grew up wishing my family was the Brady Bunch (the perfect sitcom TV family). In reality, it was alcoholic hell made livable by some VERY inappropriate humor.

    I agree that no family is “normal” but some are much more screwed up than others. Mine is totally unable to function or communicate whereas I see other families that at least make an attempt to bond.

  33. johnnyonthespot says:

    There is an old Cuban saying:

    “Family is deeper than blood.”

    Growing up, I had numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and the like, most of which were not related by blood. You see, sometimes it is not those who we share blood with that we call family.

    Sometimes….just sometimes it is those who we share a deeper bond with are the ones we call kin.

  34. Tiggy says:

    I don’t feel I have a family. I’m totally cut off from mine now – their choice. I never felt part of them anyway because I was adopted and I was always very different to them and treated differently. When I got to adolescence, I started looking for another family. That was hard, because you’re not wanted. I feel like I’ve always been on my own.

  35. jonbirch says:

    forrest… i stand by my metaphor. you are wonderful. i am very grateful for you. :-)

  36. Forrest says:

    okay jon, will stop arguing with you, I can see there’s no changing your mind. ;-)

  37. rebecca says:


    Coal and diamonds are made of the same element (carbon). Put coal under enough pressure and it will turn into a diamond.

    I’m not sure that metaphor is the slightest bit helpful, but I’ve got to say something.

    Your “parking lot” metaphor is a good one.

  38. johnnyonthespot says:


    I’m not sure if this will make you feel better. But you DO have a family.

    Right here.

    These people. This place. This blog.

    You can even think of me as “Crazy Uncle John”! =)

  39. Tiggy says:

    Thank you. I now have an uncle who is a green square. I’ve never had an uncle before at all actually, so maybe a crazy green square is a step up.

  40. TitforTat says:

    Nice Toon…Heres a caption for it.

    “They had a meeting for functional families and only 2 showed up. They were both in Denial”. ;)

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