So. Uh. I feel the need to pontificate on this one for a moment, if you’ll allow me that.

First off, sorry this is two “media that has affected me at my core” comics in a row. I promise next week’s won’t be that. (There might only be art next week because I’ll be going to a con! But we’ll see.)

Secondly, the aforementioned pontification. Potentially muffled catawampus?

May–for some reason–seems to historically kick my ass. I’ve had a rooooough few weeks lately. This time last year, I was a year out of college, unemployed (recently unceremoniously dropped from a contract position), and on a pretty severe depressive downswing. I’ve talked about that a lot, because it sucked hardcore and a lot of my art for a while was affected by it. I made Hometown Ghosts out of that moment, which is something, but sometimes I think I’d rather have been happy than making a comic. I don’t know.

It’s been two years since I graduated (which is wild), and frankly, despite it all, I’ve been pretty lucky. I have a job with people who I enjoy working with, I have a supportive family, a roof over my head. And thankfully, most of my friends–often pictured here in these comics–live within driving distance of me. We hang out on weekends, we have a Dungeons and Dragons group that meets relatively regularly, even if scheduling can be a pain. That’s a lot.

I’ve been thinking about the MBMBaM Seeso show a lot, not just because I’m gonna head over to LiZz’s tomorrow and probably watch it with her, likely recreating this scene (she hasn’t seen the whole thing yet), but because it just hits me hard in a lot of amazing ways. I’ve been thinking about that last episode especially, and while there’s certainly an immeasurable amount of joy and bewilderment that comes from seeing myself and my friends standing on a sidewalk in Huntington, West Virginia yelling “Happy Candlenights!”, or seeing LiZz wave sheepishly at the camera as we entered the theater, it’s definitely more than that.

One of my biggest fears throughout all of my life has been that I’ll miss a moment right when I’m in it: that I’ll be so worried about this thing or that thing that I’ll lose sight of what’s in front of me right now, the people I have around me. This fear amplified itself after I graduated college, because suddenly, the thing that brought us together–physical location–was gone. We weren’t living in the same building anymore, couldn’t decide on a whim to hang out or go out for dinner that night. I was always terrified that relationships would vanish because we would all simply be too busy with the “real world.”

But that hasn’t happened. In the last year, I’ve spent more time with these wonderful people than I can count. I’ve gone all over the Midwest with this squad: Indianapolis, Columbus, Huntington, Cincinnati. Moments like Candlenights would not have meant nearly as much to me if I wasn’t surrounded by the incredibly kind and talented people I am so lucky to call friends, new and old.

You don’t have to share interests to be friends with someone, but over the last year, stuff like MBMBaM and other podcasts have become rallying points for us, moments where we can take time to make plans, to get away from the stress of our normal lives for a weekend and drive down to a town in West Virginia, blasting Carly Rae Jepsen tunes the whole way, to see a live show by three very funny, amazingly kind people, where we can laugh for an hour and a bit and not worry, but just be in the moment.

There may be a moment in the future where these things can’t happen for one reason or another: both the big trips and the small, quiet weekend moments like this. I hope in the end I can say that I enjoyed and appreciated all of the moments and the people I shared them with as much as I could. I hope I’m doing them good with the things I do and the art I make, because they have given me so, so much.

I hope the small segment in which I exist in other people’s narratives is a positive one. I hope it’s at least a fraction of the amount of good that so many people exist in mine.

Thank you. This comic would not exist if not for you, reading this.