A series of four panel comics: ON CORSICAN MASTIFF STRIDE An eight panel comic, toned in pink and green. In the first panel, Emily stands on an L platform, waiting for the train. The narration begins, the lyrics to Corsican Mastiff Stride by the Mountain Goats: "We sail, we sleep, we scry by land-" In the second panel, Emily steps out of a train, tattooed leg prominent. The lyrics continue: "We dig a pit beneath the sand-" In the third panel, Emily walks across the North St Bridge, big fluffy clouds in the background. The lyrics go on: "A place to keep the sun at bay-" In the fourth panel, she rounds a corner, cell phone in her hand navigating to a destination and her reacting in surprise at seeing someone off panel. The lyrics continue: "At dark we rise to find our way with our-" In the fifth panel, Emily and her friend, Emerald, embrace, spinning on the sidewalk, both smiling broadly. The lyrics pick up from the previous panel: "faithful companion by our side." In the sixth panel, Emily stands among friends in line, eating a cookie given to her by Emerald. There's general chatter and comradery among the group. The lyrics go on: "Put it all on the table and let it ride." In the seventh panel, Emily stands at the rail, waiting for the concert to start, arms crossed and leaning on the metal, face obscured by the panel framing. The lyrics continue: "close to the drop-off on our long--" In the eight panel, we zoom out to see the Salt Shed, framed by the Chicago skyline, music emitting from its walls. The lyric picks up one more to finish the line: "slide." ON ARMOR A four panel comic, toned in pink and green. In the first panel, we zoom in on Emily's hands, one hand clenching the other wrist, a movement to make herself smaller. Bubbles drift in from the right side of the frame. The narration begins "I've built this armor over the years." The bubbles flow from the first panel to the second panel, shifting in color, one popping on some shrubbery. The narration continues, "Reinforcing it piece by piece, convinced that the thing underneath had to be protected, hidden." In the third panel, Emily laughs in profile, genuinely, eyes closed. The narration continues, "But the ease in my shoulders is creeping back in, laughter natural instead of in short staccato bursts." In the fourth panel, she stands among friends in silhouette, watching fireworks explode in the sky. The narration concludes, "The absence of tension, of that guardedness unknotting me all at once." ON A NIGHT A four panel comic, toned in pink and green. In the first panel, a drink sits, filled with ice. The narration begins, "I rarely have photos of these nights." In the second panel, Emily and Kelly sit at the rail in one of the theaters at iO in Chicago, chatting between themselves before the show starts. "Alright, place ya bets," Emily says to Kelly, looking at her watch, as Kelly replies, "Umm...let's say 8:05." The narration continues: "Maybe that's ok." In the third panel, Kelly and Emily lean in on each other, laughter filling up the panel, clearly watching the off-panel performance. The narration continues: "I have to trust my heart to carry what these moments hold." In the fourth panel, Emily and Kelly now sit at the bar, as Kelly says to Emily, "I'm gonna grab water before folks get out, you good?" to which Emily replies, "Yeah. Just basking." The narration concludes "Instead of relying on external reminders." ON CUT THROUGH A four panel comic, toned in pink and green. In the first panel, Emily lays on the couch, mindlessly scrolling on her phone, cocooned in a ratty hoodie and a blanket. The narration begins "A night out yesterday awash in joy to now, hungover and quietly shredding myself apart." In the second panel, the narration continues until it is cut off by Emily's halting scroll: "I can't seem to figure it out, why the eventual result of any good moment turns to self-loathing, a constant search for my fuck-ups and why can't I just--" She stares at her phone in shock. In the third panel, a comic is visible on her phone screen. The word bubbles read "You afford everyone else a ton of patience all the time. Can you please afford some for yourself?" The narration chimes in with a simple "oh." In the fourth panel, Emily sits up from under the blanket, staring at the comic on her phone, shaking and silently crying. The narration repeats again: "oh." ON SOMETHING ELSE A four panel comic, toned in pink and green. In the first panel, a gear shift in a car sits at park. The narration begins "Tonight was supposed to be good." In the second panel, Emily grips the steering wheel, despite the car being in park. She's shaking slightly. The narration continues, " No, tonight WAS good. What the fuck is wrong with me?" In the third panel, she continues to grip the steering wheel but leans forward, bonking her head into it slightly. The narration continues and wraps around behind her: "I can't even have minutes before I'm tearing everything apart, using the idea of my friends who care about me, who want me there, to punish myself and analyze every word and movement and I'm tired I'm so goddamn tired and and and and--" In the fourth panel, Emily releases her grip on the steering wheel, letting her arms go slack, but doesn't look up from where her head rests. She closes her eyes. The narration concludes: "And I think I should finally talk to my doctor about my anxiety."

This is the comic referenced in the 7/23 comic. Thanks as always for reading. See you next week.