2

“Your wings….they’re  s p a r k l i n g.”

                                                                                                        “Like yours…”

I don’t even know myself at all. I thought I would be happy by now. The more I try to push it I realize, gotta let go of control. Gotta let it happen.”

I have been a pretty big Paramore fan since “Emergency” came out. While I was listening to their latest CD for the first time, this song grabbed my attention immediately - especially the first line. I have been lucky enough to have a pretty decent idea of what direction I want to go in life, and I have stuck with that plan pretty well. That’s not to say there haven’t been twists and turns along the way, though.

It’s easy to sit here and think back on who I was as a person a few years ago. I am surprised at the experiences and opportunities I have been lucky enough to have. Sometimes though, I can’t help to think of all the things I could have done better. I think back and four years ago I would have pictured myself pretty differently.

Even now I have days where I feel defeated by life because I am trying to force something that isn’t going to work. I have to constantly remind myself that life is going to interfere with my plan, whether I like it or not.

So let it happen…”

“It’s just a spark but it’s enough to keep me going.”

 It’s a small reminder and one that is easier said than done. I try so hard to make sure my plans work out the way I want them to, but the reality is when living life with other people, plans get complicated and messy. Sometimes things may seem like they’re not going to change or get better. Over the years though, I have learned that change is constant, and when I look back on the grand scheme of things, I have changed and I have made an impact on this life. Some of my best moments have been when I finally let life fall into place and didn’t try to control it.

“It’s not that I don’t feel the pain, it’s just I’m not afraid of hurting anymore.”

There are pieces of my story that are painful and difficult and ones I wouldn’t have chosen, but that’s OK with me. I may not like it, but I’m OK with it.  Our stories are all made up of thousands of memories and interactions. We don’t always get to decide where each piece of our story comes from. We don’t get to change our history. Things are going to happen in our life that we can’t control. Sometimes all we can do is just let it happen. 

The hope is that we stick with it. In the times that are difficult and frustrating, we step back and ask for help. We learn how to keep moving forward, even when our plans change. It’s learning how to give control to other people and to trust that things will turn out OK.

- Molly, TWLOHA Fall 2014 Intern

Now the night is coming to an end. The sun will rise and we will try again.

The date was May 15, 2013. It was about 10:30PM, and I was pressed up against the stage at Amos’s South End, a music venue in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had traveled a few hours to see a band that I had recently discovered and fallen in love with; they were Twenty One Pilots, a group made up of just two guys that put on the best live show I have ever seen.

The duo was about to play their last song when Tyler Joseph, the singer and songwriter, said, “This song is a celebration. We’re all alive.” That was a really powerful moment for me, as my seemingly endless struggle with depression and anxiety had reached its worst point ever that past semester.

Stay alive, stay alive for me. You will die, but now your life is free.

I’ve always loved the nighttime. There’s just something about the quiet darkness that’s always seemed peaceful to me. But for someone with anxiety, the nighttime can be terrifying. It was 2AM when I had my first anxiety attack. My roommate was asleep. My parents were asleep. I had never felt so alone and haven’t since. 

I plugged in my headphones and put my Spotify library on shuffle. “Truce” was the first song that played. I put it on repeat and eventually fell asleep. The next morning, the sun came up. I woke up. I survived the worst night of my life. I knew the darkness would return, but I also knew that I would make it through.

I will fear the night again, I hope I’m not my only friend.

I am still dealing with my illnesses. I might always have to deal with them. But I won’t ignore them. I won’t let them control me. I won’t let my fear take away my desire to truly live. I’ve decided to be honest with others about how I’m doing, especially my close friends and family. I’m working on fighting the stigma, not only in society, but also within myself. I’m working on loving myself enough to believe the words I tell other people—that we are not alone in this world. That better days are ahead. That we are loved.

Stay alive, stay alive for me.

Twenty One Pilots like to use the phrase “stay alive.” Those two words are in their songs, and they say it at their concerts. I always loved that they said this to their fans, but it wasn’t until a dear friend pointed out to me how powerful that statement is that I really thought about it. Telling someone to stay alive doesn’t only mean telling them, “Don’t harm yourself.” It means stay vibrant. Stay hopeful. Stay you. Hold on to the things that give you life and make you feel worthy and loved and like you aren’t alone.

So, this - life, music, everything - is a celebration. We’re all alive. Stay alive.

- Kylie, TWLOHA Summer 2015 Intern

8

IDW Transformers Solicits for April 2016

TRANSFORMERS #52 ART APPRECIATION VAR
(W) John Barber (A) Andrew Griffith (CA) Casey W. Coller

ALL HAIL OPTIMUS part 3! OPTIMUS PRIME has declared the Earth to be his territory… but even he can’t go it alone. Now he reaches out across the galaxy to form a coalition-of old friends and older enemies. 

TRANSFORMERS MORE THAN MEETS EYE #52
(W) James Roberts (A/CA) Alex Milne

Megatron vs. Tarn.

TRANSFORMERS SINS OF WRECKERS #4 (OF 5)
(W) Nick Roche & Various

WEB OF DECEIT! The search for PROWL leads the WRECKERS deep into enemy territory-and that’s where they’re at their best! Unfortunately, with the lives they’ve lived-the pasts they battle to escape-even their best isn’t enough to save everybody.

TRANSFORMERS DISTANT STARS TP
(W) Mairghread Scott (A) Corin Howell, Sara Pitre-Durocher (CA) Naoto Tsushima

After the events of “Combiner Wars,” Windblade and Starscream race to recruit the lost Cybertronian colonies to the Council of Worlds-but which of them will control the fate of Cybertron? Collects issues #4-7 of the Windblade series and the Combiner Hunters One-Shot.

TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE ANIMATED TP
(W) Georgia Ball (A/CA) Priscilla Tramontano

GO TEAM ‘BEE! BUMBLEBEE leads an all-star team of AUTOBOTS to Earth to find rogue DECEPTICONS… but in this all-new story based on the hit Cartoon Network animated series, they’re forced to go up against their old friend, ULTRA MAGNUS. What terrible secret can set AUTOBOT against AUTOBOT?!

TRANSFORMERS VS GI JOE #12
(W) John Barber, Tom Scioli (A/CA) Tom Scioli, Sub (CA) Giannis Milonogiannis

WELCOME TO THE TERROR DROME! As the forces of COBRA plot a treacherous move, OPTIMUS PRIME descends in to CYBERTRONAIN hell in search of the MATRIX. They say the sun also rises… but will it be friend or foe?!

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not be come dirty.” -Mahatma Ghandi 

If I were filling out a form about myself and came to the religious preference section, I would probably check other or no preference or undecided. We didn’t go to church when I was kid, nor was I taught how to pray. However, I was taught how to read at my mother’s insistence. From a very early age I was always keen to words, the way people spoke, and how things were written. Writing has always been something I’ve been drawn to. I often felt some kind of a connection when writing, even if it was just my thoughts streaming down on to the paper without the intention of them ever being read by anyone.

“As I pen these things
It might literally be all I have
Ink on paper
Does any of this matter?
Then I’m reminded of what I’ve seen
The places I love and the people I’ve been “
 

I’ve never held any religious beliefs of my own, but I’ve always been drawn to the words of others. Some of my favorite musicians have religious backgrounds or used religion as a source of inspiration for their works. I love the raw emotion and passion that I feel in the music. They sing of a force and a being far greater than you and I. They speak of Love and Grace in the biblical sense as things that connect us to each other.

I believe that hope is something that connects us all. Hope is something that holds more power than a single person could comprehend. I have suffered ill at the hands of others, and it has been something I have come to accept and forgive, instead of holding on to anger and bitterness. 

“Only Love could have brought me to this place
Holding in me a joyful heart while spit covers my face
I’ve come to forgive those who’ve wronged me
Knowing that they’ve helped make me into exactly who You intended me to be.“

I have made it through to the other side of my hardest struggles. If you had asked me when I was walking through all of it what kept me going, I probably wouldn’t have had an answer half the time. I just felt this connection to someone, to something. Maybe it was the other people I had never met who were walking through the same sort of darkness that I was. Maybe it was a connection to this idea of hope, that our better days really are ahead. For some people this manifests itself in the idea of faith and believing in a higher power. For some it may be the connectedness of family and community that keeps them going. For me personally I just keep coming back to this idea of hope, that life is a wonderful gift to be treasured. So where my days were once filled with darkness, they are now filled with the light of pursuing and honoring this gift that I’ve been given.

 

“I’m trying my best to be a better man
Despite all my fears, I really am
I write these things to remind myself
That amidst this darkness, there still remains
Light, Hope, and a perfect plan
For the first time in my life
I am writing for the sake of writing
Living for the sake of living
Loving for the sake of loving
And I’ll live”

 Part of why I wished to pursue this internship was to hopefully make the differences in the lives of others. I wished to say the things I wish I could have said to those in my life that I’ve lost, those people whose memories and stories that are now a part of mine. Explaining how their passing has affected me and why I chose to pursue this opportunity isn’t something that has always been easy for people to understand. I often wrestle with understanding my own spirituality and then finding the words to explain it. I wrestle with finding a way to tell people that I am living for those we have lost. I’m living for hope and this idea that our lives are meant to be truly wonderful. I often find that other people have found far better words to describe it than I feel I could have.

 

“So you can call this sort of life a hopeless endeavor
That this tiny vessel could ever endure such violent weather
Call it pointless
I’ll continue to carry out Grace none the less
I will scream it till my face is blue
There is a point to all of this and its always been You”

 

      Kenneth, TWLOHA Fall 2014 Intern 

2

And nobody died.

I scribbled something incredibly pointless because I can’t wait for Sins of the Wreckers 5, this is my ideal ending where nothing hurts and things are okay for everyone aka the thing that isn’t gonna happen

Welcome to the planet

Welcome to existence

Everyone’s here

Everyone’s here

Everybody’s watching you now

Everybody waits for you now

What happens next?


What happens next?

Between church services and recesses jumping rope. Between being bullied and bullying myself. Between the moment I came into existence and the moment I will cease to exist, my life has been imperfect. Welcome to life. Welcome to the struggles and the pain. Welcome to grade school classmates singing the oompa loompa song to you in PE, to soccer coaches telling you to lose weight, to the pressure to be a good Christian girl, and to self-made expectations demanding you live up to your unrealistic, high standards.

Welcome to the fallout

Welcome to resistance

The tension is here

The tension is here

Between who you are


And who you could be

Between how it is


And how it should be yeah

I had always been the girl with perfectionistic expectations, shoving everything under the rug and convincing myself I was OK for years on end. With my dire need to “get out,” I was finally forced to face the reality of leaving home. The reality of dreams not coming true. The reality of looking in the mirror, looking inside myself, and facing the fallout. I began self-harming the summer after I graduated and was forced to come home from the university I was attending. I had to take a serious look at my anxiety, depression, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Growing up, I used exercise and dieting as a means to control my emotions. After high school, I used anything I could get my hands on to control what I did not want to feel, to run away from what I did not want to deal with.

I dare you to move


I dare you to move


I dare you to lift


Yourself up off by the floor

I learned the hard way that recovery never has a day off; I was told, “You’re going to have to back yourself up far enough into that corner that you are going to have to want to get yourself out of it.” That is exactly what happened. I had to hit my own rock bottom. I had to be done with my unhealthy choices. And even while surrounded by an amazingly patient community, I had to start fighting for my story.

Maybe redemption has stories to tell


Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell

Where can you run to escape from yourself?

Where you gonna go?

Where you gonna go?

Salvation is here

Someday I will have these lyrics tattooed on me. Inked permanently into my skin. Not to cover up the scars, but to live for better days, to be reminded why I matter. These words came into my life at just the right time: God’s timing. I was moved to tears, but, more importantly, I was moved to make a difference. Moved to be my genuine self, moved to be honest with myself; I was inspired to be the woman God wants me to be. I promised myself that if I were to get through my darkest hours that I would live a life rooted in passion, grounded in God’s purpose, and driven by a love for people.

I dare you to move


I dare you to move


Like today never happened

Today never happened


Today never happened


Today never happened before

This amazing life is a gift. We are blessed with every moment that comes and goes, with every breath that we receive and then let go. I am here by the grace of a loving God, the power of community, and the forgiveness and love I now I have for myself. Every day, sometimes every hour, I remind myself of these things. Depression, anxiety, and the urge to use unhealthy coping mechanisms will always remain a part of me, but it does not define who I am. I hold high standards for myself, but now I aim to make them realistic on a daily basis. “God is still in the business of redemption.” Each new day is an invitation to rewrite my story using my past, present, and future. It is all worthy, and I am WORTH IT.

- Daylee, TWLOHA Spring ’15 Intern

5

Senran of the Week #3 - June 28th

After our week of Yozakura for SOTW number two we now move onto our SOTW #3!

Well judging from the pictures you already should already know who the candidate is. It’s Hikage(日影) of the Crimson group! 18 years old, Katsuragi’s rival, and a former student of the Hebijo group. Now living in a cave, this girl is our adorable, stoic, lethal, unable to deal wit beansprout rants girl is known as an the snake girl of the group due to her weapon of a memorable knife given to her by her close mentor as a memory. Hikage is known to be a stoic girl unable to express any emotion but eventually she will show a smile and it’s the most adorable thing to ever see! That’s why she is SOTW #3!

 I can hold my breath

I can bite my tongue

I can stay awake for days

If that’s what you want

Be your number one

Sometimes when we are in complicated situations, especially romantic relationships, we feel we need to adjust ourselves to be perfect for the one we are with. The same can go for friendships; we might believe we need to change who we are to fit in, to be more like the crowd. But being unique is beautiful; being ourselves is beautiful. 

I can fake a smile

I can force a laugh

I can dance and play the part

If that’s what you ask

When we struggle, we often believe that nobody is able to understand or relate to what we’re feeling. We believe that if we just put on a smile or laugh a little or dance some that nobody will ask what’s wrong. We can keep on living in our own worlds, places where we control the outcome and where nobody can harm us. Even though the exterior is all smiles, the interior is crying out or wanting to reach out with no knowledge of how to do that. It’s OK to reach out though. We don’t always have to smile; sometimes letting the interior and exterior match will allow us to finally get help and accept hope.

I can turn it on

Be a good machine

I can hold the weight of worlds

If that’s what you need

Life is hard, and at many times we feel like we have to hold everything up ourselves. We don’t need the help of others because “we’ve got this.” However, we don’t last forever - we can’t hold up the world forever - without breaking down at times. Sometimes all we need is an extra hand holding up the world, and that’s OK.

But I’m only human

And I bleed when I fall down

I’m only human

And I crash and I break down

When I was struggling with self-harm, I wouldn’t allow myself to connect with others. I wouldn’t allow myself to feel as though people were like me. I sheltered myself and made myself believe that I was the only one that felt like I did. But I’m only human. Understanding those key words “I’m only human” is a hard thing to come to, but it is worth it. It’s OK to struggle. It’s OK to admit you need help. It’s OK to break down every once in a while. The important part is making sure we stand back up.

-       Ryan Flynn, TWLOHA Summer ’15 Intern