A little over two years ago, I had just graduated from school and was in a really dark place. I wasn’t sure how well I was going to survive in the world as an artist, real-life drama was stressing me out and I was kind of losing sight of who I was for a little while. Then I started talking to Liz on a constant basis. It started with bantering back and forth about Dragon Ball Z nostalgia, then moved onto watching “The 90’s Are All That” practically every night and before I knew it, we were talking for hours and hours every day. She was one of the few people I could talk to that was genuinely invested in the work I did and sympathized with how I was feeling at the time.

During that summer, I was also playing with the idea of doing TOME as a webseries, to which her simple words of “do it” gave me the swift kick in the ass I needed to just jump right in and make the damn thing. Since then, she became not only the script supervisor, the font manager, inker/colorist for all the official art, and maintainer of the ask-kirb blog, she also became a constant maintainer of quality over the show. If it weren’t for her, the show would not have evolved and grown nearly as much as it has. The most recent episode in particular I give HUGE credit to her for being as well-received as it was.

That’s only a tiny bit of the inspiration she’s given me. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten to know the real Liz. The person that maybe most people don’t really they know, or the person they know in a limited capacity. She’s been through more rough shit than most people can even fathom, and through all of it, she’s persevered. She’s been treated like garbage by people and by life for so long…and finally, around the time that I got to really know her, she started a life for herself that is really worth admiring.

She works two jobs non-stop and puts her all into them, kicking ass and taking names. She’s sweet and adoring to animals. She’s a creative soul with stories and characters she’s wanted to bring to life for so long, which I personally connect to. The ones pictured above from her story “Copacetic” are only a few of many that I’ve grown to be a fan of. Life has been unfair to her for so long, and for what a truly wonderful person she is, she deserves to be treated with respect and love and comfortability that’s eluded her. Her friends and roommates are all great people that help give her that respect, love and comfort she’s been long overdue for.

I once likened her to a phoenix. Not because of her association with the color red and her fiery personality, but because no matter how shitty things get, no matter how much life throws her for a loop and what hardships present themselves, she powers on through it. She’ll look like she’s down for a bit, but then she’ll rise from the ashes and light up the god damn sky. People admire her for her aggressive personality and brutal honest, which IS to be admired, but those who know her really know her should and do admire her for just how incredible of a person she is in general.

On that same note, she’s made ME a better person. When I graduated from school and we first started bonding when we were depressed, she has been through so many different, more worldly life experiences that a sheltered chump like me could barely even imagine, that just listening to her and learning from her…has really changed me for the better. I’ve learned a lot more about self-control, loyalty, understanding, perspective, hard work and how to get shit done in the last two years than I probably have in my entire life. Her motivating and compassionate spirit just constantly inspires me to do better and better; she deserves nothing less than the best in return for how hard she works.

I could go on and on, but it’d take up the length of an entire blog, so I’ll simply say…Happy birthday, Liz. Never stop being who and what you are: amazing.