A couple of years ago I was really lost and confused about my direction in life. I started to realize that I was still holding onto a lot of things that happened to me in the past. Things from years ago, when I was just a girl. I actually went back to visit my old neighborhood in Springfield, MA, and walk around. I wrote several different letters, to the people and places in my past, and I decided to leave them in various places in the neighborhood. Because I wanted to finally let go, and say goodbye. It was something that was long overdue by that point.

Saying goodbye to Joey (the boy who was my first love, who Simon is based off of) was the hardest. I sat underneath the tree where we first met, that day when he scared me and Kim. I left the letter I had written for him at the base of the tree, and I will confess I even cried a little bit. Because there’s a part of me that will always love him.

And while I was there, I prayed for him. I prayed that he was happy, wherever he was. I prayed about my past, that I would finally be able to put everything to rest, and move on. And then I prayed for a sign from God that I was on the right path. Because I wanted to start working on Iris Tiger Tails, and trying to make it into a success. I wanted to create something that was a homage to my childhood, and to all of the people and places and things I loved from back then. But that meant letting go of everything, so that God could give me something better.

Well, I finally got up and left Joey’s letter behind. Maybe the wind carried it off somewhere special, I don’t know. And as I was walking back to the car I came across this old man who was out for a walk. He smiled at me, and said hello. And he told me that he went out every day walking, trying to get in at least 1000 steps. I said, “That’s awesome, keep going!” And that’s just what he did, rounding the corner and disappearing from view.

Now, Springfield is not a city known for its friendliness. Strangers on the street never talk to me. I’m lucky if I get eye contact when I’m walking by someone, never mind anything else. But this old man took the time to say hello to me, just as I was saying goodbye.

I believe God was telling me that a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. And this comic was my first step to creating Iris Tiger Tails, and everything else that you see on this website.

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