On September 10th, 2014 at approximately 6:45 pm that warm Wednesday evening, I met Frank Iero. It’s been a month to the day now and I still can’t really wrap my head around that fact.

That man means a lot to me, obviously. I owe him, Ray, Gerard and Mikey a lot. They came to me when I needed them the most and they’ve been with me ever since. I was a depressed, suicidal 12 year old girl with nobody to turn to, not my family, not my friends. I was breaking and on the brink of trying to kill myself again, I had nobody. And then I had them.

Mental illnesses aren’t fun, they aren’t a joke and they most certainly are not easy to deal with by yourself. You need a support system to help yourself and when the people who were physically around me weren’t a part of that, I turned to people I never knew. Either you go home or you make a home. They comforted me when I needed it, I cried with them, I celebrated with them, I laughed and loved and lived with them. They got me into so many other bands, authors, creators that have independently become my favorites as well. They unintentionally taught me about social issues and how to deal with them. I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today without them.

I can’t say that they saved my life because that would be giving them too much credit and too much responsibility. I saved my life. I did this. And I’m really proud of myself that I have survived for as long as I have. I didn’t think I’d live to see the age of 14 or 16 or 18 but here I am, 20 years old, still alive. I did that.

But they made me want to do that. They made me want to survive, and more than that, they made me want to want to live. That’s a debt that I’ll never be able to repay. I’m really lucky that I found them when I did.

So on September 10th, nine years after I first find them, I finally get to meet one of them. I was nervous, waiting in a long line by myself in a crowd full of people but when I finally get up there, it’s so calm. He looks up at me, I introduce myself and shake his hand and finally, finally get to thank this person for being there for me, for helping me save my life.

I asked him to write this for me, because it’s important to me, and it’s important that he would be the one to do it.

Keep the faith.

If there is one thing that I have faith in, one thing that I have always had faith in, it’s them.

It’s a little blurry, but oh well, first picture since I got him touched up Thursday so he’s all pretty again. (: Right over my heart, where they belong.
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Short explanation: At 19 I was a suicidal chain-smoking alcoholic and 350 lb compulsive eater. At 22 I was a 530 lb walking showcase of borderline personality disorder. At 26 I’m a 300 lb full-time employee looking into skin removal surgery. And my last vice was cutting, which I haven’t done since this little dude was made in late March 2014.

(There’s a bit of a novel coming lol soz)

I’ve been a fan of My Chemical Romance since I was 11 years old, and was lucky enough to see them live in Sydney in 2007 as my first concert. Over the years, they’ve always been my favourite band. In 2009, I was diagnosed with Crohns disease, an auto-immune disease that there’s no cure for (google it, it sucks). I’ve been in and out of hospital ever since 2009 dealing with this disease, and in the process, spiralled rapidly into depression. Because of all the time I’ve had in hospital, in 2012 I was granted a wish from the Starlight Foundation. Naturally, my wish was to meet MCR. It was all planned: I’d go to the Sydney show on January 27th 2012 and meet them backstage beforehand. However, the day I was supposed to meet them, I was having an unplanned surgery to save my life. I didn’t get to meet my heroes. But, a few weeks later I got a visit in hospital from a lady at the Starlight Foundation and she was bearing gifts. They were all from My Chem. She gave me a huge box of merch, a CD of the audio of the show and a DVD. The DVD was a personal message from them from backstage before they went on (in which Frank said “we wish you could be here, and this show is for you”), and the CD contained my most prized possession. At the Sydney show that I should’ve been at, they dedicated Helena to me (the first song of MCR’s I’d ever heard), right after Gerard was talking about me on stage and got everyone in the Hordern Pavilion to scream out “HI CHARLOTTE!” I’ve never cried so much in my life. So, I got this tattoo for a few reasons: 1) This lyric kept me going through the darkest days of my life. 2) They’ll always be my favourite band. 3) It reminds me that through music, life goes on and things will always be better. MCR truly did save my life, and I’ll forever be in their debt.

Tattoo credit- Skin Fantasy in Bathurst, Australia.

((check out my music blog if ya like lol- www.soundbarriermusic.wordpress.com thnx love ya xo))

This band has taught me everything from enjoying every single god damn aspect of life, to loving myself. Now and forever my joy and inspiration. // 09.17

This is my Frank Iero symbol tattoo. I now want to get a more intricate one that is Frank themed as he means a lot to me :)

This was my first MCR tattoo and I love it! It represents the fact that you get shot down but keep on going despite everything.

I met Gerard after his secret show in Portsmouth a few weeks ago. The show itself was absolutely fantastic and hearing the new material for the first time live was a treat! Gerard came out after the show and (as everyone else who’s met Gerard says) was super nice to everyone. I’d always said that if I met him that I’d ask him to write ‘Keep Running’ and have it tattooed in his handwriting - this was my chance! He was more than willing to do it and was also really pumped that I was wearing the orange Killjoys Halloween tee! He’s been my hero for years now and this tattoo is a memento of an incredible night!

Tattoo was done by the great Simon and Nigel at Skin City Tattoo Asylum in Swansea, Wales.