As the clock turns and February 1st becomes February 2nd, I still have trouble believing that it's been a year since Monty passed. Many of the memories of the time still feel fresh. But such is the way with traumatic events. I remember where I was when the news broke. I was eating lunch in a Taco Bell, simple as that. I remember going back to work and not really doing much. I didn't go the gym, I just sorta sat at my computer at home, devoid of energy. I'm not a very emotional person, and I tend to avoid anything that might stir up those kinds of feelings, but I tuned into the podcast that night anyway. I was utterly astounded at the display of strength the RT crew demonstrated. In spite of being the ones closest the loss, they pushed through not only for themselves, but for everyone who felt like a piece of their world was gone. They reminded us that it was okay to cry, okay to laugh, okay to not be okay. They reminded us of what Monty always stood for: the drive to create.
So we did. The sheer amount of artwork RWBY has inspired is nothing short of incredible. The philosophy of "keep moving forward" has become a rallying cry of all RT fans both old and new. One year later, the wounds have healed but the scars still remain, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The scars are proof of life. Proof of how deeply Monty affected us. It wouldn't have hurt as bad as it did if it didn't matter. And the scars remind us to keep being creative, to keep improving, and to never settle for "good enough". Become stronger, smarter, and better than you were yesterday. Make mistakes, learn from them, and then make new ones. Don't be afraid to fail, sink your teeth in the criticism, and use it to become greater. Why? Because you owe it to yourself to give the world your best.
I'm not a very emotional person. I try to separate myself from overly strong feelings. But Monty Oum and his legacy will always stir up those strong emotions in me. The feeling of admiration and respect at his achievements, and the sadness and lamentation of his loss. But those same strong emotions are the fuel that drives me into my own endevours, and I thank him every day for them.