This Story Mattered

It’s extremely rare for me to read a book and feel connected to the author. Mostly because I am a (self-professed) snob about literature, and tend to judge novels too harshly. Also, I like to disassociate authors from their literary works, because I can dive into the story without being shadowed by the reality of the person who created it. However, I just finished Jamie Tworkowski’s If You Feel Too Much and I have to admit my heartstrings were pulled. Jamie is the founder and creator of the national campaign To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). After meeting a teenager named Renee struggling with drug addiction and self injury, Jamie wrote a blog about how influential she had been in his life. The blog took off and he founded the campaign to raise awareness for mental illness, and created a community for people lost in brokenness.

I expected his book to be a memoir, describing his journey as a national icon campaigning for mental illness. I was surprised to find the book was a novel of short pieces Jamie had written over the span of nine years with overwhelming authenticity. He described his own battle with depression with aching humility. His prose was fluid, and he wrote through the lens of someone who feels deeply and loves passionately. Reading his stories felt like having coffee with an old friend. His genuine compassion for hurting people truly inspired me. Jamie’s collection of stories inspired me to be confident in telling my own stories.

Jamie dreamed big dreams, and dared to live boldly. He truly recognizes that his life is not his own. He found purpose in encouraging others that their lives are worth fighting against darkness. I hope you have found some piece of art that inspires you. I hope you feel connected to something that seems foreign and daring. I’m thankful this book reminded me to dream, hope, love, and live without walls.

“We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be ample, but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love…We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don’t get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won’t solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we are called home.” ~If You Feel Too Much

“Many live alone on islands made of nightmares. May we live as boats and bridges sent through darkness, honest boats and bridges sent to find them. And may we raise an honest hand on days we need them. And then, after help and rest, and all those things our lives require, let’s keep going.” ~If You Feel Too Much

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