Blog

May22
2017

An Invitation. A Response. And an Introduction to Summer.

By Chad Moses

She wrote “You are my Sunshine” and it caught my eye. The task was simple: write the one thing that you wish you could say, and hang it up on the line. Black marker on white cardstock placed among other cards reading “I love you,” “I miss you,” “I forgive you,” “Forgive yourself.”

“You are my Sunshine” complete with a radiant circle in the corner. And without my asking, the woman freely offered to me the reason behind her writing. “My sister has always been my best friend, and growing up we would tell each other ‘You Are My Sunshine’ whenever we were hurt or scared or in need of a hug. She’s going through a tough time right now, and her daughter—my niece—is in the thick of some medical battles so I think my sister deserves a reminder that she is loved.”

Her heart beat loudly through the air that was saturated with the laughter, EDM, Folk, and Rock distortion. I think she felt genuinely heard.

A few hours later another young woman approached the display and I invited her to take a card that represented the one thing that she needed to hear that day. Her hand slowly extended toward the sunshine and with care took the card from the twine, careful not to crease it or stain it with a tear. She looked up saying, “Today is the 5th anniversary of my mother’s passing. I felt so damn guilty being at a festival and not with my family, but I knew today would be hard and I knew I had to be somewhere I could be just Me. This card is everything…you see, just before Mom left us, I sang ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to her, they were my last words to her. Thank you for allowing me to remember my mom today.”

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This is one of a dozen-thousand interactions I’ve had over the years working at TWLOHA. It’s a reminder of the miracles of human connection that exist all around us when we feel the freedom to speak and the space to hear. It’s proof that we are truly more connected than we’ve realized with commonalities more intricate and unique than we’ve dreamed.

For a couple years, at a handful of events, we’ve shown up with a sort of conversation starter that we call “RSVP: Invitation + Response.” It is an invitation for you to share whatever you need. Perhaps to a friend, or family member, or a stranger, or some version of yourself. Perhaps you’ve never thought of what you’d like to say, or maybe you just never felt like it was welcomed. This summer, across festivals and Warped Tour, we will come with this same invitation.

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Every invitation deserves a response, so at each stop we will also invite you to take the card that represents what you need to hear. A tangible reminder that you are not alone, that you are relatable, that if you can feel a sense of connection anonymously on paper, then you can know that same feeling intentionally and face-to-face.

One of the festivals where we are hosting this activation is Electric Forest—the Electric Forest team, like TWLOHA, believes wholeheartedly in the ideas of community, family, and taking the opportunity to share with one another. Together, we hope that you will accept our invitation, share a response, and help us welcome summer with stark honesty and infinite love. For the next two weeks, we encourage you to join the conversation by printing off this template, and uploading your responses via Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #WriteLoveOnTheForest. And as a thank you for your involvement, the Electric Forest team will be giving away 2 tickets to the second weekend of Electric Forest for people who join in the conversation. Contest ends Monday, June 5.

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Comments (18)

  1. Jessica

    I struggle with depression, anxiety, and self harm. Although I struggle a lot. I am better than I was. I feel more free. But I still get weighed down at times. I have had a couple of suicide attempts in my life too. I’m only 16 and I’ve been in the hospital twice. I want to help share my story and to change the stigma about mental health.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Jessica,

      You are incredibly brave for both continuing to live and continuing to tell your story. We are grateful that you want to be a part of the conversation. We hope it is beneficial to you. We know your input and openness will be beneficial to others dealing with similar struggles.

      If you ever want to talk with us, you’re welcome to email info@twloha.com. And if you’re ever in need of immediate assistance, please text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. You will be connected to a trained counselor.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  2. Dawn Credeur

    Honored to be a part.

    Reply  |  
  3. Alexis Lomax

    You are wanted and loved by many ❤

    Reply  |  
  4. Tyler B

    Love is for everyone to enjoy, and is deserved by all. No matter what you’re going through you’re never alone so never feel you should be alone.

    Reply  |  
  5. Amanda

    Love everything you do TWLOHA

    Reply  |  
  6. Christian McStravick

    This has always been my dream festival. Would do anything to be able to go alone and surround myself with thousands of new friends

    Reply  |  
  7. Sarah tennenhouse

    Enjoy 2017!! At the Forest!!

    Reply  |  
  8. Mindy Mate

    This is a war that I will always win. I will live on. I will always remember that I am loved and I have a purpose. Even on the hardest days.

    Reply  |  
  9. April Johnson

    Thank you for replying when my little girl took her life. It meant alot to me.
    Please continue to spread love.
    We’re all worth it!

    Reply  |  
  10. Mariah

    Stay humble, stay positive, you will overcome everything

    Reply  |  
  11. Raven Andree

    You people are so beautiful, what you are doing is amazing. Thank you for helping so many people.

    Reply  |  
  12. Zach Showalter

    You are loved no matter what. Do you understand that? It’s not your fault. You’ve done things, you think, have deemed you unlovable. None of that matters. You could spit in my face and I would still love you. Unconditional…love. Come to the forest and you’ll see.

    Reply  |  
  13. Jessica Plourde

    This would be incredible! I would love to share my journey.

    Reply  |  
  14. Amanda

    Thank you for everything throughout the years twloha

    Reply  |  
  15. Kylie

    all i ever wanted was for someone to tell me it was all going to be okay, but then i realized that i was that someone

    Reply  |  
  16. kylie

    once you stop lying to yourself, life starts to get easier

    Reply  |  
  17. kylie

    you matter! whether you believe it or not

    Reply  |