Blog

Jun9
2015

Sasquatch 2015: Invitation and Response

By Chad Moses

Five years ago the organizers at Sasquatch took a chance on us. Rich and I had been admiring this festival from afar, and after a handful of shot-in-the-dark emails, we were welcomed warmly into their Community Village of nonprofit organizations. As a response to that initial vote of confidence from the festival, I have held Sasquatch close with a sort of reverence. In our office, the festival unofficially marks the beginning of summer travels. Each year, we add a growing number of springtime festivals to our circuit, but Sasquatch has found a way to distinguish itself.

There are people I see at the Gorge that I only get to see at the Gorge. We reflect on how far we’ve come or how long my hair has grown or how their kids are set to graduate high school or how the past 365 days of sobriety seemed especially kind or difficult. I’ve stood by year after year as their Fears and Dreams worked their way into the fabric of the festival and its painted skies.

If you’ve filled out one of our Fears vs. Dreams cards, you know we pose two questions:

What’s your biggest fear? What’s your greatest dream?

While we often speak of life as an exercise of give and take, it always seems like I was doing the majority of the taking. Each year I fly home with a head full of interactions and boxes of Fears vs. Dreams response cards. But what did the 100,000 people who attended the festival over the past five years take away?

I knew that I wanted this year to be different: I wanted the festival attendees to do both the giving and the taking. So I invited them to answer a new question:

What is the one thing you wish could say?

Maybe they never found the time to express it, or perhaps the courage escaped them. Maybe it was meant for a friend or family member or a stranger or themselves. This was an invitation to give up what was weighing on them.

We then invited attendees to take a card – written by a stranger – that had their answer to this question:

What is the one thing you need to hear?

I saw hundreds upon hundreds of people enter our tent to share their pleas and pieces of wisdom, their encouragements and points of exhaustion. They left with a strengthened spine and lighter heart and the belief that what they left would find its way into someone else’s car or locker or wallet or mirror. I saw friends embrace as they left a message for a life that ended too soon. I saw lovers take a stranger’s note and hold it as tightly as a childhood wish, believing that a new start could still greet them as they left the tent.

As individuals revealed thoughts that were dormant for too long, they opened space for more stories to fill. The very vacancies people walked around with for months were filled with the common cries of people they may never meet. For the hungry, the angry, the lonely, and the tired, notes from strangers carried a reminder that there was and is a place for them. For those confusing life with a chore, they found promises of purpose. For those convinced that they were meant to walk through crowded halls alone, I counted no fewer than 46 cards urging them to find their voice and the shoulders of another to lean on. One card said it plainly, “I WON’T BAIL!”

We shared this space and breathed in the air that was still humming from the Main Stage, and we realized that we shared more than we could have ever imagined. After this festival, we’re hundreds of connections down, and we’ve only got another 7 billion or so to go.

But we’re off to a good start. If you’re reading this, this is your invitation.

What is the one thing you wish could say? What is the one thing you need to hear?

We can’t wait to hear your response.

RSVP1RSVP2RSVP3

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Comments (51)

  1. Meghann

    I love you / I love you

    Reply  |  
  2. matt

    hellow i hav recently ben diagnosed with depression and am an aufle ______. but seeing this gives me alot of hope
    thanks

    Reply  |  
  3. Mati

    I wish I could say Help, I’m suicidal and in pain. And I need someone to just tell me it gets Better. I need to hear it will be ok. I need to know it will pass. But there’s no one there.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Mati,

      Thank you so much for commenting. We’re so sorry to hear that you’re in pain right now. Is there anyone in your life – friends, family, someone else? – you can talk to about how you’re feeling? We know that it might seem like no one could understand or that no one wants to listen, but we hope there are people in your life who want to see your story continue.

      If you need to talk to someone right now, please check out our 24/7 helplines on our FIND HELP page: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/. You can reach them on the phone or online.

      Please reach out to someone. Please let the people in your life know how you’re feeling, Mati. We want you to stay alive. We want you to get the help you need. We want to see your story continue.

      If you want to reach our team for some extra encouragement, please email info@twloha.com. We respond to every email we receive.

      Reply  |  
      1. Mati

        Thank you.

        Reply  |  
        1. Lisa

          Mati,I just climed out of the depths of hell, I’m still standing! I’m coming back stronger, wiser, and seeing things with new eyes. It WILL get better, YOU DO MATTER! Sometimes we can’t see the road in front of us, til we’ve walked down it a ways. I care, <3

          Reply  |  
    2. Angie

      Mati, I know how you feel. However…. You matter. You are amazingly awesome. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Maybe you’ve screwed up in the past…heck, we all have, but you can change. You can climb outta the hell-hole we live in, sucker-punch your demons, and be victorious. You can be saved. I want you to stay alive until God says it’s time to die. I want to see you be who you’re meant to be. You don’t have to give into the voices telling you that you’re no good….because they’re wrong. You’re story is worth living. TWLOHA taught me that and so did God. And even though I still have days like hell, I know that one day everything will be over and I’ll be with my Father. Because I was saved and I know all this suffering is to test my faith. And when I pray, He listens and helps me. I pray that you will seek His help and others’ and that you will not be silent. I hope you tell people how you feel. And one more thing…you are so loved…don’t forget that.

      Reply  |  
    3. S.

      Hello,
      1 in 3 people experience some sort of depression, so with that in mind, many of us survived a lot. I have been through hell, and I seriously thought that I will never see another year, that it’s hopeless, and that the best thing to do for everyone’s sake was to die. But after a while, it gets better. I came out from underwater of depression and suicidal feelings and plans and self-injury just to see people caring. Loved ones. Family, friends, teachers and various people I worked for or with. People love you. I KNOW it will get better. It will take TIME. Allow yourself to wait. I CARE, and I want your story to continue. I genuinely do. Good luck. Peace to you.

      Reply  |  
  4. Kimber

    Mom, I’m pansexual and in three poly relationships./If you’re happy, I’m happy.

    Reply  |  
  5. Nestlé Tollhouse

    I wish I could say, “I don’t hate you.” I wish I could hear, “I noticed your self-injury & I love you. Still.”

    Reply  |  
    1. S.

      Hey, you should stop self-injuring. From experience, you can’t stop an addiction like that on your own, I urge you to get professional help. Confide in someone you love; parents, friends, staff member at your high school or college (if you’re still a student). Anyone you trust and you know won’t hurt you. Ask them to take you to an evaluation at the nearest hospital, or take you to a therapist. You don’t deserve to inflict wounds on your beautiful body! However you look, whomever you are, you deserve freedom from disease. Please be careful. Be well. Good luck.

      Reply  |  
  6. emily

    Mom I’m suicidal, severely depressed, I started _______ again, and I question my own existence everyday// I’m here for you, and we’re going to get through this together

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  7. Mehd

    I never wanted to be used, or to use you, but rather, I wanted to love and be loved, to cherish and cherished.

    I love you, and I cherish you. Most importantly, I forgive you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Nestlé Tollhouse

      <3

      Reply  |  
  8. KelsT

    Thing I wish I could say: I may not be the most beautiful, but I promise you we could live a beautiful ride. My heart wants to connect with your soul.

    Thing I Need to Hear: Your presence enhances my life. Our weirds mesh well.

    Reply  |  
  9. Rachel

    What you did was rape/ you matter

    Reply  |  
    1. S.

      You do matter! I swear to God, you SO matter!

      Reply  |  
  10. Fay

    Wish I could say
    Please don’t pull the trigger we love you, we want you, your death will haunt us.

    Wish I could hear
    Okay I’m waiting for you come and get me

    Reply  |  
  11. Sadie

    I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I’m suicidal, and severly depressed. And I started self harming again. I’m sorry I put you through so much, I’m trying to get better. // It’s okay, I know I’m not always understanding but I get it and we’ll go through this together.
    I don’t think I’ll ever hear these words…

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  12. Julie

    This was one of my favorite parts about sasquatch and I look forward to the TWLOHA tent every year ❤️ Love what you guys do. I wrote a card for someone, and saw one that I should’ve taken but didn’t. But I still remember what it said every day.

    Reply  |  
  13. Mandy

    Wish I could say: I need help.
    Need to hear: No matter what we love you.

    Reply  |  
  14. Heather

    I wish I could say: I’m really trying hard not to die, I’m trying not to kill myself with food and self-harm. I want to live and be worth your love. I wish someone would say to me: You are so worth loving. Stay here and be loved.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Heather,

      You are so worth loving. Please stay here and be loved.

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
    2. S.

      I am serious when I say this, you are worth love. And care. You deserve to stay alive and get help and live happily. Please don’t do it. Once you die, it’s irrevocable. If you live and get help, you’ll be okay. You need help and care and someone to care for you. You are worth all this and more good. Only good.

      Reply  |  
  15. Kylie

    My self harm was not because of you, I needed to punish myself for the the things I did that hurt you.// You were broken, It was my job to hold you together.

    -I just want closure on this and I can live with myself

    Reply  |  
  16. Leah

    I wish I could say: You are the reason I went back to college even after I flunked. But you don’t care.
    I need to hear: I’m proud of you. I love you. I care.

    Reply  |  
  17. Lu

    Wish I could say: I hate labels and I’m not straight but I’m not sure I’m gay either
    I need to hear: it’s okay I don’t care, this doesn’t change anything

    Reply  |  
    1. S.

      It doesn’t change anything! I am straight, one of my best friends is gay. You should find people who love you for yourself, not your “straightness” or “gayness”!

      Reply  |  
  18. Wendy

    I wish I could say I am heading down the dark path again and I need your help. I wish I could hear I love you, you are a beautiful person…

    Reply  |  
  19. Lucy Greenwood

    If I could say one thing it would be “I love you” to my parents because I could never tell them and mean it, being emotionally detached. If I could hear one thing it’s “you’re alright, you’re doing the best you can, I’m right here with you” because the one issue I have at the moment is the fear of failure, that I’m not safe and that I can’t tell anyone this for fear of judgement.

    Reply  |  
  20. Belle

    Y’all are pretty amazing, this is helping so many people. Including me. It’s miraculous what y’all’s strengths can help build up others hopes. I’m only twelve, but y’all are helping me get through this malfunctionable set back. Thanks for that.

    Reply  |  
  21. Lauren

    I wish I could say: I love you and no matter how much I scared my body, hurt me or you, and said mean things… Please don’t forget that I love you.

    I wish I could hear: you are loved too. You are forgiven and we will always be here to talk things out or just be a shoulder to cry on, regardless of the situation, and no judgement will be given.

    Reply  |  
  22. Wendy

    I wish I could say I need help. I need to hear you are not alone and I’m here for you.

    Reply  |  
  23. Angie

    I hate myself a lot some days. I feel like I can’t talk in this house and if I voice my feelings, they’ll get shot down. I’ve tried to kill myself before. And every time you point out my flaws, Mom, I hate myself more. But I found my own comfort…no thanks to you my dear family./We love you. You are so amazing and beautiful and wanted. We’re sorry we’ve made you feel like crap.

    That’s a portion of what I want to tell my family and how I want them to respond.

    Reply  |  
  24. Janet Lynn Rubbo

    I wish I could say:it was YOU (family members) who ______ with me all my life so YOU created what I was and what I am. So what ever you think and say out loud about me being weird or too emotional or stupid, etc. IS YOUR DOING, NOT MINE. THIS is what YOU CREATED. YOU damaged me, NOT me…..

    What I want to hear: we are sorry. It was all our fault…..

    Reply  |  
    1. S.

      I have had countless of terrible relationships and experiences caused by other people. I don’t think telling someone it is their fault will change anything. It might end up hurting you more than you can imagine.

      Reply  |  
  25. b.e. noll

    Thanks again, Chad. I so enjoy reading your posts. LOVE these questions. Even though it sometimes scares me to think about sharing my answers.
    “What is the one thing you wish you could say”
    I’m trying to write that one. It’s my story. It’s hard, & healing writing about it. Not to mention scary. Like many comments here. I’ve wanted to give up on my story so many times…I’ve lost count. Just write a 1 & start putting zeroes behind it. When your hand gets tired, you’re half way there. Thankfully, I’ve let many friends & family not only say they are glad I’m here. I’ve heard them. And I’ve written it on my heart. Saved it when it was written down. And I try to shove it in the face of the voices that say otherwise.
    “what is the one thing you need to hear?”
    I need your uniqueness. It adds a color to the world that I desperately need
    & would feel lost without.

    Reply  |  
  26. S.

    This is a beautiful article; really life changing.

    Reply  |  
  27. Sierra

    I wish I could say “I may seem like I’m happy, but your words hurt and I haven’t been “ok” for a while.” I need to hear that I am enough. I’m enough to change. I’m enough to get where I want to go. And my best is enough.

    Reply  |  
  28. Sierra

    “I may seem happy, but your words hurt and I haven’t been okay for a while.” I need to hear that I am enough, I can be who I want, and it’s okay.

    Reply  |  
  29. S.

    I guess I want to say “It takes all of my strength not to hurt myself and keep it together. It seems impossible, but I am doing it. I am still alive and almost a year “clean” of hurting myself. And I am MOSTLY doing it for you.” Wish I could hear “You have always been enough for me. I know how hard you are trying. You are enough.”

    Reply  |  
  30. Bailey

    I wish I could tell him that he needs to get help.

    I need to hear that every thing is going to be okay, that You are going to be okay.

    Reply  |  
    1. Samantha

      Hey. It is SO hard to see someone you love struggling. I had that happen to me. If he still lives at home (I am sorry I have no idea how old you two are) then you need to tell his parents or guardians. If he lives alone or with you and you feel like he is in a life-dangering situation, then you need to call a hospital for behavioral health or a residential and tell them. They will know what to do. If he lives with anyone else, you should probably tell them so that they can keep an eye out as well as call a hospital or residential. I am so sorry something hard is going on. Sending warm thoughts. Remember to take care of him as well as yourself.

      Reply  |  
  31. Kanike

    I wish i could say: This person I’m pretending to be isn’t me and I’m going to be myself from now on whether you like it or not. I want to hear: It doesn’t matter. We will love and accept you no matter your beliefs or what you look like.

    Reply  |  
  32. Linda McRae

    What is the one thing you wish could say? It’s not your fault.

    What is the one thing you need to hear? Everything’s gonna be ok!

    Reply  |  
  33. Pingback: Stories From the Road: NerdCon – TWLOHA

  34. Caitlin

    I wish i could say –
    I’m not okay & i need help.

    I need to hear –
    Everything is going to be okay, you’re going to be okay, please stay darling❤

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Caitlin,

      Thank you for sharing such honest and personal thoughts. Know that we, as many, would be honored to write “Everything is going to be okay, you’re going to be okay, please stay darling” on a card for you to take and keep. You are going to be okay. And you can get help. Please do not hesitate to reach out and seek the trained counselors at the Crisis Text Line (text TWLOHA to 741-741) or visit our resources page to find professional aid near you: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ You are worth the effort. You deserve help. We’re here for you.

      Reply  |  
      1. Caitlin

        Thank you so much 😊

        Reply  |  
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