This is the beginning of a celebration. Ten years ago this week, TWLOHA came into existence as a story that invited people to speak and to be heard, to seek help and to help others, and to live this life together. This month we’re looking back on the last decade, sharing some of our favorite blog posts from TWLOHA’s history along the way.
“Seven Billion and Growing.”
That is what the little green sign on the edge of our “city limits” of Earth would read. But maybe that growing isn’t always felt; somehow, it doesn’t always seem true.
For those of us who are reading this at midnight or 2 AM—maybe 5, 6, 7, 8 AM—after sleepless nights, weeks, and months; for those of us who buried our friends and family last week or last winter or last year: we are well within our rights to question just how much this world is “growing.” Growing should mean progress, but we’ve been here for eternity now, spinning our wheels in this emotional tar which seems too sticky to be helped out of and darker than the space between the stars.
“Seven Billion … and Grabbing.”
Maybe even threatening to take us down. Seven billion more people who are too busy to hear me, too successful to care, too programmed in their answers.
And yet … I believe and hope beyond hope that this world is actually shrinking. I’ve seen it before, in eyes much like yours, when the lights come on and you think, “Someone gets me.” Seven billion doesn’t seem as significant or as threatening over coffee talk with one real person. Two hugs at a merch booth. Three phone numbers committed to memory to dial on nights such as this.
The pain you felt, it was never planned for you. You can stop wondering, because I know the friend you left or the ones who left you did indeed leave too soon. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be; but then again, it’s to be expected. We’ve been left with shoulders shrugged and hands full of baggage tagged “Home,” “Distrust,” maybe even “Return to Sender.” But for all of the heartbreak you and I have felt, we have to breathe and realize—we are surviving.
At best, you can make seven billion connections to other living people who also question everything that’s been planned for them. And whatever seven billion times seven billion equals is also the number of smiles heaven was built to contain, the amount of tear-stained cheeks that will never feel dried salt again.
The map of this city called Earth is littered with detours and routes that ought to be thrown to the side—seven billion potholes will get the best of our patience. Our hearts will never be immune to the chill of vacancy, and with seven billion comings-and-goings, it is expected that a few will leave their mark. But the pain you felt was never planned; it happened, but it was not destined. And now, you can plan what to do with it. You don’t need to approach humanity with fear. Just for a second, imagine: imagine your life with an interested audience; imagine a calm, and loving, and reflective voice, saying, “We will get there together, I swear … I will stay awake with you.”
You are not alone. Not now. Not ever. Do not give up.
Allow me, just one voice among seven billion, to start the song. Join in whenever you feel comfortable. The words are simple.
“I’m here for you. We can make it through.”