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twloha:

When Spider-Man asks you to write a blog, you write a blog. 

This is that. Let me explain. 

A few weeks ago, we got an email asking if we might want to be involved in the promotion of The Amazing Spider-Man 2We said we would need to see the movie. They said we could see part of it. We figured they would send a link to a video. Instead, they rented out a theater and sent two security guards.

That led to this. 

The bad guy in the new Spider-Man movie is a character called Max, played by Jamie Foxx. We are first introduced to Max when Spider-Man saves him from getting hit by a car. Max recognizes Spider-Man, and it means the world to Max when Spider-Man says his name and tells him that he matters. Max has seen himself a nobody, but Spider-Man tells him he’s a somebody.

Though we are yet to see the whole movie, we did see more of Max. The thing that really stood out to me was Max’s desire to be known. Even as he begins to become the villain, you can see that at his core, Max simply wants to matter, he wants to be significant. In a pivotal standoff with the police in Times Square, Max sees himself on the dozens of TV screens and he can’t look away. Suddenly, he matters. Suddenly, he is a somebody.

i wonder if you can relate to Max. i wonder if we all can. i believe we all desire to be known and also to be loved. i believe we all want to feel significant, to feel that we matter, to feel that we are special. i believe this stuff is central to us. It’s at the root of who we are and what we need. And because this life is hard, because things so often don’t go the way we wish or dream, we encounter pain. And when it comes to problems of pain - our struggles, fears, failures and questions, issues such as depression and addiction - how we respond is hugely important. Over and over in our lives, with actions more than words, we get to answer the question, "What do I do with my pain?" 

There are a thousand ways to cope, a thousand places to put our pain. There are healthy ways to cope - leaning on friends, having honest conversations, going to counseling or treatment, doing our best to believe better things, even something as simple as getting exercise. And there are unhealthy ways as well. For many of us, we begin to isolate so that no one can know us or love us or meet us in our questions. Instead of letting others help us fight to focus on the possibility of healing and change, we live alone staring at whatever’s broken or missing. Drugs and alcohol are a common way that people attempt to escape a reality they wish was different. It works at first, but then spins out of control, leading to addiction. We become chained to the thing we thought might make us free.   

TWLOHA exists to say that you can start again, that rescue and recovery are possible and worth fighting for. You deserve friends. You deserve love. You deserve whatever help you need. But we know that so much of this hinges on hope. If recovery is the fire that warms away our long cold pain, hope is the spark that starts the fire.  Hope gives us permission to believe a fire could come. 

So here is something meant to be a spark: 

You matter. 

Yes You. 

Your name is significant. 

Nobody can replace you. 

No one else can play your part.

You are living a story, rich with hopes and dreams and memories and we know there’s pain as well. Your story is priceless and sacred and unique. Your story is worth fighting for. Your story deserves other characters, other people invested in reminding you what’s true, reminding you you’re worth fighting for. 

And what a cool thing that we get to be a character in the stories around us. We get to tell people that they matter, that they are not alone in their questions and their pain. We get to help people fight for their dreams. 

You see, we are different but we’re also the same. We want love. We want our lives to count. We want to matter. 

You’re not a nobody. 

You’re a somebody. 

You’re living a story and you’re surrounded by stories. 

And everybody is somebody. 

Peace to You.
jamie

PS: You are invited to join the conversation on Twitter. Tell us what #EverybodyIsSomebody means to you. 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be in theaters across American starting next Friday, May 2.

twloha:

“Could you let down your hair, be transparent for a while? Just a little while?”

Whenever we walk into new situations, there usually seems to be a certain demeanor we try to present to those around us. This demeanor might be one of strength, hope, suspicion, or fear. More often than not, I present a demeanor of confidence. Depending on the group I am with, this demeanor can come off as rude or, on the other hand, as welcoming. Either way, it’s still a mask I try to present to the world around me.

“Honesty is a hard attribute to find when we all want to seem like we’ve got it all figured out.
Well, let me be the first to say that I don’t have a clue.
I don’t have all the answers. Ain’t gonna pretend like I do.”

This shell of strength and confidence I’ve developed started to crack last year because I was finally willing to admit something my dad had pointed out to me: I’m afraid.

As we grow and encounter various life stages, the expectation of knowing where you are going becomes heavier. In my life, a lot of people may feel I have thrown caution to the wind because, rather than getting a job directly after graduating, I chose to do a year of service work. Coming back from that year helped me realize a lot of things. Most of those things were professional, but I also realized how much I needed time to just be. I needed time to process the question of, “Now what?” At graduation time, I couldn’t answer the question of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, nor did I want to. My skills and dreams are such a mish-mash of emotion and desire, it’s hard for me to see myself fitting in what I envision as a traditional career path. I don’t completely understand what it looks like to support myself and live in one location for years on end. I can’t imagine being tied down to a job that isn’t fulfilling or satisfying in any way. Yet, the world seems like a song on repeat, saying that jobs are rough, some dreams may never be reached, and the grass may not be greener on the other side.

“Well, I haven’t memorized all of the cute things to say, but I’m working on it.
If I quote all the lines off the top of my head, would you believe that I fully understand all these things I’ve read?”

So, yes, I am afraid. I’m afraid I won’t accomplish the personal goals I have set for myself. I’m afraid I’ll never work for the company I have looked up to for so many years. I’m afraid to let go of my confidence in exchange for feeling like another number in a lonely world.

Be that as it may, every time I fully admit and accept the powerlessness that I feel, I love myself more for who I was and who I am becoming. I’ve slowly come to realize that what I thought of as just a mask or shell may also be a part of me that has been there from the beginning. It was born out of who I believe I am innately meant to be. I’m not necessarily confident in my actions, skills, or knowledge (yet), but no one can take away my journey of growth or who I have become along the way.

“Well, I haven’t got it all figured out quite yet,
But even if it takes my whole life to get to where I need to be,
And if I should fall to the bottom of the end, I’ll be one step back to you.”

It’s easy for so many people, myself included, to get lost in the expectations placed upon us by ourselves and those around us. They could be expectations to follow the status quo, or to defy what has been planned for you. My choices have been influenced by a little bit of both. Where I used to conform to a decision made by those I was surrounded by, I am now trying to affirm the reality of not knowing what is going to happen tomorrow—the hardest part of which may be finding ways to love myself and those around me in spite of my uncertainty and fear.

I have been taught and loved so well, and perhaps some of my confidence comes from the certainty of wanting to give that back to others. I hope that as you continue on your journey, you can learn to see how beautiful you are, even in your moments of indecision and confusion.

“I’m tryin’ to find my way. Oh, I’m tryin’ to find my way,
Tryin’ to find my way.”

—Christina, TWLOHA Spring 2014 Intern

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