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Last night, Jamie announced via a bulletin on MySpace that a few shirts from To Write Love On Her Arms which have previously been available only online are now being sold in Hot Topic. Jamie hasn’t written the “official” announcement of it, however, so we haven’t heard the full story…like, what’s the plan, why exactly they decided to take this route, etc. So, it goes without saying, I think, that the reaction has been mixed so far, according many of the 500+ comments so far. They range from angry cries of “sell out” and worries that people will just wear them to be trendy without regard to the meaning, to excitement at the new opportunities and literally (from a few) shouts of joy that they can finally have these shirts since they can’t/don’t like to order things from online stores.

My response to the bulletin is below…it was too long to post on MySpace, so I’m putting it here:

So…yeah…this is gonna be loooong…..

I really appreciate everyone’s comments on this, even the upset comments that are little more than words expressing anger. I have to admit that I’m quite conflicted about this, as I see both the ups and downs. At first, it seems it’s at once needed and undesirable. But, reflecting on this brought a quote by C.S. Lewis to mind.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

I think this fits here, because the purpose of TWLOHA _is_ to spread the idea of love and hope to everyone, not just a select few. And, what better outlet than HT, since so many supportive bands sell merch through HT? (Paramore, Boys Like Girls, Jonzetta, Gym Class Heroes, Panic! at the Disco, Bayside, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Hawthorne Heights…) And, honestly…when was the last time any of you saw anything that so plainly spoke of love or promised hope at Hot Topic?

The hard thing about Love is that it must be shared; otherwise, it isn’t love. But, in sharing it, you open yourself up to that same love being misused, misunderstood, ignored, or even rejected. Surely, all of these things might happen to the message of TWLOHA with some people who buy the shirts. But, a) that’s not TWLOHA’s fault, and b) you can’t change that, because it’s bound to happen eventually if this movement is to penetrate further into the public eye. But, though this is certainly a risky thing to do, riskier still is to hold onto this love and keep it for ourselves. For, if we do that, as Lewis so eloquently points out, the love becomes dead and useless.

So, in the end, I have to trust that, as they’ve shown in the past, Jamie and the staff at TWLOHA have approached this very carefully and are planning every step of the way to the best of their ability. I doubt they would intentionally do anything to damage the image or effectiveness of their organization, so I think it’s pretty fair to trust them. And I do.

Remember that this movement started with one girl’s story, and it continues every day with our stories. If you see people with the shirts on, kindly start conversation with them about it, whether they know about it or not. If they don’t care, you can’t help that. And there will be those who don’t and won’t no matter what. But, let that encourage you (and me) to be even more bold and honest with the sharing of your story (or your friend’s, or Renées, or whoever’s) with those who will listen, and to even more humbly love and serve those who feel the most unloved.

I hope all is well. Take care.

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14 Comments

  1. Well said. That Lewis quote is a favorite of mine.
    And I noticed he quoted you in the latest blog, correct?
    When I first heard about twloha I googled it and came across your site. I appreciate the attention you give to a deserving topic and cause, and the sensitive honesty you handle it with.

  2. Well said. I’m not exactly sure how I ended up on your site but I’m very glad that I did. Your words are true and are something I’ll think about for the rest of the day. Thank you for being wonderful. ❤

  3. I am well pleased.

  4. We think TWLOHA is great. It has a great message behind it and the minstry through non-“ministry” is such an overlooked idea. But, it is the best way. Fight the good fight.

  5. I bought one today [x
    Its magenta with black letters.
    Im loving it.

    –Elizabeth

  6. Hey, has anyone heard about Renee writing a book? I heard that pretty soon TWLOHA will be selling a book that was written by Renee?

    -Jack

  7. this is wonderful
    i had the same opinion abt selling them in HT because its almost just a fashion statement that i gets labeled as. when i first heard of TWLOHA i thought it was like a band. but now i even support it i think it’s a great cause and i think it’s cool that they actually sell the shirts somewhere other than just online cuz i’m not the type to buy things online. so thats great.

    and yess
    the book is called
    Purpose for Pain it comes out soon!

  8. Thank You for posting this hun.
    I completely agree with you, and I think its important for people to know both sides and be able to regognize both sides, which I often do but alot of people struggle with.
    I have had people aske me when I was wearing that shirt if it was some kind of emo band!….., and so rather than just being annoyed, I explained to them about the organization and have a bulletin posted about it on my myspace about my personal struggles and twloha.
    Amazing organization.
    Hopefully they keep up the great work and thanks again.
    -Love Samantha.

  9. I actually saw the TWLOHA shirt in a Hot Topic in Salt Lake City, Utah. I think this is a great idea, regarding to the many people that want to buy the shirts, but their only option is to buy them online. Now, either they don’t have a credit card or like you said, they don’t like to order stuff online. And yes, some people will just wear the shirts because they’re popular, but at least they will have put more money into the organization so they can make it grow. Soon enough, more people will know about it 🙂

  10. i love to write love on her arms it is awesome and well if i still cut my self i would’ve went there or try to get help from them but you know what i helped myself to stop only cause i was depressed about a guy and now his name is carved in my arm and well and my mom can not look at me the same way anymore and it is horrifying && well now i don’t care what my mom thinks of me cause every time she tries to threaten me that she is gonna slap me i am not affraid becasue of course i carved my skin how worse is that then yr mom like slpaaing you across yr face and well my dad does it too i just start laughing and well before i use to cry about it on purpose so tat my parents wouldn’t take my lap top and well then they kept doing it and i started to not cry adn they got tired of me so they took the lap top away from me and the crappy cell phone tat didn’t work and got for free
    but yea i have o go

    -aliciaasphyxiated-♥

  11. i think that the shirts are just going to end up just being another trend. i really hope they take it out of the stores. i dont want all the little scene kids to start wearing, them God that would suck. they mean somthing

  12. There’s also that passage in the Bible where Paul(I think?) says that even if the gospel is being preached from impure motives (which anything undoubtedly will be, whenever humanity is involved) – it’s STILL BEING PREACHED. And that is always a good thing. Maybe someone who “doesn’t care” might be wearing the shirt – but the text might be enough to make someone curious, hwo wants to find out more… end ends up finding help for themselves or a friend.

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  14. Viene raggiunto il maggior numero di punti. Credo che sia una buona idea. Sono d’accordo con te.


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