Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:30:21 AM
Jamie Tworkowski spoke on my campus about his non-profit movement known as “To Write Love on Her Arms” (TWLOHA) and just for kicks, he brought along his friend and musician Anthony Raneri of Bayside. The tickets were a twofer; something you get two at once, Jamie and Anthony appearing on one stage.
If I had to describe Tworkowski with one word it would be “cool.” He is so cool you want to know him. He came in and spilled his guts about his life. Carefree, surfer dude type of guy. He had a nice job with a big racing company and he quit to raise awareness of depression, suicide, self injury, addiction, and all the “stuff” people are afraid to talk about. Twork (my nickname for him) said, “People need other people to help us carry the weight of life.”
This was a guy that made the audience think “slacker.” He admitted he was a slacker and was amazed himself when he landed a dream job with Quicksilver followed by Hurley. He experienced two life changing events.
A friend, Renee needed support while she came down from drug use. Twork recorded five days with her in written form. Following her admittance to rehab, Twork shared his story about just being there for her as a friend.
He also had an associate at work commit suicide and this prompted him to make a difference in people’s lives. Twork is one hell of a guy and brutally honest. He said, “People are afraid of what response we are met with when we talk about stuff. Suicide prevention is in knowing others are out there that care.”
These were wise words for a college drop-out, surfer dude. He dressed to blend in on campus and I estimate he is in his early thirties now. While he didn’t encourage dropping out of college, he did open my eyes at how much of an impact this dorky guy had through the internet. I don’t think Twork would mind if I called him dorky. He seemed to know he is goofy and it is a very charming trait for someone who has taken up public speaking.
Twork made the sound-system squeal, he didn’t pay much attention to his surroundings and I noticed his habit of taking the lid off his water and putting it back on without taking a sip. A nervous reaction I suppose. He also would go off on a tangent and forget what he was talking about. I’m not sure how he manages to squeeze so much humor into such a sad topic but dude pulled it off.
Twork is just an average joe who was there for a friend in need and kicked off what has become a world-wide support system. He believes, “you are born to be known and your uniqueness is priceless.” His message is of hope and that help is real and I believed in his message. Everyone in the room believed in his message and that is why he is successful at what he does.
God Bless him and the work he does.