I feel a lot. I’m the kind of girl who thrives when sitting in front of people at coffee shops and talking about all the stuff others may deem too…personal, deep, things that should not be talked about at coffee shops.
When I saw my friend post an Instagram about a book titled If You Feel Too Much, I immediately knew I had to read it.
I’m relieved I did.
If You Feel Too Much is a series of essays and observations by Jamie Tworkowski, the founder of TWLOHA. If you know who Tworkowski is just by reading his name then you are a million steps ahead of where I started when I picked up the book.
All I knew about To Write Love On Her Arms prior to this book was: (1) It’s abbreviated TWLOHA (2) It has something to do with self-harm (3) I have some friends who post about it nonstop on Facebook.
All I knew about Jamie Tworkowski before picking up this book was absolutely nothing.
He was a new friend I met at a bookstore, carried with me through the Upper West Side, took long bus rides with and stayed up late at night repeating his words.
His stories impacted me. He readily gives a reader permission to not be okay, to feel what you have to feel, to lean on God or lean on people, but choose to lean on someone.
He writes under the umbrella that happiness and acceptance and life in general is a series of smaller choices. There’s no big answer to, “how can I just be happy?” because happy isn’t like reaching the 5k mark, it’s more like turning on lights as you go, just in case you’re ever pushed back a couple of steps.
One of my favorite parts of the book is page 90. It’s one of the first pages in the book I highlighted, here’s how my highlighted parts read together:
“i wish i was better at these days…i wish i was better at being present. i’m tempted to say i wish i was better at being happy…And it’s not that i don’t have plenty to be happy about. There is more than plenty. My life is absurd in terms of how privileged it is…Insert whatever word you choose: Blessed. Fortunate. Lucky….So what’s with all the pain? What’s with not being able to sleep at night? What and where the heck is “home”? Is it possible to be healthy? To be patient?”
It’s my favorite part because this doesn’t have to just be about me or Jamie, it can be about anyone. Everyone deals with shit. Everyone has pieces of themselves they have to stop and pick up every day because the alternative would be losing who you are, little by little.
This book doesn’t teach you anything new, I don’t think that’s its purpose. In my opinion, it’s a book meant to make you read a couple pages over and over again until that thought you’ve been sitting with for days finally clicks.
Yes, If You Feel Too Much is a compilation of stories. The short book takes you from Jamie in his twenties, when he was just living through the moments that would then inspire TWLOHA, to Jamie in his thirties, when he does what we all want to do at some point — talk to the hot person in front of us on the Starbucks line.
You learn about his business missteps and you learn to celebrate his bigger moments. All in all though if you read this book you gain a friend.