By: Sara Li @saruhli
A girl grins at the camera, her hand strategically placed on her hip while gold glitter clings to her eyelashes. In her other hand, she holds a slip of paper. On it, you see the heavy, black print contrasting against the cream card.
“You are so worth loving.”
It’s an advertising campaign on Instagram, but one that differs from the high end Victoria’s Secrets or Urban Outfitters shoots. The model in this picture is flawed, candid, and authentic. On screen, she is a stranger; she is a collection of pixels and atoms staring you down while years worth of work carry the very message she’s trying to express. You are so worth loving. A statement so simple and elegant, yet so carefully crafted with doubt when we say the words out loud.
What does it mean to truly live the life that we have been blessed with? How can we still find our purpose through the hurt and pain? So Worth Loving seeks to answer these very questions. At first glance, they are an apparel company that appeals to a youthful demographic with their snazzy designs and multi media campaigns. But a closer look at them will reveal SWL to be a lifestyle, an ultimate belief that we are more than our flaws, our struggles, and our past. It’s a reminder that everyone, regardless of orientation or status or labels, is someone.
Believe me when I say that you are so worth loving. It’s the only way to live life.
I first ‘discovered’ So Worth Loving a year into their work when I was mindlessly surfing the Internet at my internship. I had an assignment to discover up and coming companies in a Los Angeles coffee shop; between the ritzy designer brands and laid back indie shops, there was something about SWL’s simplicity that caught my eye. At nineteen years old, I was in the weird transitional period between being a byproduct of my childhood and a creation of my own choosing. I had no clue of who or what I wanted to be just yet. I felt like I had spent the entire year on autopilot, aimlessly navigating through life without any real thought of my destination.
Just months prior, I was starting college in a town I swore I’d never step foot in. I had a falling out from my family so disastrous that no amount of time could mend the cracks. I had fallen in and out of love in the messy way that artists always tried to recapture. I was in the same recovery stage that I found myself relapsing into, time and time again. My therapist called it the ‘purgatory zone’ - a mental abyss between better and worse where the temptation could swing either way. I wasn’t unhappy, per say, but I still carried the residual guilt of not being stronger, healthier, etc.
I didn’t realize how much I was letting my past define me until I was looking at the world through narrowed lens, effectively filtering out all the good and happiness that was in my life.
So Worth Loving came to me at a time when I was living among minefields. I was cautious, exhausted, and wary of any opportunity that came to me. I held my breath and waited for the bombs to drop, so certain that nothing good could come out of any situation. It wasn’t until I took a closer look at their message did I realize that what I was doing — self-preservation at any expense — wasn’t really living at all. What is life if not joyous, risky, and uncharted?
“The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.”
I was nineteen years old and while the world felt overwhelming and small back then, I realize now that I have an entire lifetime ahead of time. For reasons unknown to me, I was put on this Earth for a purpose greater than myself. I didn’t want to waste the next five, ten, twenty years too afraid to live. So Worth Loving is so much more than just loving others; it’s also about loving yourself to know that you deserve more. Love yourself enough to hope, love, and fully engage with possibilities before you. Life’s more than just surviving; it’s about thriving.
Believing that you deserve a lifetime of happiness is the first step. It’s the hardest step, but it’s one that you never have to take alone. And when you’re starting on your journey, just know that we’re with you every moment of the way.
Love you, love people.
Take a look at the people around you. Do you ever wonder how many of them have ever felt worthless or alone or incapable? So Worth Loving embraces one of the core principles of all humanitarian work: people are worth saving. When you love yourself, you also love others. That’s what SWL means to me. Life’s too short to live any other way.