Before I begin... This is my story, and I entrust you with it like you have with me. For you skimmers out there, rest easy: I’m not going anywhere. I'm okay. So Worth Loving is not going anywhere. SWL is okay! Today is actually her birthday! We made it another year fam. Cheers to perseverance and impacting lives!
I remember sitting in a Kroger parking lot at 7:15am on January 2nd, feeling confused. I had no make up on, a beanie on my head, and 3-day old hair as I listened to music and wept. I didn't know exactly what I was crying about because there were so many layers upon layers of emotions. Everything was gray. I rationalized in my head that... this happened because this happened; and then this happened because this happened; and then this happened. Nothing could stop my mind from racing. The only thing I could do was think. Then over-think, and then spiral.
I want to share something not many people know, unless you are in my inner circle. And if you do know, it might be because you are an observer from afar or caught wind of he said/she said.
This year, I hid from you because I truthfully thought I wasn't deserving of a community of people that believed in me. I was struggling to understand what my truth was.
Did you know that diamonds are found in the dark, created under pressure, and cut by another diamond? I didn’t; and if I’m being honest, I have felt that same cataclysmic pressure, too. I found myself in the dark, encountering an unbelievable amount of pressure, experiencing relationships that refined me and made me better. If I could share every detail of the last year of my life, every nook and crack in my heart, I don’t know if you would be "Team Eryn" anymore. Or maybe you would, because maybe you would find that I am just like you.
I never want to sit on a pedestal and claim that I know everything about business and self-worth. I don’t. I've only hoped and prayed that my voice be used for good. Hoping that I could share my perspective, create a space for you to share yours, express what I’m learning, and celebrate vulnerability and connection. I’m here to inspire empathy in safe places.
So, I'll quit with the hesitation and dive in.
Over the past year, I have been desperate for empathy. For myself and others. I’ve carried my own mistakes and the weight of those around me. I’ve seen the worst in friendships and the beauty in nitty gritty, raw, authentic relationships. I’ve blamed and shamed myself and others. I saw parts of myself I couldn't believe were inside of me. What I've learned is the moment you start to believe you are immune to something is the moment you become the most susceptible to it.
Sharing this part of me is terrifying. That's why I have even more admiration for you as I read your stories. I believe in the power of storytelling. I believe in the power of transparency and the healing that comes with it. I believe our stories have the power to transform others, and if my pain and failure can help one person, I've done my job. Today is So Worth Lovings birthday and in the last 6 years of So Worth Loving, I’ve seen suicide prevented, self-harm addressed, rehabilitation being remitted, and recovery from divorce. I’ve seen people get out of bed for the first time because they decided depression would not hold them down any longer.
Brene Brown says, "We are vessels for stories.”
I’ve carried your stories with me. When my eyes encountered your stories of pain, I wept with you. When my ears heard your stories of victory, I celebrated with you. But when my world was completely flipped upside down, I struggled to be present in my own story. Because of that, I began to fracture and break.
I want to be careful with this, because my story is woven with another's. I respect their story. I don’t know how to navigate this well, but I’m going to do the best I can to be as vulnerable with you as you have been with me, while also honoring another.
This year, I experienced heartbreak on a level I didn’t think was imaginable. I knew real heartbreak existed, but I didn’t know what it was like to physically feel a gaping hole in my heart. I didn’t know what it felt like for my spirit to shake and break.
The light I prayed for since I was in 7th grade, I watched slowly become dark. I’ve had people in my life who have gone through it, but I never experienced it like this. I guess I was naive. People have a tendency to do strange things in times of grief, and we all handle it differently. I experienced the 5 stages of grief. It was as though I was on a hamster wheel of grief and couldn't get off.
I was in denial.
I was confused.
I was angry
Because of this, I began to isolate myself.
I no longer saw myself as worthy of anything good.
I got physically sick.
I was faithless.
I was exhausted.
I was gossiped about.
I was betrayed.
I was lied to.
I was depressed
I carried guilt.
I felt shame.
I became numb.
I was shutting down. I was blocking out any noise that contributed to the sounds in my head and the false whispers in my ears. When you are in a season of uncertainty, it’s easy to acquire everyone else's beliefs as your own.
When I made the decision to end a marriage after 9 years, it became apparent who was no longer in my corner. I couldn’t take on their beliefs and let their judgments define me.
As you walk through life, you will encounter phases that require different levels of courage. But how do you take those first steps of courage without a "How To" manual? Christine Caine says “The first step of courage is cut away things that hold us back or hold us down.” So that’s what I began to do...
I began to cut away the fear and allow myself to feel every single emotion. I began to cut away the feeling of shame and stop saying what I was feeling was “bad” or “wrong.” I began to let myself feel, so that I could begin to heal. I sought help and guidance from others who understood the level of pain I was experiencing. I learned that I didn’t need to be told that I was going to be okay, I needed to be told how I felt was okay. Through this past season, I discovered the depth of my well. I discovered the depth of my faith.
I’m coming out of it ready to be an anchor for you like never before. Now I know I can sit with heartbreak and grief on a multitude of levels. While the circumstances will certainly be different, I know the emotion connected to it, and I will feel with you.
I will not ask if you found resolve yet. I will not rush you towards a solution. I will sit with you while you figure it out, and I will hold you up when you feel like falling down.
While the last season of my life has broken me down in so many ways, in my personal and in my business life, I’m so thankful to have found some of the most incredible humans who weren’t scared to walk alongside me. They challenged me, questioned my decisions, and loved on me so tenderly and patiently. I got to witness people who didn’t see me as my circumstance, but saw me as Eryn. The Eryn who failed them, yet they loved me anyway. Those same people didn’t give up on me, even when they felt uncomfortable to lean in, consistent in their word to stand by me. They let me talk too much, sometimes in circles about the same thing. They showed up on my door when I would ignore their texts or calls, never taking offense or believing it was a reflection of who they were, but simply a reflection of where my heart was. Hidden. They showed up because they knew sometimes getting out of bed and believing in yourself when your life has been hit by a tidal wave is so hard. They knew that one more expectation wasn't something this heart could handle.
These people are like you. Willing to catch the broken hearted and say "this is just temporary. This is not a punishment, it's development."
I am thankful.
I am renewed.
I am inspired.
I am taking ownership.
I am moving forward
I am ready.
I am forgiving.
I am forgiven
I am faithful.
I am alive.
I am grateful.
I am healing.
I am so worth loving.
In this uncomfortable season, I learned an even deeper understanding of the phrase "so worth loving.”
So Worth Loving started with you. It began with your belief in the importance of talking about our struggles so we may help someone else feel less alone in theirs.
We were fortunate to grow quickly, but as my personal circumstances began to crumble, so did I. I found myself taking on more than I could handle. I found myself creating and building on the back end of logistics when I deeply desired to be on the front end talking, creating, laughing, crying, connecting, and loving with you.
When I started So Worth Loving, it wasn’t to be a t-shirt company. It was to simply use apparel as an entry point to talk about self-worth. Because the conversation was our primary focus, we moved all of our inventory out of our office and into a 3rd party fulfillment facility a few months ago. This decision took me out of logistics and put me back in a space to dream a little bigger and get a little closer to all of you. It opened up our capacity to expand and set out to do what is closest to us - start conversations through apparel, where self-worth and self-care can be the emphasis. It will give us the space to create resources for you to be able to find the proper help and support that you need when looking for the right books, therapists, & safe communities near you.
Again, I reminded myself: “The first step of courage is to cut away the things that are holding us back or holding us down.” -Christine Caine
After many phone calls, conversations, and emails, I decided to move out of our office space and SWL will no longer be behind walls, but outside the walls of a physical building like we once were. We are coming back to our roots and will continue to be online so we may focus on the areas that matter most. For those of you who don't live in Atlanta, none of this will look any different than what you're already used to — we'll still see you online!
We will be going on tour this spring and partnering with Airstream for 6 weeks. While our fulfillment is in Ballground Georgia, I've settled on 16 acres in North Georgia where I will spend my time writing, creating, and listening to you. We are in the filing process of the So Worth Loving Foundation where we will be able to partner with college campus counselors and be their support in the mental health community. We are realigning. Recalibrating. Pivoting back to the basics. This season will be where we can get back to what we feel called to do, and that’s to be closer to you.
Our heels are digging in deeper than ever before. We need you like never before. This next season will be a wild ride, and with every transition there is an opportunity to fail. But with failure comes the opportunity to learn more of who we are.
I hope to be the Eryn who will make you proud, and I hope you will continue to love her and our team as well as you always have.
Will you join me in this next season of So Worth Loving?