"Let the Light Shine Through"
Depression is darkness. As someone who's been there - through the longest of tunnels with no light at the end - it's hard to look back and think "if I only would have seen it then."
Being vulnerable is underrated. It's seen as a weakness; a flaw in character. But it wasn't until I truly opened up, showed all my cards and said "this is me, this is what I've gone through" did I begin to see the light. Yeah, yeah, it's cliché. But it's true. And I wish someone would have told me that when I was in the middle of that pitch black tunnel.
Fast forward to Wear Your Label, and finding strength from past struggles. I take myself back in time, to the shoes I wore when I was in that tunnel, and think "What would have helped me then? What would have meant something?" With that view point, amazing things have happened.
Everyday we get e-mails, photos, messages, tweets, from followers & customers that find their strength from our brand, and share their own stories with us. It's overwhelming and empowering. Some moments are too beautiful not to share, which is why I had to post this.
A couple weeks ago, I was packaging orders as per usual. It's funny, because most people think we're a lot bigger than we actually are: fooled you! We've been growing quickly, so it's not always physically possible, but whenever we get the chance we'll include handwritten notes in orders. Just a simple "stay strong" and "thank you" can go a long way, because we are truly so grateful for every person choosing to join this movement with us.
I don't remember if it was lyrics to a song I was listening to, or if it just sounded nice in my head, but I wrote "Let the light shine through" on a single postcard, and then continued with the rest. A week ago, I saw this photo on @wearyourlabel's feed:
"Today I was driving home and was overcome with a feeling of content and happiness. Then when I got home, this had arrived in the mail. It's from @wearyourlabel 's bracelet project, and each color bracelet represents a different challenge or struggle some may have. For years I have struggled with depression and anxiety. A battle that all too often is a silent one. And a battle that I didn't even admit that I had until recently. So hear I am world. I know the stigma surrounding these issues, and for a long time I would pride myself on being able to see passed it, until I realized I was a big fat liar because that was only when it came to others. When it came to myself that stigma was alive and kicking. So I would down play my emotions, or ignore them completely. For far too long I would tip toe around the words depressed or anxiety. Fearing that admitting it to myself would be admitting I'm weak or broken. So instead I met my struggles with a brave face and tough exterior and kept moving, thinking they'd never catch up to me, until they did. I reached a point where getting out of bed was a chore, so I didn't. My moment of clarity came when it was 5 in the afternoon and I realized I still hadn't even gotten up to turn the lights on. Clarity had found me in the dark, both literally and figuratively. So how fitting that today when I opened this package, there was a hand written note inside that said "Let the Light Shine Through". It was such a beautiful moment. Today, I am humbled. I have gotten out of my own way and while it's only been a couple months, I am still proud to say that I have finally begun the journey, and this bracelet will represent that. I have gone from ignoring my struggles to wearing them on my sleeve (or wrist if you wanna get technical). I'm learning to respect my emotions. I've accepted my struggles with depression. I've accepted my struggles with anxiety. I cry. I see a therapist. And guess what, I am stronger than I have ever been. Take that stigma 💪💪💪 #endthestigma" - @lizzrrusso
I think more than anything, moments like these help me realize that what we're doing matters. Building a start-up can be stressful, overwhelming and exhausting. There are days where our personal mental health is challenged (ironically) because of our day-to-day. But then I take a step back, read through the supportive messages and stories, and breathe. Because this is going somewhere. And it's a beautiful, bright journey.