AHHH. AYYYEEE. YASSSSS. YIIPPPEEEE. NOOOO WAYYYY.
These are all acceptable and/or appropriate reactions you are allowed to have after hearing that Southern and Thankful shirts are back by popular demand!!!! I can hardly contain my excitement. After all, it has been over a year since I released a shirt. I had many reasons for the break, but was shocked (and secretly thrilled) at how many people throughout the year would ask when I would be doing another shirt. I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of you I have seen, with my own eyes or via social media, wearing Southern and Thankful. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! These new ones are for you and I hope you love them as much as I do...if that is possible!
Seems I have been planning and thinking about this release for a while now, but at the same time, I have been hesitant because I knew that sharing these shirts would also mean sharing the most recent part of my story. It was an extremely difficult, and scary, time for me. Not to mention for my family and friends. I have never held back being completely honest with you all, and I have prayed over and over again that what I am about to share will help someone out there who may be going through a similar situation. I ask that you please do not judge and that you express only love because this is not very easy for me. Thankfully, I have faith that my God is going to do something earth shattering with this story.
Junior year started out being absolutely incredible. I remember laying in my bed most nights thinking
"This is what I dreamed college would be like."
It seemed like that for the first time in my entire life, everything was at this perfect level. I was on such a high and I can tell you, I never wanted to come down. Little did I know at the time, life was not perfect and things were going to come crashing down...hard. I could indeed tell you the exact moment I was knocked off that perfect balance, but honestly that moment is small in the grand scheme of things. Second semester of Junior year proved to be the lowest of lows I have ever been in. I know now this was because of an accumulation of things: broken bone, sickness, people changing, relationships changing, stress of school, etc. and the more time passed the lower I got. I was in this place that was so oddly unfamiliar to me, and I had no idea what to do. I began to question everything in my life and I felt so hopelessly worthless.
You are probably thinking, me- Cade Bethea? And you may be a little confused because if you looked at me I bet that is something you wouldn't have ever imagined. That is exactly why I am sharing.
The saddest part about the whole thing was how blind I was to God whom was right in front of me the whole time. There are a numerous amount of things that have helped me and will continue to always help me- because depression is not a one and done sickness. It is a struggle and I have seen and met others who are worse off than I am. But for the rest of my life when I tell this story or look back on this time I will remember these words because they truly changed my life:
"Cade, you must remember where your worth comes from."
I spent all of last year looking for my worth in other things, especially people. Mainly, I think, because I became distant from Christ. There were countless times people and failures made me feel like I was not good enough. When I was putting so much of my time and energy into these instances where I was constantly feeling hurt and looked down on, it made me feel like I was not good enough. Not good enough to chase my dreams. Not good enough to fall in love. Not good enough to succeed. That is absolutely terrifying.
I am here to tell you, from a person that has been there: YOU are good enough. We are constantly looking on social media comparing ourselves to others. We walk around school wishing we looked like someone else. We want to be skinnier, prettier, smarter, faster, stronger, more popular. We want to get the most likes and comments. We want the latest and greatest clothes, shoes, purses, and phones. And when we don't have these things, we feel unaccepted or unworthy. We want our friends, family, girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, and husbands to tell us how great we are. We want them to spend time with us and care about us and when they don't, we feel unaccepted or unworthy. But if we were meant to be unaccepted, then why were we made at all?
When you look in the mirror you should see how beautiful, handsome, intelligent, strong, and courageous you are. YOU are not the opinion of someone who doesn't know you or even someone who does know you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a reason and it is not to be torn down. If the people in your life cannot see that about you then who cares because do you know who can see that? Yeah, the big man upstairs. You are good enough. You are good enough every single day of your life. You are good enough to be whomever you want to be whenever you want to be .You cannot allow someone or something to have so much control over your life that they ruin it, trust me. You need something, not worldly, to look towards because that is when you will find the most joyous worth ever made. If you do not know God and want to reach out to me, please do!! I will do my best to help you. I let others dictate my happiness to a point of depression. Do not get to a point where you are questioning your worth, or WHERE it comes from, because that is the one thing that should never be questioned. You are loved and you are good enough to be you every single day.
You are not defined by an Instagram photo. By a moment or a like. You are not defined by someone else's words or thoughts. At the end of the day that negativity is background noise. Be yourself. Be true to yourself. Have confidence in yourself. Love others and everything will be okay.
Lastly, you never know what a person is going through. Anxiety, depression, and suicide is real. It is everywhere and it is talked about now more than ever. Be kind to others. Smile at others. Be intentional in conversation because I promise you it makes a world of difference.
Ecclesiastes 3 says, "there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"
I believe entirely in this season because it has taught and reminded me of two life changing facts:
1. There is always something to be thankful for.
2. You are good enough.
And with that I introduce to you the latest and greatest Southern and Thankful shirts! A percentage of the sales from these shirts will go towards Project Semicolon, which is a wonderful non-profit advocating and helping those with mental illness. Please get a shirt, wear it proudly and share the message behind it, because I want others to know they are not alone. And most importantly I want them to know what it means to be Southern and Thankful.
God takes us through those times to teach us some of the craziest things. I thank him for placing the perfect people in my life at the perfect time to help me through this and I thank my friends and family
(the few people who knew) for loving me unconditionally and encouraging me to be the best me I can be. Once I learned this, I realized where my worth came from and I realized just how wonderful we all are. I am good enough. You are good enough. That is what I will forever be thankful for!
Southern and Thankful
Blessed is an understatement when it comes to my life. Each and every day I am amazed by God's steadfast love. In return, I have claimed this space to show my thanks and whatever else comes along the way. A student at Texas Christian University who loves any creative insta post, all donuts, and dress pants that make you do a double take. I pray God has a grand purpose for me and I plan to get there with a little Southern and a lot of Thanks! Join me!