I woke up today feeling motivated. I felt strong, so I put on some active wear. With that kind of attitude, I knew it was a good day to go for a run. The sun was out and there was an amazing breeze. My jog around Patterson Park was empowering. These are moments I’m really grateful for–when my mind is clear and I can look ahead with positivity. My days are not always like this, and I’m learning to appreciate them when they come easily.
Upon arriving home, I noticed a ton of missed messages. Friends and family reached out to tell me that some news of designer Kate Spade had been released. She had been found in her apartment, dead. News sources shared that it was an apparent suicide by hanging. My fashion idol had taken her own life at the age of 55.
As this news began to spread like wildfire, you could see the community react much like I did. There was shock, disbelief, and sadness. And–much like anything in this world, there was also ugliness. It came just as quickly. Comments like, “what could POSSIBLY have been so bad for her?”
It’s easy to peer into someone’s life and make an assumption. I am sure it’s simple to conclude that someone as rich, talented, well-known, respected, and successful as Kate Spade has no problems in her life. Social media has made it effortless between the highlight reel of your Instagram stories and constant updates of Facebook. We’re all trying to keep up with Kardashians, and it’s making us miserable.
Creative industries are especially competitive. While we all might want to and very much try to rise above those feelings, it would be dishonest to say that they don’t exist none-the-less. The pressure to perform at a certain level is already so high. Add on the judgement of your followers, insecurities about what they might think if you share this or that about yourself, and trying to attract more of them… it can cause emotional distress. What’s worse? We have been socialized to hide those parts of the narrative from our story. Often times we feel shamed, inadequate, or carry a sense of failure. Can we REALLY presume even the most successful celebrities don’t feel that way, too?
My heart sank today when I heard the news of Kate Spade. Not just because I adored her fashion sense and admired her business accomplishments, not just because I identified with her seemingly vibrant personality, but because of the way she passed away. No one wants to talk about depression, and so it’s another thing we feel shame for. We withdraw and we hide it. We tuck it under videos of our dog, the 34th selfie we took after hating the first 33, or photos of fancy food. We pretend it doesn’t exist until one day, it rages through you and you can no longer fight back on your own.
I know all of those feelings, because I suffer from them. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety from an early age, and I’ve had many a fight with my demons. While I’ve tried to advocate for others who suffer through the same, I know there is more I could do… more I could share… more I could be honest about. I wonder in this moment what kind of things we might have seen achieved if Kate Spade had spoken out about her struggles. What kind of world would it be if the people we admired said, “hey, even I have been there.”
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to help others when you need help yourself. It’s so tragic that in moments of real pain, we feel powerless to seek support. At my worst moments, I feel lonely and worthless. That’s hard to share so openly, but if you’re reading this and you’ve felt that way-I want you to know you’re not alone. I promise to be more candid about this in the future, and my door is always open if you want to talk more about your own battles. I know no stranger. <3
So today, I simply want to challenge you to reach out to those you love and tell them you love them. Even those closest to you are going through things that they keep guarded. It could make such a difference in their day for you to acknowledge how much they mean to you. Thank you so much for sticking with me through this one, and if you’re still here-know that I appreciate YOU for listening.