It is exhausting to observe people pretending as if we all come into this world with the same chances. We do not. Our wiring, brain chemistry, genetics, upbringing, community, talents, strengths, lack of identifiable talent or strength, connection, disconnection. How can so many people insist that all people should be able to bootstrap their way out of depression? Boot strap your way out of cancer, ok? To suggest this, is offensive, ignorant, harsh, and perpetuates the shame and stigma. It is more natural for people to judge and to shame/blame than it is to have compassion and to ask “but what is needed, what can I do?” If you blame and shame, there is nothing left to do–you are off the hook.
If a woman as educated, talented, happily married, and successful as Kate Spade can not find peace, comfort, hope or reason to hold on for another day, it is worth considering what might be like for those without any of those trappings– shackled and maybe even defined only by mental health issues that are too shameful to mention and too costly to address.
I believe Kate Spade’s suicide is fueling the much needed dialog around mental health awareness, as much as her talents impacted the world of fashion and style. It is my hunch that millions of women seeking refuge in the illusion of perfection that the impeccable Kate Spade style and brand offer, these are women who may be likely to judge themselves as harshly as they do others. But, maybe now will come a willingness to consider looking through a new lens; of intentional interest and compassion at those who struggle.
Today at my older son’s elementary school graduation, I began weeping at the onset of the ceremony, melting as the Special Ed Students received their certifications. The gravity of my compassion and (I admit) gratitude for the fact that our children are functional, felt crushing. God bless those teachers, parents, and children. Life is difficult AF—even when you are Sensational Kate Fucken Spade.
I cried at how my innocent lil guy is and how hard he tries at all that he does, so lovable and and, funny, and hardworking. I cried as he stared directly into his dad’s eyes as he was singing the tribute song. It was one intensely beautiful moment after another. I wept and am now spent and I cannot help but wonder how the fuck I made it out of a family who would judge and sneer at my persisting emotional intensity. Asking me and each other if maybe there may be “something” I can take for THIS. I feel it all, all of the time.
Being judged, banished, and gossiped about for feeling the wrong things at the wrong times for the wrong reasons really fucked me up. THEY they claim I am a historical revisionist refusing to remember the good. But maybe it wasn’t that fucken good for me. Maybe my experience and wiring are different and not wrong. I could not experience and enjoy anything because I was terrified about when I might have my next wrong feeling. For that, I was directed to lighten up, quit being such a sourpuss and frequently asked “Why must you ruin all things?”.
Clearly, I do not relate to any part of Kate Spade’s existence– except for this one very big thing, the daily battle to feel ok and to show up even when I do not. Sometimes life is too painful and difficult and feels utterly hopeless. I pray, that as I enter into my 50s, I do not experience the added bonus of hormone intensified anxiety and depression. I will say this unapologetically, anytime to anyone: “If there is a pill, therapy, or program that helps to strengthen and support my thrive, count me in. If there is a person, place or thing that threatens that, count me out.” I love you Kate spade. I am sorry for your pain and your struggle and grateful that you have fanned the fires of this conversation. More people will be willing to look and listen differently now. NOW–as we acknowledge the loss of another mighty warrior to mental health issues. Be free. You dont have to suffer anymore. You are still helping people and making the world a better place. The world is better because you were here.
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