Remembering Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain
This week has been tough for the fashion and food community. Two worlds that are very dear to me and I feel define who I am. This week we lost both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain to suicide. This post is just my way of remembering what they meant to me. How they shaped how I saw the world, and how I see it now.
Before I go any farther, if you or someone you know is struggling, please know you are not alone. The pain you are feeling is not a punishment, it's not something you need to fight on your own. You have an army of loved ones and support systems to help you through the dark times. If you don't feel comfortable talking to someone you know, you can even reach out to an organization.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org to chat with them if you don't feel comfortable saying the words out loud.
When Kate Spade died, I had my boss, friends and family texting me about it. They knew how much I loved her style and her brand. When I discovered she died by committing suicide, I had the exact same reaction that a lot of people did..."Wow, I didn't even know." We didn't know. Know how tough the life of an extremely successful fashion icon like she was? Know that her marriage was in trouble? Know that she was struggling this much? Should we have known? Did her family? So many questions running through my head about a person I never met, who never knew I existed. And yet she still has had such an impact on me. I wish she knew, and believed, how much she was valued. I can't speak for her and how she felt, I just know she is gone and I think it could have been prevented.
I adored the brand Kate Spade. I have bags, shoes, jewelry and home goods, her aesthetic speaks to me. I love the seemingly effervescent vibe that all her stores seemed to have. The fun and uplifting quotes on her stationary. The bright colors that were essential to the brand's image. But I never thought much about the person behind the brand. It wasn't my place to know if she was having a hard time in life, but I wish she would have talked to someone, anyone, and gotten help. And even if she had and it wasn't working, I wish something had been different. So many young girls and women think that they have to keep all the 'grit' and things that aren't perfectly polished and pretty hidden. That what you see is what matters most. I know I've been there before. But it shouldn't be like that! We don't like books or movies where everything is so perfect, we like conflict! We like to feel like we've accomplished something other than just making it through another day. Perfect is overrated. Perfection is bullshit. Perfection comes with judgement. Happiness is what we should aim for. I vow to showcase happiness, not perfection. Happiness after a dark time is just as amazing as being happy for the millionth day in a row.
Suicide is a tough subject, and it's really hard to know what the right thing to say is. I may not be able to put my words down in writing as eloquently or as simply as my emotions lead me to believe I can, but I hope the intent comes through. You are loved, you are valued, you are cherished. If not by the people surrounding you, then by someone else.
This morning I woke up to news that Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room after an apparent suicide. His story is different then Spade's. He was very open about his struggles, he spoke at length about his addictions and his mental illness. He didn't keep quiet. That is not proof that reaching out and talking about things doesn't work, it is proof that everyone is different. Proof that we as humanity need to get better at taking care of each other. Of not letting ourselves get complacent when our loved one has been "doing good" for a while. I'm not his family, I'm not his friend, I wasn't there to see the warning signs. My heart goes out to them, it's no ones fault.
I loved Bourdain, in small doses. I was raised in a fairly conservative household, so his language and brash demeanor was incredibly shocking to me when I first started watching him. My parents weren't fans for many reasons, so I watched him on my own. I grew to understand his boisterousness and what he was getting after. He was an asshole, true. I'm pretty sure he even called himself that more than once. But he was being an asshole while educating others on culture and food. He wasn't going to let anyone off the hook about being ignorant. He was a chef, an author and, a little bit of a renegade activist. I am so happy he was a part of the #MeToo movement, supporting his girlfriend when she came forward with rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein. Because of Bourdain, when I travel, I always look for the small, hole in the wall places like he would visit. Because I know they are most likely going to have the best food and the best stories. He is one of the reasons I plan most of my trips around food...I look up resultants before we go, I want to try all the 'weird' local favorites. I have drug Alex down side alley's in cities more than once because I saw a sign or someone recommend a restaurant. Bourdain once said that Tokyo was his favorite place, it's now on my bucket list to experience.
I may not have always liked how he went about or said things, but I fucking respected the shit out of him and his passions. Bourdain was a global citizen, I'm gonna miss that salty ol' bastard.
Everyone experiences life differently. I've been blessed enough to have lived a life with enough support and self awareness that I can dig myself out of dark holes. Or at least ask for help to bring the light closer and make things easier. I KNOW I have friends and family who will be there for me. But I know that not everyone has that safety net.
If you need help, if you are doubting your value or place in the world, know there are people who may not even know who you are yet, but will be there for you. Sometimes a stranger is exactly what you need. They won't have the history, they won't have the preconceived notions of your issues or problems. Let yourself be loved and listened to, it does wonders for the soul.
Want to get regular help and counseling? Try Better Help: BetterHelp is the largest online counseling platform worldwide. They change the way people get help with facing life's challenges by providing convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist. BetterHelp makes professional counseling available anytime, anywhere, through a computer, tablet or smartphone.
If you or someone you know are in immediate need and may not be located in the USA, here are all the USA and International help lines:
So Kate share some of your sparkle to keep Bourdain looking snazzy. And Anthony? Make her an amazing meal. You two will be missed.