Yesterday, after a particularly bumpy start to my day, my friend Kim sent me a note letting me know Kate Spade had taken her own life. A designer who, to so many people who knew her brand, gave off a bubbly, bright, luxurious and happy image. (I have longed to own a Kate Spade bag for years, but I can’t afford one.) She projected, through her fashion and home decor, elegance and fun. A lot of folks, myself included, would have thought she had it all and was on top of the world. Those bright, bubbly colours hid the true colours though… the colours that may not have sold as many things. We all carry baggage, but those who own a Kate Spade bag likely never knew how heavy things were for the designer. And now we do.
As a lot of folks know, I walked away from a pretty lucrative tv production job a number of years back. I made good money. And when I told people what I did, there was a twinkle of “oh, that must be so exciting” in their eyes. Gosh, yes, it was most days! It absolutely was. But I started to notice my weight going up, I was drinking a lot more than a woman who lived alone should, and… I wasn’t happy. And yes, that money helped cover bills, but it couldn’t cover up the stress and the tension I felt doing what I did. I wanted to help create more on shows, but I was stuck in a box of being the one people came to for schedules and booking equipment and yelled at for when their hotel room wasn’t as advertised. I got yelled at A LOT. I took it, but I’m very sponge like so I absorbed it all.
I have absolutely no idea how Kate managed day to day. I wonder what she would have done if a door opened to allow her to be something else.
My life at 40 is the polar opposite of what it was at 30. I am doing things now that I NEVER EVER saw coming, but dreamed about on occasion- but never actually thought would happen. When I was younger and wondered about what my life would be like at 30 and beyond, I couldn’t see it. I legit couldn’t see it- which kind of scared me- but I think it’s because this was beyond what I imagined. Telling jokes at a bar in Brampton? Doing stand-up for the first time outside of Toronto in Gatineau, Quebec?! Fuck no, I did NOT see ANY of that coming. I’m a paid writer, I get paid to write things. I did not see that coming either, but I dreamed about it. And it is AWESOME.
I’m at a place now where what I do brings me joy. I’m also at a place where what I do doesn’t bring me much money. Ha. It’s a fine little tightrope walk, is it not? I traded one thing for another. And it’s hard, it’s hard because the financial pressure is really heavy. I want to be killing it in both aspects of my life, but it’s a balancing act right? I’m finding my footing. I’m doing all that I can so that I can do what I want to do. So, I feel like I’m on the right track… but damn, this isn’t easy.
What I’m proudest of though is that I’m doing what I want to do, and going after what I want to go after. I have never taken the easy path with things… even in the tv life I had, that wasn’t a walk in the park… but the choices I’ve made have lead me to find happiness in what I choose to do. So that’s something, right? I’m grateful for that. Now I need to make that help my credit card bills disappear… ha.
I genuinely feel for the family Kate Spade left behind, I mean we all will not be here one day but to leave the world as she did… my heart breaks. To anyone who projects an image that isn’t necessarily who they truly feel they are, my heart breaks. Being honest and authentic with yourself isn’t easy, it won’t always look good in the glossy pages of a magazine. Your bank statements may look like a Stephen King novel. But it’s important to be yourself, talk and live your most authentic life. And ask for help when you need it, ’cause it’ll be there in one form or another.