“She has a way with words, red lipstick and making an entrance.” – Kate Spade
The first time I read that quote, I thought to myself, “that was written for me.” In fact, I find myself thinking that almost every time I read a Kate Spade-ism. The brand has always seemed to “get” me—my style, yes, but more importantly, just me.
Colorful. Bold. Fun. Quirky. Whimsical. Sassy. Witty. These are all words used to describe Kate Spade’s aesthetic. They’re also all words that have been used to describe me.
I mean, my blog is called Haley’s Life in Color. Kate Spade’s tagline is “Live Colorfully.” That’s not a coincidence—Kate Spade has had a huge influence on me as a fashionista, a blogger, and a woman trying to find herself in her twenties.
That may sound like a lot of weight to give to a designer brand. And it is. But, it’s valid. Kate Spade has shown millions of women that life doesn’t always need to be taken so seriously. That it’s possible to be a powerful, confident and successful career woman while also embracing your silly, vibrant nature. That there’s nothing wrong with speaking up or garnering attention.
When people ask me to explain what my blog name is all about, I always tell them it’s not just about actual color. It’s about making a statement—in every aspect of my life. And that’s something that Kate Spade has encouraged countless girls to do…simply by starting in their closets.
Until today, I didn’t realize that Kate Spade and I had another, not-so-happy thing in common: mental health issues. Yup, I said it.
I may have mentioned my anxiety in passing here before. The blunt truth is that I struggle with anxiety, depression and even OCD. I’m on medication for it, which has changed my life for the better—but more on that another time. Almost weekly, I toy with the idea of writing a big blog post about my struggles with depression. But like so many people out there, there’s always something holding me back. Fear? Stigma? Society?
One of the major reasons I haven’t shared more about it is because it’s hard to believe. On the surface, I’m one of the bubbliest people you’ll ever meet. In fact, my coworkers and friends are constantly commenting on it. I’m loud, honest, silly and unapologetically me. Even at work. Ok, especially at work. So I know it would confuse people to hear that I struggle with my mental health behind the scenes. That truthfully, I’d pretty much always rather be at home with a book than out being social.
Kate Spade herself made an entire career—an empire, really—on being happy. People viewed her through the lens of her designs and public persona. But what this tragic event has reminded all of us is that there’s always more to the story.
Let me just say this straight out: I am not suicidal. I have never had suicidal thoughts. Nobody needs to worry about me on that level. But regardless, I think it’s so important that we make mental health part of our dinner table conversation. All of us. We talk about our dentist appointments, our eye exams, even our gyno visits. So why aren’t we talking about our mental health, too?
I’m heartbroken that Kate felt she couldn’t talk about her struggle, and that she thought suicide was the only solution to her battle. I’m heartbroken that she leaves behind a young daughter, who will grow up without a mom to guide her through the toughest times of her own. But I’m also hopeful. Hopeful that this, yet another life cut tragically short, will fuel the conversation that we so desperately need to be having.
If you need help, talk to someone. A friend, a family member, a professional. Or me! There’s a link on my blog to send me a direct email; send me a private message on social media or even comment on this post and I’ll find you! No one should have to go it alone.
Rest in peace, Kate Spade. May your soul live colorfully on forever.