You never know what someone is going through unless you take a walk in their shoes….because what you might find is a harder existence than you expected…. even designer brand shoes.
Yesterday we learned of Kate Spade’s passing by suicide. Over the past couple of years I have spent an unbelieveable amount of time studying and reading and listening and hopefully learning from entrepreneurs, creatives, dreamers. You know the people that get out there and make the unique life happen. In a lot of ways I became obsessed. Cause here’s my heart: my life is different … different than I thought it would be… different from my friends and family…. different. My journey, which started out with the goal to make it not as different as possible failed, so I decided I would go the other way – BE DIFFERENT.
After that decision what I found was the hard part was not limited to just embracing this truth – it was also in the doing. As my research project of successful differents continued, I narrowed my preferred teachers to those who were honest about the hard work. Those that really remember the days of dreaming, doing and wondering and those who weren’t afraid to admit it wasn’t all luck – there was a heck of a lot of blood, sweat, faith and tears. Kate Spade was one of my all time favorites. Here NPR interview was really beautiful- it showed fear, struggle, and dreaming while being rooted in the things that I think matter most. She made her dream happen with her husband. There I thought, she knew even if she failed, she had a success with him and that was the best success. Of course I envied her success, but also that she surrounded herself with the “good stuff” and I really thought, if I get my chance – I hope to keep rooted in my marriage and my foundation too. There is no such thing as having it all or even work life balance… so the next ideal seems to be connecting personal and work and she did it – what a huge win for different.
There was a time that I thought of suicide in the more traditional Christian/Catholic view – “wrong”. It has always been a sad scenario, but in a weird way there was this added label of “bad ” . This was a sin…. that would make God angry…. this is bad…. Quickly it wasn’t about the person or the circumstances they faced, it was all about judging them for the taking of life. But as I have grown up, I have a much different thought process when I hear of suicide: “how bad must the ache they felt really be to end it?” Kate Spade had many of the answers we think will solve the struggles of this world: a marriage, a child, a career, a passion, wealth, beauty and still she earnestly felt she could not go one step further. What pain must have lived with her.
In a lot of ways I still look up to Kate. She had a lot of the right stuff…. it just didn’t help win out. So in her death we learn that she was different and successful, but she was ultimately human. Wrong or bad or a sin really has nothing to do with it. She was just hurting and could not (for whatever reason) get the help she needed. When you face different you can be challenged in ways that others may not relate to and the pain can be hard. Last year when my world became its hardest I sought help. But that is hard too, because it is the kind of different not everyone wants to admit – even to themselves. My heart hurts for Kate as someone that felt she could not get the help – a woman that was just blinded by her own humanity. It happens to us all and even on the darkest days I would rather be someone that loves a person for their humanity than judge their actions.
This passing has us all taking a step back – as any loss of life does. Wondering if we are saying the right things…. doing the right things… and living the right way. But I also know this particular death is reminding everyone to seek help if needed. There is no need that is too great or too small. There is no shame and should be no fear – to own your humanity is the biggest success we can all hope for and as someone who has to own it and work on it all the time…. believe it or not there is freedom in that too. Kate was a beautiful soul who hopefully is finding her peace now and hopefully her example will help others find enough peace to finish out their time on earth. I am grateful for the chance to have this open conversation and we pray for her and her family that were the sad reason for us all to be honest now.
Rest in peace, Kate and thank you for being human until the end.