Hey y’all-today’s post is a bit deeper. Ever since I heard the tragic news of Kate Spade’s suicide yesterday, I have had a lot on my mind. Although Kate Spade is not the first celebrity who has committed suicide, her suicide has impacted me like none of the others. This is because the Kate Spade brand is literally part of my everyday life. As I sit in my apartment writing this post, it strikes me how much Kate Spade surrounds me. So today, I want to share my reflections on Kate Spade’s legacy, as well as some important lessons her tragic passing teaches us. Also, have wanted to do another mental health awareness post for several weeks now. Kate Spade’s suicide raises the importance of mental health awareness.
A Colorful Legacy
Kate Spade started her fashion and lifestyle brand in 1993 with a classic handbag line, but it grew into so much more. In addition to handbags, Kate Spade now includes clothing, shoes, jewelry, wallets, bed linens, kitchen items, home decor, and more. Although Kate Spade was no longer involved in the daily operations of the company she founded, it maintained the integrity of her brand. I would describe the Kate Spade brand as colorful, fun, and whimsical, but also classic and timeless. My Kate Spade watch has “live colorfully” engraved on the back of the face. In my opinion, that is a great way to sum up the Kate Spade brand. Although Kate Spade does feature some neutrals in their collections, bright colors and patterns are even more prominent. In addition, I love the witty sayings that adorn many Kate Spade items, such as “Eat Cake for Breakfast,” “Skirt the Rules,” and “Hot to Trot.”
The first Kate Spade item I ever got was a pair of sparkly statement stud earrings. My cousin gave them to everyone in her bridal party as a gift for her December 2011 wedding. I have gradually added Kate Spade items to my collection over the past several years. Thanks to sales, the Kate Spade outlet, and TJ Maxx, I have been able to accumulate a lot of Kate Spade without breaking the bank! I have a Kate Spade throw pillow, placemats, dish towels, pot holders, and bed linens. Literally everywhere I look in my place there’s some Kate Spade! In addition, my outfits incorporate Kate Spade jewelry, sunglasses, or a handbag multiple times each week.
Favorite Kate Spade Items
So this post would become a novel if I listed every single Kate Spade item I own and love. Therefore, I will simply highlight a few things from my Kate Spade collection, with a little bit of commentary on what they mean to me.
(Photo by Amelia Cassar Photography)
Y’all may remember this Kate Spade lemon pendant that I styled with my Lauren James seersucker shift dress in this post, as well as my striped Lilly Pulitzer dress in this post. I admired this necklace when it debuted in spring 2014, and bought it when it went on sale that summer.
This orange mini pendant necklace is my newest piece of Kate Spade. I bought it during the surprise sale last month. It was actually a conversation starter at church last weekend. Someone complimented the necklace and correctly guessed that it was Kate Spade, even though there is no logo on it that would overtly suggest that.
Thanks to cute and fun kitchen items, the Kate Spade brand helps me embrace my current season in life. You don’t have to wait until a wedding registry to buy pretty things for your home. Treat yourself now!
And here’s another fun kitchen item. I’m definitely on board with the “Eat Cake for Breakfast” motto. How about you?
(Photo by Amelia Cassar Photography)
(Photo by Amelia Cassar Photography)
The bag I carried as part of this look was my first Kate Spade handbag, and one of my very first designer handbags.
I found this Kate Spade zebra figurine at TJ Maxx several years ago, and couldn’t resist picking it up. It definitely adds a fun and whimsical touch to my living room. That’s what Kate Spade was all about!
Eliminate the Stigma of Mental Health Issues
So now that I’ve shared my thoughts on Kate Spade’s legacy and a peek at my Kate Spade collection, I want to touch on something even more important. The tragic circumstances of Kate Spade’s death illustrate that we MUST raise awareness about mental health issues. In addition, we MUST remove the stigma of mental health issues, so that those who are struggling aren’t ashamed to reach out and seek professional help.
I think it comes as a shock to the world that the founder and namesake of a company known for such colorful and whimsical fashion was so depressed that she saw no way out but to take her own life. Kate Spade was clearly silently struggling with an internal battle. This evening, Kate Spade’s husband revealed to People magazine that she had been seeking treatment for depression and anxiety for the past five years. He even said she sounded happy the night before and that there were no warning signs that she would commit suicide. Yet, somehow Kate Spade still had no hope to continue living and was fighting a HUGE internal battle.
I don’t want to speculate on what exactly could have prevented Kate Spade’s suicide, since she was seeking treatment and at least a few people in her life were aware. The bottom line though, is that we NEED to have more conversations about mental health issues so that more people will be open to reaching out and sharing their struggles. The larger the support network, the better. Even though Kate Spade was seeking treatment for depression and anxiety, others may suffer in complete silence and not get any help at all.
A Few Words on My Story
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I struggle with anxiety and depression. (I also mentioned it in this blog post a few months ago.) The reason I am so open and transparent about my personal struggles with depression and anxiety is because I want anyone struggling to know that they are not alone. I share my story to help prevent other people from taking their own life like Kate Spade did. My anxiety and depression is extremely manageable thanks to regular counseling (shout out to my AMAZING therapist), medication, and my relationship with Jesus.
Please DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED to go to counseling if you find yourself feeling depressed or anxious. Also, if your counselor refers you to a psychiatrist to prescribe anti-depressants, GO! DO NOT BE ASHAMED if you need to take psychiatric medications. It infuriates me that our society has stigmatized mental illness to that point that some people who need psychiatric medications try to avoid taking them or get off of them. You typically don’t hear people who have heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and other physical chronic illnesses talk about trying to avoid taking medicine. Your brain and neurotransmitters are part of your body too, so we our society shouldn’t look down upon people having to take medication to help them function properly. I take an antidepressant every night, and have been doing so for years. I have zero shame about it, and neither should you!
Finally, Kate Spade’s tragic suicide illustrates another important reality regarding ultimate fulfillment in this life. On the surface, Kate Spade appeared to have it all. She was the founder of a fashion empire. Her namesake brand is now a household name, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In addition, Kate Spade had all the wealth and material possessions one could ever want. Despite all of this, she was still severely depressed and felt she didn’t have a reason to continue living.
The take-home message of all this is that fame, wealth, status, and material possessions do not provide ultimate fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice. I won’t even pretend that I don’t love shopping for new clothes and accessories. However, the happiness that material things provide is temporary and fleeting compared to the everlasting joy that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ brings. And knowing Jesus is the only thing that can provide the ultimate fulfillment our hearts yearn for.
When you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can find joy in knowing His everlasting, unchanging, eternal love. Despite my flaws and shortcomings, Jesus loves me so much that He literally laid down His life an shed His blood for me on the cross. Anyone who accepts this free gift of His grace can spend all of eternity with Him. When I cling to the reality of the cross and His grace, I am reminded that anything this life throws at me is temporary. Even though I may struggle with depression and anxiety for the rest of my life on this earth, I know that one day in heaven Jesus will make all things new. Depression and anxiety will be no more. What a sweet, sweet, reality that is!
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
I hope that this post provided some good memories of Kate Spade’s legacy. But more importantly, I hope it showed you that it’s okay to open up and let people know if you’re struggling with mental health issues, and that there is nothing in this world that will satisfy like a personal relationship with Jesus. I will definitely be sharing more mental health awareness posts on the blog in the future, so stay tuned. Also, I periodically chat about mental health issues on Instagram, so come hang out with me on there if you aren’t already.
My prayers go out to Kate Spade’s family and friends as they grieve this loss in the days, weeks, and months to come.