How Kate Spade’s Suicide affected a Recovering Shopaholic

When I saw the news flash on my phone announcing that Kate Spade had died of an apparent suicide, I was shaken. This could not be…how could this be? Kate Spade was not a personal friend of mine. I did not know her nor do I own many Kate Spade brand items. Still, her death kept nagging at me more so than other tragic events I've heard or read about. Why? I started to think about what Kate Spade represented to me before her death and what she represents to me now.

Before, had I seen her picture in a magazine I would have conjured up images of a powerful independent, talented, successful woman. A woman who lived her dreams and had access to all the wonderful, finer things in life. She had the name “Kate Spade” emblazoned on her license not just her handbag! To me Kate personified the kind of woman who did not possess the insecurities I have or the issues I struggle with. Pretty sure she wasn’t worried how many pairs of shoes she had compulsively purchased that month! To me her life seemed perfect. To me, she was a woman I could never come close to being. Now after her death I look at her so very differently and certainly more real.

Today I see a woman who had doubts, fears, loneliness and uncertainty. She had issues too, struggles she battled with each day…struggles worse than mine. She was NOT perfect. She was an imperfect woman just like me who perhaps also attempted to be perfect or at least appear perfect. How many of us are aiming for perfection and how does this unattainable goal contribute to our insecurities and possibly to our excessive shopping?

Growing up as an only child my parents doted on me. I was the prize they had waited fourteen years for. It felt as if their worlds revolved around me and I could do no wrong. I was always told how beautiful I was, how smart I was. They claimed I would do great things, and trusted in my decisions. You would think with all this positive reinforcement that I would be overflowing with self-confidence. Somehow that did not occur. I think I tried too hard to be perfect for them. I couldn’t let them down…could I?

Dr. April Benson has used the phrase “Perfect isn’t Pretty” and I know she is right. Yet sometimes when I see a summer white maxi dress on a beautiful trendy blogger or a celebrity, I can’t help but think “That dress would be perfect…that dress will make me look just as carefree, beautiful, and put together”. I’ll think “All I need is that dress this summer”. But of course that doesn’t last long…only until I see the next great “perfect” dress!

I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. And truthfully, I may be more interesting , more likable even, NOT being perfect. This is something I must tell myself over and over, every single time I feel the urge to purchase something I know I don’t really need or can’t afford.

Kate Spade, in death, has given me deeper insight into what a “perfect” life really is or isn't. She possessed an abundance of seemingly perfect things yet those things could never save her. Those things will not give me what I yearn for either. Now when I see the name Kate Spade on someone’s bag I will use it as a reminder that we all carry baggage and we are all imperfect. I must remind myself that there is no “thing” that will transform me into perfection and it’s “okay” to be imperfect. It is okay to just be me.

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