My First Kate Spade – The Story of Happiness, Sadness and a Faux Fur Purse

Kate Spade’s suicide was shocking for many reasons, but mainly it’s hard to fathom that the woman who created a brand about empowering women, reminding us to have fun, be quirky and to sparkle and shine, felt she had no other option than to end her life.  Her funeral was yesterday, and in a horrible twist of fate, her father passed away the night before.  He was heartbroken.

Depression is a horrible beast.  I have suffered mild depression since I was 13 years-old.  I usually have one or two bouts a year that last for a couple weeks or so.  I have never been suicidal, however.

I have learned how to “manage” my depression and I can usually pull myself out of it fairly quickly.  I put manage in quotation marks, because that’s what you’re doing.  It never goes away.  You’re either medicating, or managing, but it’s always there, waiting to surface.

When I’m feeling sad, I try to stay active socially, travel as much as possible, and make plans for the future.  All of these things give me something to look forward to.  They give me hope that tomorrow will be better than today.  And keeping hope alive is the key.

My First Kate Spade

I will admit that I have been in and out of longer bouts of depression since my divorce.  In fact, I’m depressed right now.  A funk as I like to call it.  It’s lifting, but it’s lasted a little longer and been a little harder to shake than they usually are.  I know I will be fine, I always am.

In reality, I’m actually a pretty happy person and I feed off the emotions of others.  Surrounding myself with other happy people is also key.

It hasn’t been easy.  I’ve had to make some changes and I’ve had to learn how to focus on myself.  This is a hard one for me, as I’m usually more concerned about you than I am about me.

I’m taking an adult ballet class with a group of 14-year-olds, and I love it.  I’m practicing self-care with facials and manicures and shopping.  Okay, shopping is my downfall, but hey, shoes and purses make me happy.  I’m reconnecting with old friends, and taking walks.  Getting outside – key.

I have spent several years amassing a group of female friends who are supportive, loving and understand me.  They don’t put up with my shit.  I love them.  They got me through the dark times and they are helping me through this grey period.  They know who they are.  I try to thank them all the time and let them know what they mean to me.  Practicing gratitude is also key.

Back to beautiful Kate Spade.  Throughout the day that the news broke, women everywhere started telling the stories on social media of the first Kate Spade purse they owned.  For most, it was the late 90’s iconic black nylon bag.  I was a fresh-out-of-college-career-girl working in Beverly Hills and I, too, coveted the black nylon bag.  I also coveted eating.

I made just enough money to get by. I lived alone in a studio apartment in Los Angeles and most weeks, I chose going out for drinks over going grocery shopping.  I lived off rice bowls; white rice, frozen stir fry vegetables and soy sauce.  There was no way I could afford a $200 purse.

My best friend Nicole was leaving Los Angeles and moving back to New York.  She gave me a going away present before she left.  A $200 gift certificate to Barney’s New York so I could get myself that purse, because she knew how badly I wanted it.

She went shopping with me and I picked the purse I wanted.  Only it wasn’t the iconic black nylon bag.  If I was getting a Kate Spade, I was getting a Kate Spade, and not the one everyone else had.  I chose a faux fur tiger print bag.  I still have it.  It’s now vintage and it’s the only Kate Spade purse I’ve ever owned.  It makes me happy because it reminds me of Nicole and a favorite time in my life.

My First Kate Spade

Fast forward to New York City a few years after I bought the purse, where I saw Kate Spade.  She was having her hair blown out at Frederic Fekkai, while I was having my hair colored by my friend Nancy.  Nancy leaned in to tell me “Kate Spade is right over there.”  There she was, with her dog, wearing all black and looking every bit as fabulous as I expected her to.

But that was on the outside.  Only she knows what she felt on the inside that day.  The saying is true, you don’t know what someone else is going through, and those in the deepest pain are the best ones at hiding it.


**If you need help, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 1-800-273-8255.

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