My two boyfriends named Tony…

One was really my boyfriend. The other, for those that know me, has always been known as my “imaginary boyfriend”. It seems that they had a lot more in common than being tall, lanky, dead sexy (Too soon? They wouldn’t think so), silver fox bad boys, who still loved the punk rock of their youths, had razor-sharp wits, powerful charisma, and words. Lots and lots of them. They both greatly inspired me. One nearly ruined my life. The other kept me going. They both taught me powerful lessons about life, myself, our industry and addiction. They made me laugh, and cry, and they both met the same end.

I can only speculate, but from having read Kitchen Confidential, written with humbling candor, about his struggles with addiction, low-self esteem, and trying to figure out who he was, in a vast ocean of talented characters in his sphere, that he spoke with so much love and admiration for, that the people in Anthony Bourdain’s life, in those dark times, would not have been shocked by a decision to take himself out. My Tony, had pretty much the same story, with a different backdrop. So why now? Situations vastly improved. More people who loved them than they even realized. Kids left behind that will never really know them. People who, in spite of the brutal crap they were put through by these dudes, knew how beautiful and brilliant they were on the inside, and would never, ever be done with them. Why the blindside when all seemed on the up and up?

Demons. Sounds dumb when I say it out loud. I don’t know what else to call it though. I’m sure there’s a clinical diagnosis. Narcissistic personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder. Who gives a fuck now? They weren’t a disorder anyway. They were beautiful, brilliant men tortured by their own personal demons. (Big Pharma undoubtedly played a role, but I won’t even get into that now.) Some probably see the way out they chose as weakness. Some know how much strength it takes to live every day with such demons, and keep doing it. Weakness does not exactly come to mind for me, when I hear about someone aged 40+ choosing their own way out, reasons ranging from a terminal illness to depression that they just don’t want to fight anymore. Why do we make them feel like they’re wrong? Why do we want to see them here and suffering??! That sounds just as dumb when said out loud! Dumb and selfish, but I get it. I get both sides, actually, but I wasn’t done with either of them any more or less than anyone else. I’m sick, and sad, too. I won’t ever be in the “they were weak” camp, though. In their own ways, they will always remain my heroes. I respect your opinions, whatever they are, but we may have to agree to disagree and squash it now…

Because I don’t want to hear nobody talkin’ shit to me about my boyfriends! Ya heard me?



Kate Spade

I didn’t know her. I don’t know anything about her diagnosis. I really didn’t know a damn thing about her, except that I liked her bags and sunglasses, and could never afford either. However, when I learned of her suicide yesterday, suddenly I did know her. I didn’t even need the details. I just knew her.

Kate battled depression and anxiety. That’s the official story. It’s a broad spectrum of possible scenarios or diagnoses. Most people have been touched by it, either by witnessing it, or by battling it themselves. I’m here to drive it on home for y’all, if you weren’t already sold… It is indeed a battle. BAT-TLE. All day, every day. Every fucking day! Battling against uncontrolled thoughts and feelings, that you know aren’t really your REAL feelings. Battling the thoughts and feelings of others, directed at you, that you REALLY have no control over, but most of all, having to battle the urge to just make it stop, one way or another. Maybe you have it in you to seek help, again, and it works. At least for awhile. Maybe you only have the energy to self-medicate. I’m not condoning it, but sometimes it is the motivation to keep going. It’s a slippery slope, but it happens. Unfortunately, the reality is that the highest percentage of people with depression succumb to the urge to end the battle, once and for all. For those of us who fight the fight every day, I’ll go out on a limb and say it… I think in the darkest recesses of our minds, and dark it is, suicide is an eventuality. I’m not saying that we’re all going to do it. I’m saying that if you’ve reached a certain age, and it’s still not “under control”, it’s either an eventuality you’ve sort of made peace with, or you understand that it’s something you might carry out when you’re sick. Either way, I believe that when we are in control of our moods, we’ve prepared the people that love us (if we haven’t run them all off!) to look for warning signs of an imbalance, and we remain hopeful that we can maintain that control and live. LIVE!

I don’t know what was going on in Kate’s mind. I’m certain that she loved her child and husband, though. I know that she could’ve been experiencing some extreme highs and lows that can sometimes occur from one hour to the next. I know that it’s possible to experience blackouts, either induced by drugs or alcohol, by the power of the episode itself, or worse, both. It’s terrifying to imagine what can transpire under these conditions. Hurting yourself, or God forbid, someone else. I’m sorry to say that I have been party to this more than once, either as a witness, or as the creator of my own fucked up scenario.

I’m going to imagine that Kate was floating around somewhere in this area, because personally, I NEED to. I don’t want to believe that it’s possible for me, ten years from now, when I’m her age, to be that over it.

I don’t think poorly of her, whatever her reality was, and I hope you won’t either. She lived 55 incredible years. She loved, and was loved by her daughter, and a husband who deserves a medal. Apparently, it’s common knowledge that they were living apart, but not ending their marriage. He probably needed that space in order to continue loving HER, and not feel trampled by her disorder (If you know, you know…) She built an empire in the fickle fashion industry. She made it all happen, while probably feeling like she was being waterboarded most of the time. How can anyone call that weakness?! She was NOT weak.

She was a warrior, and she deserves to be remembered as such.

Rest in all of the peace, Kate Spade.