Life has been a lot these days. A lot of fun, a lot of work, a lot of stress, just… a lot. It would seem I’m not the only one who feels this way as it’s a common refrain among the people I know lately: it’s a blast to have a lot going on, but it sure gets exhausting from time to time.
I’ll admit I was ambivalent about even going to Austin Fashion Week this year, not because of the event itself but because with everything else happening (work, wedding plans, creative projects, parents and in-laws coming to town) I wasn’t sure if I should commit to going. And if I’m being honest, as the years have gone by since my first AFW, I haven’t felt as much a part of the whole scene that comes along with it. I’ve always felt like the scrub at the fashion show: never as dressed up, slicked back, Chanel-bag-and-Rent-the-Runway-ready as other attendees. I’m not there to be “scene”-y and take photos on the red carpet. I’m there to see fashion, plain and simple.
But I fought through the self-doubt and told myself I should go, if only for one night. Armed with my media pass (thanks again to POM Public Relations!) and after a full day of work and running around checking things off my to-do list, I rallied and made it to the Thursday night runway shows at AFW.
After a pre-show drink, some light people-watching/outfit-scoping and bumping into some fabulous Austin creatives I don’t see often enough (holla Jesse Coulter and Jen of Betty Alida!) I took my seat in the audience as the show started. As soon as the lights went down, the music came up and the models started making their way down the runway, I remembered why I came in the first place.
The fun energy and upbeat vibe, the excitement of viewing the work of emerging designers and seeing them beam with pride as their creations made their way down the catwalk… it all makes for a world that’s hard to describe if you’ve never been to a live fashion show. All of the “life” stuff I’d been dwelling on and stressing about all week was momentarily forgotten as I gave in to the experience and cheered the designers and their work. I came for the clothes, and I saw some great collections that night. The collab with Ballet Austin was particularly compelling: tutus on the runway? YAAASSSS!
What I realized at Austin Fashion Week this year is that it’s OK to take a break. It’s perfectly fine to step away and give yourself time and space from projects and people and activities that bring you more stress than joy these days. Life is just too short to force yourself to do the things you “should” be doing because we think everyone expects us to, or because we put that expectation on ourselves. (And that it’s perfectly acceptable to be the scrub at the fashion show: it just makes the runway look that much better by comparison.)
I do still love clothes, though this blog and even my Instagram haven’t necessarily reflected that lately. I just happened to be in a place in my life where it can’t be a priority right now, and that’s OK. I’m getting better about giving myself the space and care that I need. I’m learning that I don’t always need to say yes, and that I don’t have to change who I am to suit others.
Sometimes it takes a fashion show to learn that lesson.