The June 2014 issue of US Vogue features a spread starring Karlie Kloss in athletic-inspired ready-to-wear titled “Midnight Run” that pulled at my heartstrings (which, BTW, are Nike laces) more than most. It isn’t merely an aesthetic fixation, as is the case with most of my favorite editorials, but one that’s much more personal: the visual depiction of a ‘union’ so central to my personal brand of life (one that’s decidedly less lucrative than Goop). In fact, I don’t find all the images from the spread that appealing in themselves. Instead, I’m drawn to what they collectively represent: that very particular hobby-duo (running + clothes) that is in line with my own.
While writing and fashion have been fixtures in my life since the very start (yes, I actually penned a novel on the walls of my mother’s belly and came out dictating style guidelines for my first few weeks on Earth), running has in the last few years become the third building block with which I craft my character. Get rid of any of these three things, and I would, without a doubt, display some soap-opera-style misery–complete with dramatic and global statements (i.e. “Why even live?!”).
All three activities—or should I say interests?—allow me to escape reality on the daily, while also refashioning it to my own liking. Running is meditative and never fails to alter my mood for the better—it is the ultimate reboot button. I will recommend it endlessly to all of you until you can’t stand it anymore, as it’s one of the few things out there that I’ve deemed worthy of the term “life-changing.” Fashion and writing, on the other hand, are tools for figuring out who I am, and, simultaneously, expressing that so-called self to the outside world. Clothes help me decide who I’d like to be on the surface, and my choices are inevitably symbolic of the less-tangible qualities I want to strengthen as well. Writing, conversely, deals directly with what’s going on inside, helping me to explore what it is that I’m actually feeling and to make sense of experiences that would otherwise be left growing stale in my brain. They all lend me a tiny bit of control over my own life, which is refreshing when the reality is that most of our trajectories could give two shits about what we’re partial to, or what we want.
I enjoy many other things, but you could take them away from me and I’d adapt fairly quickly. Discard one of these three, and a meltdown would ensue, even if I’d eventually move forward. And while I do need (and take) breaks from them all, they never last long, as evidenced by my post the other day which claimed I would not be writing this week. “Ha,” my brain seemed to say, knowing better than I do what a slave I am to daily word vomit. Similarly, I find myself going through anxious withdrawal whenever I spend too much time off of running or focusing on fashion. All three are my anchors, so, without them, I’m a little uneasy.
Not everyone will, or can, understand these interests—they’re my magic potion, and you have yours. I’ve worked hard at all three, building up each muscle slowly but surely so that I could eventually attest: “yes, you are a part of me.” And not just any part, but a reliable part, one (or three, really) that I can revisit like a close relative, knowing generally what to expect. Though there’s always more room for improvement, the baseline familiarity that comes with them all by now is a welcome comfort. These interests make me who I am and are entwined with my ultimate values—so, for better or worse, I shamelessly privilege them over the rest.