Existential Crisis, Maybe

From Science of People

I don’t know what it has been…maybe this fucking pandemic, maybe it’s the fact that I turned 49 a few months ago, maybe I’m feeling stuck and it’s time for me to switch things up, but I’ve really been pondering my life’s purpose and I believe it’s been since my bout with breast cancer, or the course of the past year. So much so, that every time I sit down to write, design, cook, anything that draws from my creative side, it falls flat and I end up binging on something mindless. Part of my problem is my physical barriers, working 8 hours per day in retail wrecks havoc on my legs. I’d love to say it’s because of my injury, but that’s only part of the problem…but blah, blah, blah. We all have our own issues and get stuck or wonder if there’s something more.

About a month ago, I woke from a dream. It was wild. In this dream, I stood leaning on my friend’s deck overlooking his incredible view of the neighborhood park that is reminiscent of a rocky mountain plain with a stream running through it. As I enjoyed my coffee, taking in the suburban Denver air, I looked down below and saw a brown bear attacking his dog. In that instant, my maternal instincts (fur momma) kicked in and I ran down the ramp to the ground below. Not thinking of anything, but to get that sweet dog’s leg out of the mouth of the aggressor, I punched the bear in the nose. It opened it’s mouth in shock and let go. The pup and I ran up the ramp into the house safely. I woke. A couple of things came to mind, besides the obvious, “what did I eat before I went to bed?”

In that dream, I was mad fit taking on a bear…but even more than that, I was walking–NO, RUNNING–without a limp (I call it my gangsta limp) or limited ability. Also, I had no fear, but instead, complete instinct (as dumb as it might be in real life) to jump into action. The biggest question I had, was “where did this bear come from?” As I always do, I took to the Google and asked, “what does it mean to dream about a bear?” And of course, there were so many interpretations: from needing to find inner peace, to aggression, to a threat in your life. However what resonated most was this, “seeing a grizzly bear means you are able to face your biggest fears. It may be the time for a positive transformation and resolving problems that have been bothering you for a long time,” from DreamingAndSleeping.com

After that dream, I knew I needed to get unstuck, but what did I want to do? I love that my day job affords me the opportunity to do what I love, assisting people feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. I am grateful that it gives me the opportunity to pursue my passion project, Hopeless + Cause Atelier, and have financial stability and health care, so I struggle when I complain about the constant sales goals, pressured stretch goals and working weekends/holidays. I started reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK”, by Mark Manson, again. The premise is not to give up caring about everything, but instead fine tuning and honing in on what you care about. Focus on that.


A couple of weeks later, I applied to Austin Fashion Week. I showed Hopeless + Cause Atelier in May 2017 and with the craziness in my personal life at the time, I was so grateful how well they seamlessly produced this show that it eased my stress and as you can see for yourself in the link below how flawless the runway looked.

I decided I’d create a small capsule collection of seven looks to ease my way back into the circuit but really because of my budget and lack of time with my work load. Usually, my design aesthetic is influenced by what’s happening around me either personally or worldly. This hasn’t been the case until last week, I took off some time from work to start designing but I had no ideas about fabric, cohesive theme, or even color scheme.

Last Sunday, I had lunch with my friend Denise. We opted to go to El Pinto, a staple in the North Valley and just down the road from where I grew up. It was the ending day for Balloon Fiesta and it was filled with tourists and families enjoying brunch. As the restaurant takes pride in growing their own ingredients, it made me think about growth and harvesting our own fruits (talents, dreams, whatever you’d like to fill in the blank with).

After our lovely conversation and meal, I decided to stop by my local JoAnn’s fabric shop, since I would be unable to get to NYC or LA for fabric before the show. And just like that, inspiration hit. I would play with a palette of harvest colors.

In my Hopeless + Cause Atelier garden, I am harvesting blueberry, olive, oat, pumpkin and raspberry. And as with all my designs, look out for the unexpected details

I will be showing Hopeless + Cause Atelier in Austin, TX on Sunday, November 13, 2022 and I’m excited that Ang will be joining me. I hope you will following along in this journey via Instagram: HopelessCauseAtelier. And if you’ve got a great upbeat song (your “up-to-bat” or “strut down the runway” song), I need some new songs in my sewing repertoire, and you never know which might make it to the runway (thanks to those of you who already contributed). You can contribute or hear them HERE.

This is my first step on the path of Paris Fashion Week, September 2023 for SS24. I am tired of life getting in the way. I have booked another 36 hour trip to NYC in December because I couldn’t get through the year without visiting my soul place. I’ve started a 30-day yoga program to hopefully help with the muscle strength and flexibility especially going into the retail holiday season. I’ve started looking and applying for positions that draw on my creative skills, unless I can an incredible book deal on my crazy life…LOL!

It’s been too long since I’ve written, and boy did it feel good to get back to it. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and hope to see you in person soon. Here’s to existential crisis helping us to fine tune our focus.

With light and love,
Dara Sophia Romero

6 Replies to “Existential Crisis, Maybe”

  1. Love reading this!!

    Right Now by Van Halen
    💓. It’s in my playlist and it pumps me up when I’m on the elliptical lol.

  2. I relate to this existential crisis. Ive had it for about the last year. Im starting to feel more like myself. Definitely in a rut and making some changes.
    Excited to see your new designs!!!

  3. So very happy and excited for you Dara!💕
    Wishing you all the best that life has to offer and best of luck with Austin Fashion week. Hey and I love the colors you’re going to use 🥰

  4. Good luck to you Dara, you can never have regrets if you follow your heart, only if you don’t. And don’t look back, looking forward is so much more exciting!!

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