Life is Beautiful

Bon jour! Comment ça va?

It’s day 298 of quarantine here in my casita…while it feels like it, it is actually my 20th day and I’ve been officially furloughed from Macy’s. I knew this would be coming when I heard that the President called for everyone to stay at home until April 30th.

I am so incredibly blessed and thankful for those that reached out to see how I was doing after the news hit. Honestly, I was sad that I couldn’t get back to doing what I love and the people I work with. However, I was in complete agreement that this was the right decision. I have what I need to tide me through. I am at home with Kiki and Chibi. We walk daily and spend time on the empty golf course soaking up the sun when it is out.

The first week, I let myself go through all the emotions. I have been following the Keto diet for the past year and haven’t had carb cravings at all, until I had been sequestered to my casita. I’ve baked more than I did at Christmas. I didn’t keep up a daily routine and let my fitness fall to the side beyond taking the pups for a walk. That was partially for my sanity but it has been a necessity because Kiki can no longer walk on her own. Not only can I tell that she loves being outdoors by the way she wags her tail, but it is also vital to ensure she goes to the bathroom outside and not on her bed.

The gloomy, cloudy and windy weather picked up on my mood and fed into it. I let myself feel all the feels. I didn’t get upset with myself for feeling this way, but I also didn’t become that emotion. I gave myself the space and time to work through it, still journaling and writing down what I was thankful for because there is still so much I have and can give during this time. It wasn’t until I watched a Youtube segment by one of my favorite authors, researchers, and story tellers, Brene Brown, that I was able to pull myself out of this dark place.

This interview was a reminder that it is okay to not be super productive during this time, but for my own sanity I had to set boundaries. I reduced my time on Facebook as I realized it feeds my anxiety. I instead decided to post on Instagram. I would post photos of things I found beautiful to me: places I traveled and wanted to travel, things that inspired me an things that made me smile. I started following more accounts that fell in these categories. I made a commitment to check in on friends and loved ones. And as I wrote in my journal about what I was grateful for, I added a list of suggestions for things to do so I felt like I had a sense of accomplishment since I no longer had my usual routine. I am still planning on Paris Fashion week for SS21, so in working toward this goal, I’ve committed to 10-15 minutes each day learning French on Duolingo. These commitments helped me feel like myself again. However, I also made the commitment not to shame myself if had an off day.

I still haven’t heard from Project Runway. In fact, I saw the casting company extended the date to April 1st, and then to April 8th. I don’t know what that means for my application, but nothing makes sense right now. Although this time at home would provide the perfect opportunity to create and design, I think my mood had created a mental block and I could not drawn enough inspiration to design…well, until I came across a fellow designer’s post on the material he designed.

Up until this point, I had been playing with the notion of roaring into the spring and summer collection, but that roar came to a screeching halt. As I was scrolling through my feed on March 28th, I was stopped in my tracks. This vibrant image spoke to me by its broken beauty, separateness and how solitary items, when pieced together created cohesiveness and a full story. I reached out to the designer, Benton Burford, whom I follow because of his beautiful design (he’s primarily into interior designs), to see if it would be possible to get fashion fabric. He immediately responded and was excited by the opportunity to collaborate. It then made me think about a couple of designs I had been playing with.

I had been playing with positivity and empowering words. I have wanted to work with a graffiti artist to design on fabric for about 5 years, but the last person I had contacted didn’t follow through and at one point when I tried to create the script on my own. It was quite laughable. As serendipitous as life happens to be, I had been connected with a local chef, Bryan Romero, to work on a culinary fundraiser. I started following his account because as I said I wanted to follow beauty, and his culinary creations were indeed that, but what I found is that he also has a fine arts background and on a few of his stories saw that this included street style graffiti so I asked if he would be interested in collaborating. I thought his script on fabric would pair beautifully with Ana’s tattooed art, whom I was already in the process of collaborating with. Chef Romero went on to suggest an artist friend of his, Berto Lara, aka Blando Bland, and my mind was blown. I see all these artists and their contributions to what I would create not only in a ready-to-wear, street style look, but also very glam and high fashion…the heart of my design aesthetic of edgy-demure. As I started pinning these images to my Pinterest Board, a beautiful theme came through…chaos. In this random disorder with irregularities…there are underlying patterns that have come through. Colors, patterns, silhouettes started to fill my mind.

It made me think of what is happening in the world right now and chaos theory or the butterfly effect and how a small isolated event can affect the bigger picture. How artists from NYC, Texas and NM can impact what I plan to create and for the first time I was excited. I started playing with material again.

I started dreaming again. This time with a table in a field filled with friends and family. I was hosting a dinner that I had made (and no one got food poisoning). As I sat back and listened to conversations, laughter and good cheer, I realized that this was important to me. As the glorious sun set, Red Light Cameras began to play (random I know, but it was my dream).

I woke that morning with the desire to share that dream with the individuals who were in it. It was my way to let them know I was thinking of them and even more importantly for them to know to be prepared for an invitation on the flip side of this pandemic. That was a good morning.

This morning, I woke with the realization that life is filled with the good, bad and the ugly. If you’ve been following along for a while you know about Kiki’s health. Today, I understood based on the fact that she didn’t eat or drink, that I’d to have to put Kiki down and my whole being shattered. I haven’t cried this much in two years and as I type this blog, the tears once again stream down my face. What the FUCK is up with April! I made this decision to not be selfish anymore. As much as I pray for a miracle, I know this is the right thing to do, but because of the nature of the world right now I had to schedule this appointment. That action broke me and luckily I could communicate with the vet via email. Which I know I will be going back and fourth, high on emotion, so if I don’t respond or step away from the world right now, this is why.

I will be enjoying every last walk with her, holding her in my lap and looking into her big buggy eyes while I can. She has graced my life with her personality, attitude and love. Yes, I feel her love. It’s hard to feel like God. And as much as I complain about not being able to work, see family and friends, and being free to do what I love, I am so incredibly grateful that I have been home to share this time with her. This is a reminder that we all have good days and bad days, but it is what we choose to take with us through learning will help us grow to better human beings.

There are so many things I have learned during this time. And even as one who lives life to the fullest, this experience at home has helped me to appreciate relationships even more and to focus on what’s important because it is so fleeting. I plan to create even more beauty and love in this world. And what I’ve learned the most is in all the gravity, lightness, and chaos, that life has to offer, I hope you will remember how beautiful it is.

Merci d’exister, c’est tout

With light and love,
Dara Sophia

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