I haven’t been feeling like myself lately, but it wasn’t until this week that I had the time and space to understand just how challenging things have been. Geoffrey and Sloan left at sunrise yesterday to drive to Mill Valley so she could spend a few days with her grandparents, leaving me home alone for the first time in exactly 150 days. I love spending time with my family, but as someone who desperately needs her own space, the uninterrupted time together has been just one more thing that’s added to the extreme highs and lows of this pandemic. Of course, I am acutely aware of just how lucky I am, but I’ve also been experiencing some unique personal and professional challenges. I wanted to share a bit more about those and where I’m at mentally with you:
From the onset of the pandemic, my goal has been to keep the company afloat and our team employed, while making sure my family is safe. Part of my job is to convey my role as fun, effortless, and exciting—which it generally is. But for the first time in March, we faced obstacles that dramatically impacted our business, and we are still feeling their reverberations. The week we began sheltering in place, we lost massive sponsorship opportunities we had secured the year before, and other large partnerships have either stalled or been eliminated. We had to do a complete overhaul of not only our editorial strategy, but of the direction of the Shop. Delays have become the norm at nearly every level, from our supply chain, all the way to deliveries to customers.
In June, my focus grew to include the long overdue and necessary work to be anti-racist both personally and professionally. I had to take a hard look at who I was as a person, mother, and leader, while simultaneously reevaluating the inclusivity within our company culture, Shop products, and content. I’ve been disappointed in myself for not starting this work earlier, which continues to be another pivot we are making within the company.
Navigating these changes together would have been difficult at any time, but doing all of this remotely has come with its own slew of issues. Our incredibly close team hasn’t seen each other in five months, except over video calls, and paying rent for a large office that has essentially gone unused keeps me up at night. We’re contemplating working remotely indefinitely, but what would that mean for the company? Would we lose the magic that comes from working all together?
The sour cherry on top has been attempting to manage all of this while creating some semblance of a stress-free environment for Sloan. Parenting under normal circumstances is difficult on its own, but parenting during a pandemic is especially challenging. She’s constantly asking questions about the virus, hasn’t seen another child in months, and is about to start Kindergarten remotely.
I've been trying to keep my head down, maintain perspective, and plow through, but the adrenaline that propelled me forward in March has begun to wear off. I've allowed little room to let my guard down since I equated being overwhelmed with being weak and unappreciative. I also felt an obligation to maintain the mission of our brand and to continue to be a source of inspiration. Curating products and content that elevate everyday life is one of my greatest joys and a responsibility I take to heart.
But I feel like I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster, from dark evenings to bright mornings—and my moods are typically more stable. Staying silent with this community and myself isn't serving me well, so this is my first step toward embracing some of the vulnerability that typically guides me.
The weight of having a brand that's built on celebrating the little things takes a toll on me when I'm struggling. I've been irritable, anxious, and pessimistic, not exactly the core tenets on which I built cupcakes and cashmere. So to those who've noticed I've been less responsive than usual, whether it’s in emails, DMs, or comments, I'm sorry. I pride myself on just how much I can typically juggle and lately, I've had too many balls up in the air. We're all navigating a lot, but if we don't take the time to take care of ourselves, that's when everything else falls out of place.
There's an analogy that's been playing out in my head that best describes my current state (and perhaps it will even resonate with some of you who've been feeling similarly). Fair warning—it's way more dramatic and morbid than I mean for it to be, but it's the closest I've come to wrapping my head around what's been going on. In the movies, when someone is drowning, it's an elaborate scene: There's a person splashing about, arms flailing while they call out for help. But in reality, the act of someone drowning is often silent. There's no screaming or communicating through wild hand gestures that they need saving. That person is doing everything they can just to keep their head above water, legs furiously kicking under the surface. And that's kind of how I've felt. I'm overwhelmed, tired, and sad—not always, or even every day—but there are more moments than ever before when I don’t even recognize myself. Do I wish I could have acknowledged it sooner and communicated how I was feeling (both with myself and subsequently with this community)? For sure. But I'm also trying to allow myself the grace to realize we're all doing our best and that sometimes it means prioritizing certain parts of our lives while letting other things take a back seat for the time being.
One of the last instances our team spent time together was to watch The Bachelor at my house. We were all hanging around my kitchen counter, eating cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl. The memory of this evening—at a time when we were so blissfully naive that I’m pretty sure we shared the same spoon to eat the dough—simultaneously creates waves of nostalgia and sadness, and keeps me buoyed to the surface. I'm hopeful for the future, when “living at work” goes back to “working from home.”
So that's where I’m at. I feel acutely aware of just how privileged I am and that we’ve been able to maintain this business, which is so fortunate and rare. We have our health, and I'm beyond grateful for that. I’ve been unbelievably lucky, but it’s also been incredibly difficult at times—and there can be room for both. I can bake chocolate chip cookies, but be bummed that my team can’t come over to enjoy them. I can be excited about a new candle in the Shop, and also mourn the fact that Sloan doesn’t get to attend school in person. I can wake up feeling so heavy, but laugh with my friends over FaceTime by evening. And moving forward, I promise to share more, the good and the bad, and to open up with all of you on a deeper level.
This platform has never been about perfection, but connecting with others, lifting each other up, and being reminded that none of us are alone. x