Everyone has people they look up to. Mentors, muses, or people they aspire to be like. I, like many other aspiring fashion journalists have a Twitter full of these. Aside from the celebrity of the moment culture, nothing beats people you can relate to. Maybe with un-realised dreams. Or a dreamer of the day, that can put pen to paper and realise their thoughts and dreams so well that you feel like you’re walking on the clouds of their imagination, where every step you take you fall deeper into the recesses of their mind.
That’s kind of how I felt about him. Not an actual friend, but a Twitter friend. Brought together by a Tweet about Pirates of the Caribbean, we exchanged follows. The fact he was, at the time, an employee of Conde Nast I have to say intrigued me more. I’d regularly click onto his website link. Where his short story’s read like pages dipped in what could only be described as pure enchantment, and the line between imagination and reality was so blurred that you could do nothing but get engulfed by his words.
Tweet’s about Martinis with the ‘Elle girls’, and spending his lunch break dashing off across London to share a slice of tiramisu with ‘ma petite amie’ only added to the allure. I sent him an email once. I picked his brain about the industry and which path I should take. He replied seemingly without hesitation, with a message packed full of insight and knowledge. An expert in his craft at the tender age of 24, he had accomplished what many could only dream of.
I did notice his Twitter submission’s had become quiet. Quickly realizing that it was just after Valentines Day, I imagined he’d whisked his ballerina girl off to some romantic location worthy of a Linda Howard novel. He just seemed that type, you know. A dreamer of the day, living out the words of T.E Lawrence and acting his dreams with open eyes. I admired him. I wondered if our paths would ever cross, laden with double ‘don’t I know you?’ stares. It’s such a shame that will never happen. As on Valentines Day, the boy with the way with words, the dreamer of the day had nothing left to say.
His decision to end his own life will echo in my consciousness for years to come. A reminder that what looks perfect from the outside could be riddled with imperfection and unhappiness within. Under those layers of finely tuned paragraphs and interlocking adjectives sliding to the next like butter on warm toast, there was an author so tangled, he could see no other path for himself.
It made me realise that this career I crave and work so hard for may not complete me like I assume it would. I was forced to admit that as important as realizing my dream is, there are a lot more boxes I need to tick. Take the blinkers off, sit back and smell the flowers of today. As dramatic as this may sound, I would compare it to an individual finding out that a religion they had followed their whole life was flawed. That there is not always a cushioned pillow of constant contentment and joy once you enter those gilded gates. Of course, I’m sure the level of elation could scarcely be rivaled, but just like any profession, you have to tread water. The swans of the fashion world, they are graceful and stern. Peacefully gliding over the surface of the pond of life, while their pedicured feet, masked by nature’s version of the waterproof trench are paddling profusely to ensure their destination.
I’ve never cried over the death of someone I’ve never met before this. A true testament to the
power of words I guess. And I thank him for his.