They say that for any practice, the toughest part is showing up. It took me a promise set more than a year ago to cough up the guts to take on this journey I’m about to share, but I’m happy I’ve made it - and also, terrified. What has brought me to this move were a series of extraordinary personal stories of which I’ll share in my sincerest capacity at this time, with writing and photography. Having you here with me in my most intimate hours, I attempt to construct extensions of the inner world I nurture to connect with the outer - in hopes of reaching you.
As CEO and founder of Denuo, a woman in business, an advocate for sustainable fashion, a depressive, photographer and whatever other titles that help describe me, this column, Sustaining Intimacy, is as a much a personally spiritual endeavour as it is a critical practice developing deeper human experiences in my industry. I’ve learned that I have a voice, one of which I’d like to explore with you by my beside. At my best, my hope is that I get to reveal Denuo's intentions and support fulfilment elsewhere in whatever way I can.
Close to Home
Although I haphazardly began writing for our site last year, I intentionally delayed any further entries (and even deleted most) from fear of coming off too sensitive and personal. The tipping point came only recently during a vacation trip when I fell upon filmmaker Brit Marling’s article in the NY Times, “I Don’t Want To Be The Strong Female Lead”. Truly and for the first time, I saw all my vulnerabilities and their conflicts described by someone else, someone I very much admire. This was the only moment in years I genuinely did not feel alone and in-turn uncovered my key to success - I needn't look far, it was within me all along - my feminine. This was the push I needed and I cried all about it so, thank you, Miss Marling! Herein lies the link connecting not only my time in stillness the past few years leading up to this point but many more stories beyond that shape my core as a woman.
I deeply know loneliness. If you search online, recent studies on loneliness generally report that despite the internet connecting us to one another easily, effective faculties for genuine human connection still fall short. We see it most when a capitalist world exploits the gap with "shop-therapy” or when a full day's hard work feels deeply unfulfilling. I’ve been told and believed that it comes with the territory. With my work in leadership roles, entrepreneurship endeavours, freelance projects, and generally being creative, my experiences dangerously romanticize a sense of estrangement. But it isn't unique to me. I know many others feel similarly regardless of what we do and who we think we are. Estrangement and loneliness are actually different, but I still mixed up the two and somehow always put them hand-in-hand. I question, should unpredictable changes and behaviour really cause indifference, inhibit growth, and diminish a sense of belongingness? Is loneliness estrangement or, aha!, do I feel estranged because I'm lonely?! I deeply know loneliness and it could feel like a prison, but maybe it’s meant to feel more like home. My perspective from watching Alan Light’s, “What Happened, Miss Simone?”, documentary adds that our true freedoms; to express and fulfil all our wants and needs, is still perpetually under construction. Freedom to be one with ourselves and freedom to be real.
I have become so comfortable with my loneliness that I’ve begun to cherish every minute of it. It was in the excruciating moments where I only had myself to lean on and draw worth from that I developed complex facets of self-discovery, when allowed. Loneliness forced me to look at who I was and acknowledge her fully - to come back home. It was a rough road that I often hated and fought but gradually, I would give in. It was in my mini moments of vulnerability that profound strength took over. What I now know is that loneliness became a really beautiful chapter in my life. The time enabled me to build up enough of my vulnerability to recognize a powerful human ability we all crave, intimacy. I can now recognize that my sense of intimacy with the world around me and within dictates the narrative of my life.
Choosing to write only what I know, my stories and their insights are the tools I’ll be using to repair the world around me in disconnect. Some of my deep-seated inner conflicts and even some premature mulling will be held up and then through the looking glass, we go. Because honestly, if nothing else, I want to give meaning to the life I choose to live.
"Humans have a general desire to belong and to love.”
Definitely, I am no Fashion expert and neither am I trained in business and yet, I’ve found my way into this intersection of the world and constantly thought over and over what role I play in it. I welcomed Denuo's seventh-anniversary last year on shaky ground and I wasn’t sure how and if I wanted to push forward. Despite everything, an indescribable passion for sustainable fashion and lifestyle retail work persists.
One of the biggest challenges I face is communicating sustainability to a wider audience. I would run around in circles doubting my efforts. There’s so much that goes into sustaining the internal mechanisms that enable behavioural change and paradigm shifts but, few focus on this tough part of the equation. What I’m about to reveal throughout this column will be the remarkable journey I’ve taken to tether a dream on a token of affection - intimacy. Without going off too far into this introduction, I want to acquaint those interested in the confidences I’m about to share and bind us together on this deeper perspective of sustainability and fashion. I believe at the core of sustainability, we can address social, environmental and spiritual gaps that keep us apart. I want to take this initiative to refocus attention to inner power and explore ownership and freedoms. Revealing all my attachments with this industry, I can evolve the range of information present on this platform and pave the basis for affective connection as separate and together participants in this movement.
In short, as Isola Rosa puts it, I’m "losing my shit”, but, for good reason. I’m letting go of a lot of what’s holding me back to share with you everything Denuo needs me to embrace; a loving and free woman.