It took my friend and I walking around and around Dongdaemun Design Plaza in circles before we finally happened upon the line to get into the actual show. As we walked passed people in the general seating line, we flashed our VIP tickets (that had been generously gifted to us be another dear friend), not knowing where we were headed or what to expect when we got there.
We were virgin fashion week goers.
It was a scene out of Vogue: lanky models walking up and down the catwalk to the beat of loud drum music and the never-ending clicking sounds of flashing cameras at the end of the catwalk.
I was captivated and drawn to their stoic facial expressions. I thought if I looked closer, I would catch a smile or even a smirk...but these were trained robots. The only movement was ever so slight eye contact to make sure they headed back when the next set of models were walking down. If you blinked, you could have missed it.
The experience was completely void of human connection.
CARING ABOUT THE INTERNAL > EXTERNAL
While watching these seemingly perfect humans walk back and forth with different designer clothes, seemingly perfect skin, and seemingly perfect hair, I looked around at the people who had come to watch. From my third row seat, I could tell everyone was as captivated as I was.
Then I thought, what if we took the time to care more about what was going on in our insides? Like our emotions, how we spoke WITH ourselves, our inner critic, accepting ourselves for who we are on the inside, and we actually had an entire show about that? Each season there would be a different emotion showcased? A different strategy to reclaim our inner lives?
IT'S JUST LIFE
In a psychotherapist's office, just hours before heading to Seoul Fashion week, I sat and had a conversation WITH Eunice about how to tackle mental health issues in Korea. We had met at another event she was speaking at about "How to Manage Stress." With her tiny frame, calm and listening demeanor, I could see how clients could sit for hours in her office. Not to mention she had been practicing psychotherapy for more than 20 years. She specializes in Sandplay therapy (a therapy involving toy figurines), so one of her shelves is completely covered in tiny toy figurines.
"Our clients are 90% foreign and 10% Korean. The Koreans don't really come out of fear that someone will find out. You know, I see a therapist, I wrote an article in this magazine about it. I mean, I want people to see that it's not a big deal. We all need to take care of ourselves. It's not even about mental health, it's just life."
We went on to talk about how people hide their emotions and their feelings for fear of people finding out that somehow they aren't perfect.
Wait, we are ALL not perfect. We are imperfect humans. IT'S JUST LIFE.
With that, she hands me the magazine and tells me I can take it with me. I leave feeling like I have just had a therapy session WITH her and hopeful that together we can create change around...LIFE here in Korea.