The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, October 7, 2011, Columns

What I Did and Didn't Do

There have been so many high-profile events that I haven't attended lately but had every intention to do so. I hated missing nights of Austin Fashion Week, I was sad to miss the Red Dot Art Spree for Woman & Their Work, and I have now sadly missed every single event of Tribeza's Style Week. Capricious? No. Fickle? No. Having debilitating health problems? Yes. Though I haven't written about it in a long time, I still have the cancer that I was diagnosed with four years ago next month. Knowing how ill I was back then, I decided to forgo treatment and let nature take its course. I was given very little time, and I felt that if it was my time to go, then it was my time to go. A relatively simple theory. On cue, I went off the deep end, behaving badly, ignoring good friends in favor of less reputable ones, and I anesthetized myself in every way possible to not feel the physical or emotional pain of my situation. Then my world came to an ugly, crashing halt with my out-of-control behavior that landed me in a mortifying and public legal debacle. Almost three years later, my life is radically different. I'm still not dead yet, but I've spent plenty of time in counseling, deeply regretting my foolish, dangerous antics and trying to reconstruct a semblance of a normal life. My sister and mother offer me a stable, secure place to live ... and to reconnect and recover through an ongoing process. I felt better than I had in some time, particularly contrasted to when I had been so weak and fatigued that I couldn't walk without a cane or other support. At home, gardening provided me an immensely therapeutic activity. I sewed for fun again, which is a lot more fun than sewing for business. Though I didn't feel as ill as I had, I didn't go out much socially for a couple of years. I mainly saw friends in small groups and generally stayed out of the limelight. Earlier this year, I made a conscious effort to be more involved socially again, and I attended some of the coolest parties in Austin. As the diabolical summer heat set in, I was less inclined to go out. I became even less inclined to get out of bed because no matter how well or how long I slept, I was exhausted. The fatigue was a constant companion, so again my appearances became briefer and less frequent. I'll spare the gruesome details, but now I can no longer avoid the fact that my cancer is causing so much pain and discomfort. I can't live like that anymore. In my mind, it wasn't supposed to be like that, but it is. So today, I saw a urologist for the first time in almost four years. The scans are scheduled, and the doctors will be able to see how and to where the cancer has progressed. They talked to me about the options ... the same options I declined four years ago, thinking that I didn't have much longer to live anyway. But now I have agreed to the treatments – whatever is required to save and even prolong my life. What I've been offered is hope, and by agreeing to do the invasive treatments, I have finally discovered something to hope for in my life: hope that the treatments are successful; hope that with better health, I can make the reparations in my life that I want to; and hope that I can start anew without some of the emotional baggage (not Louis Vuitton) that I've dragged around for so long.

Reading Fashion

A gift book suggestion for the fashionista in your life (even if it's you), from the illustrious Thames & Hudson publishers: Fashion Designers at the Opera by Helena Matheopoulos is a deliriously lovely book detailing collaborations between couturiers and opera productions. Over-the-top meets over-the-top as the brilliant, fantastic creations from the likes of Armani, Versace, Lacroix, and Ungaro are paired with the high-drama spectacles of Don Giovanni, Carmen, and Aida, in a volume loaded with color photos. What fashionista or opera-lover wouldn't like to find this under the tree?

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