How I Made Fear Fashionable

Fear | Fashion | Anxiety | Mental Health
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Words by Morgan Cohn

For most of my life, anxiety has kept me in a box. It has told me where to go, who to talk to, how to dress, and even how to act. Being self-aware of my ‘condition’ was something that both frustrated and empowered me, but for the most part, it downright debilitated me.

I felt trapped. Maybe I WAS trapped. I was ashamed of the days when I couldn’t go out for fear of absolutely nothing. I was constantly worried about how I would be perceived if I didn’t maintain my bubbly personality throughout the day.

That was fine for a while, aka 24 years of my life, but then I went to Paris. I got to go to Fashion Week. Real. Life. FASHION WEEK. This had always been a dream of mine, but I never felt confident enough to take the plunge. Luckily, I had an amazing person by my side literally nudging me forward, regardless of how I felt. I ran around taking pictures, sneaking my way into shows, and then even getting invited into one!

Though it seemed trivial back then, at that moment, I now realize that passion was helping me overcome my anxiety. I would have never approached other people to take their pictures. I would have never confidently stood in a line I knew I didn’t belong in. But for some reason, the fuel to learn and to know more about the fashion industry changed my mind.

From that trip, my eagerness evolved from a passion into a business. I was able to post my experiences, clothes, trips, you name it, on a site that I had created months before, but was too scared to actually put much thought into. I made sure to take a lot of photos on the days my anxiety was reduced, to soak up as much as possible, so that when I was having a particularly difficult day, I could still post. Some may say this was me hiding behind my computer screen and putting up a façade, but for me, it was sharing my happiest and best moments in order to remember why I push through my anxiety on a daily basis.

Though I still struggle with anxiety regularly (I was diagnosed with GAD a couple years ago) I also started a blog, moved to a new city, started over… so many things I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for me realizing my passion.

Something I had to realize throughout this process was that my singular moment was not a silver bullet. It didn’t change my life or get rid of all of those miserable feelings. What it DID do was allow me to realize that I had something worth fighting for, and fight I did, and continue to do.

I hope to do so much with my life, but attending that one show, snapping that one photo, writing down my thoughts and sharing my photos on an online platform, have all helped me to realize that I am capable of just about anything.

No really, we are all capable of ANYTHING, as long as you believe in and fight for your passion.


Morgan is the curator and designer behind Elena Mae. She spends much of her time enjoying the sunny outdoors of San Diego, and will never pass up the opportunity to buy fresh flowers. She has worked as a social media designer and event planner for much of her career, and hopes to continue to do so in the future. Check out her website & be sure to follow her on Instagram @theelenamae.



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