Loss can be a catalyst for evaluation and re-evaluation, centering and re-centering, searching, yearning, and finding. What has shifted for you in these landscapes since the loss of your mother?
It’s been nearly three years since she passed, and it’s been the most defining years in my life. Her loss put me on a totally different path that I don’t think a lot of people relate to or understand. Navigating grief doesn’t happen in a straight line. It’s the ebbs and flows that have surprised me—and I’ve managed to get through some incredibly toxic and tough times since her death. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been completely lost at times, searching and yearning for love, happiness, and comfort in all the wrong places. And when you’re fragile, like I was, it was easy to invite toxicity into my life, because feeling good in the moment was all that mattered. I learned that self discovery requires getting lost and thrown off-course. In hindsight, I look at those brutal moments as a triumph in getting through those lows and becoming stronger from those experiences. The most important lesson so far is recognizing that I had that love, happiness, and comfort from my best friends and family all along, and I always will.
You never know what someone is going through. Judging people for their paths or journey is…lame. Opinions and judgment are projection, and I hope we can all enjoy our own journeys, in our own time.
Wine is so many things: heritage, tradition, time, alchemy, celebration, savoring, sense of place, stewardship, sense-memory... how does your connection to wine intersect with these stories?
Wine has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. In my family, wine is about tradition and legacy. Wine can be a generation-long process. From a planted vine to harvest to bottling to drinking — that can easily happen over the course of 30+ years. Wine is complicated. It’s not singular, which makes it fascinating. To me, wine is about slowing down. It’s about respecting a time-honored tradition and enjoying it with company.
How do you want to feel in your clothes?
I want to feel genuinely me and sexy.
How does that inform your personal style?
I wear what makes me feel good. I don’t love asking for opinions when it comes to clothing, because I don’t really care what someone else thinks when it comes to my style. Style is subjective. There is no singular expression when it comes to style, which I love. I LOVE seeing how people dress and how creative people are. I admire it.
What brings you joy in the present? What are you dreaming about for the future?
My friends, family, my independence, and my home. This year, I finally got to that stage in my life where I feel comfortable in my path—despite the chatter around me. Like I said earlier, I believe that opinions and judgment are often times projection. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and it took me a long time to get to the point where I am content with my present. No one's journey needs to be the same. Be happy for and support your friends’ journeys. Embrace your life today, tomorrow is never guaranteed. My hope for my future is that it’s full of peace, FUN, unplanned adventure, and freedom.
Follow Cat Chen on Instagram here, and Shoppe Amber Interiors here. Photos by Dustin Aksland.
Shop Cat's OZMA picks here.