I have been sitting in my chair thinking for the past half hour about what to write here. Of course, the more I thought about it, the more paralyzed I became as I conjured up this idea in my mind that this really matters. Maybe in some way it does—I suppose a first post can be like a first impression: lasting. But in most ways, I don’t think it does. Really, at all. I mean, all I want this website to be is an extension of myself online, and so, if I’m writing without hiding can I really mess that up? Again, I assume some of particular professions would tell me I can. But then I’d have to challenge what it even means to “mess up” because I actually do happen to believe we learn from everything (not suggesting here to throw darts blindly and hope they’ll hit the mark, just not being scared to throw the dart when your eyes are fully open).

Anyway, point is: here I am, after much hesitation, after much fear of being too open, or too me-centric. And why? It comes down to two words: community and self-expression. (Would you count that as three? I don’t know.)

So maybe—if you do happen to be reading this still and didn’t get completely turned off by that wandering mind I showed you in the first paragraph—you’re wondering why you should ever come back here. Well, first of all, I’m not going to beg you to. I’m only going to say that if you, too, have a mind that’s always full, always needing an outlet, you’ll probably resonate with me. And then, just maybe, if you want, we’ll become friends. (How cheesy am I?! Nevertheless, I mean it.) That’s another thing, I won’t say what I don’t mean, because I can’t. It feels gross. Itchy, you know?

Now because I’ve warned you about this wandering mind behind the computer screen you’re looking at, will you allow it to go down a rabbit hole for one short minute? (If you don’t like Alice in Wonderland references, by the way, you’ll probably dislike me so you may want to open a new tab now. Just saying.) Alright, here’s what this hole happens to look like: masks. Masks on masks, filled to the brim. In other words, why does anyone choose to wear them? I was talking with a friend about this a few months ago when I noticed that there’s a particular type go person that adamantly refuses to. That is, the poor sap that’s had to wear the heaviest mask for years on end, and is so tired of bearing its weight that he became practically allergic to it. (That poor sap is me and a lot of my friends, by the way.) And I’m not talking necessarily about well-planned out, uber-contrived masks here. I’m talking about the ones that just make us look like everyone else, you know? Or the ones that we don’t even recognize as masks at all, mistaking them for our own flesh and bones faces. Those ones are the scariest.

I’ll give an example because I know sometimes following my weird metaphors isn’t the easiest. When I was in grade four, I received my first magazine in a loot bag. That day I was extremely excited. I’d always loved books—Narnia, Harry Potter, Judy Blume, you name it—but magazines! Whoa. Those were the “grown up books.” They were glossy and beautiful and just bound to be filled with magic. Hook, line and sinker.

The coolest magazines in grade four, in case you were wondering, are celebrity magazines. Pop!, M, and Tiger Beat come to mind. But when you get a bit older, you graduate into reading fashion magazines. It was the natural progression for a young girl. If you were caught reading Vogue, or excuse me Teen Vogue, you were pretty cool. As you can guess, the next stage you evolve to is full fledged Vogue, or if you’re really rad an exotic Vogue. (Flashback to my early Instagram posts of my well positioned glossy on my lap with the cup of coffee beside me. It may still be there…check if you want.)

The first thing to say here, is that obviously not everyone reading Vogue is bogus. I wouldn’t even say I totally was; I couldn’t have kept it up for years if I was. I had, and still have, a great appreciation for gorgeous, narrative editorials. I just never actually like to read them much, save for the odd article or two. The end result? After years of this becoming my new “reading material” I stopped reading. The stacks accrued yet words remained un-ingested.

I came to think that I wanted to be an editor for a fashion magazine. Seriously, ask me anywhere from grade 6 onward and I would have told you that without a moment’s hesitation. Being a freak for getting ahead (still am), I started interning young. To my horror, that didn’t mean high school—I’ll never forget the email from Elle Canada saying, “Sorry, we don’t take 15 year olds.” (It may have been more polite than that, but that’s how I read it and remember it in any case.) The interning started in university and I balanced them all with full-time school throughout those four years.

When graduation came, I saw that, sadly, there were no jobs in my city of the fashion editorial variety. So I took another job, now thinking, “Okay, if I can’t be in fashion editorial, I’ve got to be at least in fashion.” You see, my mind made that leap easily, without consideration of how it got there or if that’s what I really wanted.

So I got a job, which I ultimately left not long after (great company, though). And I thank my lucky stars that my next step, a Masters program, didn’t consist of straight up fashion program, but rather it was a luxury program. It was this schooling wherein I came back to writing, with “luxury journalism” being one of my courses. That teacher saw the emphasis I placed in his class, called me out for it, and proceeded to take me under his wing—all the while reminding me where my interest really lay.

The point I’m trying to make with this whole thing, is that I spent nearly a decade thinking I wanted something, and thus wearing that mask—“I’m Mackenzie, I like fashion”—and it was unintentional! Granted, it took more than this teacher’s wisdom to gently remove that mask from my face, but so goes another story for another day. For now let me just leave it at this: I didn’t see it and thus allowed it weigh on me. And now I cannot handle even the faintest touch of one on my skin. So I guess, with this story, (one short minute later right? sorry) I’m trying to say just two main things. One, because of all this, I hope you can believe whatever pours out here on this site is just me, and if you have any interest in that person, come back so I can get to know you! And two, “the moral” if you wish: if you feel like you’re wearing a mask, explore it, because you really might be. And it may have slipped on in the middle of the night, without you even noticing it. If you find there’s one there, stuck to your face, take it off, gently. Put it away in a drawer and lock that baby up. You don’t need it anymore.

Well, if you’re still with me, you can rub your eyes now. The end’s come.