October | Kait
Updated: May 5, 2020
Name: Kaitlyn Hermening
Lives in: Nashville, TN
Takes her coffee: Honey latte
Works at: Kait E Coach, LLC as an Enneagram Coach; freelance modeling
SIB: What inspired you to begin modeling?
KH: When I was fifteen I signed with an agency, but paused the pursuit due to age; nine years later I revisited the interest. My quarter life crisis time was about due, as I was becoming more introspective and reevaluating passions and priorities. It felt natural to explore myself creatively in photography, fashion, and expression. I just knew there was a part of me not yet introduced, and through my modeling journey this part continued to unfold. I believe I found my voice - observing my own reflection shift and experiment in photoshoot after photoshoot, like staring into a mirror until I recognized my face.
SIB: It’s Halloween season! What’s your favorite costume you’ve ever worn?
KH: This year’s costume takes the prize: the classic Morticia Addams. Conveniently I did not have to shop anywhere but my own closet for this one.
SIB: You own so many fantastic vintage items, from clothing to furniture! What’s your strategy for scoring these amazing pieces?
KH: Antique shops, thrift stores, and Facebook Marketplace. And items on the side of the road in my neighborhood, honestly. I don’t pay attention to brand/origin as much as the mood or statement something brings to my living space. I narrowed my home’s vision to the characteristics I most want to cultivate for the place in which I recharge: passion, intrigue, elegance. Whichever possessions speak those words to me, I’ll gravitate toward.
SIB: You’re obsessed with the Victorian era. Why do you think other time periods still captivate us today?
KH: The movie Midnight in Paris (directed by Woody Allen) captures the concept perfectly. The main character, Gil, traveled back in time to his ideal, the 1920’s, where he meets Adriana. Ironically, he learns that Adriana wishes for the past as well, even though she is in the “golden times.” At one point, Gil says, “I’m having an insight. If you stay here and this becomes your present, sooner or later you'll imagine another time was really the golden time…If I'm ever going to write anything worthwhile I’ve got to get rid of my illusions, and that I’d be happier in the past is one of them.”
I remember pausing the movie at this line and writing it down for how profoundly it shifted my perspective and longings. Gil realizes he is romanticizing and searching for escape from an empty or mundane present. My love for the Victorian is mainly aesthetic; similarly to my reasoning behind decor, the fashion from that time holds such beauty in that it embodies loveliness, old-fashioned values, propriety, regality.
SIB: You got to show off your decor when you were featured on HGTV’s new show Roommate Hunters in October! What was that experience like?
KH: Well, now that I am a major reality TV star, I have really suffered from all the paparazzi and exposure to the press. I was honored to be chosen to give a home tour, since I align my living space with my inner world and imagination so much. I feel you could meet and know me by entering my space. If you wanted to check it out, the episode is highlighted as a story on my Instagram account. I even got my very first hater out of the experience, so that’s neat. Someone tweeted how “the goth girl looks like she sacrifices people in her basement.” I made a Twitter account just to retweet it.
SIB: Speaking of reality TV, you love Keeping Up with the Kardashians! Which Kardashian or Jenner do you relate to most and why?
KH: Kim’s my girl. She’s confident and so glam. We’ve gone shopping together in one of my dreams, and then she “convinced” me to legally change my last name to Kardashian. It’s a little over the top ridiculous, but what can I say.
SIB: You combine socializing and fitness by Latin dancing, including salsa, bachata, and zouk! What has dance taught you about partnership?
KH: Before I learned any advanced technique, I was taught the philosophy behind partner dance. I am grateful for this because the metaphor spills into many areas of life and relationships. Partner dance is a four minute conversation of cues, suggestions, offers, acceptances, responses. I am fascinated by this because a dance is the inevitable and unique dynamic of two individual dance personalities in interaction. There should be two-sided giving - both allowing the freedom to speak and contribute. No move is led forcefully but instead, cued/offered. There is order here; one must be designated the leader, and one must follow. The lightest lead is the best lead because a good follower will be listening to the slightest nuances of her partner and showing up in her own essence, able to help craft a beautiful intuitive, wordless conversation. Translate this to relationship, and you have two whole, healthy, strong people relating to one another without a power struggle and with mutual respect.
SIB: It’s easy to get caught up in to do lists and caring for others! What’s something you do just for you?
KH: Definitely my personal spa days in. I love my alone time! Face mask, yoga, meditation, red wine. Any creative project or hobby is at the top of my list, too - decorating and poetry writing are my art therapies, where I find I reconnect with my center.
SIB: You love pampering your skin! Besides face masks, what are other ways you care for it?
SIB: How does your faith influence the way you view yourself - and others?
KH: I believe we all have divine purpose and value and should be treated as such. I believe we reflect different characteristics of God, and to gain understanding for ourselves and for others is essential to living out our identity as being loved.
SIB: As a volunteer with Youth Villages (a nationwide organization providing counseling and support for troubled youth), you mentor a young girl. What has she taught you through your relationship? What advice would you give to those seeking to mentor someone?
KH: She has given me opportunity to focus on someone’s needs and desires other than my own and an outlet to channel my care and responsibility toward. She taught me that being myself is enough in mentorship, which would be my advice to anyone who is seeking to mentor. I think volunteering for the role itself is just highly appreciated, especially to someone who doesn’t necessarily have a family support system. I know it means the world to my girl that I even just stop by or schedule outings with her and provide her with experiences she wouldn’t normally have.
SIB: What is the shame cycle and how have you learned to break out of it?
KH: My shame cycle works like this: I feel a tough emotion, I label it as negative, I add on feelings of shame over the fact that I am so down, I feel worse, I become more shameful, etc. And now I have a secondary issue of shame, while my underlying issue goes unaddressed.
My cycle starts when I believe I do not meet my image for myself of being emotionally stable, poised, kind, motivated, ambitious, energetic, or successful. I navigate a world of emotion daily, and my favorite subject and favorite thing about myself is also the thing that trips me up most.
The first step in the navigation is viewing emotional territory as good and necessary. I learn that being emotionally affected by life is right for a human. Instead of being hard on myself for my emotions being out of whack, leading to harsh self talk and ironically more emotional spirals, I know that fully feeling and processing is the only way toward health.
Unhealthy approaches are: suppressing emotions, devaluing their signals that tell what the body needs, ignoring their existence, internalizing and attaching as though they are identities, disregarding them, indulging in their fluctuations, avoiding them, invalidating their purpose, and choosing not to pay attention to their affects.
The next step is choosing gentleness with my self talk and my process. I accept the bad with the good as a fact of life and do not color a whole experience, life, or self as negative in my memory. I will feel deep sorrow which means I will feel deep joy to the same degree I am willing to confront and deal with my pain. I replace the shame cycle with an emotional release cycle. Emotions will eventually come out, as we are motivated by them (knowingly or unaware), and unprocessed emotion will most likely come out sideways. I want the beauty of fully experiencing my life.
My practical steps toward this include: breath work, body scan meditation, stretching, silence, solitude, confidantes, personality psychology study, bettering nutrition, drinking water, dance, and going on runs to build a healthy home (body) where feelings of shame don’t make sense to reside.
SIB: In your words, the Enneagram changed the course of your life. What was the process like?
KH: When I got my result of a 4 two years ago, I do recall actually sighing in annoyance about it. The grandest journey was about to begin, and I had no idea. I read that my type was called the Romantic Individualist. I read the description and only slightly recognized myself in it. Long story short - it was all the qualities I had been trying to stifle about myself for years. A distant part of me was calling out that I was resonating with this type, like I had put on a mask for so long and the neglected face knew it. I wanted to meet myself fully. That’s the most exciting ambition to me, to learn who God made me to be with all intricacies and complexities from his imagination and design. Since then, I still read about personality psychology daily to continue personal development.
SIB: As a current Enneagram Coach, what is your working process with your clients? I offer six session options in person, online, and via phone/Skype: Enneagram Overview (I teach you the system as a whole), Typing Session (we narrow in on your type then discuss further steps), Single Session (client’s choice if type is already known), Short-Term Package (4 sessions including Typing), Long-Term Package (7 sessions covering all areas of your type), and group workshops. I start each session with a grounding meditation/body scan exercise. The sessions can be very sensitive because the client’s fears, desires, motivations, everything that can be safely hidden from others, are exposed. I lead these with a discussion-style - a mix of teaching and asking prompting questions because the answers that make a lasting impact the most are ones we land upon ourselves.
SIB: What does balance mean to you?
KH: Balance means equanimity. A loving relationship with emotion. Fully feeling, yet not attaching so that emotion does not get stuck. Instead, letting the energy pass through my body and process as completely as possible. Practicing these things in the present and also revisiting past times in life when I did not deal properly; re-parenting the inner child. Minimizing negativity out of my heart, decluttering my mind, activating my body. Mind - body - spirit connection.
Balance also means adding meaning to my life. In my pursuits and work and hobbies, I want the overarching theme to be love. I am fulfilled if sharing moments with close people and experiencing this lifetime together. And I also mean love for self. Adding laughter, goofiness, and spontaneity to my days. Adventure. Deep diving into hobbies simply because I have fun and find joy. And I am allowed to be happy and not have a worry. Wearing whatever I feel like a million bucks in, even if my style is not for everyone. Being unashamedly myself. Opening up my heart at its depth to intimacy because vulnerable, honest expression is one of my biggest dreams for all of my life. I do not want to have regrets in life but always dream to reach my potential and create the richest personal discovery of my one life.