My Pink Pant Suit Epiphany

Living an authentic life is what matters most.

There can be no shame in celebrating yourself (and by extension others) every day of your life.

I say wear that pink pant suit.

Fear not that the Twinkie mobile will come after you because you’re different.

If you feel like yourself–powerful and radiant in a pink pant suit–go out the door in this color you adore.

I learned this life lesson courtesy of having gotten infected with COVID this week.

Though a mild form it was a terrible ordeal. One that got me thinking that persisting despite having self-doubt is the remedy.

COVID taught me that confidence is overrated. Nothing succeeds like persistence.

In the words of a quote magnet:

When You’re Going through Hell Keep Going.

Breeding Love with Hair Care

This week I watched Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker.

Born Sarah Breedlove the beauty products entrepreneur did exactly that: breed love of their hair for millions of African American women.

More than an astonishing narrative about a self-made woman the story was an aperture onto Black history in the wake of enslaved Africans being freed.

Dismissed by Black and white men alike Walker persisted with her ambition.

Madam CJ Walker was the first female millionaire in America. She built an estate in Upstate New York near the home of John D. Rockefeller.

Proving the truth that where you start out in life is not where you must remain.

Watching the show I could relate to how Walker was driven to succeed.

With 10,000 sales agents Madam CJ Walker was bigger in her time than Mary Kay today.

Viewing Self-Made was the latest method of reinforcing that I should love my hair even when it’s not cooperating.

I say to you readers: persist until you achieve your goal(s) in life.

Tear a page from the Madam CJ Walker playbook (like I’m doing) and be not afraid to Make It Happen.

Refuse to let shame or blame imposed either by others or you on yourself prevent you from acting to get what you want in life.

Lastly what Self-Made taught me:

Having ambition aligned with a humanitarian ethic will make you succeed.

Be unstoppable.

Screwed

I realize that not every woman is like me. Some of us might think abortion is equivalent to a crime. Or simply that they would choose to have a baby and keep it if they got pregnant.

Their right to have a baby should not be viewed as the only choice that is acceptable.

If you are a woman who is against abortion that should be your personal choice. Yet your right is not the only right that is “right.”

Soon every other right that a person has in America is going to fall one after the other. Now that Roe v. Wade has been rejected.

Using my iPad I curiously could not bring up other websites because the Chrome browser gave this error message: The URL could not be verified. Chrome wouldn’t even verify its own Google URL when I typed in google.com.

Remarkably the only website I could type in successfully in Chrome on my iPad was the New York Times. That’s where I saw the headline that the Supreme Court ruled against Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court has taken away women’s right to have an abortion.

With access to birth control hard to get and no ability to have an abortion women in America have been sent the message that our only role in society is to be a Wife and Mother.

The No Sex Outside of Marriage and Marriage is for Procreation edicts of major religions relegate American women to being celibate or being Breeders.

Viewing women as dumb dumbs who can’t decide for ourselves who we want to love and when and how.

As a woman with a disability I’m going to get crucified for not having wanted to bring into the world a child who could develop a chronic illness or severe disability that is permanent.

Today it’s not up to me or you to decide whether or not we want to have kids. The Supreme Court has ruled that women don’t have this right.

No couple would adopt the kid of a woman who had a medical condition or a disability. They would be the exception to the rule if they chose to adopt a child who could develop schizophrenia or bipolar.

Besides most couples adopt children from China right so you can’t claim they’ll be swayed to adopt American babies.

What is up with adopting kids from China when American babies need loving homes?

“Adoption is an Option” is what Conservative men driving Chryslers stick on a bumper sticker on their cars.

No–adoption is NOT an option for a lot of women.

We have tactics for sending a message to those states that make abortion illegal.

One strategy might not work yet it bears talking about as persons who can satisfy our own social justice ethic:

Refuse to go on vacation to a state where abortion is illegal. Refrain from doing business with that state.

Take your tourism money elsewhere.

This might barely make a dent in the state’s coffers. Yet at least you could have peace of mind for your own sake.

I will live in New York forever. Not move to Florida when I retire or go anywhere else to live.

Right now I’m seriously rethinking where I’ll travel on vacation to in America.

A lot of women myself included work in a “pink ghetto” where we’re underpaid and overworked for our emotional labor.

Forcing a woman like me to have a child and raise them when we can barely afford to live on our own–and where are we going to get childcare help as single Moms?

Not all men stick around after their girlfriend gives birth to a child. Which busts the Republican myth that a two-parent family will elevate a child’s prospects in life. Not all women can rely on a husband to help care for their child.

Again–you might be a woman who is against abortion. Fine. So you don’t have to get an abortion. That’s your choice.

Let me make my choice.

Pretty soon every other right will be taken away.

The issue is that white men are deciding what’s normative behavior and what isn’t. They’re deciding who has the right to have free choice and who doesn’t.

My claim to fame is that I live my life Left of the Dial. That book title and by extension way of life will forever stick with me.

I’ve known since I was a teenager that I didn’t want to get married and raise a family.

What about you? How do you feel about the Supreme Court decision?

It will be interesting to see what happens next in the kinds of court cases the Supreme Court decides to take up.

Let Love Rule

The bell hooks book Communion has a copyright date of 2002. Even though the book is old it stands the test of time. Bell hooks was focusing on healing through acting with love. Her positive spin was refreshing.

Hooks claimed love cannot be had without justice. This fomented in me the idea that justice requires love.

Truth-telling is an act of love. To obtain justice we must tell the truth. In a society without love, no one is free of domination. Oppression thrives in a loveless world.

After the Buffalo shooting, I thought about taking down this blog and ending it. Those of us with Black family members worry for their lives after what happened.

Two weeks before my fifty-seventh birthday I realized it was time to do what Lenny Kravitz titled his song: “Let Love Rule.”

Thinking that by acting out of love I would generate the love I wanted to see in the world.

Let’s face it: none of us can control what people think of us. Nor how they feel about you and me. We must focus on our lives our goals and our actions.

Given the chance to create a new and better living history I would take it.

So–I’m keeping up this blog. Only I might post here every so often. As I’m gearing up to publish a second book–a career book–that will go on pre-order status online hopefully in the early summer.

What do you say? Don’t you think we should give love a chance?

Banishing My Hair Hate

Three months ago, I read the bell hooks book Communion: The Female Search for Love.

Though the copyright date is 2002 hooks’ theme is eternal. Everyone coming up in their life should read Communion.

Author bell hooks is the True Prophet of Passion.

While speed-reading through this riveting book I decided not to care about my disobedient hair. Finally, I could leave it alone to carry on wayward despite my best hand with the blow dryer.

April has heralded the start of my hair frizzing and curling up in rainy or humid weather.

To be proactive on these days I don’t dry my hair straight in the morning. I blow-dry my hair while scrunching the hair tight upside down.

Viewing old photos of when I was younger, I don’t like the tame ordinary haircuts I had. Nor do I like the androgynous haircuts I used to get with my former hair stylist.

I’m 57 years old. After turning another year older I’ve stopped caring to impress others. What I’ve learned I’m going to share in a coming blog entry.

One day a female customer raved about my “new haircut.”

What? In the morning I had woken up without shampooing and drying my hair. Only brushing my hair so that it wasn’t sticking up or out in a wild way.

She thought my hair was lovely!

Everyone else is too obsessed with agonizing over what they think their shortcomings are. This guarantees that they have no time to assail you.

The ones that care if you have wild woman hair–I wish I had the kind of time they do to waste on thinking ill of others.

If I had that extra time, I would be spending it writing blog entries to amuse readers. Given 15 minutes more every day I would plan a new outfit to wear that I hadn’t worn before. Or wash my face and apply moisturizer to it.

Today–and this might be imprudent–I revel in my wild hair.

We should all love our hair. Whether curly or straight coiled or kinky all hair is beautiful.

Fearing what other people think of our hair is a waste of our time and energy.

Yes–I understand the implication in going around sporting a hairstyle that does not conform to what others deem is acceptable grooming.

Only:

Liberating myself from hair hate I hope is the start of bigger and better things happening in my life.

Here’s to Hair Freedom leading to Hope for achieving what we want to get in life.

If I’m able to I might post a video here where I flash my wild tresses.

Keep wild and carry on.

Rules are designed to keep us in our place.

Fie conformity!

The Life and Death of a Garment

This book I read circa 5 months ago.

It’s a fascinating and compelling expose of the life cycle of clothing.

Maxine Bedat takes the reader on a trip from the cotton field to the manufacturing plant to the store shelves.

If you wondered like I did how a cotton ball becomes a pair of jeans or a shirt (or how fabric becomes an item of clothing like a coat) Bedat shows us with step-by-step photos of the production process.

This curious glimpse exposes the dirty truth about the toxic working conditions and filthy physical environments of overseas garment manufacturing.

60 women (all women!) sit in rows of tables at cramped sewing machines. One woman sews the jean hem. The next sews the leg. And the next sews the waistband. On down the line it goes.

Giving way to the term “deaths of despair” that occur when work is not meaningful and doesn’t give you a purpose for getting up out of bed.

The root lies in the neoliberal economic policies that offloaded clothing production to other countries.

In the guise of giving the residents a better life. When in fact it allowed American businesses to pay cut-rate wages in order to reap billions in sales.

My tactic is to rarely buy an item of clothing from Zara or H&M. Should I be shopping in those stores at all?

This spring and going into the summer I won’t be buying any new clothes.

On tap is a pair of blue fabric booties I would like to buy. That’s all.

In March I sent donation bags off to the Salvation Army.

In the coming blog entry, I would like to talk about how I finally made peace with my disobedient hair.

Brooklyn Subway Shooting

As the day ends, I feel worse than I did in the morning when I first watched a Fox5 local news report of the subway shooting in Brooklyn.

At 8:24 a.m. a man wearing an orange construction vest and hardhat opened fire inside an N train rolling into the 36th Street station.

A person of interest was cited on the police briefing this evening.

As a lifelong city girl who was born in Brooklyn and lives there today, I won’t take the subway unless I’m forced to when there’s no other option.

What happened and where it happened is curious to me.

The 36th Street station on Fourth Avenue is in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

A neighborhood of immigrants on low incomes. Abogados and Mercados and Taquerias line Fifth Avenue from Fortieth Street to Sixtieth Street.

Curious to me it is why a gunman would shoot subway riders passing through a low-income neighborhood.

The crime was most likely planned down to each specific detail and every specific minute.

A key to a U-Haul truck was found at the crime scene. The gunman was thought to have boarded the train at the Kings Highway stop.

It’s one thing to drive a U-Haul truck to New York City and board a train right after.

I think the gunman must have had an accomplice parked in a van outside the 36th Street subway entrance.

How else could the shooter have escaped and not been caught yet?

A 9mm Glock was found at the crime scene. It had been fired 33 times.

We cannot engage in “guilt-by-association” of individuals that look like the person of interest shown on the news.

What’s the most terrible thing is that citizens will turn out to vote for Republicans they believe will crack down on crime.

In New York City a lot of us think bail reform has allowed people who commit minor crimes to remain loose on the street to commit bigger crimes.

What is the root cause of the violent crime that occurs in neighborhoods like East New York in Brooklyn?

The disintegration of families is thought to be a contributing factor to the unravelling of communities.

Living in poverty can’t be a shiny happy experience for young people either.

The person of interest in this shooting is 62 years old and not from here.

Today’s subway attack was the exception to the rule.

If you’re a tourist and have the cash to be able to vacation here, most likely you can afford to take a cab around this town.

I wouldn’t advise taking the subway if you can help it.

One night I was taking the train home. A stranger across from me (he was a strange man likely) started giving advice to two women sitting near him that he didn’t know.

Then there’s the drunks. And the flashers. The guy in a gray flannel coat lying on a seat like he’s sleeping in bed.

The panhandlers. A trio of Mariachi singers crooning for coins. A quartet of beggars belting out “Under the Boardwalk” in the summer.

The cold calculated attention-to-detail of the subway shooter today is what creeps me out.

This was no symptomatic person with a mental illness pushing a woman onto the subway tracks.

My goal when I retire from my job is to take cabs everywhere.

One thing isn’t talked about. I’ll be the only one talking about this now. Just like I’ve been the only one talking about other things.

If you ask me inequality comes down to geography. Geography often determines your biography.

On Staten Island where I used to live all the housing projects were located out of view and miles away from retail stores. Geographic isolation can’t be a good thing.

In 1987 in college, I took an Economic Geography course. My 18-page term paper talked about the effect of sanctions on apartheid in South Africa.

The fact that today’s gunman carefully planned and executed a shooting exactly where he carried it out says something.

Continuing to toss teenagers who commit low-level crimes into Rikers is not the Republican solution we need to halt this crime wave.

If your only role model is a Blood or Crip that doesn’t bode well for your future prospects.

I’ll end here with this: it’s not the crime itself that is the problem. It’s the societal ills that cause the crime that need to be rectified.

Finding Happiness

Throwing out four donation bags sparked me to examine the effect of my wardrobe on my happiness.

Wearing dull drab colors head-to-toe did nothing to spark joy.

Could wearing bright colors boost a person’s mood?

Some of us look sharp dressing in gray and brown.

I realized those colors weren’t for me.

The point is: We could all use more hope and joy going into the third year of wearing masks and distancing from each other couldn’t we?

Anything healthy that could help me feel great I was willing to try.

Bring on magenta! Hello yellow! Blast off in blue!

It was clear that saving your health was equally important as saving the planet.

Dawnn Karen in her fashion psychology book Dress Your Life wrote that what you wear can alter or amplify your mood.

Something that the sustainable fashion crowd hasn’t explored:

That having and wearing a ton of clothes that make you feel crummy or tired is a great reason for not buying them in the first place.

The trick is to shoot a selfie of yourself in an outfit in the dressing room or at home after the package arrives.

Photos don’t lie. They’re how I’ve discovered what clothes to ditch and what to keep.

I feel lighter and freer after filling the donation bags.

May you find your way to happiness too.

In the coming blog entry, I will talk about a new book I’m reading that continues where Fulfillment left off.

Unraveled: The Life and Death of a Garment exposes the real truth about the fashion industry’s role in global warming beyond the usual suspect practices.

Maxine Bedat peels away the layers that cover up what goes on.

In a country like America, we can afford to buy the clothes that make us feel good wearing them as well as look good in them.

I don’t take this luxury for granted. The fact that how I dressed could’ve been dragging me down was a revelation. It was crystal-clear to me that the connection between the colors I wore, and my mood and energy was indisputable.

Right after realizing this, I started to read Unraveled. Understanding that sweatshop workers in Ethiopia don’t have the option to dress their best so as to elevate their prospects in life.

Those of us who are well-off owe a debt to society to help others lift themselves up too.

The real deal:

If how I dress can help me overcome depression this enables me in the end to have the energy to do good for others.

This is the win-win we need to have a conversation about:

Buying a $2 tee shirt in Telco is not an option. The female workers who labored to sew that shirt should be paid a living salary so that they too can feel good and not be dragged down living their lives.

Fulfillment

I have just read the book Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America.

Alec MacGillis the investigative journalist exposed the dark side of the Amazon.com reign over retail.

Employees have gotten killed working at Amazon warehouses.

Jeff Bezos pays lobbyists millions of dollars to get elected leaders in Washington and elsewhere to do his bidding.

The million-dollar tax breaks given to Amazon to build its warehouses everywhere in the U.S. turn into higher taxes imposed on residents of areas where Amazon sets up camp.

No–I haven’t ever been a fan of Liberals. I detest them as much as I despise Conservatives. The fact that Democrat leaders cozy up to Jeff Bezos will be no secret when you read Fulfillment.

Yes–I have decided it’s too risky and unethical to shop on Amazon anymore.

I use Amazon’s books category to search for new books. Then I order the books from a local independent bookseller to pick up at the store.

Fulfillment exposes the regional economic inequality that is at the root of the income divide in America. Where you live determines your income level and your prospects in life.

It explains how people in rural and other disadvantaged areas voted for Mr. Toupee / Donald Trump.

Another book that I haven’t read exposed the dark side of Mr. Toupee’s Economic Development Zones. That book’s author alleged the ordinary citizens living there were fleeced not given great jobs.

It begs the question that the tide is rising for no one in America regardless of who we elect.

Fulfillment ends with the author’s hope that Joe Biden will regulate Amazon and other big businesses. I doubt this corrective action will happen.

Coming up I will talk about my private reckoning with the stuff I own. Firsthand I have seen incontrovertible proof that how you dress can heal or harm you.

Never mind the harm done to workers in sweatshops and the pollution of waterways and farmland with chemical waste from clothing production.

Though we should care about this.

Wow–I discovered another bona fide reason for caring about your clothes. How you dress can hold you back or help you grow.

This is a radical idea that no one in the sustainable fashion brigade has talked about: How limiting your clothing choices can spark more joy, energy, and opportunity in your life than you’ve ever had before.

Let’s face it: this self-interested motivation is a great gateway to choosing and using wardrobe items with care and attention.

My journey to freedom and happiness started this month when I filled up four donation bags with clothes, jewelry, and barely worn shoes.

The connection between what I bought and how I felt was the wake-up call for doing things differently.

Fearless is the New Flawless

A friend shot the photo above.

In the picture the only makeup I have on is black eyeliner.

The photo shoot set off a revolution in my head.

Through a series of recent events, I’ve come to see that letting go of what no longer serves you is the first step in setting your intention for the New Year.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go of the anger. That freedom lies in having self-acceptance.

I’ve decided that how I’m dressed in the photo is an OK Winter Date Night Outfit.

No pumps or stilettos for me. Just rocking boots.

It takes guts to act true to yourself. Only believe me faking who you are leads to ill health.

Getting the new haircut shown in the photo was what turned around my thinking. A great haircut gives you the confidence to take on the world.

Who couldn’t use more confidence in 2022?

On the Classes for Confidence page of the beauty emporium’s website their stance is that:

Fearless is the New Flawless.

Living through the pandemic I’ve come to see things differently.

I’m not keen to have the makeup on my face be the first thing people notice.

In a room of women spackled with obvious makeup I would rather stand out having a fresh face.

What I’ve learned is that worrying about how you appear to others is a waste of time and energy.

Perhaps by talking about my experience I can give readers the courage to act true to yourself too.

2022 is here.

It’s time to let go of the fear of what will happen when we show up as ourselves interacting with each other.

To abolish the hate in the world we must first love ourselves.

The mirror is not our enemy. Nor is any other human being.