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?

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.

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.

Living with Less

The red cover of the captioned book belies the standard white barren aesthetic of mainstream minimalism.

Christine Platt received 4.8 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon for this Avant Garde rendering of Living with Less.

The book is only 207 pages.

Everyone should read it when you want to attain a minimalist lifestyle. In the face of temptation to bow into consumer culture and spend spend spend.

I’m impressed with Platt who is an Advocate and Storyteller for her peers in the African diaspora.

Proud of my Italian heritage I get empowered by Platt’s adoration of her culture. To advocate for what I called in here and use as a blog Category Conscious Chic.

At the same time I read the Afrominimalist’s Guide to Living with Less I watched a Suze Orman retirement planning TV show on Channel 13.

Orman told her audience to cut down spending today to be able to live on less money after you retire.

This advice to live on less right now resonated with me.

As hard as it is to do this I’m going to nix buying a fab cashmere sweater that’s on sale.

Christine Platt copped to owning 53 pairs of jeans.

Reading that she had 53 pairs of jeans put my own clothes collection in perspective.

I have 6 pairs of jeans. Two of them I wear in the summer. The others I wear year-round.

What I do have in bulk are warm sweaters. New York City is cold for 8 months of the year. One sweater I’m donating to charity. Another I’ll pitch in the garbage because it has a permanent stain.

Unlike the white influencer minimalists who champion a barren aesthetic of (costly!) furniture in neutral colors Platt endorses living with less in terms of having an Authentic and Intentional life ethic.

Her wardrobe palette is colorful and reflects her African roots.

Go on the Afrominimalist website for more details.

Rebel Love Book

Beauty lies in having radical self-acceptance. In owning your terrific soul. In honoring and trying to heal the broken parts and loving all of the pieces of you.

I believe in the beauty of everyone’s true self-expression. Not to feel guilty or ashamed for being who you are.

The book shown above by Dr. Chris Donaghue, PhD is revolutionary. It’s sad that what he’s talking about isn’t accepted as the norm.

I’ll quote from the last sentence on the last page to get readers to go out and buy this guide:

“Being the truest, most authentic version of yourself is ultimately what will transform you and your relationships–and eventually, maybe even the world.”

Dr. Chris asserts that in countries where there is a sex-positive tone and permissive view of sexuality there are fewer rapes, sexual assaults, and teen pregnancies.

Style Therapy

I bought the book Style Therapy: 30 Days to Your Signature Style by Lauren Messiah.

So far I’m in Week 3 of the challenge to alter your wardrobe so that you can get what you want in life.

Messiah crafted her career as a personal stylist after hitting her own roadblocks in life.

Now she’s a million-dollar entrepreneur.

The memoir aspect of Style Therapy is the part that inspires me the most. At the end of this blog entry I’ll link to Messiah’s website.

She used to be a Hollywood stylist. Her life turned around when she decided to go into business for herself helping ordinary women.

In Week 2 of the 30-day challenge you confront other people’s opinions of who you are and what your body looks like.

Messiah confessed that after a hurtful comment about her thighs looking fat in shorts she didn’t wear a pair of shorts until she turned 36.

Her defiance to rock short shorts inspired me to get over my own gaga about my thighs. To buy and wear a pair of shorts too.

Like Messiah I think being open and honest is the way to go.

My literary agent told me that maybe I should archive this blog and focus on other things.

Counter-intuitively I decided to keep posting blog entries here that tell the truth.

Messiah links rocking your authentic style to achieving your goals in life.

While working on the exercises in Week 3 I was empowered to reach for the stars.

Later in life I find myself becoming only more ambitious not less motivated.

See the Lauren Messiah website to download a free e-book.

Reading the emails she sends me is one of the highlights in my inbox.

Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Everyone living on earth is beautiful.

Finding beauty in a broken world can be a tonic for the hard time you’re going through.

Smearing on a new shade of lipstick won’t bring about world peace.

Yet I find myself wearing lipstick on Zoom meetings. This makes all the difference in how I feel.

Now that 3 bags of clothes are gone (I can see my bedroom rug again!) I feel like my load has been lightened.

Fashion is where you find it. I take inspiration from books.

My latest haul from a trip to Barnes & Noble were two books: Anatomy
of Style
and How To Not Wear Black.

The first book features famous models and actresses and talks about their
style preferences. With photos of the women in their standard outfits.

My favorite models featured were Kate Moss and Liya Kebede.

I find this book to be like taffy: sweet candy yet hard to chew. Your
confidence could nosedive seeing the photos of these attractive women.

Too for inspiration I recommend the first book by Scott Schuman The
Sartorialist
. In the book he features photos taken on the street of often
ordinary people dressed in distinctive digs.

This book was published circa 12 years ago. It stands up to the test of time.

I own easily over 15 clothes and style and makeup books. You need to have a
hobby to cheer you up when your city has gone into lockdown. Reading the books gives me joy.

Being able to find beauty in this broken world is nothing to be ashamed of.

Everyone living on earth is beautiful.

Define beauty.

I’m happiest wearing my world indigo hoodie black trainer pants and sneakers
to make a run to the deli.

“You look adorable” the woman behind the counter tells me.

I’ll take adorable over sexy.

I’ll take blogging to the beat of a different drum.

We can’t all have Liya Kebede’s cheekbones.

Yet we can take inspiration from how she dresses and from her humanitarian business ethic.

National Clean Out Your Closet Week

The third week in March is National Clean Out Your Closet Week.

Every year I write about this theme in the blog. The Salvation Army truck driver took off my hands 3 bursting donation bags full of belts, clothes, and pocketbooks.

It is strange to be in the position of having size 2 Petite summer pants become so loose that they no longer fit.

When other size 2 Petite pants are so tight not even a snake could fit into them.

Oh–the perils of the sizing system in the U.S.

That’s why a lot of American women run out of a department store dressing room in tears.

It’s not unusual to have pants and jeans of four different sizes in your wadrobe.

2, 4, 6, 8–no one appreciates the guessing game as to which item will fit when you order online and the box arrives at your door.

On the other hand it is not odd to suddenly fall out of love with the clothes you used to wear.

Goodbye, khakis. Hello, black jeans.

To stay young at heart you should refresh your wardrobe every so often.

The older I get the more obsessed with clothes and dressing up that I’ve gotten.

As a Generation X girl I don’t want to fade into the woodwork.

Millennials can have their avocado toast as they’re so famously accused of coveting.

I’ll take a good coat and boots in this NYC chill that doesn’t warm up until early June.

Fashion is where you find it–and you can find joy in the clothes hanging in your closet.

Donate the items that no longer suit you. Get rid of the pants that no longer fit. Say farewell to the colors that make you look ill.

The spring is here in one week. Having hope is called for.

Editing the contents of our closets can spark joy.

Who wants to spend the morning agonizing because your closet is bursting with items you don’t wear?

Keep the items you love.

Call the Salvation Army truck to take away good-condition clothes that could bring joy to a person in need.

This is a win-win.