I went to a funeral this past Saturday. And, while I had agonized over what to wear (I know you all are thinking that the agony should have been for the loss of the deceased. In my defense I did not know them, I was there supporting a friend at the loss of his brother… so my choice of clothing was what caused me some agony), once I got there I realized that but for a few of us, I should have expended my concern and worry on something else entirely.

Flip-flops, tank tops, jeans, crop-tops.

So as I looked around in stunned amazement (and honestly, this display almost made me lose focus of why I was present), I had to decide whether it was more pertinent to laugh at them or myself? I mean, understand this – even with approximately thirty-something-plus variations of something black in my closet, my behind went shopping on Friday to find something suitable to wear. After purchasing yet another black dress, when I awoke that morning, the sun was shining so brightly and through the bedroom window the beauty of the day that was promised to us had already starting spilling through, I decided black would not do. I decided on a very Jackie-O-esque cream dress and matched that with some leopard or tiger (always getting these two confused) print, peek-a-boo four inches. I selected a bag, threw my hair up in a bun and announced myself ready for the occasion.

Some of my fellow mourners looked as though they should have been meeting me for brunch and a street fair afterwards.

Since then I have been thinking about why we have given ourselves permission to become so very situation inappropriate. About what in our culture has us not getting it up for ourselves first and anyone else, after. And, I have been forced to accept that our dress is just yet another example of the lethargy that has infiltrated and permeated throughout our day-to-day. One truly does not need to go much further than our speech to realize just how chronic the malaise is. I mean, it stands to reason that if we have given ourselves permission to become lazy and informal spellers and speakers, how we prepare and present ourselves physically will be the least of our concerns!

U, ur, idk, smh, r, lol, roth, smdh, rotff, l8r, wtf, ttyl… tlgo (the list goes on…).

My point is this – as a culture, if we have found a way to abbreviate our speech, it makes sense that we would do the same in other areas of our lives, no? I mean, if I refuse to take the time to determine my audience and vet my spelling and speech for appropriateness, then why in heaven’s name would I take the time to be appropriately dressed for an occasion? Who is going to challenge my right to extend my sense of informality throughout every area of my life… and yours?

Make no mistake here people, there IS a correlation between the informal-speaking culture we have become and the way we prepare and present ourselves physically. The more lax we allow ourselves to be and hence our children, is the more we solidify a culture that is ill-prepared to successfully maneuver too far outside a shrinking parameter. Children that pattern themselves after our penchant for inappropriateness and informality become young (and old) adults that show up at a funeral more appropriately dressed for the park. And if you think this is me making a big deal about very little, understand that being situationally-inappropriate has tentacles that extend to job interviews, weddings, meeting-the-parents, graduations, church… life situations that can and will affect in a very negative way the impression one makes. That will affect your livelihood, success and happiness.

Listen. Being appropriate is two-fold – it shows your respect for yourself and for the situation. I am not speaking of being fashion-show-ready, I am addressing being respectful. There are indeed those times when shortening the time it takes to do something is not only allowed, but can be quite fitting and relevant; for instance, someone coming to you with some bullshit… do cut that shit short! But, as it relates to those occasions where full, punctuated sentences and stepping up your dress-game are necessary, please, take the time to show some pride in yourself and reverence for the occasion.

It’s time we stopped offering up mediocrity while demanding the world to accept us “just the way we are” and give it something to respect instead!

Know what I mean?

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