I remember everything about being terrorized and abused. And, I am grateful I do. Because those feelings and smells (because fear does have a scent) call on me to be vulnerable when triggered, tough when required and present always.
I started reDressed as yet another way to remain present and to address this epidemic that encourages its victims to cower behind shame and ridicule. An epidemic that has become quite systemic in the very places and spaces it should be resistant to, our loverships. An epidemic that is so insidious that it looks like you, me, him, her and that literally touches us all despite race, gender, class or education.
I remember surviving and wanting, no, needing to make sure my outsides looked way better than my insides felt. I remember needing to get, well, dressed up in an attempt to mask the tears and scars that riddled my soul. I remember reciting and reminding myself each day to “act as if…” or “fake it till you make it…” I remember the moment that the clothing was no longer a shield around my pain, but it had become my statement of survival. My expression of celebration. I remember when I was no longer faking it or acting, but I was living… strong, confident, defiant and healing.
reDressed addresses this need I know other healing survivors will possess. I dedicate my resources: my time, my shoulder, my words, my tears, my experience… and clothing, beautiful clothing to these survivors.
Next week, I will be part of a two-panel conversation that focuses on survivors. I will be joined in that conversation with Taylor Miller who will discuss, in part, the exhibit Stitches of Strength, which is a collaboration between the Paul Robeson Galleries and the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance and is currently showing at the gallery. I am looking for a few survivors to join me (because of the nature and size of the gallery attendance will be controlled by and at the discretion of the gallery’s staff), so get in touch with me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will discuss. Tell me your story. Or, if we meet, look into my eyes if words fail you… we will recognize each other.
I would like to dress you for the evening.