On Behalf Of…

I will graduate in exactly two weeks from today.

As that day draws nigh, the number of academic and social events and celebrations have ramped up. Last Wednesday I was inducted into the English Honor Society chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, Theta Beta. This past Monday I met classmates for a end-of-semester (theirs; mine ended at the end of the Winter session) celebration and today, the English department is hosting a soiree for all graduating honor students and award recipients. Before graduation on the 29th there will be other reasons to get together popping up here and there.

But.

Last evening I spoke with the winner of the Glory dress raffle I initiated and funded. As you may remember this was my way, before leaving Hunter, to honor my dear friend Gloria who passed away during the Fall semester of 2017. The raffle was drawn at the start of the induction ceremony and a young lady by the name of Nicolette won. Yesterday we spoke about her style preferences, favorite color(s) and size. The process officially begins. Today I will start scouring my favorite boutiques and consignment shops and I will find her a beautiful graduation dress… on behalf of Gloria.

I hung up the phone after our call and immediately disintegrated. I loved what I was attempting to do. I hated that there was a reason to do it. I should not be doing anything on behalf of Gloria. She should be here. And, she and I should be looking for our own dresses. Together. The 29th should be, was to be a day we celebrated side-by-side. Our majors were different so we would not have been sitting together at Madison Square Garden, but we had planned to absolutely embarrass each other with our shouts when each other’s names were called. We had planned to celebrate together afterward. I thought we had already paid our dues in life and crossing that stage on that day would be the Universe’s “Job very well done. Here’s to you!” acknowledgment. I had no idea there was more to pay. I could never have imagined her cost would be so great.

I will dress Nicolette. On behalf of Gloria. I will cry when I need to. I am crying now. And, when I hear Nicolette’s name on graduation day, I will scream and embarrass her. Nicolette will not know why. But my friend will.

Glory Be To God.

You may remember my determination to honor my friend, Gloria, who passed away during the Fall semester of 2017. What you may remember are the attempts by me to have her either honored in some way during what should have been her graduation this coming May, or, information from the school that would have helped me to finish the classes she would have taken had her life not be permanently interrupted. Both/all my requests were denied by the college. What could never be denied however, is my determination. I did not know how, but I did know that I would.

I graduate with honors this coming May. Two weeks before our Commencement ceremony, I will be inducted into Hunter’s English Honors Society, Theta Beta. I also serve on the board of the society. To raise funds, one raffle (of Beats headphones) was proposed. I proposed another…

We did it, my friend. I love you. I miss you. Rest, now.

How I’m AdDressing It.

The last six months, I have been carefully grooming, nourishing and attending to an idea. Actually, now that I type those words, I realize the fundamental flaw in them. I realize now that I have been nourishing this idea for years. In fact, you all were a part of the germination of it. Truly. You all do remember how this started, yes? Back in 2014 with my first post and my simultaneous thirty-day dress (only) challenge (that lasted thirty-five days before I remembered to count)? Well, that fateful day back then was where I slipped. This, today, is where I fell.

This summer, I will be opening a dress (only) shoppe. It will be called, DRESSed Up. Where I fell

Through my shoppe, I will be partnering with a shelter to clothe other survivors (you remember I am also one, yes?) of domestic abuse. This program, infinitely precious to me will be called, reDRESSed. Where I slipped

(The below article was published yesterday in the Lifestyle section of Trinidad’s national newspaper, The Guardian).

You Are Cordially Invited To Get Dressed Up.

Whew!

I like to think of July 24th, 2014, the date of my first post here, as evidence of #whereislipped. I think of today as proof of #whereifell. Let’s address this

There are some quotes that are so very spot-on that when I hear or read them, they resonate so profoundly, I am forced to remind myself I had nothing to do with their inception. Some speak so deeply to my soul, my reality, that I secretly (until now) am convinced that even as I may have had nothing to do with their eloquent articulation, I most certainly must have had quite a bit to do with their intention. Here is one (and the one I referenced earlier): “Don’t look at where you fell. Look at where you slipped…” I absofuckinglutely love this quote! The sensitivity of the mind that conceived of such a remarkable way to encourage us to recognize that where we end up (fell) is not the (entire) story, but rather, we are to look at where it began (slipped), I applaud!

So when I penned my first post, determined to address those things we think about, should think about, talk about, should speak about and simultaneously launched a challenge on FB and documented its progress here, the idea started with a dress. That was #whereislipped. It was in that moment that I publicly revealed my dress fetish/obsession for all to see. That obsession manifested so magnificently the name of this site and my other social media presences, Let’s address This.

Today, I reveal #whereifell.

For the past few months I have been working on another of the manifestations of this passion. I am proud to announce that this Spring, I will be opening my very first dress shoppe! It will be called: Dressed Up and will be located downtown Newark, NJ in the Teacher’s Village luxury development. My shoppe will only sell dresses. No shoes. No slacks. No purses. No accessories. No tops. Dresses. Formal, informal, vintage, long, short. There will only be one size each: small, medium, large and xlarge in each style. They will be unique, funky and classic. They will be those pieces picked by me, worthy of you.

I will keep you all posted on the developments as the build-out progresses. I will let you all know of and invite you to the grand opening. I will inform you as soon as the online component is live. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are all a large part of the strength I needed to achieve this. Thank you. I will do you all proud. Watch. Mark your calendars… Spring 2019 there will be this thing you will have to attend and all it will call for is for you to be #dressedup.

Love.

The Most Important Check Is Not The One You Write.

I feel depressed.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in bed, alternating between watching ‘Ilyanla Fix My Life’ and ‘Love & Marriage, Huntsville.’ And, even as some may lay the blame for my state of being squarely at the feet of what I chose to binge-watch, sparking a “chicken/egg debate,” I will have to err on the side of, the feelings came first, triggering the mindless choice in viewing (I have never watched either show before yesterday). Earlier, I forced myself out of bed, went to church, literally praying that both the movement and the choice of activity will infuse some light into the heaviness I feel. Nope. And in some respects, I feel worse. Let’s address this

There is a lot happening in our family and that alone could carry the weight of all I feel. But, it does not. As I relayed in my prior post, I acutely feel the separation from school in a negative way. That also contributes to my feelings. A project I am working on is not moving as efficiently as it should. That too is frustrating. And, as if all those are not enough, I am being forced to question a decision I had made a while back that I am no longer confident about.

So, I am struggling quite a bit.

Now, in some respects, something can be done about most of what is weighing me down. As far as my family is concerned, I will pray and do my part. School? I just need to be patient until I resume and, I can even move up the date of resumption. With regard to the last two problems? Well, I am taking steps to force some efficiency into the first and if that fails, I am simultaneously taking the steps to nullify it altogether and, regarding the second? All it requires is my honesty and my ability to appropriately assess the situation to determine its continued viability. Shoot, maybe watching Ilyanla did pay off!

But here’s the thing: even as I know logically what I should do in each circumstance, I am still overwhelmed. And, that feeling of overwhelmed-edness has me a bit crippled. Figuring out if all these feelings are valid or even valid right now is important. Recognizing that just one of these set of circumstances could be the catalyst for the feelings of the others is an important component in deciding what to do or when to do. Figuring out which element is the most crippling and perhaps causing the most and subsequent peripheral trouble is similarly imperative. Allowing myself the room to feel what I do and cautioning myself to follow the tenet to, “not make permanent decisions based on temporary situations” is advisable.

So, I am going through the process.

I am being kind to myself and rejecting the negative stigma some may want to ascribe to these moments of deep or crippling vulnerability. I am going to be kind to myself with the ebb and flow of my emotions. I am going to cry if/when needed and rejoice in those moments that a smile or laugh manages to emerge. I am going to monitor myself with how long these moments of sadness, fear and helplessness last and seek help if they become moments of hopelessness. And, in moments of strength, I will use them to celebrate its dominance over a moment of weakness. I will be careful, methodical and patient… with myself, the process and the circumstances.

I recognize life. I get it is not always pretty. I still know it is always worth it.

PS. I get to write and that allows me some momentary relief from my feelings. I am also quite transparent and not afraid to be vulnerable. Many are not like that. Check up on your people; especially those you consider quite strong and those others who are more closed off. Feelings of hope/helplessness are more common than we would like to think. Check up. Check in. Check on.

Nailing My Separation Issues.

I don’t know where to begin.

Last week I finished my last class for this degree. Hunter College asked for one hundred and twenty credits, my over-achieving ass gave them one hundred and twenty one 😊 It has taken me this long to write about it because I truly cannot, from one moment to the next, pin down my emotions. I feel relief, anxiety, sadness, joy, pride, fear, lost, purposeful, adrift, wonder and loss. Parts of me celebrate, other parts mourn. I know I need a mental (and physical too, for that matter) break, yet I also feel every moment I sit and stare could be put to productive use. I have imminent plans that do not involve school, but wonder if they should. Sigh. Let’s address this

Education has been such an integral part of my everyday for the past few years and as such, I almost do not yet know how to plan an itinerary without factoring in a paper, reading or trying to memorize something. The idea that I now get to read a book purely for pleasure seems decadent. Ha! Truly. The hours I now have to myself to concentrate on the other aspects of my life that are quite important, even as they are full, still seem as if something is missing. Matching my handbag to my outfit as opposed to the backpack that has taken me through every single semester seems self-indulgent. Imagine… an actual choice in purses!

So yes, I am a bit shell-shocked at the moment. But, I will give myself a moment. I understand there is the reverse process to happen now as opposed to the one that got my mind into being a student. But, someone should have done an exit interview with me. Truly. I/we should be mentally prepped and prepared when approaching our final semester. Sure, we get advised with regard to our remaining credit requirements and courses, but we should similarly be advised about the possible feelings of separation or abandonment. Because, it is not easy for some. Like me.

I graduate in May. I look forward to that moment. I will be sitting with my fellow graduates, adorned in my sash-thingy that announces to all that not only am I a graduate, but I am an honor student. I am and will be proud! I will cross my legs just so to ensure you see my chosen and waiting footwear – my Christian Louboutin aka red-bottoms – my graduation promise and gift to myself. I will celebrate with those I love who have tolerated my anxiety and offered encouragement over the past years. I will dance, sing, cry and make a speech. I will wear something absolutely fabulous and post pictures the next day. I will acknowledge my girl Gloria who was to have crossed the stage on that day as well. I will do it for her. I will frame my diploma, launder my gown, perch my cap and wear my ring proudly. Then, I will research the best graduate school for me, apply and get in. I will achieve my Masters degree and my PhD. Yes, mark my words and hold me accountable.

In the meantime however…

Yesterday my dear friend, Mercedes, presented me with this beautiful engraved pen. She, influenced by Virginia Woolf, told me: “A writer must have a great pen of her own if she is to write fiction…” True. But what I also know is: A woman must have a great friend of her own if she is to take on and nail her reality. Thank you.

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