“911. What Is Your Emergency?”

Eighteen years.

I truly cannot believe it has been eighteen years since that fateful day. Since that dreadful day when thousands of lives (two thousand, nine hundred and eighty-three to be exact) were lost. Over hate. Over envy. Over ignorance. Over racism. And since then, we have evolved into a nation that no longer “depends” on the hatred of enemies out there, but sadly has given ourselves permission to unleash unthinkable terror onto each other. Apparently we were so affected and appalled that on that fateful day eighteen years ago that strangers – people who did not look like us and who claimed to believe in a God that sanctioned their actions – dared to infiltrate our peace and devastate our lives, that we opted to instead raise, cultivate and motivate terrorists with more familiar faces. And, we put their leader in the White House.

I remember where I was eighteen years ago. When our lives changed. I remember the fear I felt. I remember the grief I felt and the sadness I still do. I remember those I knew, lost and miss. I remember how my soul changed forever. Because there is no way one can live through the loss of so many others and not change. Fear hides in the recesses of my skin and each time, every time I walk through Penn or Grand Central stations I wonder, okay, I worry if a foreign or familiar asshole will be deciding at that precise moment that I must die. But, I walk on. Holding my fear close. Looking brave.

We will never forget. Of that I am certain. Whether what we remember are the lives lost or our lingering fear, or both, matters little. We will never forget. Them. Or the us we used to be…

September 11th, 2001 – September 11th, 2019.

Line Item

It is said, “There’s a thin line between love and hate” and, as much as I openly and actively reject quotes and sayings that are so over and callously used they begin to lose their impact and integrity, I have been chewing on this particular one over the past couple of weeks. Let’s address this

Have you ever in your spare time wondered, if that line is truly so thin that all it takes is a determined breeze to tip one over, whether the original emotion was truly love or the ensuing emotion truly hate? Is it possible instead that if what one walks away feeling is hate that hate/envy/jealousy was always a part of the original emotion or that, perhaps in our attempt to salvage face at the end of a thing we disguise our lingering love in an emotion that is more acceptable or suitable to the outcome? Am I overthinking it? Is that line truly that thin?

Here’s where I land on this subject because as you may imagine, being a woman who is dedicated to living all her emotions passionately, I must have experienced both these sentiments. I don’t think we tip over the line. And in fact, I do not even think there is a line. I believe we journey along in our experiences and emotions and along the way, we begin to set up or we begin to be set up for an eventual outcome. I think it is deliberate – even as it may be unconscious – and I believe that that thing we do in hindsight when we look back and are able to pinpoint behaviors we should not have overlooked, is the beginning of the change between the four-letter words.

Listen. Love is an emotion that should be eventual. Oftentimes however, it is one we rush. To it we ascribe what should remain as a hook-up, a “thing” or a fuck. Often, in our effort to conform to some ignorant societal standard, we rush a process and set in motion a stroll to that other emotion… hate. Okay. And yes, there are those times when we do it all “correctly” – we take our time, settle into the process, allow for the “best behavior” to wear off and our true selves to emerge, realize we still like each other and keep going. We stroll, not run and we get there. We love. Shit! We even like! And, we end up at the same place as those other folks who try to turn a “jump-off” into a, well, you know We hate.

Here is where I want to get to and leave this topic and let me state this: hate is not relegated to lover-ships only. No sir. Hate happens in friendships, employer-employee relationships, familial relationships. Listen, anything that has a ‘ship’ in it can foster either warm gooey feelings or intense feelings of hatred. But, my feeling is, it is not sudden. Hate is the end-result of experiences and behaviors that had been happening and possibly ignored. It is born out of envy, fear, jealousy, inadequacy and unrealistic expectation. It is a systematic assault. It is passionate. So passionate in fact, it can often wear the disguise of love. Hate is place that is littered with the wreckage of disrespect, disillusionment, envy and betrayal. It is also littered with our shame at our own foolishness… actualized inward but projected outward.

Perhaps that line is really between love and oneself.

Making My Relations Quite Public – PR, Indeed.

I am proud to announce that my specialty dress shoppe (the pop-up version until my permanent space is finished) , Dressed Up, is open.
I am equally proud to announce that the initiative I have started to support other survivors of domestic abuse, reDressed, has launched.
I apologize for my lengthy silence. I have been busy…

(Get in touch for details on either).

 

Let’s reDress This.

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: emailme@letsaddressthis.com 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.

Diane, Please Take Your Seat. Here.

Today I graduate.

I am not sure in what hour of doubt, despair or dire need of more strength, more words or more energy to keep on going I realized that I already possessed what I needed to continue on and that truly, simply all I could do was all I could do. But, it was. And, I did. I did all I could do. I gave all I could. And today, I give thanks to God.

I finished. Strong. In my GPA. In my spirit. In my soul. I finished. Strong.

Marvin Sapp has a song and today I use it share with you some of my sentiments. Here is his, our, My Testimony:

So glad I made it,
I made it through
In spite of the storm and rain, heartache and pain
I’m still alive declaring you
I made it through
See, I didn’t lose

Experience lost at a major cost
But I never lost faith in you

So if you see me cry,
It’s just a sign that I’m
I’m still alive
I got some scars, but I’m still alive
In spite of calamity,
He still has a plan for me
And it’s working for my good
And it’s building my testimony

So glad I made it,
I made it through
In spite of the storm and rain, heartache and pain
I’m still alive declaring you
I made it through, I didn’t lose
Experienced lost at a major cost,
But I never lost faith in you

I made it thru’
Oh, so if you see me cry
It’s just a sign that I’m, I’m still alive
I got some scars, but I’m still alive
In spite of calamity
He still has a plan for me
It’s working out

Monday night I received this email from Hunter College. It was full of details, but I wanted to share with you the start that wrestled tears from my eyes and gratitude from my soul.

Today I graduate. I knew all I could do was all I could do. So, I did it. All. Love.

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