Let’s Talk Shoppe:

Recently, a friend (lovingly) got in my face about not having blogged in quite a while. I was two things, ashamed at my lack of attention in this area and tickled pink that I have been missed. I promised to address and correct my behavior, so, let’s address this…

On December 14th I officially opened my specialty dress shoppe, Dressed Up. Many of you know I have been working on this venture since January 2019 and, throughout the process I have learned so very many things… about real estate, financial fitness, government and myself. I have cursed and carried on and I have remained resolute in my determination and refused to take anyone’s “no” as an answer. I have challenged the systems that have (seemingly) been put in place to discourage minorities (I HATE that word!) from advancing past where “they” think we belong. I have stood in people’s faces and forced them to see and speak to me instead of hiding behind emails and telephones. I laid claim to my intention and did not move. I made/make sacrifices that make my social media feed look so very much less exciting than yours. My social life occurs within four walls and my besties are five bald-headed mannequins.

But, I am now the very proud owner of a dress shoppe

This post is about this morning with a subtext of the past few (read, 90+) mornings as well. Some of you may know the ins-and-outs of opening a business either through personal achievement and experience or education. Here’s what I had to learn quickly: my shoppe is new construction. At pre-determined phases throughout the construction process, city/state inspections are necessary – fire, electrical, sprinkler system, building, etc etc. Upon completion, there is a final building inspection and if approved you then move on to obtaining your Certificate of Occupancy or Approval. I will not bore you all with sordid details, but suffice it to say, a process that should have taken three to five business days from final inspection stretched on for weeks. After showing up in City Hall myself I was given my CofO. Once given that I was only then able to schedule a Fire Inspection to get my fire permit. Did that. Got that. Got my waste permit. And my zoning approval. Payroll filing as well. Check. I submitted all my bits and pieces onto the NJ Portal, paid my $250 fee for my business license and was told “it could take a few days, one week or one month.” You may have surmised by now this is not a version that will end with either of the first two options, right?

In early December I hung all the permits I had and also posted the receipt for the business license application. I opened the doors on December 14th. Then, I waited. Every few days I would check the portal and/or call… nothing. Today, more than a month later I head to City Hall. I enquired. A very nice gentleman printed my license and took it to the woman in charge of signing it (oh yes… ALL it needed was her signature!). He brought it to me and I was absolutely elated! Finally! Yay me for showing up and handling my business! Yes, I was feeling all kindsa proud of myself and empowered until he said, “Young lady, keep an eye on your calendar, okay, as your license expires in March.” What?!?!? Yes folks, the City of Newark thinks it is okay to, no matter when you are issued your license, make all expirations at the same time. So, I have just paid $250 for a license that is valid from today, January 16th, 2020 to March 31st, 2020! What the absolute fuck?!?!?

So yes, I am back writing alright, because my next piece will be addressed to Mayor Ras Baraka! You see, he speaks often about wanting small businesses and black-owned businesses in downtown Newark, yet THIS is what he rolls out as our welcome mat! Nope. Most certainly not good enough! Will update you all after my next trip to City Hall.

I’ve missed you…

“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.

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