At the beginning of this year, I made a plea in the form of a question, I suppose ”Why you should keep getting dressed.” I didn’t possess authority on the matter. I wanted to be more of a guide. That is, a guide who also felt the looming energy of a winter of unknowns and virus we knew even less. I don’t think I was hopeful as much as I was wishing to not become a creature of despair. An avoidance of something I felt vibrating on every level around the city as we retreated to our apartments. But for the most part, I got dressed. And I kept doing it.
As the restrictions of this holiday season cast upon us, I find myself repeating in my head, “Keep getting dressed.”
As people talk about their plans ahead, or their plans canceled, I say,
“Keep getting dressed”
As more advent activities call for movies and crafts instead of Santas and caroling, I say “Just keep getting dressed.”
As the kids move slower every morning, and I remain a step behind, I say, “Just keep getting dressed.”
There is so much to write lately. A sack ton of thoughts on generosity and love. There’s so much of it I am sorting through and deciding if it’s even worthwhile, because maybe you’ve read it all? You’ve heard it all. Maybe you don’t need me to recreate the wheel. Or to navigate a different one entirely? Maybe I don’t even really want to share, I just want to shout about it.
In this moments, I often think of a few years ago during this time. It was a time where I embarked on Woman Of Color, when my mother stayed in my house to help me with Oak, as we remained isolated from family and friends just for a little over a month. She said something to me I can’t forget…”Just keep getting up.” Which sounded an awful lot like keep getting dressed. It was a simple way to fight off the dark cloud under my bed that said this was all too much. The same thing said that maybe, a day in bed would suffice. A dark cloud that I didn’t know that well. But one I knew could exist, whether genetically or by simple facts of life; motherhood, work and Blackness in American.
A few months later, when the weather snapped back into shape and I sat on the pale green vinyl lounge bed in the tiniest room in the back of a doctor’s office, with scratchy paper tearing under me, the doctor said much of the same. I wasn’t there for any mental advice, but that’s what happens when you go to city-run doctor’s offices for routine check-ups. Sure, it was already spring, and I had stuck to my own mother’s command. I felt pretty decent about that. But maybe it wasn’t so much that I needed to hear it again from the doctor, but it was that hearing it again and again, seeded it in my head so that I could sustain the latter part of that summer and the subsequent fall. I didn’t know then, but it would ward off the boogeyman, like the dream catcher above my kids’ beds when a winter and spring of self-isolation hit a few years later.
I can’t claim any factual science to what I’ve shared. Hell, I also think it’s perfectly okay to find comfort in your bed if you so choose. But as we close out this year, while looking to a new one ahead, I felt it right to share this. To repeat this, if nothing else. Keep getting dressed.