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.
Old photo of me by Julia Robbs for Cup Of Jo
There is such simple power & beauty in this mantra! To know that in that simple daily act I am reminding myself that while the world may be crumbling around me, I can draw strength from that which I can control in this upside down life. That in continuing to dress myself, I’m continuing to say Ebony you are worth the time, you are worthy of investment, do this small thing to nurture yourself today. I find it sows a seed that then bears nourishing fruit the rest of the day. Thank you!
Hi Ebony, I love this so much and am thankful you shared it. Can’t wait to see your seed bloom as time moves on.
As always, your words start out on a screen but land in my heart. I’m all here for the mantras, the wisdom, the shouting if need be, and definitely the whispers. Thank you for always going deep.
Oh Bethany, thank you. The whispers are getting me through too. Thank. you. Thank you. Thank you!
It’s funny you’re writing about this, because ever since you originally shared those words –whenever it was earlier this year — it has literally been the single sentence that’s lived inside my head everyday since. I’m dead serious.
It has been the mantra that has pulled me out of some dark mornings — “just keeping getting dressed, Kat; just keep getting dressed…”
You may never know what seedling you are handing over to people with your words. You planted that mantra inside of me and it just grew and grew. Once again, I thank you LaTonya for being you and for sharing you with us.
ahhh Katherine, that means so much to me! I’m happy it has stuck with. you. I say it the same way in my own head. I’m thankful for you! And your amazing outfits!!!
Yes! Thanks for the reminder. It is the simplest of things that can keep us moving forward. Also, I love the photo that accompanies this piece.
Thanks Leslie-Anne, its an old photo but felt right for the post. Thank you so much for your comment.
Yes, getting dressed has helped me keep some sense of normalcy in an unprecedented and unpredictable year. It’s one of thighs I do have control over and something ” fun” to do. I even wear my dressy boots to Target just because, why not?