For the past six months, lingering uncertainty pushed me into silent observation. It often felt like touching the color blue. Cool and brittle to touch sometimes, other times, a soft porous fabric you yearn to run your fingers through.
More than 168 days ago, I began avidly questioning what I know for certain. Laying under Puerto Rican sun, I shuffled through two-hundred and twenty eight pages written by Oprah, who, began contemplating the same question around the same age. At the end of it, she wrote, “I know for sure that what I think, what I say, what I do – everything will be returned to me. And the same is true for you.”
Yet, the silence permeated.
Sickened by a collective moral depravity within a society that rallied, in part, behind a criminal celebrity zealot, I opted to practice a deep outrospection. At a time when truth became conditional, used merely to serve some notable end, it felt necessary.
At a time when caring about people with whom you live side-by-side, neck-and-neck, seemed too socialist, or too European to be of any use in America – land of hyper-consumerism and ethnic cleansing, frequently failing in its promise to be just and free. Incapable of skating towards a collective good, and away from paranoia perpetuated by myth, our society appeared more likely to be caught in bed nibbling at the neck of its beloved mistress, greed, than at that of its betrothed, justice.
Let’s be real – our collective complacency only facilitated their orgasms, as their lust for more left us more fragile than ever.
This, I learned during twenty-four weeks of rendering myself vulnerable, questioning the things I know to be true. Truths realized while considering the relativity of the human condition were rejected just as quickly as I had accepted them. Twenty-four weeks of becoming comfortable with uncomfortable change, the fluid kind that burned hot just as fast as it did cold.
Living in a hue of blue, this time, the kind that was uncomfortable to touch, reality struck me as pretty grim. In the world of ivory towers, reality may have appeared problematic, but harmless: often lacking an invitation, and arriving embarrassingly late and embarrassingly drunk. In the real world, reality held hands with prejudice, opportunism, and impending ruin instead.
Everything we do is relative and our disregard for one another, like our disregard of the places we occupy will come back to us.
For six months I have vowed acute observation of world realities, the ideals we live by, myself, the people I hold dear, and others whom I don’t – yet the commonality appeared to be our self-sabotaging greed.
So please don’t care more about what I’m wearing than what I’m saying, or doing. Hold me accountable, as I’d hold you: to grow better, more selfless, inquisitive, and unaccepting of the injustices re-enslaving all of us, not just some. Nineteen-thousand seven-hundred and ten days have past since Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from a Birmingham jail, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The blue, cotton-blend backless blouse from Zara that I’m wearing could quite literally be someone’s blood, sweat, and tears (https://projectjust.com/brand_zara/). Too often, the systemic unethical production of $30 shirts consumed in the first world directly cause death and destruction in the third.
On one of the lesser balmy evenings, a sweatshirt worn hood-up was a death sentence. The label reads, “50% COTTON, 25% POLYESTER, 25% DEATH WISH FOR BROWN SKIN.” But you want to know where it’s from? Take your changes if you must, but remember this Jamaican adage: “dog and puss don’t have the same luck.”
Even then, there is not an us versus them, there is only us. I know this for certain because of you. Even when I only want it to be about the clothes, you see more – a representation of otherness foreign in a blogosphere of “wear this,” “buy that.” Full lips, and plentiful curves in a world that both condemns those attributes when they’re on black bodies, yet claws to possess them when they’re not.
When I started this blog, I didn’t expect people to care. I wanted a space to do something different. Quickly, I learned that bloggers who dress, eat, and travel well don’t flirt with controversy because of optics. Then and now, I aspire to proudly touch upon pressure points instead of merely wanting you to give a damn about what I’m wearing. Don’t get me wrong– that is also a part of this thing, but it is only one of many things that deserve undercovering.
There are so many questions deserving of answers, and problems deserving of our attention. And no, that isn’t my idealism speaking – it’s reality. This is what I’ve learned through introspection, outrospection, and becoming terribly comfortable with change.
The very morbid reality is, we’re living in the hue of blue that is so brittle, it will break us. Our favorite blue, the one we long to cuddle up against on quiet, early mornings, or when we’re near the sea, that blue is also in reach if we do so together.
In addition to you, here are the works that opened to that truth:
Break The Norms, Chandresh Bhardhaj
“Love Thy Neighbor?” http://wapo.st/2vedQWv
“The True Cost” https://truecostmovie.com
“How to see past your own perspective and find truth” http://bit.ly/2vJK0L5
“The Loving Story” – HBO
Animal Farm, George Orwell
“The Science of Your Racist Brain” http://bit.ly/2woVnVC
“Insecure” – HBO
“If Americans Love Mothers, Why Do We Let Them Die?” http://nyti.ms/2vJvtyH