Where do Grown Ass Women Shop for Clothes?

Rumors of a nation returning to “normal” have forced me to do something I have long avoided while working from home the last two years:

shop for work clothes.

Pre-pandemic, I used to share stories and posts on my IG of myself trying on clothes in midtown Manhattan fitting rooms constantly. It was fun. I actually liked to shop. Post-pan, I won’t step foot into a fitting room and am loathe to stand in a line at most any clothing store waiting to purchase anything. I tried a few days ago. I made a return yesterday.

As one of millions of people who worked from home the last couple of years I’ve gotten more used to ordering clothes on line than I ever imagined.

But since we’re trickling back into our beloved normalized dysfunction, I’ve had to deal with the fact that I need new work clothes. It’s not that I don’t still have the work dresses of pre pandemic fame hanging in my new home closet still. It’s just that that I don’t have any desire to go back to wearing any of them. Even when I was going into the office once a week at the beginning of this year, it was such a ghost town that I was wearing sweatpants and sneakers each time.

Oh the glorious comfort!

But as MGMT would say, it’s time to pretend…again. That’s part of what it means for America to go back to normal. Always has been.

Though there are some things I realize I never want to go back to.

1: padded bras.

I swore off bras during most of the height of the pandemic because they are for the most part, uncomfortable, oppressive straight jackets for breasts and I was fortunate that I could just go without them for a while. And I’m well endowed so It’s not like I don’t understand the need for support but my god, when I put on a bra for the first time to go to some dr’s appointment or physical therapy, it felt so wrong and awful. I found like 3-4 bras with no padding or underwire that liked and just wore those when I had to.

2: heels

I have a meniscus tear in my right knee so even pre-pandemic, I was playing myself wearing heels but post-pan, after I found my first pair of comfortable ass Sorel sneakers, honey, I don’t even look at heels. And I never understood, as a working woman why every time I went to a shoe store, I would often see the kind of shoes only Carrie Bradshaw would lust after displayed prominently.

Like, no shade to heels to the working women who wear them but f*k, can I get some comfort with these style trends that I can’t relate to anymore? I already have a list of comfy flat sandals for this Summer on my pinterest board. Check it out for when you’re done with your red bottom stiletto’s. And don’t judge me for odd heel or two you might find on there. I can dream can’t I?

Sadly, shopping for new work clothes is another matter altogether more complicated and challenging than footwear and padded bras. Yesterday I went from Zara to H&M to American Eagle to….sigh Forever 21. Zero finds.

My haul: two set of cute plastic rings from H&M and some nude colored hair bands for my wigs.

BTW, why have so many women’s clothes been ribbed for the past 6 years? Anyone?

WHERE THE HELL DO GROWN ASS WOMEN SHOP FOR CLOTHES?

The fact is, although I continue to be a fan of fashion, I have pretty much aged out of fashion trends myself. I see cute stuff and all l think is, it’s only gonna be good for a season or for two washes or both and it’s not worth the investment. It’s frightening how practical I’ve become in my old age. I make up for that in wig and makeup purchases.

But seriously, I went home and after these failed attempts at “in person” shopping, and did what I always do, buy stuff online from Old Navy. And what’s funny is that although I never could find one thing other than jeans that I liked whenever I would shop in person at Old Navy, everything I’ve ordered from them online has been perfect. I ordered three pairs of loose drop crotch sweatpants from ON last year. Oh my God…and they have pockets!!!!!!??? Lived in them.

I would love to find comfortable stylish clothing I like at a Zara’s or and H&M but it’s just not happening. I’m not in that target market any longer and while having less luck at mainstream clothing retailers does save me some $$$, it leaves me with not many options to wear to the office. I’m often left wondering if there is some secret one stop shopping place that grown ass women in their 40s shop at that I don’t know about.

I’m starting get the feeling that that place is online. Drop the links in comments if I’m missing out on something amazing. LOL!

Surreal in The City

My husband dropped me off in the city this very early morning so that I could do my in person hours at the office for the first time in two weeks. The city is still sleeping when we roll in and so am I, even with eyes open. It feels very strange, especially since we don’t live in the city anymore.

It was still completely dark when we left. For a while, I feel hollow and edgeless sitting in the passenger side. I say nothing. Am I even alive?

We put on one of our favorite interview podcasts but it takes a while before anything said sticks. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be. I want to crawl back into bed.

My husband parks across from the school he teaches at in Hell’s Kitchen and walks me to the nearest Starbucks, which just happens to be next to what was once a 5 dollar movie theater that I frequented quite frequently with a friend of mine when we were in high school, literally entire lives ago. I order something although I never eat anything this early in the morning, find a table and kiss my husband goodbye. He’s picking me up after work so we can drive back to our new home together which might as well be in another dimension.

Life is happening…

(written on December 18th 2021)

My cat is sitting on top of the laundry bag. It’s 11:30am and I’m still in bed. Haven’t eaten anything yet. My period began yesterday on the Full Moon in Gemini.

My husband’s cousin passed away suddenly and instantly on Monday. My most beloved instagram accounts were hacked on Friday. The Omicron variant has sent numbers soaring in NYC again, causing people to flood the street testing sites and overwhelm resources to the point of shut down.

Life is happening…

We’re moving out the city this month. After several years of searching, we found a new home. It’s been the only thing I’ve been able to stay hopeful for. And sometimes, even that has been hard…staying hopeful. These brand new beginnings come with new responsibilities. And ready or half ready or a quarter of the way ready or not, here we come…or go.

Same difference.

We’ve been blessed even in the midst of tragedy. My in laws have been amazing. My husband is so beloved by his family and their friends that they have showered us with blessings, support and wisdom.

Also, my cat is a creature I can never really be mad at because he keeps me on my toes, keeps me playful and curious and I mean, we have to take care of him no matter what. The part pets play in the role of human health is vastly underestimated but those who know…know. They help the heart. They help you to smile when you feel like shit. Taking care of him distracts me from my own innate and destructive selfishness. And cat energy is always soothing and mysterious to me which I love and crave for whatever reason. I’m a cat person.

But that’s pretty much it for me right now. I’m too exhausted on so many levels to attempt to express, explain or describe much more about what’s been happening in my life. We’re about to embark on a journey and I’m excited about it in spite of everything fucked up thats happening. And I hope to share more about that when we’ve settled safely on the other side.

see you there…

Rock A Bye Marriage

In the third episode of Scenes from a Marriage, Jonathan reads his therapy assigned morning pages, written in the third person to his ex-wife Mira in the characteristically calm, low and soothing pace he uses to sing to their 5-year-old daughter before bedtime in the third act. He reads to her about discovering the source of his inability to be truly present in their marriage. When he describes Mira as one of the first people whom he feels truly sees him, it works on her like a dysfunctional aphrodisiac. She is then moved to initiate physical intimacy with him on the carpet of the living room in the house they once shared. In an overhead shot where Mira rolls over on top of him, we see Jonathan’s eyes open, revealing his internal emotional struggle as they writhe together on the floor, overcome by this reignited passion. It’s consensual for a brief nail biting few seconds. And then Jonathan tells her they need to stop, that this is not good for him.

For Jonathan, formerly a strict orthodox Jew for whom the better part of his formative years as a young man were spent being separated from women and who appears to take ritual, commitment, and parental responsibility very seriously, the sustainability of his marriage to Mira and the thing that held it together never seemed to just be about sex and physical passion. But this is just my read from having only watched the 3 episodes available. It’s hard for me not to adore and want to cuddle every bit of Oscar Isaac’s screen performance. He never rises to anger without reason. He’s giving. He’s responsible almost to a fault. And are we supposed to not notice that Jonathan is hot dad central? I mean that man is settled as fuck! He’s not going anywhere! LOL! But maybe this is part of why Mira felt like she couldn’t take another second with him. Perhaps his steadfastness and emotional repression, shed too bright a light on her selfish, unstable and self centered behavior.

All I kept thinking about was how she said she wasn’t attracted to Jonathan anymore in Ep2 just before storming out to spend 3 months in Israel with her lover, Poli. And now here they are rolling around on the floor together and she tells him she never stopped loving or wanting him. Sooooo…try as I might I really can’t find a shred of empathy for homegirl. She’s messy af. And if Mira is written to be a deeply frustrating character then Jessica Chastain is doing a hell of a job.

Levi Hagai is not a director I’m familiar with but I do like the way he takes the viewer through a series of shifting and intense emotions in such a short amount of time. Whenever it feels as if Mira and Jonathan have made a solid and intimate connection somewhere, everything crumbles again under the weight of tremendous, unresolved pain.

In the scene near the end of this episode we see Jonathan singing to their daughter who wakes up in the night while he and Mira are arguing. We watch him walk her back to her bed while asking Mira to hold on until he comes back. He’s really asking her to hold on to the hope that they can salvage their life together. All I can think while watching him sing, is how present he sounds, how fully present he is for his daughter, while his relationship with her mother balances on a precipice.

And for Mira…I feel nothing.

Not yet anyway.

Really Love: Intimacy and Art

When Isaiah (played by Kofi Sirboe) first meets Stevie (played by Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing) at a solo art show for his friend Yusef, they stand together admiring a beautiful large-scale portrait of a Black woman’s face, originally painted by Ronald Jackson. After discussing their interpretations of the piece, he reaches over to touch and hold a medallion that lays majestically on Stevie’s chest. She never stirs, never recoils as he admires it and asks her if it is from West Africa. She looks at him and confirms that his guess is correct. They seem, from the moment we first see them together as if they are already connected by an invisible thread, something immediate, intimate, powerful and fragile.

Gerald Lovell

When Isaiah paints the portrait of the man on his cellphone sitting outdoors and gazing out at the viewer, (originally painted by Gerald Lovell) then has it shipped to Stevie as a gift, this is his first grand gesture and offering of himself. When he comes to her home for the first time and he asks her where she wants the piece to be hung, she suggests a spot out in the main area of her home. He then begins to talk about how where you hang a piece depends on how you want it to greet you when you first see it each day. It is a continuation of the intimate foreplay that began when they met at Yusef’s solo show. And nothing about it feels performative. He knows how to hang a painting and what it means to love a piece of art and the energy of its placement in one’s space. For him, creating art and sharing it is way of making love.

Pandemic Reflections in a Pandemic

You have any favorite clothes that used to fit you but they don’t anymore? And do you still hold on to those clothes out of sentiment? Yeah? I used to do that as well. But here’s the thing, I took a look at those clothes last year and finally realized there was no point in holding onto them anymore. I don’t want to fit into them anymore, and I doubt I ever could or should fit into them. I’ve outgrown them, not just because of weight gained (pandemic pounds are real asf) but also because I’m not that person anymore. I held on to them because I missed the memory, the time and the relationship I had with the world then, when I fit into those clothes. There is no going back.

That’s what it’s felt like for me, being back at work in the office part time. And nothing is going back to “normal.” A year and a half of working from home has turned the majority of my immediate focus to home life, my husband, family and my cat. So many of the devices I used to employ to distract myself have fallen away and to be honest, I’ve no desire to have them back. It’s actually a bit scary. Eerie.

There’s been all this space to process and see clearly what mechanisms I’ve employed to hold myself back from really evolving. And those mechanisms have become useless and unattractive. All I want to do when I’m in the office is hurry back home to my apartment with my cat and my partner where I feel considerably safer and much more comfortable.

This morning, I sat at the desk I work from and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Naturally, I couldn’t rip my face mask off so I made the decision to just unhook my bra. Then I just took it off and chucked the thing in my tote bag. No shade to anyone who needs one, but after a year of working from home and not wearing one, my breasts feel nothing but oppression when it’s on. 2020 made me hyper aware of how bras, aside from understandably needed support are really just meant to hide nipples away from the patriarchy.

I HATE IT.

MY BREASTS WANT FREE.

So my bra is in my tote. And I’m thankful that since I’m surrounded by zero people and this liberation is possible. I also toyed around with unbuttoning my jeans but that seemed to be the deal breaker. I’m pro-breast liberation but I’m not tryna go all Al Bundy in public. That’s just disrespectful. LOL!

But in addition to shedding old clothes, old modes of distraction and…my bra, I also seem to have shed a deep longing to reconnect with old colleagues.

You know timing is a thing.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder for sure but too much distance makes you binge watch shows on a bunch of streaming services while the memory of what used to be normal in terms of a social life gets dimmer. At first I missed the fuck out of people. Then I got used to missing them. Then I got used to the idea I might never see them again. Then I stopped feeling like I actually needed to see them in person since we have social media, texting and still know we’re alive.

Now, I’m like…what-else-is-there?

I’ve outgrown what I thought I needed from these relationships…

Work is not life.

What-next?

It’s a weird feeling place to be. I see my physical therapist more frequently than I see my close work colleagues or friends and all we do is talk about TV and film while he’s stretching out my arm. That, I look forward to. LOL!

But this strange we’re back in business, back to normal, shove the toothpaste back in the tube mess is giving me extreme pause. I look around me and I see nothing is back to any kind of normal and never will be. And that’s fine. But I need a change. I feel like part of me has already moved on from this and is just waiting for the rest of me to follow.

My Period Cup Has Made Menstruating Exciting Again?

No wait, that’s not what I mean. I mean, my period cup has made me feel like I’ve found a new club to belong to. Like having my period feels cool. LOL!

Why didn’t I purchase one sooner? I can remember Khalilah reaching out to me about the Diva Cup when it first came out. I remember her telling me excitedly all about how it worked and how close and personal you had to get with your vagina to use it. And at the time. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how it worked. Also the thought of a cup of blood grossed me out. And also the cup looked so small to me and I always feel like I bleed like so much during the first couple of days of my cycle. I couldn’t imagine something so small catching all of my flow. For 12 hours?

That lil thing?

Cut to a few months ago when I hear a Friend Zone Podcast where Fran talks about how the P cup is more environmentally sound than sanitary products that create a ton of waste. And that just completely clicks with me. It makes so much sense and I decide then and there I’m getting one. Besides, who wouldn’t want to just deal with one cup versus changing a tampon or napkin every day that you menstruate? Not to mention the money you save buying more sanitary products every month.

I’m in “The Scented Candle” Phase of My Pandemic Experience

I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of scented candles. I don’t hate them but in the past if I’ve burned a scented candle it’s usually been gifted to me. I love scents and really do believe in aromatherapy but until recently, scented candles are not my preference for incorporating scent in my home. However, like many of us, I’ve been working at home since last year so my surroundings there and the ambience that I create there have become more important than ever. I never thought scented candles would become so much apart of that but it has.

It started when one of oldest and best friends texted me asking if I knew of any Black owned candle companies. It was something I never even thought about before. So when I went to search Black owned candle companies I was surprised to find a pretty impressive list. My first purchase of a scented Black owned candle was from Posh Candle Company, which I learned about on Youtube. I love the fun, smart, and Black culture affirming names they have for their candles. That’s definitely what pulled me in. I mean how was I not buying a candle called Black Girl Magic with notes of brown sugar, coconut, honey and spice?

GURRRL!!

That candle has become my staple scented candle. It is so warm and familiar and comforting and delicious and it’s not too cloying, at least not for me. I loved this candle immediately. I’ve bought it a couple of times now in addition to a few of their other candles but Black Girl Magic is hands down my favorite. It’s also a high quality hand poured soy candle, which is important to me and is radically different than the corner store botanical bodega candles, which I have purchased for many years. They burn evenly, and don’t darken the glass like most cheap mainstream candles. My husband also has several favorites from Posh Candle Co, like Birthday Cake, Do Nothing and Chill and Allergic to Bullshit. We both ordered a bunch for ourselves, friends and family over the holidays last year.

I like to burn Black Girl Magic in my bedroom on my night stand/altar even when I’m not in the room because I love the way the scent welcomes me when come in. It inspires me, makes me feel good and is more than just a moment for me. I burn it, listen to music, sit and write or clean or declutter. It’s a whole love vibe.

Another one of my oldest friends turned me on to candles made by friend of his in Brooklyn where all good things come from LOL! Neatly Nestor Cleaning is a small, Black owned family affair, a cleaning company which includes scented candles as a part of its cleaning service package. I just purchased two candles for them a few weeks ago; Zen with notes of jasmine, patchouli and lemon and Zest (one of their most popular) with notes of lemon peel, orange and lime.  Zest is the one I’m burning now and it just raises my spirits and makes me feel joyful and lifted. It’s just a joy to smell Zest, even when it’s not burning. If I keep the top off I get brief wafts of it throughout the day. I [personally love citrus notes. They have a very energetic and calming effect on me. The smell of fresh oranges, is also deeply tied to the childhood memory of having my parents make fresh orange juice for my brother and I every morning as kids.  The fresh small of lemon peel (I use a lemon peel pad exfoliator in my skincare routine) and lemon oil is also a scent I love. And lastly lime gives just the right amount of sweetness to make me feel like a cold margarita might be on the way. LOL! It’s just fresh and clean and wonderful. .

Lady Day Harlem Candle Company

The next candle company on my list to try is Harlem Candle Company. I mean the website alone is just dripping with Black Renaissance excellence and sophistication. They truly seem to fit the bill of a luxury candle and I am here for it. I love how they honor Black Renaissance artists like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin Duke Ellington, Lady Day and Josephine Baker in the names of their candles. Because I believe in the ritual of honoring of ancestors while burning candles, I can just imagine that burning them is like honoring each of the incredible artists and giving thanks for what they contributed and still contribute to culture, art, civil rights, style and much more. It occurs to me that Black people and candles are kind of a no brainer combo in terms of spirituality, creation and commerce. My mom burned and dressed candles with oils and glitter since I was a baby so candles as a form of spiritual practice and a symbol of divine presence has always been around me. However, scent in candles is something I’ve only just started to appreciate and love as a result of sheltering in place. Scented candles have become very central to making our home as cozy, inspiring and soothing as possible for as long as this goes on. And while it does seem like a phase at the moment, I do hope to continue adding more things to our living space that make our home a source of comfort, healing and restoration no matter what happens.

“Sing a Song: It’ll Make Your Day…”

During an informal teams meeting yesterday I found myself humming Earth Wind and Fire “Wanna Be With You” very quietly.


I’ve been listening to my EWF playlist for weeks since the Flowerbomb gathering for EWF on Clubhouse. I take small breaks to listen to other music but I keep coming back to my EWF playlist on Tidal. It has such an immediate soothing effect on me. I just become loose and comfortable and…transported. I listen to it while I put on my make up, when I clean on the weekends, when I go for walks. I mean I generally use music in this way and have for aged but this was the first time it popped up in a work situation. I definitely attribute this to the increased level of comfort I’ve experienced working from home where I do my best to surround myself with things that make me feel light and inspired.

The humming happened almost unconsciously and it was low enough that I don’t think anyone noticed. It was just for me really, a kind of security blanket of sound, something that cut through my stress and helped me to be present, to feel all the beauty of that tune, while we waded through tedious, nerve wrecking hypothetical re-opening plans.

Music, particularly EWF music that reminds me so deeply of my childhood and my family, has this power of making me feel a kind of nostalgic safety. For me, their vision of love, soul, joy and liberation, still hold up the same way to this day. It is at once a going back in time but also feels totally timeless if that makes sense. EWF’s ideas about the transcendent power of love, music, dance and spirituality seem bound up eternally in a heart centered place that can never be destroyed. This is a great relief to me at a time where so little is stable, and no one really knows what will happen from day to day. It also makes me realize that there’s rarely ever a time when I’m not listening to music. My music playlists are as much about sacred healing, grounding, releasing and connecting to the divine as they are about having fun and letting my body slip into a spontaneous dance groove. A solo dance party can start anywhere. A connection to the divine through music and sound is possible everywhere.

I am so thankful for it.

“If you like that, you’ll love this…”

“Can’t Get You Out of My Head” grew out of Curtis’s response to the populist insurgencies of 2016. Curtis was struck by the fury of mainstream liberals and their simultaneous lack of a meaningful vision of the future that might counter the visceral appeal of nationalism and xenophobia. “Those who were against all that didn’t really seem to have an alternative,” he said.Adam Curtis Explains it All

I’ve been watching this terrifying docu-series made by Adam Curtis lately and I’m always watching it late at night and it is terrifying but I can’t stop watching it. The most recent of his films that I just finished viewing is “HyperNomalisation.”

I feel like I’m learning something I’m not supposed to. Which is probably why I keep watching, because, like many people, I get off on defiance and anti-authoritarian behavior but according to Curtis, revolution and uprising may just be another long way back to the old models of power we have no alternative to. This seems to be what he is suggesting using uniquely disturbing editing devices and a deadpan voice over that at their most brutal simply state the truth about power and society that no one wants to know.

It’s a hard pill to swallow and yet the way Curtis strings together alarming connections using footage and rarely seen before rush cuts of violent political coos, wars and upheavals spliced with popular film and television clips and scoring them darkly and ironically with a range of songs that accent and emphasize the hard truth, it’s hard to press pause. And each of these videos, narrated by Curtis himself are about 2 hours or more long so that’s saying a lot for me. Raoul Peck used a very similar editing device of disillusionment using jarring visual juxtapositions in his film “I Am Not Your Negro” which I’ve watched multiple times and highly recommend.