Category Archives: work

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.

Head Wrap Friday

DSC_0280

Is this what Chimimanda Adichie feels like all the time? Because she exudes confidence, grown woman sexiness and just grace whenever I see her. Only a few days after my Friday head wrap debut and I already know this look is going to be a permanent part of my Summer wardrobe.

First of all!

It feels very sexy in a way I had never guessed before. There is something really feminine and pretty about seeing a woman’s face framed only by a creative and classic up sweep of boldly colored fabric. I might need to incorporate this in other ways at home.

Wink wink*

I have to say, leaving my apartment in a head wrap felt very regular. I almost totally forgot about it until I saw myself in occasional urban reflective surface. And I was happy about that. I wanted it to feel fabu-normal. Yes, I just made that word up. Other than a few sweet compliments, my interactions with co-workers were normal and without incident.

Except for one.

K. is a woman of color who rarely speaks to me, mostly because I rarely have occasion to see her. She works on a different floor and pretty much keeps to herself. But last Friday she came up for some coffee we had out at reception and when she saw my head wrap her face lit up. “I really like it!” she said to me. Without being able to go into too much detail about what I know of her feelings about working where we work as a woman of color, I know that for her, the head wrap was a symbol of resistance and perhaps even liberation and I was so happy that she communicated her genuine admiration and respect to me. That maybe meant more to me than anything because it inspires me want to continue.

We are all famndjamn (strong woman in Hatian Creole) women and one of my deep desires has always been to demonstrate the strength it takes to dress on the outside in a way that reflects how one feels on the inside without shame or self consciousness, to reflect my culture, my pride and the unique twist that makes me who I am, like no one else can. Imagine how amazing we would all feel, if we could do this even just once a week!

I know it’s not something that can happen in all places of work and that dress codes often restrict our ability to wear our cultural or distinctive accoutrement on a regular basis but I would push women, particularly women of color to question exactly what we can get away with wearing in the work place and why or why not in regard to perceptions of respectability, uniformity and cultural stereotypes.

What kind of styles, hairstyles, jewelry, clothing have you wanted to wear at work that made you hesitate because you felt it might be seen as insubordinate, or keep you from getting a promotion or just make people perceive you in a way that caused them to treat you disparagingly?