Wearing: Whistles Dress c/o ASOS, Heels, Sunglasses, Bag, Faux Fur Stole, Belt (Similar here)
I work really hard on being a source of positivity and joy. I try to look at the world through rose colored glasses, bring optimism and a sense of hopeful whimsy to what I do, and be the light that I wish to see in others. Obviously life isn’t all pink, and pugs, and Prada, but I certainly make an effort to dwell on the good. A thing that usually brings me immense gratification and fulfillment is being a support to my friends, having the opportunity to lift them up in times of need, to insert fleeting moments of delight in their lives, and to make people feel a little less alone in whatever it is they’re going through. It’s a choice I actively try to make to set aside my own anxiety and worry, to alleviate a bit of someone else’s.
I’m not going to lie: this week, in the wake of the election, in the face of feeling a weighty sense of hurt, fear, and betrayal at the hands of friends, neighbors, and family - fear that is not just for myself but for the most marginalized in our communities, I have really struggled to be that source of joy. I just have not had it in me. The best I can hope for is that, for people who have been comfortable in their complacency, who have allowed passive racism, homophobia, anti-semitism, islamophobia, sexism, ableism, transphobia, and more, to persist - that they will all be awoken from their slumber and forced to join oppressed communities in the fight for a better tomorrow. But it’s hard. And it feels not unlike the grief I’ve experienced all too often over the unexpected passing of my friends.
I took these photos before the election with Lydia, and I remember how I felt while taking them: empowered, strong, a little bit sassy. I felt defiant and unapologetic. We talked about our waning tolerance (if there ever was any) of our misogynistic culture, and how emboldened we felt to be brazen in our feminism, in the way we inhabit our bodies, in the space we take up in the world, in our capacity to not just fight for but demand a culture that respects all people, and we even laughed a little bit about our occasional misandrist feelings. We had a sense of hope, but more importantly, a sense of defiance. Even if (and when, as far as we were concerned), Hillary won the election, we still would have to keep fighting against systems of oppression.
I’m trying to tap into those feelings as much as I can. And I know that when this period of initial despair is over, I will regain that sense of strength, bravado, tenacity, and optimism. My communities are resilient, organized, resourceful, and brilliant beyond belief. I know we’re all committed to putting in work and supporting each other - and I’ve read all the think pieces out there, too, but the conversations my friends and communities are having in real life are even more nuanced, enlightened, and efficacious. Even through all the feelings we're collectively experiencing, I am proud of us.
And so, I’m wearing this striped dress again, today, as I write this. I hope that it has some transformative qualities that will help me realize and embody and tap into those same feelings I had while shooting, and the feelings of glee I had while I wore it adventuring the streets of London when Ali and I visited in September. I know my optimism is not gone, and while my sense of joy has been temporarily compromised, I will keep fighting for a better future for all of us. My brand of feminism may still be packaged in a sweet shade of pink, but know that it is even bolder and more impassioned than ever before: I’m not giving up, and neither should you.