Its Sunday morning, the sun is creeping through your blinds, and I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan is bumping through your speakers. That femme
When I was a little girl, I noticed that my mother rarely ever wore a bra. I used to feel slight embarrassment whenever she would pull up to pick me up from school because I already knew she would attract all open eyes. Why would she do that? Coming outside without a bra?! That was the most inappropriate thing I could fathom in elementary school because I was conditioned to believe one thing: when your breasts started to grow, you put on a bra. It’s almost like showing the nipple was a crime, and it had a social life sentence attached. That belief stuck with me until my freshman year in college.
On top of being new to college, I was new to dressing on my own at an HBCU. That’s when I stepped into the realm of fashion that involved bodysuits on a regular basis, because that’s just what you wore to class and to parties. Up until that point, I didn’t even show my arms on a regular basis! In hindsight, it felt like a sink or swim moment and, baby, I don’t sink. My wardrobe changed with the season as I made friends and started to go out. The only process that could compare to my transition is the way a plant sprouts out of the ground.
My experiences probably mirrored the experiences of many, and I’m here to tell you all: BURN THAT BRA! The bra can symbolize anything in your life that restricts you in a way that makes you feel caged. It can be the man in your life that’s giving a measly 15% in comparison to your 85%. It can be that friend that’s always sneak dissing behind closed doors, but you can’t accept it because that’s your damn girl! It can be that job that pays you next to nothing and drains all of your energy, but you’re too afraid to pursue your passion as a hustle. It’s necessary to let things go in life to make room for the blessings that are due you.
As fashion transforms from one trend to the next, you will change in ways that may upset others’ agendas for you. Be free in your dress and in your thinking, because we weren’t made to be confined. Make decisions that add value and purpose to your life. A woman I went to school with named Sydney Henry gave a speech one time, and she said something that I’ll never forget. “On your obituary, it’ll have the date you were born and the date that you died. In between there’s a dash, and you have to live to fill your dash with a life worth living.” The words made so much sense to me as a freshman that I started to live by them. You are such a valuable asset to your world, in a way that it would collapse if you weren’t a part of it. Treat yourself as such.
Now if you haven’t picked up on what’s going on by now, I’ll make it plain for you in the style of the late James Brown: THIS IS A WOMAN’S WORLD. Our individual styles influence the masses in ways we don’t even realize, so much that we cause tidal waves in every category of fashion. We are nurturers, and because of that the human race still stands. We are inventors, entrepreneurs, CEOs, artists, doctors, lawyers, moms, sisters, aunties and all else! Our energies radiate in a way that warms the world a few degrees higher than the sun, and that is eternal.