My grandfather died when I was 10 years old. It was expected of me to wear black as a sign of mourning whenever I could, which meant acquiring new wardrobe pieces that were more black than any other color. Now, I wonder if that was what triggered my liking of black clothing.
The second part of mourning was not having fun. Well, yes, I exaggerate. I was not to attend any dances for an entire year. The ‘discotheques’ my school hosted for kids between the age of 10 and 13 were pretty decent. And there was one happening almost every month (outside of Lent). Nothing happened during those dances (take your mind out of the gutter), but everything happened during them (social life). We would constantly be under the watchful eyes of teachers and once you left, you were unable to come back inside. The DJ played our favorite songs and we would lose ourselves dancing and singing (i.e. shouting). If your throat (or ears) needed a break, you would go to the locker-room. That was where you would discuss whom you wanted to dance with next or how your previous dance went (Did your partner smell nice? Did they step on your toes? Did you try and talk? What about? Did she lay her face on your shoulder?/ Did you lay your face on his shoulder? etc).
That was how some relationship started. You went to the dances to listen to some good music but also to socialize. The following day, at school, everyone would be talking about who danced with whom, who was asked to dance the most, if Nick was going to finally ask Blanca to be his girlfriend, etc. It seemed that if you missed one of those events, you were behind on all the current events. All you could do was listen to the conversations without chiming in. It was like window-shopping – frustrating. For an entire year, I had to rely on my friends to fill me in on what happened during those dances and learn about inside jokes after they were birthed.
Did dressing in black help the mourning process? I guess, in a way, it did remind me of the death of my grandpa. However, I do not see how staying home instead of going to the dances helped anyone. It is not like I prayed for the soul of my grandfather while home. I do not think me dancing and laughing would be disrespectful, especially because my grandpa was a very fun-loving person.
As a grown-up, I treat mourning differently. It is all about the state of mind and not actions meant “for show.” To me, it is about what is in my head and heart and not the facade everyone who passes me on the street gets to see. I found out first hand that most people do not know how to act around a person in mourning. Some will walk on eggshells all the time while others will totally act as if nothing happened. Why punish others with something you yourself are struggling with?
Where am I going with this? Apparently, one California resident decided that the world (or her life) does not stop due to fires and now she is public enemy number one. A female blogger posted a photo of herself in an orange dress on a beach to commemorate her last day in San Francisco (she was moving to Los Angeles). Behind her, smoldering sky is seen. Want to see the infamous images? Check out Colette LeClair’s Instagram.
In the current description, she mentions how she loves the city, the beach, and taking photos. She also adds that she was not taking the dress with her to LA and that it was up for grabs. My research revealed that the original post was slightly different – it was an ad for the dress. Still, you would think it is a pretty benign post/ photo. However, as I mentioned in some of my previous posts – there will always be someone who finds an issue where there is none. Caroline Moss, who is said to be “an author,” called the photo post insensitive. Caroline went on Twitter and, inspired by Colette’s photo, said that “WE LIVE IN HELL.” Because people try to sell a dress? For one reason or another, that Tweet was deleted and the account deactivated.
To me, that ties in to my mourning introduction. We live in difficult times. The pandemic has changed all of our lives. Now, imagine struggling with a natural disaster on top of it (or anything else, really). It is not fun. The struggle is real and it bogs us down little by little. Is it terrible that California is burning? Of course! People are dying and many others are losing their livelihood. Those affected might not have the time to dress up, go to the beach, and snap photos. But, that does not mean that everyone on the planet should stop and mourn. Of course I feel bad for those affected but that does not mean that I will not try to earn my living. It just so happens that Colette gets paid by posting photos on Instagram and selling clothes. Supposedly, she is donating money to help stop the fires/ help the victims.
Would it be better if she posted her photos against a different backdrop? Would it make a difference? What is really the problem? The ashen sky, the orange dress, the fact that the photo was taken in California, or that there are fires burning somewhere in the world and people are suffering? I am not really sure what we are focusing on anymore.
I take these photos at face value. I see a girl. In a dress. On a beach. Would I consider buying that dress? No. OK, then it is time to move on to a different topic. Would YOU consider buying it? If so, would it matter to you that the photo was taken in California where fires are burning? Why/ why not?
Is orange the new black?
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