My Suits Helped Me Try on Another Life, But I Don’t Need Them Anymore
Sometimes I still think about my suits and the life I could have had. Now I work for myself, and my standard uniform is jeans and a T-shirt.
When I was fifteen, my mom bought me two suits—two jackets and three skirts, one plain set and one with pinstripes. I had signed up for speech and debate class to meet a graduation requirement after hearing other kids rave about how cool the coach—Ms. (never Mrs.) Denney Bull—was. After a couple months of training, my first tournament rolled around, and it was finally time to put on one of those suits.
I love writing and reporting, and if I knew what else I wanted to do, I might do it. Instead, I’m left feeling fulfilled in my soul, with my stomach eternally in knots. Maybe a less creative life would be worth the tradeoff for a better retirement account and a more traditional work schedule. If adulthood is about the trade-offs you’re willing to live with, I’m still not sure stability is something I’m willing to give up.
More in this series
“As a child, I swallowed the Nation’s ideology as easily as the Harlem residents Baldwin observed.”
All the fashion rules I learned as a girl were informed by the view that women’s bodies are never okay as they are—they always need fixing.