On Monday morning, I walked into my office, and four pairs of new (cute!) socks were sitting on my keyboard.
I spent most of the rest of the day trying to figure out who left me socks because 1) it wasn’t my birthday, 2) it’s not Christmas, and 3) there was no note, and 4) I didn’t ask anyone to give me socks. That would be weird if you’re not one of my parents. And even then, I’m 28. I should be able to provide my own socks.
I was going to write a blog post about it. About the mystery of receiving new socks at your job in healthcare IT. About facing life’s proverbial desk-socks. It was going to walk that fine line between stupid and vaguely meaningful. My cup of tea.
Then Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.
I can’t make that cute. I can’t be funny about that. To borrow Jill Biden’s words, I can’t shake off the country openly voting for “the oppression of LGBT’s, minorities’, and women’s rights.” But despite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, this is where we stand. So what now?
It’s been a quiet day. A quiet, weird day. A day of coworkers and friends quietly discussing and processing and grieving. I was wearing a thick navy sweater with a large wooly scarf. The sartorial equivalent of comfort food.
Yesterday, I was wearing a pantsuit.
You’ve probably heard of the Pantsuit Nation. It’s an invite-only Facebook group that began as a way to coordinate women wearing pantsuits to the polls on Tuesday.
In Hillary Clinton’s message to the group, she says, “for some of you, it’s been difficult to feel like you could wear your support on your sleeve – and that’s why this community has been such a special place.” And it wasn’t just pantsuits.
There were “Nasty Woman” t-shirts worn by women who have been told they were shrill, should smile more, should not have so many opinions.
Women wore white. White was the color of the Suffragette movement.
It was through clothing that women could show their support for their candidate, know they weren’t alone, and feel really really powerful.
I know I did.
I don’t own a pantsuit. I work at a tech company where the dress code is, “whatever, man!” I did, however, feel the community of strong men and women making their voice heard. And I believe in clothes giving confidence in belonging. Clothes giving strength. Clothes as armor, and I’m not ready to leave Pantsuit Nation. I hope you won’t.
When I got home tonight, there was a package in front of my door. About a month ago, I won an Instagram giveaway for the three volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt. I wasn’t sure when I would get the package, so I gave up guessing.
I pulled her out of the box and stood in my kitchen for a few minutes staring at her. I wish I could have told her that we won. She strikes me as someone who quietly revels in hard-earned victory.
I am a straight, white woman. I have a job and healthcare, and a network of family and friends that offer me a safety net if ever needed. I’m sad and disappointed, but fine. There are groups that aren’t. They need my support, and they need yours too.