The Collective

I met Tabitha years ago when she was first dating my very good friend Adam. We were at his brother’s then-girlfriend’s kid’s birthday party (say that five times fast), and the theme was to dress as your favorite villain. My date was Scar from The Lion King, I was Ursula from The Little Mermaid (I think?), and Adam and Tabitha showed up as Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bulwinkle. I took one look at her, dressed in this fabulously slinky black dress and thought I need this woman in my life.

Fast forward to now, and she is one of my favorite people, for so many reasons. When they got married, it was like something had finally gone right in the world. When their son was born, I was so excited that there was a little person running around with their genes that I cried. And when I was going through all of this insane anxiety stuff, Tabitha was the first person outside of my family who I talked to about it. And, in all honesty, she’s the first person who wasn’t the dude, my sister, or my therapist who I talked about it with in depth.

I’ll never forget it. We went to Brighton Beach with her son, and in the course of talking about her experiences as a new parent, somehow it just came out. The thing that will always stick out most for me is that I didn’t feel any apprehension when talking to her about it; I had before, sometimes even with the dude or my therapist, but with Tabitha… I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain it. Telling her about it just felt like something I was supposed to do, and I remember crying quietly on the train home afterwards because I felt heard. Not that I didn’t by the other people I talked to, but it was different sharing it with someone that I didn’t see or talk to every day. It was different explaining my panic attacks to someone who had never seen me through one the way the dude and my sister have (many times over, to my everlasting gratefulness). Even now, writing this brings up feelings of relief and gratitude for Tabitha. She didn’t try to jump in with her own experiences or to fix it. She didn’t tell me I needed to figure it out. She just listened, and asked how she could help, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to explain to her how much that meant, and continues to mean, to me.

Last year, Tabitha asked me to be part of the relaunch of her zero-waste apparel brand. She’d put out a few collections (that are amazing, btw) and wanted to shift the brand from clothing to something bigger and more purposeful. And so, the Tabii Just Collective was born. It’s a group of women of all ages and backgrounds, and it’s awesome. We get together when Tabitha designs a new collection to give feedback and talk about how fashion impacts our lives. We laugh, and talk about how our clothing impacts and shows who we are as women. We each write for the collective, something connected to fashion that is also personal. My first piece is about the intersection of fashion and anxiety, and as soon as it’s up, I’ll post a link.

Tabitha has brought together a group of women who are fierce, purposeful, vulnerable, and empathetic, and I love being a part of it. Throughout and in part because of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which I have) I’ve felt increasingly separated from my friends. And it is not their fault. I absolutely withdrew from pretty much everyone – even most of my family – when the panic attacks started, and I haven’t yet figured out how to prioritize yoga/mental health and spending time with my friends.

And that’s why I love the Collective: it helps me to contribute in a thoughtful way, to have a sense of community, but it also doesn’t demand a large amount of my physical presence or time. I’m also really loving the process of getting to know these women, and finding that my appreciation for Tabitha gets ever deeper as I get a better sense of the women she has surrounded herself with.

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