I can’t tell you for sure when the RBG obsession began, but it’s possible that it picked up in earnest after the 2015 publication of the Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg book by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik (I still can’t read that title without singing it to the rapper’s name it’s inspired by; listen to the opening of “Notorious B.I.G. featuring Lil’ Kim & Puff Daddy” by The Notorious B.I.G. if you want to know the tune). I listened to the book via one of our library apps and loved it, enough so to ask for a copy of it for my 40th birthday book extravaganza. More so, I adored Ginsberg, her life story, and her career; from there, the fangirl status was solidified.
Thanks to the power and beauty (it does exist) of social media, others picked up on my feelings for/hero worship of the legendary Supreme Court Justice. People started tagging me in posts related to RBG or sending me links for gear like shirts and jewelry to show off my love for Ginsberg’s spirit and tenacity. I didn’t always jump at the opportunity for RBG retail therapy, but I also didn’t always pass on it, either. This seemed fitting since Ginsberg herself used her own wardrobe to express her positions when SCOTUS decisions were announced, most famously with her jabots/collars that came in so many styles, colors, and meanings. Her Dissent Collar quickly became a symbol, to me and the multitudes, of standing up for what you believe in, even in the face of oppression and confining court rulings.
Over the years I collected, on my own and from others, the following: a WWRBGD sweatshirt (a riff on the 90’s WWJD bracelets); multiple t-shirts; a face mask; a “leopard” print blouse that is actually little RBG faces; a small, metal Dissent replica necklace; earrings of the same design that I had to give away because my holes closed years ago, but I appreciated the gesture; an actual, full-sized Dissent Collar replica from Banana Republic; an RBG superhero figurine; a “Supreme” coaster; an artist rendition drawing (cartoon style) of her; multiple books both kid- and adult-geared; and, most recently, an RBG pendant of which 100% of the proceeds went to Planned Parenthood which is in desperate need of support given our country’s current backslide on body autonomy rights concerning Roe, something we feared might happen via the Court after losing her in 2020.
Several of my purchases from this list have gone to organizations/causes like this which, again, seems appropriate. Not only do I get to use my own clothing and accessories to highlight my ideas and opinions as she did on the Supreme Court, they sometimes directly fund and support the same causes she believed in concerning freedom and equity for all. Plus my “armor” naturally showcases my love for my hero who has been gone for two years now.
Learning about RBG’s death is one of those moments that remains seared in my brain and probably always will. I was in our kitchen, cleaning up after supper, when my mom called to tell me RBG had passed. While this wasn’t shocking given Ginsberg’s many health scares in the last years of her life, it still caught me off guard because she had always pulled through in the past. It also felt like such a turbulent time in our country given the impending 2020 election, but that’s my hero worship failing me; of course she was human and deserved to be in a place of peace, not physical suffering from illness, and of course she didn’t owe any of us a darn thing to hold on any longer just because the political climate was difficult with the potential to become more so after her death.
While my tears didn’t come right away, I later settled in at the computer to read the news and scan social media for posts about her passing and that’s when the gravity and loss of my hero being earth side first hit. She broke the mold in so many ways and did at times seem beyond the limits of other humans, so how could she really be gone?
In the days that followed, I learned that Jewish tradition, which was RBG’s faith, does not say, “Rest in peace” after passing. Instead, tradition states, “May her memory be for blessing,” which essentially means it is up to us to keep the goodness of a person alive in our own lives, through our words and our actions that embody those we have lost. Fortunately I have a wealth of her words and lessons to continue learning from and will spend the rest of my life following in my hero’s footsteps. Not in law or the court, but in teaching my children to stand up for what is right, and in supporting causes, organizations, and people who are forever working to move the needle toward justice, just like my favorite SCOTUS Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
*Post 26/52 – Halfway!!