The Red Dress

Published September 6, 2011 by S

Yesterday I came across a story that can only be described in one word exclamations.  “Wow!”, “Amazing!” and “Inspiring!” to name a few.

The History:

A few months ago, an amazing Blogger named Jenny (aka The Bloggess) posted an inspiring article titled “The Traveling Red Dress” on her own site. I had not yet started to follow the Bloggess, since apparently I lived in a cave and wasn’t made aware of her amazing existence until she posted her infamous introduction to Beyoncé the Giant Metal Chicken, and how it came to share her home.  But I digress…

The article was about overcoming your own personal roadblocks and doing the things that you have dreamed of doing no matter how others may look at you.  I hope she doesn’t mind, but I’ll add a quote from her post here to give you the idea:

“I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies.  I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”.  Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better.  Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.

And I am worth it. –Jenny (The Bloggess)”

The Present:

And so the journey of the Red Dress began.  A designer named Sunny Haralson made a dress specifically for this project, and after The Bloggess had her time with the dress (and had some amazing photos taken) it was sent out into the world so that  other women could wear it and feel the same feeling of Wonder  and Awe that Jenny did. The plan is for the dress to travel from city to city and spread its magic to others looking to finally do all those things that were kept in diaries and dreams.

I noticed yesterday, The Bloggess re-tweeted a post made by one of the women lucky enough to wear this dress. Another amazing blogger whose name I believe is Lolli attended a local event for other such bloggers and amongst all the women in their shorts and sandals was the amazing red dress! Her post titled “The Sisterhood of the Bloggess’ Traveling Red Dress” tells how all the women at this party took a turn sporting this inspirational garment.

“As each person took a turn trying on the red dress, the energy in the room began to change. Something was happening to us.

Finally, it was my turn. I followed Amy up the stairs and was right behind her as she took the red dress off. I stepped into the dress and Kristen fastened the corset back.

In less than a minute, I was ready for my debut. I walked down the stairs and the room cheered.

I felt beautiful. But I realized with a jolt as my picture was being taken that I had no idea what I looked like at that moment.

Each one of us had walked down those stairs into a room full of other women without ever passing a mirror. Everyone looked gorgeous but that was not what we were focused on.

The magic of the Bloggess’ traveling red dress was the way it made each woman feel.”

No two women were the same, but as each woman put on that dress they felt the magic.  It didn’t matter if they were skinny, or full-figured.  It didn’t matter if they were blonde or brunette.  That dress brought out something happy and amazing in each of them.

Jenny had sent this dress to a woman fighting Breast Cancer, who then shared it with the women at this party. You can see the confidence in each woman’s photograph, even without being able to see their faces.  Their posture and how they hold themselves tells the whole story (Ladies,  any of you who has ever worn a fancy dress knows what I’m talking about!)

And I have to admit that I am jealous!  Jealous of these women for sharing in the journey of this dress, and jealous of them for feeling that freedom and happiness that came from it.

So what I will take from this story is this: Never be afraid to live your life. Be whimsical even if your aren’t brave, and sometimes let the reason just be “Because I can!” 

Those of you that know me in real life know that I have dreams.  You know that I’m not usually afraid to speak my mind, and to dream big.  But most of you would be surprised at how often I talk myself out of things, and how often I wimp out of things simply because I care way to much what a perfect stranger might think. For me it’s easier to get a great big tattoo across my back then it is to wear a dress that ends above my knees or to go up on stage at a karaoke bar without a drink or two in me first.

I remember a long time ago talking with my friends and planning a Girls Night Out where we would all put on our fanciest dresses that we had worn over the years that we just couldn’t let go of, and bring them out into the world again.  We never had anywhere fancy or appropriate to wear them so planned to just head down to Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls. An area where ballgowns, prom dresses or wedding attire would be seldom scene, and perhaps cause a few double takes from our fellow tourists.

But sadly nothing ever came of those plans.  And now its years later.  Many of us are married, a few of us have children, have moved away, or simply have lost touch because of silly fights.

I’m thinking I’m going to let this be an inspiration.  I’m going to stop letting other people stop ME from being me.  I’m going to live the life I want to live and enjoy it while I’m able to.  And hopefully I’ll finally have that girls night planned so long ago, and create more wonderful memories with my friends as we create a real sensation.

I know it’s not exactly the point that Jenny and Lolli had in mind, but its a step, and one that I want to take with those closest to me. We will break those chains inside us that hold us back and have us worried about  “appearances”.  I can’t imagine sharing that freedom with anyone else.


PS:  To The Bloggess and Lolli, if you happen to find this post, I hope you don’t mind me quoting your inspiring words.  I honestly couldn’t have said it better if I tried.


One comment on “The Red Dress

  • I don’ mind you quoting me at all. I am so glad that our story has touched so many people. I knew something big was happening that night as we all wore the dress, but I never expected it to reach outside our little party. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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