Red Dress revisited

A few months ago I wrote about my red dress…that shockingly inappropriate or overindulgent thing that we long for all of our lives but deny ourselves because it’s not “sensible”.  For me it was wearing a red silk dress barefoot through a cemetery.  For you it might be learning how to canoe or owning a pair of white ice skates.  That post quickly picked up steam and soon women were wearing the dress as a symbol of conquering their fears, their limitations and sometimes even themselves, and I vowed to bring the red dress to the Blogher conference so it could be worn by anyone who wanted.   The comments shared on that post were extraordinary but my favorite was one so poignant that I ended up including it in the post:

I can only hope like the “Traveling Pants”, the “Traveling Red Dress” is magic enough to make it fit my size 18 self by mere magic. Honestly, being able to see it.. to touch it and be near it will be enough to prove I will be living my own Red Dress moment. I’m going to Blogher! I’m going to fly (!!!) to New York in 70 days and I’m completely and utterly terrified. But I’m doing it anyway dammit! This is a nerve-racking trip for most people, but for me? It’s so much more than that. For me, this trip will be a catalyst to take my life back from the ruthless clutches of agoraphobia. Sort of extreme exposure therapy. Today I can’t drive to the next town on my own, I can’t be alone at home, I can’t even take my daughter to the beach. I’m so much better than the housebound puddle I was 10 years ago, but I’m stuck. I’m so tired of CAN’T. In 70 days though (god help me), I CAN and I WILL.

That red dress? Home plate. The finish line. And also new beginning.

Thank you. ~ Karen

And this weekend I went to Blogher.

And I met Karen.

And we sat in my hotel room with her two friends and she slipped on the traveling red dress.

And it was amazing.

That’s what blogging is about for me.  The shared journeys.  The people.  The hope. The little victories that aren’t really so little at all.  The stories of our lives that entangle and cause strangers to suddenly become a community and a lifeline.

And as Karen stared out the window onto the teeming New York sidewalk below she took a deep, ragged breath and held her head a little higher and then she cried.  Not the cry of someone crippled by fear but the cry of someone seeing the sun for the first time in far too long.

And we cried along with her.  And it was good.


Thank you for inviting me into your stories.  And for listening to mine.

Comment of the day: Jenny, thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful moment.  And Karen, thank you so much for reminding me that we all can find the courage to confront our fears. You’ve inspired me to tackle a lingering one of my own head-on, starting now. And you should know that that red dress looked like it was designed with you in mind. You were, and are, gorgeous. For what it’s worth, a stranger half way around the world is very proud of you. ~ Alpha Wumpus

356 thoughts on “Red Dress revisited

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Lovely story, I’m sad though that I didn’t get my red dress moment. But I suppose my time will come. Horrah for you, Karen!

  2. This is just heartwarming. The positive influence complete strangers can have on each other and the touching moments you’ve shared are inspiration, and make me want to be a better person. Thank you.

  3. Bless it! You made me cry but it was so worth it. I love this!! I love that the red dress was a finishing “lifeline” to someone and that you were there along for the ride to be one of her supporters/witnesses. The way that you put me in the room with you all is what keeps me reading & writing. To interact and connect with people even if it is a cyber laugh, hug or pat on the back has me hooked on blogging like I never would have believed. It truly has some amazingly genuine people bouncing around in it sharing so much with each other. Thanks so much for this <3

  4. Amazing.

    Thank you for sharing your story, and for sharing Karen’s moment in the traveling red dress with us. Now I’m crying.

  5. AMEN! Everyone needs a red dress moment! …. there will be times that make you feel naked once again (which can also be good depending on the situation) but you just have to bend down (derriere pointing away from the crowd of course) , pick that red dress up and put it back on! I know, because I’ve had them!

    PS … Karen you look gorgeous in that dress!!

  6. Ah-Mazing! Karen looks amazing. Simply gorgeous. So glad you took the dress with you, Jenny. What a great story.

  7. bless you karen! what a beautiful picture and a beautiful face and beautiful expression. so glad you and the dress got to meet.

    I agree, the beauty of this is that you get to share your stories, and we get to do what we love, without having to have some editor or publisher agree with what we want to write.

    march on ladies

  8. Crap! I come here to laugh, but now I’m crying too and I have to say that’s okay. In the end it’s all about how we relate to one another individually, and the challenge is to make people’s lives a little better than they were before we came along. You’ve got that down, Jen, in spite of your take-no-prisoners kind of approach to profaning convention. (no pun intended.) I salute you…and congrats to your new friend Karen as well on looking so amazing at home plate.

  9. I am sitting here bawling my eyes out. How wonderful. How absolutely wonderful!!!!

  10. Karen looks angelic in that red dress… maybe like a fallen angel, what with the diabolic red color, but angelic all the same!

  11. My god bloggess-
    I just loved this had to post Don’t know you or Karen personally. But this post makes me proud to be a bloggess so rock, as does that teary eye’d photo of Karen in HER reddress moment..

  12. That is so beautiful. It reminds me of the “be nice to everyone because everyone is hurting in some way” adage. The crying picture is my favorite one of all.

  13. Way to make my eyes leak!
    I love that your shared Karen’s story. And that you continue to share yours.
    Those photos of Karen are truly lovely. For so many reasons. Well done (both of you!).

  14. I absolutely love this world we live in and the incredible people who adorn it ~ LONG LIVE THE TRAVELING RED DRESS!

  15. hooray for Karen! i am so glad she got her chance to wear the red dress.

  16. Karen, you are amazing in that red dress. If there weren’t so many people looking at me right now I would cry too. I could.

    Jenny, you are an angel, as usual.

    What a beautiful story.

  17. aww, you made me cry 😮 again 😐 love love love the spirit behind the red dress and the meaning it has for people.

    and karen, you are lovely. just simply lovely.

  18. And I’m crying all over again.

    I can’t thank you enough for helping me celebrate this new chapter in my life. THIS? Was nothing short of magical. I am honoured and grateful to you and all the friends that helped me find my courage, Saying thank you and I love you are not near enough…

  19. Oh hell, you made me cry. I’ll probably live, though.

    And Karen, size 18, size 8 or size 118….you look beautiful in that red dress. Congratulations!

  20. So great to see & hear you in person. Just as funny & beautiful. Maybe next year I’ll have the nerve to actually say hello!

  21. I bought a pair of silver go-go boots about three weeks ago. I was thrilled with the purchase, and I kept showing them off to all of my friends and family. They all looked at me like I was crazy and asked where in the world I was going to wear them, and aren’t boots like that the kind that strippers wear?

    But your post reminds me why I bought them. Because it’s something that I want to do, something that fits my personality. So often I restrain myself because I’m worried of what others think – but who cares what they think? It’s only what I think about myself that matters.

    Thank you. Thank you for reminding all of us of true beauty. You are truly an inspiring person.

  22. Thank you, Jenny. You reminded me that’s it really is worthwhile, this lonely writing thing. Especially for the moments when it’s not quite so lonely.

  23. Karen rocks the red dress!
    I need to find my “red dress” that will get me a job. Or at least keep up my spirits whilst I look.

  24. I am new to your blog after this weekend at BlogHer and I am in tears reading this post – wish I could have met you and the red dress crew. I have a few “red dresses” in my life and they are all so incredibly powerful and emotional — one of them, quite literally, is my bright red prom dress (I’m 33), that I fit back into after blowing up to 250 lbs and then spending 5 years whittling back down to 175. I cried when I put that dress (back) on.

    Karen, for what it is worth, you look absolutely stunning in ALL of those pictures, but especially the teary one.

    Thanks for sharing this story.


  25. Thank you, Jenny, for sharing your funny stories, but especially for sharing your stories of hope, inspiration and triumph. You are a blogger of quality who uses your power for good, a lovely example for our community which easily becomes embattled and littered with stupid tiffs and silly wars.

    I am so glad I have had the opportunities to meet you in person. I do not seek out many popular bloggers at BlogHer because I am not a name dropper. But I do seek out *you*. And for good reason.

  26. What a great story. This thing is so hard to get a handle on, so hard to fathom if you aren’t in it, and so hard to deal with.

    Good for Karen. Good for all of you.

  27. CRYING and LOLing at the same time. How do you do it? That’s just beautiful and wonderful. And congratulations, Karen!!!

  28. Karen looks fabulous in the red dress! Good luck to her and everyone out there that needs a little (or big) push!

  29. God what a fabulous moment. Thank you so much for sharing it with us Jenny. You have me in tears here.

    You both are truly incredible.

  30. This is now my favorite moment of BlogHer10 and I wasn’t even in that room. But, yeah, that’s what it’s all about.

    Congratulations, Karen. You look gorgeous in that red dress.

  31. Jenny, never commented on your blog, but RT & reply on Twitter all the time. You have no idea how powerful you, your blog, the funny stories & even the not so funny stories have not only impacted my house & life, but sometimes just my emotional well-being. I know that you follow quite a bit of people on Twitter, but I was totally in awe when you started following me too (a celebrity is following me on Twitter, people). In short, thank you, Jenny and thank you, Karen, both for being you and for sharing such wondermous things with us

  32. Good for Karen, and also good for you, Jenny. The way I saw people light up in your bathroom, er, I mean, glow in your presence at BlogHer proves your tag line to be true. Still somewhat blasphemous, but true. Cheers.

  33. I always always always feel uncomfortable when someone close to me questions why I blog or “doesn’t get it” when I talk about friends that I know so intensely, but have never met. Sure, from the outside it seems funny to some that communicating back and forth via email or even through comments can even “count” as a real relationship.

    Those people should meet Karen.

    Karen, I don’t know you but I’m sending you a HUGE “WAY TO GO!” And Jenny, thanks for blogging!

  34. I’m crying too.

    Karen, you are so beautiful in that dress. You are such a brave person. I wish you the best.

  35. Karen,
    You are so brave and beautiful in our Bloggess’s red dress. Keep up your red dress moments. You are a shining, glorious woman. Look for yourself.

    Bloggess, I just love you, that’s all.

  36. Thanks for sharing, I am smiling and tearing up, such a wonderful story. It truly is a magical red dress.

  37. I’m biting back tears. Karen, you look beautiful–and I don’t just mean in the physically pretty sense (though that is included in what I’m saying). You’re glowing like someone who’s found something they’ve been searching for, who’s battled her fears and won. You look HAPPY. And I’m happy for you. Congratulations on having your red dress moment.

    And Jenny, thank you for giving her this, and for everything else you do. You’re so much more than a funny website.

  38. OK, I don’t really get why putting on a red dress would make anyone get so emotional. But then, it doesn’t really matter what I think, does it? That last photo just says it all. Why deny yourself something that makes you so happy, to hell with what people like me think.

    And it doesn’t hurt that Karen looks absolutely stunning in it.

  39. I can’t add anything to make this any more prefect, but wow. I totally have the after an emotional cry feeling now just from reading this.

  40. Well, I’m crying now, too. I have my red dress moment and I cannot wait to share it when I’m brave enough. Maybe when I get to wear it, I’ll share. Until then it’ll be a beautiful dangling carrot!

    Beautiful post. Karen is beautiful in that red dress!! Way to go. Truly.

    I am dissapointed that I didn’t get to meet you at BlogHer, Jenny. But I will some day!

  41. Wow, I missed the original post when it first was written, but it and this one took my breath away. You’re a wonderful, gracious person to share your dress and be open to share these experiences with people. I love it.

  42. Thank you, Jenny. I’m going to come back and read this story over and over again.

    Karen, you look like you were born to wear that dress. Beautiful.

  43. That was just wonderful. There is no other word for it. Thank you for letting us into this little piece of awesome.

  44. Hooray for Karen! And as for you, Jenny, I just fell a little more in love with you. Never thought that was possible.

  45. I couldn’t wait to see what kind of funny take you’d have on the conference. And then, this. So true. And Karen looks beautiful.

  46. YAY, KAREN! You are gorgeous in that dress! I know how scary it is to come out and face your fears, but you DID IT! CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to your new, spectacular life. There’s work ahead, but as you can see, you are an inspiration and you can DO IT! Hurray, Bloggess, for telling this story. Awesome! <3 –Liz

  47. Shit… now I’M crying! I don’t even know what to say as I am now speechless. Karen– Congratulations!

  48. O! I loooove Karen!

    Really. Lovely. Love. Hot. Cute. Yay. Awesome.

    Women kick ass sometimes. You know, when we’re not being catty A-holes.

  49. Dammit! You’ve done it again. Yes, that’s right, you got me to sob out loud again as I read this post – just like you did with the original post. My mascara isn’t waterproof, you know!

    I am soooo happy that Karen took that gigantic step. And I’m sooooo happy that you were there waiting for her with the red dress.

  50. I lurve you. I lurve Karen too and I don’t even know her. I guess I don’t know you either but whatever. You’re both awesome.

  51. I usually visit your site for the off-the-wall whack that you excel at. But today you made me tear up with this story. I really love you, Jenny. (Not in a weird stalker kinda way, either.(You live too far away)).

  52. What a charming post. I’m a little teary-eyed myself. One of these days, I’m going to find a red dress like that, except it’ll be purple…

  53. I don’t know why my previous post had someone else’s name on it; my apologies. I couldn’t figure out how to delete it.

  54. The other day on FB I think it was NPR that posted something asking people what their super power was. It’s very clear, Jenny, that yours is being The Bloggess. 🙂 Look at all the love, fun, and laughter you bring to the world. Thank you!

  55. Of all the posts of yours I’ve read (which would be all of them) this one ranks up there in the top five. I come to your blog to laugh, and yet so many times you’ve surprised me out of nowhere and yanked my heart so far up into my throat that I’m sure I cannot breathe. This was one of those times.

    Much love to you and to Karen.

  56. Wow. Bravo, Karen. And Bravo, Jenny, because you are changing women’s lives. I know you’ve changed mine. Hugs to both of you!! <3 <3 <3 And, yes, I'm crying. At my desk. At work. Ha.

  57. Thank you Jenny. Karen you are so brave and an inspiration to all. Embrace your freedom.

  58. She is so beautiful. Really, truly gorgeous.

    Jenny, the things you say make a difference. You’re funny as hell, but also? The things you say make a difference.

  59. And now I’m crying too.

    I wanna wear MY version of the Red Dress to BlogHer2011 in San Diego. You women inspire me so much. Seriously!

  60. So great. Major, sparkly, happy high-five to Karen. Hug to Bloggess for making it happen and for documenting Karen’s milestone. Now THIS is why Al Gore invented the interwebs.

  61. Hey, I come here to laugh not weep. I’ll forgive you this time because, man that’s a great story, beautiful woman and such a happy ending. (Karen, you are stunning!) But next time give me some kind of weepy story heads up so I don’t screw up my make up at work again.

  62. To Jenny and Karen:
    Thank you so much for this post. Karen, you look beautiful and I’m so happy you made the trip and got to wear the dress! xo

  63. What a great, inspiring story. And beautiful pictures. We all have a little bit of karen in us, I’ll remember this next time I think “I can’t.”

  64. That is awesome. Absolutely amazing….Bravo Karen. And now I am in search of my own “red dress”….

  65. I loved this. And I really enjoyed hearing you speak at BlogHer. The Bloggess sometimes seems a caricature until moments like these where you let us see your big ‘ol heart.

  66. This post made me cry. And then I got to the picture of Karen with tears on her cheeks and then I just couldn’t stop. I can only imagine how this must’ve felt for Karen. To do something to break the can’ts. I think this is wonderful and it certainly inspires me to break free of my own can’ts. Thank you Karen and thank you Jenny. I love you both all the way from Denmark.

  67. God, you’re just amazing!! i only wish i could’ve been able to go to the blogher convention to see you and the beautiful and very powerful red dress. I wish i could have a red dress moment some day soon; i wish i could stop being so shy and tough on my self, be able to have some confidence and to not feel so alone. Lately i’ve been feeling really miserable and worthless, but this post just made my day, hell, my week a little bit brighter. thank you so much!!!!!!!

  68. Oh my goodness, I am bawling my eyes out right now. Way to go, Karen! God bless you. You look absolutely gorgeous in the red dress and you’re glowing! Jenny, you’ve got a beautiful heart. You really do.

  69. I’m a new-ish reader and this is my first comment…I’m not much of a commenter but this post inspired me. Karen, you are amazing. I hope you remember that New York City moment forever!

  70. Karen, you look beautiful. Jenny, you take beautiful pictures. Together you made a beautiful memory.

  71. If we ever meet do you have an extravagant pair of red boxers or maybe an overly done sports coat or something I could try on. What would work for a guy? Especially a guy who doesn’t really like to dress up? I’m very inspired by this but as a man I think a dress may be a little TOO insensible. UNsensible? No. I was right the first time.

    Kidding aside, you inspire an amazing amount of people Jenny, and I hope you and all those that you inspire to inspire others keep doing what you all do.

  72. Congratulations to Karen for conquering her fear. She looks gorgeous =)

    Red dress posts always make me cry. In a good way.

  73. As I sit here crying staring at this beautiful woman in that perfect red dress, my heart for once is at peace. I sent your previous story to all my girlfriends, the few that have been with me every step of this journey in my life. I vowed to them that one day we would have our “red dress” moment and not be held back, like I (we) are so often prone to do. I’m not strong enough yet, but I soon hope to be for my sake and those around me. Thank you for being you, Jenny!

  74. What a wonderful post. It is all about helping each other to be the best we all can be. Karen you are stunning and Jenny thank you for sharing this moment.

    Long Live The Red Dress may we all find ours!

  75. I hate to chime in and say “+1!” but…+1! Beautiful, inspiring, and lovely story. We can all learn from you and Karen. Thanks so much for sharing.

  76. Karen you look amazing, truly stunning, beautiful! Meeting fear head on suits you, try it more often to have that glorious glow! Bravo, well done!

  77. You’re amazing. You brought the dress all the way there so she could wear it? Look how she owns it. The blogosphere is a wonderful way of bringing people together.

    I’m glad I went to the conference. I met some great women. And I loved going to your session and meeting you. You told me my hair looked like Bettie Page’s, which made me feel like I got to wear the red dress.

  78. I thought you were a beautiful person when I met you this weekend….but damn your inside out shines the outside by a whole lot.

  79. As an (always imminent) agoraphobic, my Red Dress moment came 6 years ago when I left my ex, packing my shit and my dog into a U-Haul and driving across several states to meet a good friend and my future husband. At the time I hadn’t even pumped my own gas in years. Why would I? I had only gone grocery shopping once a week for a long time and leaving the house even for that was gut-wrenching hard.

    Some years after that, I shaved my head because I wanted to and still do after a year. All sorts of other wonderful things have happened in-between these events and ALL of them happened because I said, “Yes, I can”.

    Wear. The. Red. Dress. No one minds, really. Really.

    Karen, please blog, we’d love to hear more from you.

  80. I am not going to read through the comments just yet, because there are still a few things left to do with this evening and I will not get them done once I start crying. Then again, those things are not going to get done now because, even though I am not useless with tears, I am stopped in my tracks by some great heart swells.

    Karen – congratulations, congratulations, congratulations!
    You are incredibly brave, and I am proud of you even though I do not know you, and even though it sounds like Grover to say “I AM SO PROUD.”
    This is your moment, and I do not want to take away from it by talking about me, but I will just say that I know how immobilizing agoraphobia is, and knowing how crippling it is makes me appreciate all the more how hard you must have worked to get to that dress.

    And – most of all – those pictures are absolutely beautiful.
    I think I will just spoil it if I say any more than that.

    A friend and I were talking, years ago, about our experience with ye olde sad brains, and we both said that – though it can be pure hell – if we had the chance to go back, we would not change it. We appreciate tiny things, and find beauty and joy in them, and we might not have noticed the tiny things if we weren’t trying so hard to find something to keep us going. The dress seems like one of those tiny things, except the more we talk and share, the more it grows. That sounds awfully hokey, and also sort of nuclear (“IT GROWS!”), but you know what I mean. We are all stopped by it, and fascinated, and inspired, and it reminds us to move towards wherever we find beauty and joy, even if we are afraid we do not deserve it.

    So – thank you.

  81. i love how you can have me peeing in my pants laughing one day and crying tears of joy and compassion for a stranger the next. you are such an awesome human being. thank you for inspiring me.

  82. Aw crap, that just made me cry too.

    And I know I’m a HUGE dork but I so loved getting to talk to you this past weekend, even though it was just for a few minutes. I just wanted to say that. And now, back to my dorkitude.

  83. That’s incredibly sweet and her story is encouraging. I really think the best thing about blogging is the people, the community and the friendships it inspires. I don’t mean to get all squishy on you but it is quite the adventure.

  84. Awesome, powerful, amazing. I love when the internet and blogging world create pure awesomeness-your red dress, Karen’s book, Tutus for Tanner. My God, but people are fabulous.

  85. Thank you to Jenny and to Karen. . . . Karen, you looked gorgeous in that red dress. I hope you’ll buy one for yourself and that you’ll wear it often in the years ahead.

  86. Bravo Karen. Bravo Jenny. Both of you – for making me believe that my red dress moment is out there, within my grasp, and by god, come hell or high water – if Karen can do it, SO.CAN.I.

  87. It makes me wish for those fabulous red dresses for every woman I know. Karen, if you read these, I’m so proud of you. Congratulations.

  88. I love this. And you. And Karen. Whom I’ve never met! And everyone else that’s courageous enough to share their story.

  89. Jenny, thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful moment.

    And Karen, thank you so much for reminding me that we all can find the courage to confront our fears. You’ve inspired me to tackle a lingering one of my own head-on, starting now. And you should know that that red dress looked like it was designed with you in mind. You were, and are, gorgeous. For what it’s worth, a stranger half way around the world is very proud of you.

  90. This is such a sweet post. Even the strongest of people sometimes need a boost to help conquer fears, obstacles, or just the daily whatnot. That dress looks FABULOUS on Karen.

  91. It was my first time at the BlogHer conference too. I sat in your session about where’s the line – you might have heard me since I think I laughed the loudest and I may have snorted a few times.

    I wanted to introduce myself and tell you how much I admire you. But goodness, you were so busy and so in demand and I don’t want to impose. But I am a huge admirer of your writing and your compassion and your humor and your comportment.

    OK, I really don’t know what comportment means. If it’s positive, then go ahead and take that comment to heart. But I’m keeping plausible deniability just in case I might have insulted you. For all I know, comportment might be some sexually transmitted disease.

    Oh, look – me, off on a tangent again. Who would have guessed?

    Anyway, I’d like to get on the wait list for crying with you in your hotel for next year, OK? That would be lovely. Thanks!

  92. Crying all over again.
    Karen, I’m so happy you were my roomie at bloger and so glad I get to call you friend. You are so beautiful inside and out. I’m so profoundly proud of you.
    A huge thank you to the Bloggess for making this happen for Karen.

  93. Jenny, this post is just gorgeous. And so are you. And so is the dress. And so is Karen in the dress.

  94. So beautiful: the writing, the dress, and especially the women! Karen, you are radiant in that dress and in that moment – I hope you can hold on to that feeling forever, or at least take it out to cherish whenever you need it. You are so brave to do this thing. And Jenny, you are such a warm, caring and open person, it’s a pleasure to read your blog and wait for your book to come out (right?). I’ve only been lurking for a short while, but I’m totally hooked. Thank you.

  95. i love that in between all the batshit crazy hijinks, you share something so inspiring that makes me just….i don’t know, want to cry, run outside and dance and twirl and be alive.

    karen, i’m so proud of you! you did it!

  96. Although this is mainly the story of a beautiful woman named Karen YAY Karen more power to you I’m so happy for you it made me cry the way you present it jenny shows a side of you that makes your funny stuff even funnier.

    P.S.: Use these ,,,… anyway you want to.

  97. Very Beautiful moment. I’m so gald my friend shared it with me. This what it is all about!

  98. There are already so many comments on here that I don’t know that I have anything new to add, but I feel compelled to just mention that this post made me tear up (I do that a lot lately, b/c I’m trying to get preggers so I went off my Xanax), and that Karen rocks the house. I struggle with anxiety every day, but I feel like such a wussy wuss seeing someone with anxiety as great as the anxiety Karen experiences taking such a huge step. Thank you Karen for being such an inspiration, and thank you Jenny for bringing the red dress to those in need!

  99. This post is so inspiring… it makes me really want to blog and be an awesome blogger just like you. Karen is a beautiful woman and I am so proud of her for stepping out and conquering her fear- she’s lucky to have had you to help her in her journey.

    One day I’ll make it to BlogHer, and I’ll hopefully get to meet you in person.

  100. Oh dammit, there is something so wonderfully beautiful about a person embracing life and overcoming their fears.

    I am so happy for her. And for you to be a part of that beauty.

  101. She looks stunning! I’m so glad she made it and by the looks of it she had a great time. You are wonderful as well Jenny. It’s stuff like this that makes me see there is a whole lotta creamy goodness in this world.

  102. Amazing post. Major props to her-you should link her blog, it would be great to read (if she said it was okay to do so, of course) 🙂

  103. This is the most awesome, amazing thing I have ever read on a blog. You are amazing. Karen is amazing. We all are amazing.

    Thank you for helping us all see that and experience it in our own lives, with our own red dresses, of all colors, shapes and sizes.

  104. Being in the room during this shoot was by far one of the greatest moments of the week for me. Rooming with Karen, I SAW and felt the struggle that the week was for her. And I watched her square her shoulders every morning and face her biggest fears. I watched her slowly be able to enjoy the day, and let go.

    Kare-bear…you are an inspiration my dear. It was an honor to be there to hold your hand when you needed it.

  105. a breathtaking blog. just amazing. WAY TO GO, KAREN! Jenny, you are a catalyst for extraordinary things. 🙂

  106. What you tryna do? Turn me into a big pussy?

    Love you, Bloggess. Love you, too, Karen. Nice goin’.

    I still want the ad, but my site is still down. I had no idea that domain transfers take so long.

  107. I can not even believe I am in tears right now. I think it is beautiful that women like you make such an impact in other’s lives. I haven’t commented here much, I haven’t been bloging long, but I have joined a community of loving women & mother’s that are beyond words. amazing. I hope one day, I can follow in your foot steps and help someone else, even one person the way you have hundreds! Thank you. I hope one day I will have the pleasure of meeting you as well.

  108. I know and absolutely love Karen!! It was an honor to meet her this weekend. I love her even more after reading this post and seeing these photo’s. I’m crying tears of joy!

  109. Now I’m crying! What an amazing woman she is, taking such a step for herself. And how amazing you are Jenny, for making a little piece of that dream for her possible. ?

  110. I don’t leave comments about feeling teary without genuinely feeling teary…I never leave comments about coffee shooting out of my nose or throwing up a little in my mouth or peeing just a little. The point is this post is beautiful. Red suits you Karen.

  111. Thankyou, both of you.

    Karen, you look amazing in that dress, congratulations on coming back to Life.

    On an unrelated note, I’m going skydiving and/or getting my SCUBA certification as soon as I lose enough weight and get away from almost-diabetes.
    When that day arrives, you’re all welcome to come nude snorkelling (or something equally ridiculous) with me.

    Maybe I’ll break the law showing off my new, happy body. That law about clothes is stupid anyway.

  112. That was lovely, a great story of determination and reward – proving yet again that the things that truly make you happy are not purchased

  113. At a loss for words. Thanks for helping dreams come true. My first BlogHer and certainly not my last!

  114. So very and truly…AWESOME!!!! Yay for you, Karen. I was crying by the end I was so happy! Thanks to both of you for sharing!

  115. This is so beautiful. Karen you are beautiful. I am floored by your courage to take that first step to face your fear and everything that entails. You go, girl! You rock!

  116. As much as the designer dildos and Kristopher Kristopherson make me laugh out loud, this is the reason I keep reading. Thank you

  117. OMG – I’m crying…at work…like a baby…and it’s too early in the morning to be crying…at work…like a baby… That is AWESOME!!! I’m so PROUD of Karen!!! For her to actually go through with that and go to Blogher and be in NYC and be around everyone…was such an ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!! That is just AWESOME!!!! And to her two friends that went with her…I have two friends just like you…that would do ANYTHING for their BFF that would help her in ANY way!!! I’m that type BFF also…

    While yall were at Blogher this weekend…I drove about 2 hours (from Houston, TX to Lake Charles, LA) to have dinner with my two BFFs (this is the first time they have met too…)… See…I’m having surgery in two weeks and they wanted to go out to dinner and celebrate my surgery…and me…SO…we all drove about two hours and met at L’Auberge casino and the five of us (they brought their husbands) ate and talked and laughed and had each other in tears…then we went into the casino and lost all our money…BUT…it was damn worth it…we had a blast!!! So we kind of had our own party…and we cried if we wanted to…LOL…

    Way to go Karen!!! You are AWESOME for doing this…for YOURSELF!!!!

  118. Jenny, I loved hearing you tell your stories in person this weekend on your panel – laughed so hard I cried.

    Karen, I love that you got to experience this, and I know how much it took for you to be in NYC. So glad I got to meet you – wish it had been before you were leaving, though! What lovely photos. Wonderful.

  119. Wow, my first visit and so much emotion going on! I can only imagine how this made you feel, as a blogger and now new friend. I believe Karen can do just about anything she wants to, now. The blogging world is amazing on so many levels!
    Thanks for this. I’ll definitely be back!

  120. That is a perfect and beautiful analogy for the modern woman – the red dress being a symbol of conquering a fear, whereas the scarlet letter was the symbol of shame for women long ago. And you document the sequel to your first post beautifully , with eloquent words and moving pictures. Thank you for sharing and giving so many of us a way of expressing from we moved from fear to courage.

    I am a writer and some of what I write is much different – darker, revealing – than the persona I present to the people around me. I struggled for a long time with what to do. Keep it in or live out loud? I’ve chosen to live out loud, inside out. The story I’m posting online is my red dress. I am not afraid, anymore.

  121. Damnit, Jen. You are spoiling The Man’s impression of you by being so sweet and caring and making me cry…

    Karen, you looked GORGEOUS. I am thrilled for you that this was such a life-changing experience. May you never look back and only FORWARD to more adventures!

    That dress is to die for. And it IS magic!!!

  122. I’ve been reading your blog for ages, but I’ve never been brave enough to comment. Thank you for your original red dress post, and thank you for this follow-up.

    Karen – What beautiful pictures, and what a beautiful person you are. I’m so pleased for you and proud of you for challenging yourself and coming through the other side. Well done to you, and I think that you’ve helped us realise that even when we feel like we’re in isolation, there may be a whole world cheering us on, and we just need to jump on that bandwagon. Thank you very much.

  123. Karen,

    I am so proud of you! Not sure that you’ll see this #200-n-some odd numbered comment, but I am. Your bravery has really struck a chord within me. Continued support in your efforts. <3



    The Red Dress will be one of the (many) moments in your career that punched the world square in the mouth. In an amazing, inspirational way. I haven't found *my* Red Dress. Not even sure what my Red Dress is, I'll find it. Thanks for the push! <3

  124. You know how sometimes you’re afraid to meet someone because you’re just 100% sure they can’t possibly be as beautiful and as honest and as pure and as just plain magic as they seem in their writing? Thanks for showing me that fear is unfounded. You’re a dreamboat. And just as kind and wonderous as I hoped you would be.

    Oh, and you’re totally punk rock, too.

  125. An amazing story. I love that you brought the red dress to NYC for whoever needed it. So symbolic! You’re a good egg my dear.

  126. okay so here I sit reading blogs to avoid working on my poetry manuscript. I’m avoiding it because it’s been too long since I’ve worked on poetry (insert joke about my name here) and I’ve received more rejection letters than I’ve written poems lately.

    then I come across this and well my fear of getting back to my poetry somehow seems pointless and valid at the same time. Does that make sense? We all have fears and no matter what they seem huge and some are actually huge until you conquer them. This story. Wow.

    Guess I got to get back on that poetry horse now.

  127. I’ve reread this 5 times now….and each time I wish I could hug Karen, and tell her how proud of herself she should be! beautiful tale, amazing women!

  128. Did I expect to be crying at 9freaking50 in the am?
    Jenny – posts like this and women like you are why I read blogs.
    Karen – you rule and I can only imagine how poud your daughter is to have you as a mother

  129. Now that I’m composed after sobbing my face off…

    Leave it to Jenny, of the madcap humor and confidence wigs to take the “Red Dress” to the next step. Rather than saying “this is pretty, and I want to share it,” it’s become a symbol. Of freedom, of reclaiming our joy of being women (and human beings), and of new beginnings.

    Congratulations Karen, and thank you.

  130. Karen and Jenny this brought tears to my eyes! How amazing. I’m so happy you fulfilled a dream, Karen. The red dress looks gorgeous on you.

  131. Bloggess and Karen – thank you for sharing this story. We’re all proud of you for making the trip – you looked magnificent in the dress. And yes, like many other women here, I started to cry as well. Congrats on all you have completed!

  132. Good for you and good for Karen! This is fantastic.

    I am the completely random, blog-less stranger from Saturday night (Hey! Thanks for not calling the police!). It was wonderful to meet you- you are as lovely a person as you are a writer.

  133. What a special moment. And wowza that dress is stunning. I always thought those conferences were filled with penis jokes and cheeseburger parties, who knew there was also room for startling self realizations? Way to go.

  134. And then without warning you go from being the lady who makes me laugh out loud to being the lady who makes me tear up and think about how beautiful life can be and how important it is for us to continue inspiring each other.

    Thank you.

  135. So here is why I love this. I love this becuase when I saw the original red dress post I was like, “Bah, this is for skinny girls I hate skinny girls….I need a snak…..F*$@ you rice cake…..” and then I moved on. But really, I thought about the red dress for a while. And how fantastic it is, and how I wished I could fit in it. I love that the dress is magic.

  136. Seriously, at 36 weeks pregnant I need no more mushy gushy stuff to make me tear up at work. But since you went ahead… thanks for sharing that. It was mushy gushy wonderful smushiness.

  137. It’s not fair… some people look so beautiful when they cry. I just looked wretched! LOL.

    What a touching post… thank you both! I just went over and read some posts at Karen’s site. Very powerful story.

    And I love the traveling red dress.

  138. The Red Dress post was so moving for all of us readers. I do remember this woman’s comment and so happy to read she made it to NYC!

    This is truly and amazing blogging story.

    Thanks for sharing with us all!

  139. Karen seriously hot…I mean Karen looks really nice in the red dress….really…okay she looks totally hot…

  140. Most amazing! I have never felt so much love toward a red dress…especially one I have never seen. I feel more love towards you two bloggers that I have never met…breaking through fears and conquering life.

    And Karin is really beautiful in your red dress. What a beautiful moment.

  141. I was just told I missed the sentiment of the post and went right to objectifying Karen as a beautiful woman …so now I am suppose to feel shame. Hmmmm, funny I’m not feeling it.

  142. i arrived to NYC and jenn’s (@PrincessJenn) room on sunday and karen had already departed to travel home. this story was one of the first things out of jenn’s mouth and she had me in tears over what the experience was like just to be IN THE ROOM with both you and karen while this shoot took place… i can’t fathom the phenomenal feeling the two of you experienced in sharing that time together.


  143. I wish I had something poignant to say other than “I love this.”
    But I’m a little busy being teary-eyed and inable to articulate how much it means.
    So – I love this.

  144. Truly amazing, and absolutely stunning photos. As a friend of Karen’s I’m so proud of her and am thrilled I had the opportunity to meet her (twice!) recently. This is inspiring for all of us, and beautiful.

  145. I had to come from the Reader and comment on this post — this is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever read. I’m really, really proud of Karen. Inspirational, absolutely. What an AMAZING moment that must have been. This post is incredible.

  146. Wow. It sure sounds like you guys bonded. I think you are so hilarious. This line killed me: “For me it was wearing a red silk dress barefoot through a cemetery.” Awesome blog.

    Are you a writer for a living? Do you have published books? If so I need to buy them.

  147. Even though I was in NYC, I wasn’t able to get to Blogher. But knowing I was in the same city (and even the same general area sometimes) was enough to remind me of how the first Red Dress post affected me, and how it got me through a rough, emotional night. And it’s motivated me.

    I don’t know if something counts as a “red dress” if it’s what you want to make a living at, but it’s gotten me to finally make the first leap at getting started on an online graphic novel that I’ve been putting off for about two years for fear it wasn’t good enough. Well, it’s good enough for me, and I want to wear it proud.

    So thanks again, Jenny, for both last time and now.

  148. I wish I had something more original to say than “WOW, GREAT POST” but I got nothing.

    Nothing rude. nothing snarky. no f-wrds. Shit.


    Thanks for sharing. And huge congrats to Karen!

  149. Karen – you are an inspiration for conquering fears.

    The Goddess Bloggess – You might be one of the main reasons I regret not getting my sorry self into NYC for Blogher, just to say Hi. But once again, you’ve proven that women are a wonderful support system for one another.

    You both rock that red dress!

  150. Silly me, I assumed you’d have that beautiful gown with you in the loo. And I didn’t eat for three weeks prior to BlogHer just so I could try it on! I’m going to go get a wheelbarrow of macaroni and cheese now.

  151. Well hells bells! Rock on Karen! I hope you had a great time. What an amazing thing you did. I was scared as hell and I live in Brooklyn for lord’s sake. Well done. Amazing.

  152. Beautiful! The dress and the experience. I was stopping by to laugh, and received this pleasant surprise of inspiration.

  153. Jenny, *thank you* for this–the story, the dress, your vision, your generous spirit (and of course your blog.) Karen, I hug you. I want you to know that there is a loopy woman in Santa Cruz, California who is scared a lot, and loves Shakespeare and flannel sheets and laughing till she pees and kitty cats, and who really admires you and considers you a true kindred spirit even though we’re strangers. xo

  154. Karen, the face of a cameo and the heart of a lion is a nice way to go through life. Bravo.

    And Jenny…here’s to the magic of your red-carpet ride.

  155. I don’t know why I did not discover your blog long ago! Love it! I just got sucked into your last ten posts at least, and while humor is my thing, I just felt this post and really this moment more than any of your others. Sometimes we all wish we could have such moments far more often, no matter how funny the rest of life is.

    The dress is beautiful, not because of anything more than the beautiful woman inside of it. Cry away, for you’re beautiful when you cry. Thank you for inspiring.

    Single Dad Laughing

  156. Tears are pricking. I hardly know what to say except Wow, Karen. And thanks Jenny for sharing this moving story. It was my first Blogher and I tiptoed out of my hotel room tentatively the entire weekend, before retreating. Next year, I’ll wear a red dress and take no prisoners.

  157. This makes all sorts of feelings come up. So wonderful for you both. Facing fears and knowing you helped someone. It makes me think. Thinking makes me hurt. Hurting makes me cry. My mother has never liked herself. I haven’t liked myself in a very long time. I have the ugliest teeth, so I never smile. I am fat and covered w/ stretch marks so I never feel comfortable w/ my body in front of my husband. I am 30yrs old and I do not drive so I am bound to rely on others. I am afraid to drive, but not sure why. The worst feeling I have ever felt in my life happened to me yesterday. My son cried and told me that when he’s a practice people make him feel like he isn’t good enough. It’s all my fault and I don’t know how to fix it. He feels like he isn’t good enough! We as parents have failed him. I hope I have atleast one moment in my life where I feel good enough, pretty and okay enough w/ myself to smile and not feel sad just as fast as I do- over the appearance of my teeth. I love your blog, it’s theraputic, it makes me laugh and sometimes cry. I have to find out how to be happy w/ myself. My children’s happiness rests on my shoulders. Anyhow, this is me whining. Bravo for the both of you. You are helping yourselves and that is beautiful and amazing!

  158. Holy shit, I’m crying at work. I don’t think I’m supposed to be on the Internet, so I’m going to say the 2Q report has me down.

    I’ve always wanted to meet Jenny, but now I feel like it’s okay if I don’t because Karen did. And Karen ROCKED IT. I am feeling the love. Way to go, Red Dress.

  159. Yea, Karen! Go, Karen! What an inspiration you are NOW to all those who have some “thing” they need to overcome because it keeps us held down when we really want to be lifted up. I teared up a little reading this, but not out of sadness, but happiness at your triumph. I wish you continued success on all your endeavors in life, and here’s to putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to move forward!

  160. I love this: “Not the cry of someone crippled by fear but the cry of someone seeing the sun for the first time in far too long.”

    I remember that feeling myself, after realizing I had made it to the other side of a really long, horrible time in my life. I didn’t have a red dress on, but I was looking at that same skyline. I highly recommend that view for anyone who literally or figuratively “wears the red dress”.

  161. not gonna cry, not gonna cry, ok uncle.

    you are the real deal. wise, clever, creative, strong-minded, no bullshit, humorous and motherfucking compassionate!

  162. Great… sniveling into my coffee already…. at least it’s a happy snivel.
    Thank you Jenny & Karen.

  163. WOW!! Karen did rock that dress. What a wonderful story and a wonderful idea. I need to find my red dress because so often I let the weight of the world rest of my shoulders and I live my life being afraid of what people will think of me. Thanks for sharing the red dress with the world.

  164. To have the Red Dress, to be liberated, to be free are the most precious moments. Congratulations Karen on going to Blogher…putting on the Red dress and being free! You are beautiful! And to Miss Jenny, The Bloggess you are a magical person!

  165. Simply beautiful Jenny – but I wouldn’t expect anything different. Love, love, love your words.

    Karen – I’m so happy you were able to sport the Red Dress, on so many levels. Kudos to you for conquering your fears. My mother suffered from agoraphobia when I was growing up – it is so incarcerating. You are brave and beautiful.

  166. Darling, darling Bloggess:

    Thank you so much. Thank you for helping me feel connected for the first time in a very long time. The hardship and pain that you and Karen and that fucking AWESOME red dress are going through? That’s real! My constant fear of everything tiny and insignificant, my inability to talk to the people who love me, my inner turmoil? Those are just as real, but somehow, they don’t seem so unfathomably hopeless and daunting anymore.

    I have struggled with panic attacks, self harm, and fits of depression for nearly five years now (I am seventeen) and I have never felt closer to conquering these pieces of myself than when I read your phenomenal posts, and I hear that there is a light at the end of this tunnel I’ve been hurtling through.

    For years I have felt disconnected and disappointed in myself, and I have lost a part of me I thought would never come back. But as I read Karen’s fantastic story, as I hear about her bravery and your bravery, and the bravery of so many strong women out there, I can breathe a little, and I can start to piece myself back together.

    I hope to overcome the fear that has wrapped itself into every corner of my life, and I hope that some day soon I too can come to Texas and try on that wonderful dress, and feel it work its magic. I can’t wait for the day when I feel secure enough to show the world my scars, and tell the story of a promise I made, that I would never hurt myself again. A promise I kept. I can’t wait to be one of these success stories, and now, reading your blog, seeing beautiful Karen looking so marvelously happy, I feel as though one day I might actually get there. It’s still a long way off, and I’m still a total mess, but right now there’s a glimmer of something inside me, and my stupid depression monsters are having trouble shaking it off.

    I am so delighted to hear about Karen’s magical experience, as delighted as I was months ago when I heard about yours. This dress is special, and important, and absolutely full of life. I am so happy to hear that it continues to work its magic. One day, maybe, it’ll work it’s magic on me.

    Thank you so much, Bloggess. You’ve made my world a bit more glowy.

  167. Holy shit — you just made me cry. Both of you.

    Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train after all. Thank you for helping me remember that.

  168. Thanks for posting this….I’m a Bloggess addict, and I was waiting, and waiting, and WAITING for my fix! Is there a group or something? I loved this post! The red dress looked so great on her, but it can mean so many other things. Like Red dress could be shopping, or vodka, or wine, or spirits. But vodka is spirts. Shit, apparently, I have had too many spirits, or was that vodka? I must stop typing now.

  169. aaaand this is why we ALL love you… because almost everyone else (present company included – guilty!) wrote about the swag and how stressed they were and how drunk they got and how they didn’t eat anything but sliders for three days (ok that was all just me) but you – YOU – eek out this BEAUTIFUL, amazing, exceptionally personal moment amid all that chaos. And then share it with the rest of us. Thank you. Thank both of you. And congratulations, Karen. I hope that you ran right past that finish line and kept on going. I have a feeling you did… xo.

  170. Not really into women or general sensitivity, but Karen looks pretty damn hot in that dress. She should keep dressing like that and strutting her stuff.

  171. WOW! Karen is stunningly beautiful. She shouldn’t be hiding that in the house!

  172. Pingback: BlogHer10 Recap
  173. This made me tear up a little…and I thought I only cried while I was PMSing. I like to read stories about people being nice. It makes me want to hug people even if they have the Ebola virus.

  174. Love your red dress redeaux and love your full account of BlogHer. Thanks for your comment on the photo I took of you at that vintage typewriter. If you want it, I’ll email it to you. By the way, I’m in Houston too. So glad Houston can claim you for its own.

  175. I really don’t have a word to say you look good. Karin you look very gorgeous and beautiful in red dress. My favorite color is also is red . Thanks karin, for sharing this picture with us.

  176. Wow, this is really amazing! I’m so proud of Karen and that Red Dress is just perfect for her! 🙂
    And you’re definitely *something*, please continue making these beautiful stories come true. 🙂

  177. I am going to stop drinking so much. I dont like being an alchoholic anymore.
    I would appreciate some encouraging thoughts, and maybe some advice.
    I suck.

  178. Wow…

    Jenny, I just saw this story after following threads from your most recent post. This is beautiful – thank you for sharing.

  179. I’m so moved by this dress and everyone’s spirit. I wonder if it could make a trek to the Pacific. There are days when I want every piece of clothing to melt off my body because nothing fits. Not that my clothes don’t fit. Sometimes nothing fits, period.

  180. Thank you Jenny for inspiring us to WANT to wear the Red Dress. Karen, I am so proud of you! You are the epitome of the Red Dress: beautiful, graceful, and bold. Red is the color of courage, and you my friend are courageous! Be proud of you!!

  181. Ohmygod. I love this! It’s so rare anymore to find excitement in clothing when you’re over a size 10. Many thanks, Jenny and Karen!

  182. I’m just now reading this a year and a half later and I loved it. I love Karen’s face. Tearful. Proud. Full of emotions. Love that face and all that comes with it.

  183. I just saw you on the Katie Couric talk show and it was such a wonderful experience for me. I need a red dress moment but I now know that I probably don’t the need the dress to have that moment…I just need to be ME. I will laugh more, cry more, say what I think more and just love my life more. Thank You!!!

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