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