If you’re a long-term reader of this blog you already know all about the traveling red dress and the magic it brings to those who wear it. If you’re new, start here and then come back, because it’s about to get fun.
A few weeks ago we picked up the traveling red dress project again as people began offering red dresses to strangers in the hopes that they could pass a little magic into the lives of people who were celebrating a milestone, battling an enemy, or simply in need of a shiny red ball gown to remind them how amazing they were. People around the world started giving out red dresses and offering to do red dress photo shoots for free. It was covered by Forbes and the Washington Post. And it was awesome. And inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that my friend Julia mailed me a beautiful red dress to pass on to anyone who needed it. She knew that most of us curvier girls find it hard to find beautiful ball gowns so she picked out an XXL with a very adjustable corset. Today it came and I opened it up at my friend Maile’s photo studio and we decided to christen it. And so, for one hour I wore the hell out of that red dress. And it was lovely.
Right now I’m 20 pounds overweight. I can practically see 40 from here. My boobs are too big and my hair is too mousey. My laugh lines grow deeper and worry lines are starting to show. I feel worse about myself than I have in a decade. But that dress reminded me of who I was. And who I’ve become. It reminded me that I’m not just who I see in the mirror, but also what I’ve overcome. I’m here. I’ve fought hard for these laugh lines and I’ve battled to survive the worry lines. I have scars that tell stories and marks that tell tales. I have hair that shows I survived the chemo drugs I took for my RA, and I have and soft, cushy, smothering arms like my grandmother. And that makes me beautiful.
I’m still a nervous wreck. I’m still self-consciously terrified in front of strangers. I still often feel purposeless and a little bit lost…
PS. The traveling red dress in these photos is ready for its next owner. As always, if you get a traveling red dress it’s up to you if you want to share the pictures or your story, but you can do so here if you like. Your only real responsibility is to enjoy it and then pass it on to the next stranger who needs it ,with instructions to keep it going until the damn thing falls to shreds that even Cinderella’s mice couldn’t fix. And as a thank you I’ll be sending out five brand new red ball gowns myself next week. If you want a chance at one just leave a comment about what you’re celebrating, or fighting, or surviving.
PPS. If you’re inspired by these stories and want to donate a red dress or a photo session you can do so on the traveling red dress Facebook page. There are lots of girls giving dresses and lots of girls needing dresses. And somewhere in the middle, magic happens.
PPPS. If you want to buy this dress yourself you can get it for under $100 right here. It comes wrinkled as hell and needs steaming, but it works and the laced corset gives it enough leeway to fit several sizes up or down. (The XXL should fit a 14 – 20 fairly well.) Also, this company isn’t paying me for this. But they totally should be.
PPPPS. The traveling red dress isn’t always red. It isn’t even always a dress. It’s anything you’ve always wanted but denied yourself because you thought it was too silly. It isn’t. Joy is always worth it. Go and find your personal red dress, my friend.
And wear the hell out of it.