The Story Behind the Red Dress


The Story Behind the Red Dress

The red dress meant so much to me. I remember a couple of days after my ex-boyfriend and I had broken up, I went back to his apartment to pick up the rest of my stuff. The red dress was sitting on top of what was once my dresser, staring at me reminding me of all the things that I am.

You are strong. You are independent. You were made to love.” The words were in my head but I knew they were coming from the dress.

I thought about stripping naked right in the middle of the living room and trying it on one more time. I imagined what it would be like to look at myself wearing it in front of the mirror that had seen me through some of my lowest moments that year.

I bought the dress for a wedding we were supposed to attend together. I remember online shopping for the perfect dress for hours on end. I had already ordered a couple of dresses that just didn’t feel right. In my mind, I kept picturing the color red and when I saw this dress, I knew it would be the one. The moment I put it on and looked in the mirror I felt what I hadn’t felt in a long time: pure joy. For a moment, as he stood next to me in front of the mirror telling me how beautiful I looked, the red dress gave me the hope I had already lost in my relationship. I soon discovered that wasn’t the purpose of the red dress.

I grabbed it and threw it in my suitcase the same way I did with every other piece of clothing I had left there. I didn’t open that particular suitcase for a while. I was upset at the red dress because I didn’t like what it reminded me of. When I finally decided to hang it up, I made sure it was in the back of my closet along with any feelings I wasn’t ready to deal with just yet. It hung there for months as I tried to move on and every once in a while, I would go in my closet to search for something and stumbled upon it. I would become angry at it all over again. It was strange that I couldn’t get myself to give it away. I would think about how happy it would make somebody else but something told me I wasn’t quite done with the red dress.

The red dress became quite symbolic to my healing process. At times, I wanted to wear it and feel it hugging me in all the right places and at other times I wanted to shred it to pieces so that I could never see it again. Still, it hung in my closet. Still, I hadn’t healed. The more I wanted the red dress to make me feel better, the more upset I became with myself. I thought I would never desire another article of clothing the way that I desired that red dress.

Finally, after almost one year of arguing with the red dress hanging in my closet, I was invited to a wedding and after much debating and picking of several back-up dresses, I wore it. I had imagined that the moment that red dress hugged my body I would have intense moments of realization but instead that moment was followed by confusion: Is this what I am supposed to feel? How come I don’t feel better? Why didn’t I let go before?

Wearing the dress to the wedding in January

Wearing the dress to the wedding in January

Of course, this was just my darling red dress’ way of speaking to me one more time. Giving me that final push that I needed towards the last step of my healing process. This time I listened to it. I did exactly what it told me to do which was to wear it proud one first last time and to let it go.

So I did.

Until the Next Late Night,