The lavender dress

Maybe it’s because Easter is near. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing a bit purging, but for whatever reason, the lavender dress has haunted me over the past several weeks. When I found her, tucked safely in a box of clothes too small to wear, I knew it was time. . . time to end that ghost of a dress. And I did.

Let’s go back a bit. But, before we do, let me say this: I’m not sharing this as any sort of a pity party. That party ended long ago and I finally finished cleaning up after it. This is more about moving on and letting go.

For as long as I can remember my mother wanted me to be blonde, very blonde, and slim, very slim. Otherwise, what use was I? I’m neither of these things. Even at my lowest dress size and brightest blonde, I never quite made it to the finish line with her.

At one point, I had come back from some weight gain. . . moving two dress sizes down and as a treat, I bought a new lavender floral Easter dress. I’d be wearing said dress, along with a lovely complimentary jacket and cute, cute white Mary Janes while we attended Easter services with my grandmother just outside of Louisville, about two hours away.

Easter morning, I stood there, literally in my finest, ready to go when I asked a simple question. It’s a question I knew better than to pose. I still can’t believe I did. I said simply, “How do I look?” It was a general question, a few words would have sufficed. Simple isn’t always simple, is it?

My mother, who felt the question was directed to her, took ownership and said, “I don’t like it, not at all.” There I stood, in my finest, two hours from any of my other suitable clothing, sad, rejected and now slouching. It’s odd that I remember it so clearly, but I do.

I was crushed. I was rejected. I was sad. I’ll admit all of those things.

And I carried that scene with me each and every time I shopped, dressed or even contemplated a special occasion.

Then, suddenly, I didn’t. Somehow, I just let it go. Not that I don’t recall it. Not that I don’t share it from time to time. But I let the power it had over me go. Suddenly, it was powering me in a way I didn’t expect.

I felt ok in my body. I didn’t feel perfect or “done”, but I felt ok. I was wonderful made, right? I can’t help that the one who “made me” didn’t get that. It was her baggage, not mine.

And, try as I might, I’m not going to lug that suitcase of disappointment around with me.

By the way, this year I’m wearing a black dress on Easter, several sizes bigger than the lavender one.

The lavender one, you might be wondering, was donated with the hopes that someone will see in her what I initially did and understand her true worth.

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