All the Dresses

A huge attic with all-the-dressesdresses and dresses and more dresses, all free for the taking, provided, only and simply, that they fit and I like them. So I try them. Dresses I thought wouldn’t look good, do, and dresses I would have been drawn to in my past, don’t. There are belts and accessories too, lots and lots. Everything is draped —at once beautifully and effortlessly— over wrought iron rods, hanging in old bureaus, or folded in dressers with drawers out and about in a stack or lazily left open.

I am not alone in this attic. There is this sense of women coming and going all the time trying on dresses. There are enough for everyone. The dresses are beautiful and one-of-a-kind in an odd —irreverent, maybe?!— and thrifted way. It’s about a new way of looking at things, with other women, warm and stylish and sparkly-eyed, to say: “no that’s not so great, but what about this here?” It’s like the style sisterhood of abundance and kindness, there simply for the trying and for the taking.

And how do I feel in this attic of All the Dresses? Worthy, dammit, I feel worthy. The kind of worthy you get to take for granted. The kind of worthy you can hang your hat on. Worthy without question. Worthy without doubt. THAT worthy.

It’s only now, as I write this dream out loud, I realize how often in real life I haven’t actually felt worthy. That makes me cry, but cry in the way of the words of that old timey song my husband and I heard on the AM radio in the car yesterday: “it’s so gay but in a melancholy way.” Happy-sad: happy that it happened and that somewhere inside me I must know it to be possible, and sad that it has felt so out of the ordinary. But there it is, Worthy, and there they are, All the Dresses(!), pointing my way home by way of this dream of plenty and of sisterhood and of belonging.

And then, channeling Stasia Savasuk (whose style school I recently finished and whose next school starts tomorrow) I ask:

“How do you feel when you wear Worthy?”

To which now, having been to the attic, I can say: Me, me, I know! Worthy is an old and spacious attic filled with beautiful and funky and one-of-a-kind dresses, there for the taking, provided, only, that they fit and that I like them. When I wear Worthy I hold my head high. I don’t hide. My voice is brave and proud. And my swagger is sassy. I belong.

And then there is me melting chocolate last night to make a mini fondue to dip all the things into —the potato chip, the almond, the… “whatelse?” I say it like one word, nonchalantly and out loud: “Whatelse?” And then, before I can take my next breath, there she is, unreachable before but next to me now with her 12-year-old eyes eager to find all the little things.

And that is how, somewhere between the length of a breath and the width of a wish, it starts: the chocolate-dipping of all the things: the potato chip, the plantain chip, the almond, the strawberry, the raspberry… Then she thinks of the fresh ginger in the freezer and I say we’d give your dad the surprise of his life and then we go ahead of course and make not one, not two, but three knock-your-eyes-out spicy chocolate-covered gingers to go with the cherry-coconut milk ice cream that is churning as we speak. And sure enough, he would yelp and sure enough he would jump up for a tissue to spit into because hot damn but ginger sure is a spicy wolf even when it comes dressed up in a chocolate dress. And then we would sit, the threesome of us in which I so often feel the odd-one-out, the one who doesn’t belong, but not tonight, we three on the couch we would eat our cherry ice cream with all the wee chocolate-covered things. And then she would say she is cold and then I would offer her a blanket and hotdamn but this time she would say yes —?YES!— to my offer and then she would even go on to say that it is soft. The blanket, that is, though who knows…

That happened. And after that I would fall asleep and dream of All the Dresses.

About elisabethwithaness

Writing out loud at Apropos of Nothing
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