and cry every time I listen to Katy Perry’s song “Roar”: I use to be even more bold, even more outrageous, even more flamboyant. I used to delight in always wearing ridiculous dresses completely unsuited for the occasion – camping in space princess dresses and hiking in ballgowns made from parachutes. I loved being the center of attention, the belle of the ball. I was always silly and flirty and fun. And I don’t feel that that’s me any more, and that has been making me sad.
As I prepare for so many big life milestones this coming year – finishing grad school, moving to a different state, getting married, and turning 30 – I’m realizing that I don’t like all of what I’ve grown into. I’ve grown shy, learned to constantly doubt myself, and worry about what others think of me. This is not who I want to be. I think some of it has come from growing up, and toning down a bit isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think a lot of it has come from spending 6 years in graduate school being told (subtly and not-so-subtly, in many different ways) that I’m not good enough. “I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath. Scared to rock the boat and make a mess. So I sat quietly, agreed politely.” And I let my doubts and struggles in school turn into doubts and struggles in all aspects of my life. And I don’t want that.
I went wedding dress shopping this weekend with a group of girlfriends, thinking that I would try on a bunch of different dresses so that I knew exactly what I wanted to sew for myself. I pulled a selection of demure, vintage inspired, elegant dresses to try on. And my girlfriends grabbed the one puffy pink dress in the shop and tossed it on the pile. After putting on several pretty dresses with different design elements that I liked, I put on the puffy pink dress to humor my friends. I walked out, looked in the mirror, and almost started crying. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. The dress is completely and utterly ridiculous. It has so much tulle that it barely fits into its dress bag. It’s (blush) pink. And it is ME! “You hear my voice, you hear that sound? Like thunder, gonna shake the ground.”
That was it. The decision was made. I’m no longer sewing my own dress. I bought the ridiculous dress that same day and I get giddy thinking about wearing it. Yes, it will be completely absurd to wear a gigantic tulle dress to get married in a barn on a hay farm. But I’ll tone it down with a pair of pink tennis shoes or cowgirl boots, and it’ll be completely, 100% me. The me that I know I am inside. Flamboyant, silly, excitable, and self-confident. “I got up. Get ready cause I’ve had enough…Cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me ROAR!”