If you have not read The Bloggess, you are missing out on some of the best writing I’ve found online.
Her genius post “And that’s why you should learn to pick your battles,” follows the kind of mundane argument most married people can relate to, except that most married people don’t buy a five-foot metal chicken to make a point. I give this piece my highest praise: I laughed so hard I snorted. More than once.
I was re-reading the tale of Beyonce the spite chicken when I happened upon another Bloggess post, also about making an unnecessary purchase but with entirely different motives.
My friend ( Sunny) is an artist. She writes and paints and makes beautiful, whimsical dresses out of found objects and magic. One of my favorite dresses of hers is the red poppy dress and I wanted it the first time I saw it but I knew I’d never get it. For one thing, it’s not sensible. It’s impractical. It’s bright red and vibrant and shocking and “inappropriate for a woman my age.” And I have no shoes to go with it. And I have no place to wear it.
And I want it.
I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible.”
Here I will embrace my girlie-girl 100 percent and tell you I nearly cried when I read this — not because I think shopping is the most noble pursuit, but because of the denial and self judgment that sounds so familiar in not buying the dress.
If you don’t have the money, I salute self restraint in sticking to your budget so you can spend your earnings on things that matter most. A ball gown surely is not one of life’s necessities.
But if you can afford something yet deny yourself because you’re worried what people will think or because you don’t believe you’re worth it, I don’t think that’s really about money — it’s a question of embracing who you are enough to do what makes you happy, regardless of other people’s opinions.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog post headlined Feel the fear and do it anyway, about not living life with my foot on the brakes. I also shared a guest post from Christine Kane with the headline Six reasons to stop explaining yourself, about why it’s a waste of time and energy to convince people you’re on the right path.
The Bloggess seems to be saying something similar, the dress being a symbol of living life boldly and owning who she is regardless of whether it’s impractical and silly. So I love that she got her red dress, then invited others to wear it. Here’s her impassioned call to action:
today, think about what it is you need and were too embarrassed to ask for. And then go fucking do it. Wear a ball gown to the grocery store. Invite the neighbors to have a picnic on the front lawn. Get that novel out of your sock drawer and publish it yourself. Stand on a bus stop bench and belt out a song for the waiting strangers. Find a playground swing and remember how it felt to fly. Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it.
Photograph by Karen Walrond, used with her permission. Click here for her whole set. Permission also granted by the brilliant Bloggess Jenny, whose recent post about getting in a fight with the TV series Portlandia over a tote bag on Zazzle is another fabulous read.