Thursday, February 2, 2012

Red Dress Project

"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”. Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better. Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.
And I am worth it."

The above is from The Bloggess. From her entry that started The Traveling Red Dress.

But here’s the thing…you are worth it too. Which is why this week the red dress will begin a journey, traveling from city to city so that other people can wear it and love it and feel as special and vivid and dynamic as they already are. Because sometimes we all need a little red dress to remind us of that. So 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."

My best friend came to me and said she wanted to do this. Wear a big beautiful gown just for the hell of it. Because she could. Because she is beautiful, insecure, strong, vulnerable, afraid, happy, loving, and she is Enough. She is worth it. She has a story to tell and she wants this to be a part of it.

So, being her bestie, and having been involved in her journey for the past year and knowing all the work she has done on herself, I said HELL YEAH! And we started planning.

The idea has been floating around in my mind for awhile. I have been contemplating offering these sessions for awhile but this week I formally announced it. And the response has been pretty dang incredible. I had some good friends email me about it, then some strangers. Then people who were offering their assistance. And then the first story came into my inbox and I found myself sitting at my desk weeping about the strength and vulnerability this wonderful woman was giving me in sharing her story.

And I thought, "I can't do this without sharing what this means to me." I am not going to share the most intimate details of my story here, but will share a part of it.

I was the girl who couldn't see her future, couldn't see her beauty, couldn't see her worth. Because of that, I was often angry, depressed, even suicidal at points in my life. I found my strength and beauty through a camera. I found my passion through my camera. I found the beauty of the world through my camera. I could show myself parts of who I was that I couldn't see in the mirror.

Over the past few years I have grown my love for photography, but more importantly, my love for myself. My own journey is being documented in my personal blog.  I am proud to say that I can now look in the mirror and say I am beautiful and mean it.

To me, my red dress moment, is being able to photograph women who have found or are finding their strength through their own stories. To see the brightness in their eyes when they stop caring about how their hair looks and start feeling that moment in its entirety. This is what I hope to get out of this project. Real women showing their real selves, their real emotions, their real strength. I hope to be able to find women who are willing to share their joy in who they are. I am looking for women who want to show that they are worth it.

I am so excited about this project and so thankful to everyone who is sharing their story with me. Even if you do not want to participate in the photography part of things, I would still love to share your story, and if you'd like to share it with more than just me, I would love to share it here in my blog as well (with your permission!). Your story may very well be the inspiration and motivation that another person needs to find their own worth.

Thank you so much.

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