Tuesday, December 27, 2016

simplicity 2016: anything in a dress

Last year I counted the dresses in my closet.

31. 31 dresses, a majority of them unworn.

This year, I chose one dress.

One dress to wear for the entire month.

Why? Because... simplicity.

Last year I participated in Dressember, did fundraising, took pictures, read books and opened my mind to that which makes me deeply saddened and at times, helpless.

This year, I chose to do it again.

But, with this theme of simplicity, I wanted to be more intentional.

I wanted to be less focused on myself, and more focused on the cause.

I thought that maybe if I wore the same dress for the entire month, it would free up my mind to focus on things that have greater meaning.

I thought that if I wasn't thinking about how to outfit myself for the day, I could devote 10 minutes more each day to fighting for freedom.

At the end of the month, that's 310 minutes. Over three hours. Not necessarily a lot, but it's something.

The first few days were annoying. Which is such a first world problem, but it's still true.

I was trying to figure out different ways to wear the dress. Trying to mix it up a little. Also trying to stay warm. Because....winter.

Around day five, I really wanted to not wear it anymore. I wanted my jeans and hoodies.

I felt bored.

Which is exactly where I think I needed to be.

So I pushed on, and kept wearing that dress.

To every single Christmas party. To every staff event. To every church function.

The same dress.

Day fourteen was the shift. And I thought it would be.

Two weeks in seemed ample time to feel like I was getting into this new rhythm and habit.

I figured out how to wear it in the most comfortable way.
People weren't commenting on it anymore.
In fact, I don't think people were even noticing.

I was posting my pics each day, really and truly able to focus on how I wanted to share the message and focus on what I was truly asking people to do.

Then, this weekend, it hit me.

I mentioned before that I was bored with the dress after the first few days.

I think I was bored because I actually have found quite a bit of my identity in how I look and in how I present myself.

In college, I would not leave the dorm without making sure my outfit was on point, my lashes looked good and my hairs were unmovable. #hairsprayfordays

There was a lot of focus on me. And honestly, I don't think that was the healthiest of things.

I don't think there is anything wrong with looking nice, or wanting to be your best. Not at all.

Because this month, I have tried to look my best and make this dress look good.

I just know myself. And all my focus on the outward appearance was just a cover for some deeply rooted insecurities.

But, this month. That shifted.

And it just seems like wearing the same dress every day for the entire month seems to have put a few things in perspective for me.

  1. People do not love me because of what I wear, or how I look. People love me for me.
  2. Some people think it's really weird to wear the same thing every day. I don't. As long as I am neat and clean, I don't really care if it's the same thing.
  3. I feel like I am working smarter, not harder. 
  4. Wearing the same thing consecutively might become a habit.
  5. I think Jesus wants me to focus less on vanity, and more on substance.
  6. My feelings of self worth are more solid now than they were a month ago.
  7. Consistency doesn't have to feel suffocating, it can actually feel quite freeing.

Maybe some of these won't make any sense to you. Or maybe they will.

All I know is, I have spent the last month in the exact same dress, and I think it's one of the best things I've done for myself in a long time.

Dressember has this saying, "You can do anything in a dress." And I know this to be true. Not because I have spent the last month doing it, but because I grew up doing it.

Growing up, you wore dresses all day, every day - if you were a girl that is. It was this really legalistic and controlling thing, and honestly, it was pretty damaging to a lot of my friends.

So when Dressember first appeared on my radar, I was skeptical. 

Skeptical if it would really be that big of a deal for me. 

Skeptical if my friends who still choose to wear only dresses would be able to jump on board and want to participate.

This year, I think I finally got over that skepticism. 

It doesn't matter what the past narrative has been, or what I fear the future narrative will be. 

What matters is that there is a platform to talk about freedom. 

And as women, we are powerful advocates to affect long lasting change.

I guess that's the other thing this dress has taught me. 

The past doesn't have to control the future. But it should propel us forward to make it better.

Who would've thought? I learned all that from a dress.


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