This is the story of the Technicolor Dream Dress.
It’s a really short story.
Once upon a time, I was asked to attend a big work party for Tech Boy’s job, and tried to find a dress that would say that I was smart and gracious and well-educated and chill, and nice, and a good partner to my Person. Once upon a time, I thought The Right Dress could be the magic to speak all these things, things that would defuse questions like, “where did you meet?” or worse, “where did he find you?” or “I would never have pictured the two of you together,” questions and commentary for which there is really no appropriate response. Once I believed the Right Dress could turn “have you written anything I’ve read?” which means “should i make the effort to know you because you’ll be famous and make money?” into “Oh, a writer. Interesting.”
Dresses, however, are just clothes. Laying all of that at the thin and insubstantial hem of a mere dress was an insidious lie, and a little sneaky way of allowing the -isms to dissolve me, a way to attach moral authority and social privilege to appearance and race and gender.
once upon a time
i wore what i wanted to
played hard and scraped knees –
actions spoke louder than clothes.
now i am at sea
fallen in over my head
and ready to drown
now i bleat out plaintively
“is this ‘right?’ is this dress ‘me?'”
Once upon a time, I realized I will never find the perfect dress. And, after a few deep breaths, that will be all right.