Finding my red dress

28 May

Have you read Jenny’s (aka The Bloggess) post about her red dress? Maybe you already have. Maybe you haven’t (but definitely should). I read it the other day whilst I was meandering about my favourite blogs and, I’ve gotta say, it kind of hit home.

The post, and the whole idea about the red dress, encourages readers to let ourselves have or do the things we want but have been too afraid to go for because of impracticality. Jenny says go for it anyway, because you and I, all of us, deserve it:

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.”

It all made me sit back and think – What have I been denying myself that I want? Where in life am I holding back? What can I do to make myself feel like the “dynamic and vibrant” person that I am? What, basically, is my ‘red dress’?

In life, I don’t want for much by way of things. Part of this is because I worry almost to the point of being obsessive over the impact consumerism is having on the environment (basically it’s a whole lot of OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE). Part of is also the fact that I’ve done a pretty good job (after a lot of training, weaning and financial instability) of being content with what I have. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m definitely that person who finds something in a store that I absolutely LOVE but instead of buying it I carry it around the store with me until I convince myself that I don’t need it anymore and I end up putting it back.

What I want in life, what I’m working towards, is my independence. I want to move out of my parents’ house and start standing on my own two feet. I want to pay off my student-related debt and live comfortably with my dog. Is that really so much to ask?

In order to make this happen, I’ve had to be very frugal with my money. This means that pleasure buying is a great big no-no. Again, not that bad of a thing but sometimes I miss the thrill of doing something just for me, you know? Like the other day, I was browsing around looking at purses. Ladies, I know it might be hard to believe but I actually have only one at any given time. I don’t switch it up to match my outfits or the occasion or the phases of the moon. One. As you can well imagine, it’s starting to get a little frayed and I’m ALWAYS losing stuff in it (I can’t remember the last time I was able to pick catch a call on my cell the first time). But just as I was starting to fall in love with a new one, strutting around the store like some big deal with it hanging off my shoulder, I remembered that my car is due for an oil change.

So I put the purse back. I put it back and saved my money for the oil change because that is the practical thing to do.

Better luck next month/season/year.

So when I read Jenny’s post, I was inspired. Maybe it was time to get or do something that would make me feel like I was worth the extra splurge. And as luck would have it, I just happened to have an extra $100 to dedicate to the cause.

Every year my quasi-estranged father sends me $100 for my birthday. There’s no animosity between us, but we aren’t as close as we were when I was little and he had yet to make a series of poor life choices that would ultimately drive us apart (stop me if you’ve heard this one like a MILLION TIMES ALREADY). Still, we remain in greeting card contact and every year he sends that $100 and every year he tells me to buy myself something nice and EVERY YEAR I put it into savings instead.

Well not this year. THIS year, I would finally spend that money the way he always told me to. THIS year, that $100 would go to help me get my own red dress.

Except that I didn’t want a red dress per say…

It took a bit of soul searching and wrestling with that guilty little monster in me that was, as always, trying to talk me out of it, but I finally figured out what I wanted.

And so yesterday I ordered my very first pair of long-coveted <a href="http://www.toms.comTOMS Shoes.

Yeah, I know, it may not seem like much but to me? They’re everything. For years I’ve been hearing from friends how TOMS are pretty much the greatest shoes ever – they’re ridiculously comfortable, fun and best of all? For every pair you purchase, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child doing without in some of the most poverty stricken places in the world.

Being able to do a little philanthropic good while spoiling myself is a really big added bonus (so is being able to spread the word about TOMS with all of you!). I’d rather donate my money to a good cause than spend it on myself in most cases ANYWAY, and before I was so strapped for cash I enjoyed making occasional donations to initiative I believe in.

It was really nice to be able to give back again, even if it was in a round-about way. It made me feel capable and in control of my own life again. That in itself was a great feeling.

I received notification that my shoes have been shipped. I’m giddy just thinking about it.

I’m giddy because these are so much than just shoes – They’re fabulous, glittering gold shoes that I WILL feel dynamic and vibrant in every time I wear them. I’ll wear them because I deserve them and when I look down at my sparkling feet I’ll be reminded of how hard I’m working to be able to stand on those two feet and I’ll KNOW that everything is going to be ok.

Oh, and I’ll wear the hell out of them while I’m at it 😉

Thanks, Jenny.


10 Responses to “Finding my red dress”

  1. Megan (Best of Fates) May 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    Good for you! And I’ve also heard amazing things about Toms, but have yet to succumb, but now I’m tempted!

  2. Margaret May 28, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    My red dress is a new little black dress. I can justify that as a purchase for Husband too, right?

    I feel you on the estranged father thing. I’ve been debating writing about it, except I know he reads my blog and AWKWARD.

  3. Jenny, Bloggess May 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    I so love this.

  4. alonewithcats May 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Also, every time you look at your fabulous, glittering gold shoes, in addition to feeling dynamic and vibrant, you’ll think of Jenny. And the comment she left on your blog. And how it no doubt made you feel like a million bucks. Which is awesome, because you definitely deserve to feel like a million bucks. And not a dollar less.

  5. sui May 30, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    Awesome post. I totally feel you.. I’m extremely frugal with myself, pursue minimalism/anticonsumerism… but sometimes, I just deny myself the pleasures of life. I also put all gift money into savings..

    But you are worth it. You are you are.

    Yes yes yes. :]

  6. Leni May 30, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Hey Meredith (here via Alone…with cats) I have to say I am so impressed with your ability to save your gift money! I would always spend mine (usually on the practical stuff) but saving is so not my thing. I’m kind of anti-material myself, unfortunately it extends to money too.

    Love the idea of the Toms though, what a great way to give and receive all at once (will keep that one handy for future gifts!).

  7. angelica June 1, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    the shoes look fantastic. I know what it’s like not to like spending on yourself, and if you have to send, probably a wise move but every once in, just once in a while, everyone should get their red dress or gold shoes (just remember to click your heals when you get them)

  8. Annah June 3, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Those shoes are out there! ROCK EM OUT AN TAKE PICTURES WHEN YOU DO 🙂


  1. Heeeeeere’s TOMMY « - June 7, 2010

    […] Let me introduce you to my very own ‘red dress‘: […]

  2. Back where I started « - June 11, 2010

    […] is where I start clicking my glittering heels together, taking deep, controlled breaths and telling myself that everything is going to be […]

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