This is me.
Hair up in a pony tail, comfy clothes, no makeup, surrounded by family and flanked by to-do lists that never seem to end. I'm a mom, a wife and a small business owner and not one of those things lends itself to having a whole lot of free time. I know that I am not alone in this. Many, if not most, of the other mommas I know have a pretty similar story.We wake up early and get our kids out of bed. We harass them until they're ready for school and send them out the door with a hug and a sack lunch we threw together at the last minute while berating them for not brushing their teeth...again.
We may or may not change out of our jammies, but we do run the errands, sweep the floors, answer client calls and emails, wash and fold the laundry (let's be honest here, we don't put the laundry away. That's simply asking too much) and avoid cleaning the toilet at all costs. We pick our little ones up from the bus stop, help with homework, switch out loads of dishes in the dishwasher, fix dinner, brush teeth, read bedtime stories, and then stay up an additional few hours trying to finish all the work stuff we didn't have time to during the day.
Wash, rise, repeat.
I am grateful every day for this truly beautiful life; it's full of care and love and all the warmth and security of family life. In between the routine stuff are the moments that make it all worthwhile; hugs and kisses and "I love yous," quiet moments on the couch together, tickle fights and baseball games and all that jazz.
This is who I am.
But it is not ALL that I am.
This is ALSO me.
I'm a seriously bad @$$ fashion and portrait photographer who is making a career out of capturing the beauty of my clients. I'm damn good at what I do. I love to wear a beautiful dress, you know, the kind that you would probably never have a legitimate reason to wear? Having my hair and makeup done is, no joke, one of my favorite experiences ever. Pamper me! Take me to a fancy dinner, let me eat something I can't pronounce, serve me some wine and then take me to the art gallery. Talk to me about philosophy and history and the human condition. Let's check out the latest Reem Acra designs and drool over Demarchelier's work. I'm brave, I'm opinionated, and I'm the woman in the red dress.
Amidst the chores and homework, between battles of will with my 2 year old, homemade fettucini noodles and the snot that somehow got wiped on my shirt, I am STILL the woman in the red dress. That part of me is just as legitimate as the part that makes lunches and folds laundry and reads bedtime stories.
Not every woman is a stay at home mom. Maybe your day consists of a subway ride, a business suit, long meetings and hastily eaten lunches. But the premise remains true for all of us. We can be who we are every day, but still take the time to celebrate the beauty of our WHOLE selves.
I spend a lot of time trying to convince women of their beauty. I think, maybe, woman have been tricked by society and the simple habit of daily routine into thinking that the woman in the red dress isn't really who they are, or who they should want to be. The woman in the red dress is always someone else, but never them. Caught up in the routine of every day life, they let the red dress stay in the closet and gather dust. Oh, they day dream about her but they rarely, if ever, take her out dancing.
I'm here to tell you that you ARE still, and always will be, the woman in the dress. Don't be ashamed of her or forget that she's in there. The Cinderella story IS true every time you stop trying to hide the side of yourself that you feel too guilty to show.
I want to send out a clarion call to every woman out there who is convinced that the woman she sees in the mirror every day is the only valid side of herself, who thinks that the glamorous side of herself is just a day dream, who feels too guilty or self conscious to buy herself a beautiful dress or to spend the time to get her hair done or put on a little makeup. I know you. I AM you. I want to tell you this: you do NOT have to be ashamed! Don't hide. Don't be afraid. Break out the red dress and wear it for all you are worth! Embrace ALL of yourself, because you are valuable, complex, unique, and dammit you LOVE glitter and that's okay!
I'm not going to be ashamed of the woman in the red dress anymore.
I am her. She is me. We are beautiful.
I am beautiful.
I am beautiful.
Are you ready to release the woman in the red dress?