I have been sorting and packing, packing and sorting for what seems like a very long time now…I endeavour to be organized: winter clothes in that suitcase, summer clothes in this one, and, of course, it is the perfect opportunity to decide what must be given away and what will be kept, and most of these decisions are pretty easy. But some decisions seem – well, terribly important and oh-so-momentous, and I shall tell you about one such decision.
I do not have a lot of clothes, just the opposite, in fact. I do tend to buy the best things I can and wear them a long time. Partly this is because I dislike shopping, and assuredly I loathe some saleswoman schooling me in the latest fashion trend for which I care nothing, and definitely because I like simple and well-made. Once upon a time, however, I splurged on an exquisite dress for a special New Year’s Eve night out – well, let me tell you about the dress.
The dress is black silk, with a beaded neckline and sleeves, and the body of the dress entirely sequins, all the beads and sequins individually hand-sewn to the silk. It falls to mid-calf, with a slit to mid-thigh – a sexy, shimmery, fantasy of a dress, certainly like nothing I’d ever worn. It was created for a beauty pageant contestant, duly worn in the event, and for sale at a price I could afford – and when I tried it on, I confess I felt transformed. The dress was surprisingly heavy and fit beautifully, and so, I decided I could be Cinderella at the ball for an evening. It was one of those perfect, magical, nights – special friends, champagne, dancing to the early hours – a night that I will always remember with joy.
And the dress, oh the dress was painstakingly cleaned and hung in my closet. And then it was wrapped in tissue paper, to protect those lovely beads and sequins. And oh-so-many times I have looked at it with pleasure, and the longing to put it on and be Cinderella at the ball again – but the occasion never came about. For the dress does require an occasion and a venue and the right company to make its magic happen… I look at this dress, and decide to take it with me, on my journey – and it is a bit of a pain to pack the thing. And when and where shall I wear it? Oh, my imaginary friend, who knows? But even weighing all those things, I know I must have it with me, for it speaks to me of the magic of transformations. The magic of possibilities. The magic of never writing in stone who and what one is…
I wrap it again in fresh tissue paper and put it in the suitcase, and trust that I will find the time and place to wear it, to wrap that magic around me. For the dress tells me that we must, sometimes, break out of our self or other-imposed confines. That this is a part of the path to the joyful life…
I think my words are not adequate to the symbolism of the dress, but I leave you with a lovely piece by artist Lisa Kirk, who seems to instinctively understand the power of transformation and its symbols. You can find more of her work at http://www.lisakirk.ca/, and her dress series of paintings here.
Here is to discovering the freedom to fly!