The Red Dress and Its Siren Song

You might know the story. You might not.

Sometimes things happen inside the blogosphere that stay there…and sometimes they break free of their Internet chains and spread across globe in other forms from newspapers held with your hands, to tv news to even a story your Mom told your Aunt who told your Cousin and didn’t you know?

The Red Dress is one of those stories. You may have read about from the woman who started it all, my friend Jenny, otherwise known as the Bloggess. You may have seen it on Forbes this week. You may have heard rumors about it from your friend’s mom’s hairdresser’s nail girl who heard it from her aunt.

I can tell you the Red Dress is real. The Red Dress is powerful. But most importantly…

…the Red Dress is sitting in a box in my bedroom taunting me. 

Yes. I have it. The original Red Dress. It just left the hands of my friend Kelly, otherwise known as MochaMomma. The box has Jenny’s addy on and Kelly’s addy on it and it looks like it’s been through many hands before it made it’s way to my house in California.

Everyone has looked fabulous in this dress and it has given them a feeling of …well…whatever it is they needed. Accomplishment, be it getting over their fear of dressing up so boldly, or showing the world their scars. Pride, after having gone through something challenging and conquered their mountain. Even love, having finally learned to accept who they are and who they want to become.

And now it sits here with me, and I can’t get myself to even put it on. My mind is so out of sorts, having heard my doctor fill out disability papers calling me incapable of so many things.

Unable to participate in cognitive thinking for long periods of time

Unable to travel by plane, train, boat, car, or bus

Unable to stand for more than one hour

Unable to sit for more than one hour




I know I’m having issues with my memory and mind. Every time I speak to my husband it’s clear the inflammation is high and it’s targeting my brain. I don’t remember things that are so simple, and it’s a wonder he doesn’t get more frustrated with me. I get so frustrated with myself I want to tear my hair out.

I’m not sure there is any worse torture than your brain not working right…except for maybe the damage done to my body by the disorder and the many medications and treatments used to keep it in check.

My mind is not my own. My body is not my own. I’m some absent-minded, fat, moon-faced stranger occupying the body of a woman who had the world in the palm of her hand, and feels all of it slipping away piece by piece. Now I’m squeezing everything so tight in that hand I’m suffocating what’s inside.

So the Red Dress has been sitting in the box taunting me since well before the holidays. I had a million excuses to not open it and leave it shut. Then I had a million more to just open it but not take the dress out. And tonight, dress in my hand, I ran my fingers over the gold stitching. I ran my fingers of its lavish poofs and strapless top. I wondered how I’d ever fit inside, and if being unable to close the clasps would destroy me even further.

I want to believe in this dress. I am a huge fan and freak of superstition and the power of the dress is right up my alley. Thus my request to Kelly and her permission from Jenny and now my big, fat, chickening out feelings as it sits here.

I’m not one to back down from a challenge. But my God there have been so many lately I didn’t expect one from a dress.

Yet there it sits.

If there is one thing I have learned in my many years of blogging, it’s that these women (and men) will not let me down. We might bicker over issues and we might disagree on which way our community should go and ebb and flow…but when push comes to shove we have each other’s backs. So I know that if they all say believe, I will believe. They wouldn’t lie to me.

Soon I will put on the original Red Dress. I will hire someone to make what is left of my hair look thick and I will hire someone else to paint my face and I will hire a photographer to do his or her best.

And I will stand proudly and feel the magic flow through me. If not from the dress, but from the women it represents, and their strength and power and passion.

You. You will help me do it. And for you I will do it. Not looking like myself and not feeling in my right mind and not the me I want you to see-but someone how, for you, the real me will hopefully shine through.


  1. Heather M says:

    the dress is nowhere near as beautiful as you are. rock that dress.

  2. Yes you will. And we will be here, cheering you on. You are a strong, amazing woman, and no disease or medications will take that away from you.

  3. The courage and light you shine out into the world…well it is as if you are always wearing that stunning dress. Now just make it manifest.

  4. You guys are giving me quite the amount of courage to do this. My doctor will freak if I show up in that for treatment. My nurses, however, will love it

  5. Put on that dress and TURN THIS MOTHER OUT.

  6. I cannot wait to see you in that red dress. It will be almost as phenomenal as you are. <3

  7. the red dress is awesome. i love it and what it stands for.
    my husband has an awards evening for his company at the end of the month, and although I already have a dress (which is teal) I want to wear a red dress.
    So far I havent found one (or the one to be fair) but I’m still looking. I’m scouring the charity shops and putting requests out on twitter for anyone in London UK who is participating in the red dress.
    I hope I find one, so I too can rock the red dress.

  8. so if anyone in London UK reads this post/comments and you have a red dress, please get in touch! thanks!

  9. You will be awesome in that red dress! You have so much courage, and determination, I know you will put it on and it will fit and you will be Reborn into someone from a dream.

  10. This is fantastic! Reading this puts a smile on my face, what a wonderful idea 🙂 Can’t wait to see it!

  11. You know, Erin, I suspect that even with only half your brain working, you’re still smarter than average.

    I can’t wait to see you in that dress.

  12. I saw a photo of Susan in that red dress, and she looked ethereal. You will shine.

Speak Your Mind