Wear the Darn Dress

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F_Megs

I stared at the dress for a long while.

It was just that pretty. Strapless with a gathered bodice, falling straight down to the floor. Navy blue with a shock of white, citron and hot pink flowers scattered about. Pockets. I reached out to touch the material, and the slinky rayon draped over my fingers like melted candle wax. I was in love. I was emotionally involved with a piece of clothing.

I eagerly pulled it on in front of the full length mirror, assuming I’d emerge as some sort of Aphrodite. I was a little deflated when I saw it was me standing there. The dress was still stunning. I tried to focus on that. But then I snuck a glimpse of my exposed arms, which looked woefully devoid of any definition. My hair—thrown up in a messy bun—suddenly looked dowdy, and a bit ratty. And my stomach, oh Lord, my stomach. It looked like there was still a baby in there. Not a large baby, I suppose. But a baby, nonetheless. My second round of pregnancy had left me with a belly that refused to deflate in Heidi Klum-like fashion.

Even with all the feelings, I couldn’t not buy that darn dress. Because we were in a relationship now.

So I took it home and ever-so-carefully hung it up in my closet.

And there it stayed.

I kept waiting for the right occasion, the right hair day, the right my-face-isn’t-breaking-out day. But the day never came. And I realized something:

I felt unworthy of the dress.

It was just too beautiful. Someone else deserved to wear that dress. Someone who was about ten pounds lighter than me, who had clear skin and bouncy hair and super sparkly teeth. Someone who had abs. Even one ab would suffice.

Someday, maybe, I would be enough to wear the dress. But not today.

This went on for months. In the heat of summer, mind you. When a strapless maxi dress would actually have been quite useful.

I woke up one Saturday morning, groggy and bleary eyed. I had my SheLoves meeting that morning. It was not a meeting I typically dressed up for. But the sun was unabashedly gleaming through the clouds, and it made me feel buoyant and a little brave. Also, I had no clean clothes.

I shimmied the dress on, adding a chunky green necklace to make me feel less bare. I took a few extra minutes to do my hair. When I surveyed my handiwork, I had to admit I looked ok. I actually felt pretty good.

When I walked into that meeting, you would have thought I had just stepped onto the red carpet at the Oscars. I was completely and utterly fawned over. It was flattering and horribly embarrassing. The dress, the necklace, my hair … every single detail was appreciated and celebrated. I was appreciated and celebrated. They even made me (reluctantly) pose for a photo. And I know it wasn’t just about the dress (although, did I mention the pockets?). It was the way I carried myself in that dress. It was the way it made me feel inside, which couldn’t help but radiate all over my outside. It felt like my true self, in all my bright and bedazzled glory, had shown up at that meeting. Fully and completely.

I feel a little silly about leaving the dress in my closet all that time, hoping I’d wake up one day, having earned the right to wear it. I don’t need to earn the right to wear anything. If I put it on and love it, it’s meant to be there. I’m meant to wear it. Not two babies ago. Not ten pounds from now. Not when my hormones finally align and give me skin like a Disney princess. Right now.

Great friends will remind you of that.

I don’t believe we’re meant to be preoccupied with material things. But preoccupation is a far cry from feeling good in your skin. Or wearing colours that make you happy. Or finally snatching that sparkly top in the back of the closet you’ve been staring down for months. Or years. No one is going to think that you’re trying too hard. Or that you don’t deserve to wear something so gorgeous.

They’re just going to see you. Being fully and completely yourself.

Just wear the darn dress.

Megs

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Megan Gahan
If you call me Meg I'll feel like we've been friends for a while, so do go with that. By day I run after two little dudes, but when the house is - finally - quiet I like to write, often a giant mug of Earl Grey Vanilla beside me. More often with a giant bowl of ice cream. I've worked in the fitness industry for over ten years, so talking body image and push-up technique gets me excited. I ponder those things, along with faith, parenting, and my desire to be a superhero over at megangahan.com.
Megan Gahan
Megan Gahan

Latest posts by Megan Gahan (see all)

Megan Gahan
  • You look GOR.JUS in that dress, girl!#madeforyou

    • Megan Gahan

      You are the best Bev! Thank you so much 🙂

  • Terri

    Beautiful!

    • Megan Gahan

      Thanks Terri!

  • Love it love it love it! I’ve struggled my whole adult life with wearing or doing anything that would draw attention to myself or seem even remotely feminine — you inspire me!

    • olivechan

      Jodi, this is me, too! Ever since junior high. And I’m now 34. But I’m slowly changing.

    • I relate to this. <3

    • Megan Gahan

      I totally relate to this as well, Jodi. Actually, it wasn’t until I cut my hair very short that I started becoming more comfortable with wearing more traditionally feminine things. The juxtaposition between the cropped hair and the frills seemed to help me a lot in that area. Thanks so much for your encouraging words and for showing up here today. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

  • Fun! Fun! Fun! And you’re so right! That dress is magnificent! (And pockets!)

    • Megan Gahan

      Well, after writing about post-partum depression last month, I needed a little bit of a lighter topic! Thanks so much for your words, Michele!

  • Sandy Hay

    At my house it’s “wear the darn top.” (maybe that should be plural ) Now if I had that dress on the other hand…. your words are a great perspective on lots about life, We procrastinate time after time when we should just “get on with the darn thing.” Thanks Megan 🙂

    • Megan Gahan

      Yes, “wear the darn top” Sandy! I love that! Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  • Debbie Horrocks

    Dresses with pockets are the best. Thanks for this reminder that we are worth it! Sometimes wearing pretty clothes is the best way to tell ourselves that, in a much deeper way than it sounds!

    • Megan Gahan

      Hurray, a fellow pockets lover! They ARE the best! Thanks so much for your lovely words Debbie, and for taking the time to leave them here. xx

  • Nicole A. Joshua

    You look stunning Megan.

    Yesterday a friend asked me if I believed I deserved my life. I struggled to answer that question. Your post is helping me process that question. Thank you for your vulnerability.

    • Anne-Marie

      Nicole – that is a great question! I would love to read a post on that. And Megan – you’re so gorgeous. Love the dress, and you, and the reminder to not be stingy with ourselves or feel we have to ‘earn’ everything. Gospel!

      • Megan Gahan

        Thank you dear Anne-Marie! Much MUCH love to you!

    • Megan Gahan

      Goodness, that’s a heart question if I ever heard one. I’m looking forward to hearing your answer (and the thought process that led to it). Maybe a future post ???? Thanks so much for your encouragement here today.

  • cjdeboer

    Oh – there we are in all our glory! You were shining my dear! I hope you wear that dress A LOT! xoxo

    • olivechan

      You two are so, SO beautiful. Inside and out. <3

    • Megan Gahan

      Ha! There we are indeed! Thanks for standing next to me, as I would have felt a gazillion times more awkward without you! You are wonderful in every way 🙂 xx

  • I love this! Perfect advice – there are so many “dresses” I just need to wear!

    • RIGHT!!!!

    • Megan Gahan

      Thanks Annie! And goodness, you’re right! I have a million metaphorical dresses I need to bust out . . . . .

  • Beautiful

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you Morag 🙂

  • LOVE!!! Just love. (And that dress is just so pretty on you, Meghan.)

    • Megan Gahan

      Thanks so much Ganise!

  • Sarah Joslyn

    I love everything about this. And you. And our community that specializes in encouragement.

    • You’re gonna make me cry …

      • Megan Gahan

        YES!!!!

  • olivechan

    Meg, this is awesome. YOU are awesome! I feel like I still have a long way to grow. I won’t even dare to buy the dress, let alone wear it.

    • Megan Gahan

      I hear you, my friend. It was a long road getting to this point. I mentioned it in a comment above, but cutting my hair super short spurned me to embrace feminine clothing. I’m still decidedly not super girly in my choices (I am currently wearing a Superman t-shirt from the Old Navy boys section) but I try to tune into that little girl inside of me more often – particularly when I see something that makes me swoon. Thanks so much for reading, Olive. Much love

  • I LOVED that morning + YOU in that dress … You always brighten up my day AND the room. This is fabulous.

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you so much Idelette! I’m grateful that SheLoves is the kind of place where a weirdly defining moment such as this one could even happen! You girls made me feel so gosh darn enveloped in beauty and love and supermodel-vibes that morning. xx

  • Saskia Wishart

    LOVE!

    • Saskia Wishart

      I just looked at the other comments, and this post got A LOT of love.

      • Megan Gahan

        I’m seriously embarrassed all over again reading the comments! I had no idea they were going to put the picture in, but there I am! Thank you for the LOVE, Saskia. You’re the best!

        • Saskia Wishart

          I am so glad they did pop the photo in there … The whole time I was reading I was thinking how much I wanted to see the dress on you!

  • Roos Woller

    I remember that day and you did look stunning, that dress should feel honoured to be worn by you. The authentic real kind of beauty! You Cary the grace of womenhood, the strength of motherhood and the confidence of a sisterhood. Xoxoxo

    • Megan Gahan

      Rose, I just love you! “That dress should feel honoured to be worn by you . . “! I’m going to go given that dress a talking to right now! Thank you for your kind, Jesus-wrapped words.

  • HBurns

    Of course that dress needs to be worn by YOU – you make it beautiful. I love this picture of two women I admire so much. SO much love xoxo

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you dearly Helen. SO much love right back!

  • pastordt

    I LOVE THIS. And the dress is delightful and you look fab. YEAH, wear the darn dress!

    • Megan Gahan

      Thank you Diana! These comments are giving me the warm fuzzies all over again! Much love 🙂

  • Hannah Kallio

    I’ve actually been struggling with this for months. Feeling like honestly, the most spiritual thing I could do right now would be to go shopping. I’ve boxed myself into this utilitarian deprivation funk, but God made me to create sensory feasts. Thank you for this.

    • Megan Gahan

      Gosh, I love your words here Hannah.

      “God made me to create sensory feasts.”

      YES!!!!! I love that. Go shopping (and let me know what you get 😉 )

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