I started this blog as I was in the middle of the divorce process and haven’t spoken a lot about the particulars about the ending of a marriage–I don’t intend to start now. As frustrating as the marriage and its ending were for me, it is still a part of me and my life, even as heartbreaking as it was. I’ve come out the other side a better person and found love in a way I hadn’t imagined before- not just with another human being, but with the way I love myself.
Ending a marriage made me think more about love and respect than I had before I entered into it- sort of twisted thinking which probably is what got me into trouble to begin with. That aside, I came out of divorce seeking and believing in love more than ever and finding the institution of marriage in a different place. I have respect for it and for people who seek out being married, but I see love as something so much more than a piece of legal paper defines it.
A lot of these feelings have surfaced lately because we’re cleaning out my mother’s house as she readies for a move. I was confronted with a big box- my wedding gown. It sat in the bridal gown preservation box since the weeks after my May 2010 wedding, relegated to a high shelf in my childhood bedroom closet. By late summer of 2011, it was clear my marriage would not last and the box was pushed even further into the closet, obscured by pillows, linens, and off-season clothing of my parents. There was no need to do anything with it- my emotions were too raw and the anger too heavy to think of anything related to a wedding.
When I ran into some financial woes through the divorce, I debated selling it, desperate for cash, but being the sometimes lazy procrastinator I am, the ‘sell wedding dress’ slipped farther down the to do list and never was accomplished. It made its way onto the list every year it seemed, but every year I thought of other things more important to take care of first.
This past week, knowing that I had a limited timeline in which to figure out what to do with THE DRESS ( either get rid of it or it would end up in my attic), I finally kicked myself into action. I researched best sites to sell gowns on, what makes a good gown listing, and so on. I spent time searching through friends/family facebook pages from 2010 to find pictures of me wearing it, ready to crop my head out of pictures to show potential buyers what the dress looked like on a human being.
And then last week, I decided I wasn’t going to sell it.
Why? Mostly for sanity sake- wanting to not spend more time than I had already in measuring, taking questions, and so on from potential buyers. But honestly, it felt sort of strange to try to financially benefit from a dress that brought joy and represented so much promise and love.
Truthfully, I adored my gown. Even though it was a hot day and wearing layers of luxe satin made me sweat like crazy, I loved every inch of it–the gorgeous beading and huge train. The marriage didn’t work out, but the wedding was awesome ( that’s got to be some sort of metaphor right there) and I felt amazing wearing it. It was bought with my grandmother, mother, and future-mother-in-law, and made me smile in ways I didn’t know I could. I didn’t want to try to hock the dress to the highest bidder– it felt almost cold and loveless. If this divorce has taught me anything, it’s in the power of love– and so I couldn’t sell.
But I couldn’t keep it either. Yes, I loved it, but it was also representative of another time, and really, of another me. Keeping it around didn’t feel right and frankly, I have enough stuff in the house that I don’t know what to do with that has more sentimental attachment. Some people suggested I could remake it into something else, which I explored a bit, but it felt weird to cut up something so gorgeous too.
When I found the answer, it was so easy and obvious that I knew it was the right decision for me. I would donate my gown to one of the many charities that takes lightly used dresses and sells them to less fortunate or needing brides. After some research and review reading, it was an easy choice for me to donate my gown to Brides Across America. The organization provides gowns for military brides and I was more than happy to send my beloved gown to a group that truly helps people who need it.
My marriage didn’t last, but my belief in love did. I hope that bit of joy and hope still lives within the ‘spirit’ of the gown, bringing happiness to whichever lucky gal gets to wear it next.
All opinions are my own and was not prompted by Brides Across America to comment on their organization.