My mother was carefully arranging my long hair into a high bun and pinning a crown on top of it. I was looking down at my yellow tutu and admiring the gold sequins on the bodice of my costume. I was glaring down at my ballet slippers, which used to be pink and were now spray-painted a gold color to match the costume selected for us. I shot a quick dirty look at the group beside us, the girls in PINK tutus, whose shoes were the color I so loved.
But, a glance in the mirror showed me that I still looked like a ballerina. Like a princess. Who was ready for her time in the spotlight, her time to shine. To step out on that stage and DANCE.
It’s been close to 30 years since I put on that dress.
Long hair, kept straight and simple. A pretty blue dress that twirled when I spun around. Flowers in my hand. A new sister and father being welcomed into our family on that day. Uncomfortable shoes and untamed eyebrows, a few zits making their unfortunate appearance on my forehead.
The mirror this time showed a young teenage girl, totally unsure of herself, not at all ready to take on the world like that girl in the ballerina costume had been.
It was over 20 years ago that I wore that dress.
A graduation cap pinned carefully to my hair. A heavy black robe over top of the lightest slip of a white backless dress. Glancing around at the place I’d spent the past four years, the friends I might never see again. Knowing who had job offers and who was headed off to grad school and who had no idea what to do after we left college.
After the ceremony, robe discarded, a final glance in my dorm room mirror showed me someone much more confident than that girl in the bridesmaid dress had been. Not a girl as confident as that young ballerina, but one who was on her way.
Over 13 years since I wore that dress.
Hair elaborately twisted on top of my head, another tiara of sorts placed on my head. A gown that twirled in a way that the previous dresses in my life hadn’t. Tiny blue beads on the bodice that matched my soon-to-be husband’s eyes.
No quick glances in the mirror this time. Staring. Thinking that I did, in fact, look just like a princess. One who was about to marry the man she was madly in love with. Happy, confident, excited.
Almost 10 years since that day.
Four dresses, four very different times in my life…. each seeming alternately like a lifetime ago and like it just happened.
What moments(and dresses) do you remember from your life?