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The Red Dress Phenomenon

You new here? Never been here before? That's okay. We welcome all kinds here except for the mean and nasty kind. We sent them elsewhere that is like a cozy version of hell where no one is allowed thumbs for typing and all the keys are misplaced and you get disemvoweled for saying things that aren't kind. But if you like women who speak their minds, educators who share stories and experiences, moms who are anything but perfect, and people who are totally fine with talking about race in an intelligent manner, then this is the place for you.

Hi, there. Your hair looks really marvelous today.

Some of you may know this already because you do have awesomely lovely thumbs and working keys to leave comments that belie your brilliance, but just in case I am providing you with a quick cheat sheet of facts about this blog and the writer who pens it.

Tomorrow, I'm a minor guest on the Katie Couric show on ABC. I was invited, along with two other bloggers, to come and be on the show after I wore Jenny Lawson's Traveling Red Dress. It's a movement that empowered women to let themselves be worth it. That's hard for us women sometimes, isn't it? It's so easy to believe bad stuff and replay old tapes that tell us we'll never be enough. When I read it the first time I remember thinking that it was so simple and yet so right. Apparently, Katie thinks Jenny is pretty special. She's right.

The topic is Daring Greatly which is inspired from the words of famed TEDTalk speaker, Brené Brown. It's about taking chances and being vulnerable and how those two things really do set you free from things that previously held you back.

I've made a lot of mistakes and I don't have a fairy tale life. Years ago when I read Maya Angelou's Wouldn't Take Nothing For My Journey Now I was struck by a story she told about her grandmother and how she started her own country store. It's called "New Directions". This line really got me:
I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.

When I read it, I started to live it. I cut me a new path and started down it even though it was scary.

I'm a 41-year old divorced mother of four. One of them was placed for adoption and I raised the other three. I've been a single mother longer than just about anything else.

I'm a writer and I dared to do even that seemingly out-of-reach thing even though I used to hate writing essays for my teachers.

I met a man on the Internet and he didn't kill me with an axe. Instead, he decided to take care of me by loving me and cooking for me and being pretty incredible with my children. Our blended family includes six kids between us and an adorably cute but incredibly needy dog named Lola.

I love this picture of Jenny and me holding our shoes. Pro-tip: you don't want to wear them all around the ABC studios before taping a segment where you have to walk in front of people. Jenny is wearing a gorgeous Marchesa gown and I am wearing a stunning Valentino dress. You know to know what brave is? Wearing a strapless gown that shows your arms on national television while sitting next to itty bitty Katie-got-to-second-base-Couric. That is brave.

I really like this road I'm on right now and it's leading me to new territory. It is more satisfying that I could have imagined. Whoever said that being vulnerable was a bad thing that didn't get you anywhere didn't know what they were talking about.

Welcome. I'm glad you're here. You should say hi.

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Reader Comments (16)

I had no idea you met the Cuban online. And RED IS FABULOUS FOR YOU! Valentino is FABULOUS!

Tomorrow I am digging out a red dress... fuck it! I don't care about the fat arms, or the lumpy tummy, or the anything. I am standing in solidarity with you all. I do so love gutsy... BADDASSERY WOMEN!

...wouldn't take nothing for my journey now for sure.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLovebabz

I'm so, so happy that you wrote this post and shared this story. Life is truly about the paths you take and the ones you choose to blaze for yourself. The story of Jenny's red dress has brought so many women to the realization that we are worth that dress, we are worth that chance and we are worth that beautiful life.
When Jenny first brought the dress to BlogHer, there was a wonderful woman there to try it on-- she had agoraphobia and her life had become her home. She found the strength and the courage to make that trip to BlogHer, and the picture of her in the red dress, crying as she looked out at the world that was hers now, envisions what the red dress is truly all about. It's not indulgence-- it's our lives.

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNadine

Hi. I think you're awesome.
And now I'll revisit my neglected blog, neglected because I "am not a writer" and "don't have anything important to say".
What shade of red dress goes with calling yourself on your own bullshit?

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTrasherati

Set to record!
I'm still waiting for a red dress-er to pop up in Indy so I can shoot it...

September 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermoosh in indy.

So many of my favourite people are all on that show right now! I wish we could get it in the UK. Congrats for being asked to appear. You really are an inspiration (and not in that pinterest way. A genuine inspiration to a) be a better person and b) judge people less).

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermy honest answer

I just got all goose pimply and teary while reading this. It's not that I follow bright witty bloggers that are becoming famous. It's that these bright smart women are becoming famous for such fundamentally good things that fills my heart to capacity. You all look so beautiful.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

[...] then I left them alone for more private moments and went to the makeup room to watch Jenny and Kelly get ready. I have some awesome shots of Kelly looking hot in just a bra, but you’ll never see [...]

I don't have a red dress... But I do have black men's carharts and I'll find myself a red shirt! DVR set! You deserve this Kelly!

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

I think your hair looks pretty marvelous, too. A sleeveless dress on live t.v. - your bravery cannot be matched. Although a short pencil skirt would run a close second. Not sure I could pull off either. I think I'd panic and hide away in a turtle neck and cords.

Love your blog. It's honest, funny, and refreshing.

Congrats on all your successes. :)



September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJodi

I am so disappointed I missed it today!!! I'll be looking for the link so I can watch it later. I just watched Jenny's segment and it looks like it was a great show. You both looked gorgeous!! And Katie's dress was stellar, too. ;)

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Windsor

You and Jenny look GORGEOUS, darling. Both inside and out.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

I just wanted to say that I loved this comment.

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Gorgeous! Can't wait to see the show.

September 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBugladynora

I'm not exactly new here, but Hello all the same. You look awesome in red, I hope you're wearing ballsy dresses in that colour All. The. Time.

September 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClaire J

Kelly! I actually saw some of this episode of Katie, but I missed the bloggers. Congratulations! You are rocking that red dress up there!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercoolbeansmama

Mrs. Wickham I love your dress! <3

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJasmine

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