The Red Dress by Fenominelly
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Note to self #32: “Fuck a little black dress. Get the red one.”
On January 21, 2017, I learned about the power of a red dress. It did more than accentuate the obvious. It exposed the fiery lioness within. The kind of woman who commands the attention of a room just by simply walking in. This was my make-the-best-of-tonight-and-metaphorically-grab-a-man-by-the-balls dress. Even if on the inside I was still processing the rejection of something that could’ve been great, on the outside, you couldn’t tell. This red dress had a purpose that was fulfilled. But a woman doesn’t simply wake up and buy a red dress just because. So let me back it up a bit.
2016 was a year filled with blessings for me. My podcast was doing good, I was making good money in advertising, and radio finally became my main source of income later that year. I was floating on cloud nine. No one could tell me a damn thing. I was so high off of the results of my hustle that I didn't see that dumb ass Mercury retrograde coming straight for the kid.
This retrograde was filled with all kinds of backwards bullshit and had no intention of seeing me win, and it came in like a bat out of hell. It’s like when you’re trying to put on false lashes. The right one goes on just fine, but that left one...THAT LEFT ONE, THOUGH! Oh, she just wants to give you so much trouble, and it results in you ripping the right lash off because you have to leave in 10 minutes. So then you must spend the next seven minutes attempting to cover up lash glue on your damn eyelids. Because of that failed attempt, every time you blink that night you are reminded of that dummy mission that took place all because you wanted to be cute.
In December of 2016, I felt like I had lash glue all on my eyelids. The station I worked at fired me, and I took that long-ass, depressing-ass hike from Tennessee back to my parents’ house in Staten Island on Christmas Day. To this day, my mom says she was happy to have me come home as a gift. Yet, at that point in my life, I did not feel the same way. The loss of my job put me in a serious funk. I allowed one stupid moment to define my entire year of success. That was when I felt myself slowly slipping into depression. It was also when the fighter in me began to kick in. I refused to go down silently.
So, this is when the red dress came into play. Trust me when I say there’s a method to my madness. There was a birthday event scheduled to happen in January for one of my friends. Even though it was her big day, I wanted to look my best, too, because what girl doesn't want, or like, to slay?
And that was exactly what I did.
I chose said friend's birthday to remind myself that I was a bad bitch. I needed to put up an outer shield that showed everything was still great. I needed to prove that, despite the fact that I just moved to a whole new state for a new job and literally came home in a matter of weeks, I was still out here slaying like it was nothing. That I was still out here being seen smiling, laughing it up, and having a good time...even though on the inside I was truly fucked up.
I remember looking for dresses to help me put on this front. Sending friends different photos of options from places like Fashion Nova, Forever 21, ASOS, every damn Instagram boutique I could find, and more. I was on a serious hunt to find a bomb ass dress. The bomb ass dress.
And then I found the red one.
It was on a retail website that sold sexy night-out outfits specifically for plus-sized women. At first, I wasn’t with the idea of wearing it because it was out of my comfort zone. It was red as fuck, with a cutout across the chest. I already felt myself reconsidering one of the safer options. But before I could try and talk myself out of getting the red one, the much sassier side of me stepped in.
“Girl, if you don’t get this damn dress and quit playin’! We ain’t trying to be you that night because YOU would be in the house. YOU would be looking too deep into a situation that you no longer have control over. Get over it. It’s time to start moving on, and we are doing that right now. We are gonna be her.
She ain’t tryin’ to be in the house mopin’ and askin’ God, “Why?” She ain’t tryin’ to feel the burn of failure just yet because she knows it’s time to step out and flex. She ain’t tryin’ to hear shit about her old job and she fo’ damn sure ain’t tryin’ to wear a little black bum-ass dress.”
Isn’t she so convincing?
I bought the red dress.
I remember when I finally wore it. I kept looking at myself in the mirror from as many angles as I possibly could. I smiled. I remember beating my face for the gawds and laying THE FUCK out of my hair. I then presented myself to my homegirl first. I made her do a double-take. She’s good for that. She always lets me know when I look good, but when I look real good...she goes all out. Every girl needs at least one friend like that. “But that red dress though!” was all I heard that night and even to this day.
“When you look good, you feel good” is a saying with truth to it. I looked amazing and I felt amazing. Even if it was for just a few hours. During that night, I didn’t talk about my old job or worry about what was coming next. I was in the moment. I celebrated the life of a good friend and looked damn good while doing so. For a few hours, I got to feel a piece of cloud nine doused in alcohol and wrapped in flirtatious compliments. It may sound odd, but I needed that. I needed a few more seconds of feeling on top, the results of my hustle or not.
Call me dramatic, an attention whore, or a brat. I honestly don’t care. I know women like me understand what that night was for. They know what it means to just want to pull out that freakum dress, and just go out with the girls. We weren’t looking for anything but fun. In a way, this type of night out is a form of therapy. Moments like this, slaying just because, should happen more often.
At the end of the day, my message to you is this: fuck that little black dress mess. Get the red one or even the one that hugs you in all the right places and use it for emergencies. Like a self-confidence pick-me-up. There’s nothing wrong with having a dress or two that falls into the “Bad Bitch Reminder” category.
Stay blessed and trust God, because the journey has only begun.
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