I never expected the buzz of excitement that a fashion show would bring to our little community. To be honest, I’m not a very fashionable person. You could easily compare me to the Anne Hathaway character at the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada, quite oblivious to the idea of fashion outside of the more important and necessary work of saving the world (or so I thought). I grew up playing sports and wearing sportswear most of the time. I love living in sweatpants, t-shirts, and jeans and often cringe at the idea of dressing up. So when Letriah Masters first approached me about the idea of having the women of Dinah’s House participate in a Fashion Show, suffice it to say, I was a tad bit skeptical.
I didn’t understand the value of an event like this. I was protective of the women’s privacy and vulnerability. I felt unsure of parading them around as spectacles for others to judge and critique. These women have dealt with rejection in so many different forms, I didn’t want to be responsible for another. I figured the best way to get this idea off the table was to speak with the women directly. Surely they would be overwhelmed and just as hesitant of this idea as I was.
To my complete surprise the minute the words, “fashion show” rolled off my lips the women were ecstatic. The room buzzed with excitement as they all talked together about what they would wear and what walk they would use on the runway.
“I feel inspired, nervous, and happy” was the first thing Sara said when I asked her how she was feeling about being in the Fashion Show. I first met Sara about 6 months ago. At the time she was on the verge of being evicted from her home and in severe physical pain due to an on the job injury. She was contemplating whether life was even worth living. Since connecting with Dinah’s House she has finally found hope. “If I fear the unknown, I now know I have a safe place and friends who are like sisters to me.” The excitement surrounding the Fashion Show has even inspired her creative side. “I have felt good enough to start painting! Something I haven’t done in a long long time.” She leaned over and showed me a quick picture of a fall themed painting she is currently working on. “This Fashion Show has been the pick me up I need. I’m still on the path to finding myself, but I’m starting to feel good about who I am now. I’m excited show people what I’m made of.”
It only took a couple conversations like this one for me to realize that I had been short sighted about what this event is truly about. It isn’t simply about the fashion on display, but about each woman’s discovery of her own inner strength and beauty. In being part of this show these women are taking a courageous step forward. Despite being plagued with setback after setback each woman is choosing to take a leap of faith and show the greater community around her who she is. This event is about her bravery to face and overcome every obstacle, every heartbreak, every abuser, and every moment of self doubt.
I invite you, my fellow readers and dear friends of Dinah’s House, to join us at this event, not just to enjoy the great food and live music (which will be top notch by the way), but to stand in solidarity with these brave women who are choosing to take this step together. Be a part of the courage and strength of this band of sisters. This will be an evening like no other and I guarantee you will walk away with hearts full. You won’t want to miss it.