Talk of the Town

April 26, 2017

I recall being a high school student, doing her best to live as much of a “normal” teenage life as possible and utterly failing.

Since the creation of my winter concert dress my freshman year, I’d continued attempting to re-purpose old, worn-out garments lying around, unmoving in my wardrobe. I spent hours upon hours watching sewing tutorials every break I had, constructing countless other projects, learning something every step of the way.

And during my senior year I began the inevitable process of self-discovery. I had ambitions almost too good for my capabilities, and knowing that, I decided to make my own prom dress—what better way to break free of my own comfort zone than to design, draft, and sew my own gown with the little experience I have creating such a project for such a major event?

Come the summer of senior year, I’d begun designing my dress in October (which I later learned would be more difficult than I originally imagined as I continuously changed the design, even towards its completion). And instead of studying for my calculus final and working on my French homework, I spent countless hours drafting and re-drafting my dress out of a poor, old bed sheet, hand sewing and seam ripping until my wrist developed a cyst from the overexertion.

The turnout was significantly better than I imagined, never feeling less than a princess every time I wore it, whether I was simply trying it on for fitting or wearing it the day of prom. Leading up to the event, my friends and family knew I was sleeplessly working on it, anticipation accumulating for the seven months I spent on it. If I waited any longer to show them, I think they might have exploded.

The big reveal happened the evening of the first prom I attended, when my parents posted pictures from my prom shoot, I posted pictures from the prom shoot, I sent pictures to friends at my school from the prom shoot. And at that first prom, (with my then-boyfriend at his school’s respective prom), strangers at my date’s school approached me asking about the prom dress I made that my date went around telling everyone about. The second prom I attended was for my own school, (fun fact: I snuck into the second prom—another one of my proudest high school accomplishments, obviously) and by that time, my classmates and their teachers, my friends and their families, friends of my friends’ friends, and the workers at Ruggles Green all knew about my dress. The second prom I attended, people I didn’t even think acknowledged my existence in school were hunting for me on the dance floor to see this “amazing dress” everyone buzzed about.

Looking back on it, that was probably the most inspirited I’d ever felt about something I had an inextinguishable passion for. It was my crowning moment and it served as the spring board for my most ambitious and hopes and dreams. I had proven to myself that, in spite of the doubt I had to complete such a task, I did it.

I freakin’ did it.

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