Standing in line, I awkwardly try to avoid eye contact with others as I ponder what’s going to when we get to the front. I’ve never been on this ride before; it’s new since the last time I was at Disneyland. Actually, I’ve never been this part of Disney before, so it’s all new. Thankfully our friends are pros, so I know we’re in good hands. We get to the front of the line after winding up and down, backward and forward, then shuttle into an oversized elevator and sit down. We’re directed to put on our seatbelts and after a short video, the ride begins. At breakneck speed and shocking volume, the elevator lifts sharply, my heart beating out of my chest. It rises to the very top and for a moment we are weightless, then down again. No rhyme or reason to this thrill ride from what I can tell. But I know the conductor has a plan despite my heart’s fear that we will not survive. At the end we receive a picture of ourselves on the ride; my face is a mixture of exhilaration and sheer terror.
In many ways, Clothed in Dignity has been much like this ride at Disney. I had an idea of what to expect, but it’s been like no other ride in my entire life. For much of the time I’ve been fearful: not of the dresses or wearing them, but of what has been revealed to me during this time. 334 days of dresses, a drastic change from my previous wardrobe of jeans and sweatshirts. An intentionality with each day; what accessories to go with each outfit or soberly considering which shoes to wear. For a girl like me, not overly make-uped or fancy on a daily basis, this is like a baby deer learning to walk. Frequently I’ll go through four or five outfits before deciding on an item. It’s just one thing in my day; the rest of the day I go between a staff meeting at work, helping the high-schooler with her math, responding to emails, prepping dinner, and helping the kindergartner in the bathroom.
334 days of doing anything will begin to change a person. Only 31 days to go and I hope the changes that have already occurred will maintain for years to come. With every day I wear a dress this year, approximately $30 will go to Peoria Home. A metaphor for a woman’s time at Peoria Home: it’s personal, it’s challenging, and it’s life-changing.
It’s been an honor to do this challenge on behalf of Peoria Home.