Lessons from a Dress


Over the weekend, I went to the Austin Radical Faery gathering! I’ve got so much to integrate about myself and my community. One of the consistent elements of Faery gatherings is to play with gender by dressing in wigs, jewelry and beautiful gowns.


For some, this is an important opportunity to express a part of their identity that most often remains hidden. For me, I will slip into something just to twirl and look at myself to ask, who am I in this dress? Is something revealed here that I keep hidden? Am I putting it on to fit in? Do I like this? Do I need this?


As I twirl in my dress, I do feel how these clothes invite me to move differently. To feel the air differently. Dresses and skirts have pathways to my body that make me feel vulnerable. I don’t yearn to be a woman, but I do want to be free. And for the brief time I wear a dress, I imagine the power of a dress as an invitation. Taking me into a sensual celebratory relationship with the environment that my subdued male clothes smother.


I’m so grateful for the gift of this invitation. I don’t know if I would wear a dress otherwise. Even in the privacy of my own home. It’s just not me, but without being conscious of making the choice to dress in male drag, I’ve unwittingly lost access to other sensations that my day to day costume doesn’t allow. If I want to feel alive in my senses and to dance instead of simply plodding along. Stepping into a pink, southwest Joni Mitchell inspired ensemble could just be the unforeseeable teacher I’ve been looking for. And I didn't even know it!

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