Sparkle and Shine

I’m wearing a dress to a Christmas party tomorrow, and I feel super weird about it.

Remember back when I wore dresses?

Of course you do. It was just last year, and all the years before that too. The tights always worked with the belt always worked with the boots always worked with the sweater. I swished, I swirled, I planned out my necklaces. I got a lot of compliments from my very girly boss.

I went out and got myself some nice tall boots. I got them to wear with my skirts. And they looked lovely.

But then I also got a magic pair of jeans — my first pair of skinny ankle zips. Their close cuffs slid smoothly into my boots. And with those jeans…my whole world changed.

In dresses I felt pretty: diffused and ineffectual. But in those jeans, in those jeans with my boots on, in those jeans with my boots on with a gray v-neck t-shirt and a long navy cardigan: I could take on the world.

I felt like myself.

I stopped planning jewelry. I stopped swirling and twirling. I felt like a person with a purpose: a person who could walk miles if they needed to, who was ready for a bike ride or a night out or a night out on bikes, a person who could sit on the floor in her office and stretch. Movement unrestricted. Clothes in place to lend a helping hand.

Jeans, boots, t-shirt, sweater, scarf. My winter uniform. The clothes that make me feel like me.

So why am I wearing a dress to a Christmas party tomorrow?

I went shopping. I wanted to look nice. I was looking for a shirt to wear with my jeans. I was looking for a button-up, a fancy sweater, maybe shinier jeans to go under my boots.

But I grabbed this dress, because everything else was coming up short. I tried it on. And it looked good. It looked like the old me, the girl without the queer, the girl with the softness about her.

The dress lead to the tights lead to the necklace lead to the dangling earrings. I tried it all on with my boots and they didn’t work at all. Suddenly I’m in girlish flats. Suddenly I’ve bought it all and I’m home. Suddenly I’m the girl in the mirror, all sparkle and color, waiting for a boy to choose me for a slow dance.

I am Queer Girl. I am not butch, nor femme. If our clothes are our armor, our identity, can I wear a dress without regressing to the soft, familiar closet of my first 28 years on Earth? I want to be pretty. I want to be powerful. I want to learn how to take on the whole fucking world. Can I even do that in a pair of tights?

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