I walked into work in a panicked state. I could hear the beat of my own heart and I was sure everyone else could too. I took a few deep breaths and tried to exhale as slowly as possible. I put my purse down and looked at Nicole. She smiled.
“Hey muffin, how are…whoa are you okay? What’s going on? What’s happening?”
Wow, was it that obvious? I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to say or how to say it. This month was difficult for me. I studied my ass off for the last few weeks and took four exams in a week and half while working full time at the restaurant. I was told that the rent for my healing practice was doubling. To make matters worse the holidays were right around the corner, reminding me that not only was I 3,000 miles away from my family but that I was alone.
All of this weighed heavily on my mind but what weighed the heaviest was that this time last year was when the shit hit the fan and left an emotional mess that I had been trying to clean up for the last twelve months. How would I say all of that in the three minutes we had before we opened? In typical blunt, Aries, New Jersey fashion, I blurted out,
“I want to burn my wedding gown!”
Nicole laughed out loud. “Okay. Are you sure you don’t want to sell it? I thought you were going to style it and take pictures. Don’t you want to get your money back?”
Nicole had been holding my dress for me. It was too long to hang in my closet and looking at it hanging from the back of my door reminded me of the past. I needed it out of my sight. Nicole said she would store it in her Hopeless Chest. Which I found quite fitting given the circumstances.
“I don’t want to look at it! I don’t want to steam it and take glamour shots of it! I don’t want to answer questions about it. The thought of having to ship it out gives me anxiety! I need to purge.”
I said all of that in one breath. I swallowed hard as I inhaled. I was waiting for Nicole to tell me I was crazy, to tell me I should re-think things, to tell me that I was being rash. Instead she responded with,
“Well alright! Let’s burn that mother fucker!”
And with that my anxiety became excitement and my fear stricken face lit up with joy. I know I had to do something to shift the energy. Helpless needed strength. Hurt needed joy. Sadness needed happiness. Alone needed support. Tears needed laughter.
I began asking my girlfriends if they would take part in “The Purge.” I watched as their faces lit up as they answered yes. They were excited that I was taking my power back.
The dress was all that was left and I wanted it to go. I needed it to go. I put together a Purge Playlist, which included songs about burning, fire, letting go, releasing, getting stronger and moving on. That in itself was cathartic. We packed up the car with firewood, kindling, champagne, snacks, blankets and chairs. Seven women and one child, drove to the fire pits at the beach and let “The Purge” converge.
We ate, drank and danced on the beach. Once the fire was good and ready, I ceremoniously carried my dress from the car down to my support system. We took pictures and I posed with my dress. I cut a piece of it off as, Rod Stewart belted out, “The First Cut Is The Deepest.” I threw the piece on the fire and it shriveled up in seconds.
I went over and picked up the rest of the dress. I carried it much like a groom would carry his bride after the wedding, but instead of crossing the threshold and gently putting her down on the other side, I aggressively, tossed it into the fire and watched as the fabric went up in flames to Jay Z’s, “On To The Next One.” How appropriate!
It went quickly and it felt like nothing I had ever felt before. It was as if the dress absorbed all of the drama, all of the hurt, tears, and pain in my heart and then the fire purged it away.
I felt lighter and happier as I watched the pillows of smoke fade away into the air. I looked around at my girlfriends laughing, singing and dancing. And as they celebrated this moment of me letting go, of me taking my power back, of me finding my self worth, I realized how incredibly blessed I am. I also realized how incredibly crazy we all are. Crazy in the best and most beautiful way that crazy can be.
So next year, I will light another fire at the beach, or in my fireplace, or in a garbage can in an alley in New Jersey or maybe I’ll just light a match. But when I do I will celebrate the positive choices I have made, instead of mourning the negative ones someone else has imposed upon me. I will celebrate the person that I am and the love that I have to offer. I will remind myself how lucky I am to have so many beautiful people in my ever expanding circle. I have faith that I will find someone deserving of all that I have to give, and if I have the opportunity to buy another wedding gown, I know that that one will be worth keeping.