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Why I will not give up on the Red Dress

We all have that Red Dress

By Bérengère BalteauPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
Top Story - February 2022

She's there. She's always there. Carefully hung in my wardrobe and laying at the back of my mind whenever she feels like to. I sometimes forget about her, and sometimes, I cannot help but worship her. She's me, and I am her. I love and despise her, for I know I should probably forget about her. But I will never, and here's why.

Perhaps to understand my love for my red dress, I need you to close your eyes and think about the year 2018, when the world had not yet known a full stop to its daily life. I need you to remember how good it used to be. Because now we know: We used to be carefree.

I asked you to close your eyes because I needed you to imagine a warm summer night when the moon shone brightly above your head, dancing with the stars. Your feet were dug in the sand, twisting and twirling to music you didn't even like. Yet, you are dancing among them, among people in a few weeks you will never see again. But you're happy, carefree. You are wearing your favourite dress, the red dress. And your hair is tied up in a loose bun, with only a carefully chosen strand of hair dancing on your shoulders and above your eyes. You did that because you knew they would be watching. You felt sexy, and you knew they would love that. There is no need to deny it; you wanted them to look.

It is 2018; you don't have the picture-perfect, Instagram worthy, Pinterest like body ( yes, this was a long image but absolutely worth mentioning ?). Still, damn, you felt sexy and desirable and absolutely good in your body.

Don't get me wrong, you still had your bad days, mainly because some people you worked with didn't make you feel part of them. But not Eva, not her. She instantly became one of your best friends, and perhaps you hold summer 2018 dear to your heart because she made you feel so at ease, and you had so much fun, and maybe this is part of why you felt so confident.


After reading all of that, you may wonder why I am writing a whole article about a dress I used to wear a few years ago. Well, simply because today I cannot wear this dress. The reasons are: after 2018, I entered my first year of Master's and went through burnout. I broke up with the guy I fell in love with that summer, took a break from University, and we all went through a worldwide pandemic. I gained weight. It can be explained through different mediums that I will not develop. But I gained weight, and today I can't wear my red dress. Yet, I cannot help but wonder, should I give her up or not?

Some of you reading this will probably think: Yes, give her up, and it's okay; it is just a dress, after all.

It's true. At the end of the day, she is just a dress, a piece of material.

If we leave aside the worldwide pandemic, wars and everything… I am glad to live in a world that is changing. A world where I can say: my body has changed, and it's okay. This is a world where I know I can say: I have never been thin, my body has retained all the traumas I have been through, and it is okay. My body does not define my worth. Am I able to say this every single day? No, but one day I will.

Nevertheless, I am happy that my mind can form the possibility: you don't need to keep the red dress to feel happy. Because It is true. Yet…

Some have probably already understood that the Red Dress is not just a red dress. She is not just a piece of material. I can not just go to the shop again and find a bigger size. She represents so much more.

She's a version of myself that I long for: a creatively fuelled me that fully lived the present. She's confident while not being what is considered "a mainstream beauty", yet she could have been with two guys at the same time…. She is the woman going on the beach at night and watching the lighthouse shine above the sea and writing. She is the one who started writing poetry. She is the one who found herself to be purely happy. She's the introverted who enjoys being an entertainer. She's the one who allowed her younger self to shine because she knew she deserved it.

So will I consider giving The Red Dress up? Probably. Will I do it? Probably not.

"Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people's hands." ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

And between you and me, I know you have a red dress, one carefully hung in your wardrobe and laying at the back of your mind whenever she feels like to. You sometimes forget about her, and sometimes, you cannot help yourself but worship her. She's part of you, and you are part of her.

Nevertheless, I will not tell you what you should do with her. There is no universal answer for that. Happiness, confidence… should have personal definitions.

Love her or let her go; only you will know what to do.

As Albert Camus wrote: "You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

There is so much greatness that comes with realising how happiness should be formed within, following the set of rules that only you can create.

With all my Love,


If you wish to read more of my pieces...


About the Creator

Bérengère Balteau

And I have spent hours wondering what to write here but, just like the sailor, I too, have found myself lost but always on my way. So I write, hoping that one day, my words will reach the red light above the cliff, and perhaps I'll know.

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  • Stacey Vella2 years ago

    love this! I have a dress that represents pretty much the same to me, doubt i'll be throwing it away.

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