Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dressember Days 30 + 31: The Recap, The Outtakes, The Lessons

While Dressember has officially ended, donations may be given through January 31. If you feel called to give, please visit my challenge page,

When I first decided to participate in Dressember, 31 days seemed like a long time. Now that it's over, in some ways it feels even longer, but at the same time, I can't believe it's already done.

I set out on this journey thanks to a tweet and a well-scripted video. I was intrigued first, then captivated, then sold, and underneath it all, heartbroken. This wasn't the first time I'd heard about human trafficking. It wasn't the first time I'd given money to IJM. But it was the first time I did something like this.

I don't normally ask people for money. The last time I did, I was in college and we were trying to collect tuition money for a friend. I know times are tough for many people, many of us get by month-to-month. I don't like fundraising for mission trips because all I can think about are my missionary friends who need the money far more than I do for a simple week-long venture. I always feel sort of selfish.

But this was something different, and I was determined to do it. I liked the challenge aspect, wearing only dresses for the month of December. It was something I could do to raise awareness about the cause. And I liked that the money was going to an organization I have and will continue to support. I didn't really know how far it would go or how much we could raise, but I set a goal that I thought was pretty high, and set off on this adventure.

Outtakes from some of my Dressember "photo-shoots."

I always knew that this wasn't a one-woman operation. I just hoped other people would buy into the mission of Dressember like I had. That would be what would make or break this whole challenge. Would others see the value in it like I had? Or would I just be shouting into the void with nothing in response? I hadn't invested much personally, but I was still worried that this could crash and burn and all that would be listed on the challenge page would be my donation.

Hope is a funny thing, though. It flies in the face of doubt and uncertainty. It burns in the darkness like flame, calling you to focus on it alone. And that's what I did. Day after day, week after week, throughout the month of December, I internally held my breath and hoped for success. There were great days when people gave and I knew we could do this. There were even more days when no donations came in, but I couldn't give up. Maybe we wouldn't reach $1,000, but that was okay. Anything would help.

But now, here we are, at the end and we more than made it. We passed the goal. Together 17 different donations became one big piece of an even bigger number. We joined hands and voices, saying with gifts of money that injustice shouldn't be tolerated in our world. We want something better.

Isn't it funny how much you learn about yourself when you do something for someone else? This whole experience taught me so many things I don't think I would've learned otherwise. Things that only came about as a result of this month, this initiative, and these results. Here are some of the things I learned:

I learned that I can. It sort of feels like Obama's election tagline, "Yes we can." But it's more than just a catchphrase or a collection of words and hopes. Learning that you can do something is empowering, especially in the seasons of life when you're not so sure. Sometimes I question what I'm doing and where I'm going. Life can feel directionless and confusing. Dressember has shown me that I can be successful at new and different things, and I shouldn't skip something just because I might fail.

I learned about making a difference. It's kind of popular to tout that "we can make a difference" but it's true. The thing with changing lives or the world is a lot of times you don't see it. It's like the pebble that makes the ripples, it sinks to the bottom and doesn't see what it's done, meanwhile the surface is changed. We're the pebble. We can't always see or measure the difference we make. Whether it takes decades to manifest itself, or it happens across the world, or it happens after we are gone, we usually miss it.

With Dressember, a lot of us will never know the lives our donations will change. We won't learn the names of the families, see the faces of the children, but we will change lives. We will make a difference. This truth should spur us on in the times when we don't feel like we're accomplishing much of anything. Change and differences happen even when we're not looking.

I learned to take a chance. I usually like to play it safe. I don't risk a lot because I don't want to fall on my face when I fail. It's a pride thing. But if I never take a risk, how will I grow and change and do new things? Dressember wasn't really a risk, but it set an example. It was something totally new and different, outside my comfort zone and beyond my personal experience. Would it have been any less valuable if I had failed or hadn't reached my goal? No way!

So it is with chances in life. Even if we fail at the things we try, we still get something out of it. A lesson, a new direction, personal growth, a friend. We can't let the fear of failure, the uncertainty of the unknown, keep us paralyzed in a state of inaction. How else will we change the world?

Dressember Day 30

For the second-to-last day of Dressember, I decided to style this Loft dress from day 16. I wanted to bring out a few dresses at the end that I had only worn once this month for one last re-style. This time, I paired the patterned dress with the oversize cream cardigan from day 13, plus an off-white scarf. Ponte pants, a belt and boots finished out the look.

Dressember Day 31

Since we met my Dressember goal, I wanted to create a fun party look that would still be work appropriate. I decided to style my floral lace dress from day 6 with a flowy, open-front cardigan from Loft. I belted the dress and added sweater tights and boots for warmth.

Here is my last Polyvore board detailing these looks with the same or similar pieces. Find a collection of all my Dressember style boards here. I wore a total of 14 different dresses throughout the month, restyling all but two at least once.

Dressember Styles: Days 30 + 31

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...