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Thursday, June 15, 2017

God Doesn't Forget Anyone - Project:USED

When we were in California, I brought some used dresses that I’d found weeks earlier at the thrift store. I wanted to have a project:USED fashion shot at the beach. 

These dresses range in price from $1.00 to $5.00.  New, some of these would be over $100.

Why a used dress?

Used is an interesting word.  It can mean worn-out, discarded and thrown away. It can mean old, no longer of value or trash. That’s how I felt at the age of 18 after I was sexually abused by my boss.  I lost much of my self-worth and didn’t see value in myself anymore.  Many of the choices I made in my life were influenced by my low self esteem.  I didn’t realize what had happened to me other then I was broken and there was no way out.

But, God doesn’t forget anyone.  He certainly didn’t forget me.

Little by little, drip by drip love came into my life. It took years, but slowly, the blinders came off my eyes and I started to see how sexual abuse had stripped me of so much of my identity.

So what does a vintage dress have to do with sexual abuse?

When I was 14, my mom took me to the Child Crisis Thrift Store in Mesa.  This was my first time at a thrift store and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  Mainly, I would purchase dolls, Barbie’s and toys for my little brothers and sisters.  While in college, I started thrifting for clothes, mainly anything vintage.  I would wear bell-bottoms, turtle necks and A-line skirts. The first time Derek saw me at the ASU ward church service, I was wearing a 1960’s used pencil dress I’d found at Salvation Army.  I felt like a million bucks in that dress and that was the day he asked for my phone number.  With a borrowed pen, I wrote my phone number on the palm of his hand. He says it was love at first sight. I say it was the dress.

When I started selling clothing I found at thrift stores on eBay, I found used dresses sold the best.  I might find an Ann Taylor or Eileen Fisher dress for $1.00 and later it would sell for $50.  
Here are a few dresses I sold.

Aren't they all gorgeous, unique and wanted.

On dollar day at Goodwill, I would first search through the dress section because a used dress sold even better than a used pair of designer jeans.  

I discovered designer dresses I’d never heard of before and because of the beautiful fabric, the feel of quality, the impeccable design, I would know immediately it was valuable.

Then, my friend Jenn showed me how much a vintage dress costs on ETSY - hundreds of dollars and I could see why.  A vintage dress isn’t just a dress; it’s a piece of time, made before companies cut corners, made when fashion was born.  These dresses are etched in movie history and worn by celebrity goddesses.  A vintage dress was a statement!

Used, beautiful, priceless – not just a dress, but that was me too!!

At times, my healing from sexual abuse felt like I was riding a roller coaster.  I would speed into such awareness of how much I’m loved, that I am a daughter of God and because of that, I’m priceless.  This is what happened the day I thought of project:USED. (You can read about that here). 

If you want to support project:USED, get to your thrift store, raid your mom’s closet or look on-line and find yourself a gorgeous used dress.  USED doesn’t need to be less-then, old and garbage, it can mean beautiful, restored and priceless. #projectused 

Eden and I have been wearing used dresses for a while now.  It started with Dressember. Dressember asks women during the month of December to wear a dress everyday (it doesn't have to be a vintage or used dress, that's just my take on it) to raise awareness, to celebrate the female spirit and to raise awareness and funds for those who are being sold into sex-trafficking.

All these dresses are used.  Dresses have really helped me reclaim myself, my femininity and to love my body again.

I remember on time I was in New York at a Writer's Conference and I wanted to bring Eden back something beautiful.  I stopped at a boutique and found a used dress priced $90.  "Forget it," I thought and found a Goodwill. I bought her a used dress for $5.00, even cuter then the dress I'd found at the boutique.  Sometimes, I even find French little girl dresses.  A beautiful dress does not need to be expensive.

$2.99 dresses from Goodwill.

I celebrate these dresses because of what they represent to me.

If you’ve been hurt or abused, if you’ve wondered if you’re valuable, please know you are. You are a one of a kind, made by the greatest designer of all, created to shine, to be beautiful and because of you, the world is a better place.  Let’s raise awareness.  Sexual abuse is a plague and we protect those around us, especially the younger generation.  Did you know 1 out of 3 girls will be sexually abused in her lifetime?  

Click here to watch it full-screen on youtube.  Please share this video.
My memoir Starving Girl shares my story of overcoming sexual abuse, food addiction and emotional eating.
Click here to watch it on full-screen.
Follow project:USED on facebook by clicking here.

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