Yesterday I went to a second hand wedding dress shop to sell what was once the dress of my dreams. I had been thinking about doing this for a while and was now determined to make some moves. I called the store I bought the dress from to get a copy of the original invoice. The woman on the other end asked how marriage was going. I said ‘well, I’m divorced now so I guess not great’ and laughed at the question. I called the second hand dress shop following that conversation and after speaking with someone there, I decided it was the simplest way to go about being rid of the dress. The woman on the phone took the time to go over the process with me, how much it would sell for, how long that could take etc. etc. I knew I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of posting it online somewhere and it’s a gorgeous dress so I felt it would sell better in an ‘in-person’ scenario.
My now ex-husband had my dress preserved sometime after our wedding. This basically means it was cleaned extensively and every layer was wrapped in white tissue paper. It was then wrapped in more tissue paper followed by a large cloth cover and placed in a rectangular box. I was told there were white gloves in the box and if I were to open it at some point in the future I should only use these to handle it to avoid any yellowing from the oils in my fingers. I had never opened the box and it had stayed under a spare room bed until we sold our home.
I have all of my personal items (that I didn’t get rid of) in a storage unit. It’s not really a lot of fun to go and see all your belongings in a small garage-like space and have to fish things out from boxes but it’s a necessary evil for me right now. I went to my unit to pick up the dress. I got the large box, put it in the back of my car and drove to the second hand dress store. I parked and brought the dress in to the front desk, the ladies at the front were very nice and one helped me go through a contract.
Two girls began the process of unpacking the dress, they needed to make sure it was clean and see the condition it was in. I busied myself filling out the paperwork and didn’t pay much attention to what they were doing. As I finished what I needed to do with filling out information and signing, so did they. They had unpacked every layer of the dress and hung it up behind the front desk to admire. The two girls were in awe and commented continuously on how beautiful it was, the colour, the style (princess-like ball gown) and the Swarovski crystals adorning the corset top. I had been all business so far through this process, just wanting to get it done and checked off the list. Up until this point. I flinched a bit, my lip quivered, and I could feel the sadness creeping up my stomach into my throat. I swallowed it hard and handed back the paperwork. One of the girls noticed my veil was also in the box. Covered in yet another sheet of tissue the small crystals on the edging caught the light of the shop lights. She pulled out the veil and said they could sell that too. I resisted a brief urge to snatch the veil from her hand and tell her to back off. I watched her hold it up with the dress. My dress and my veil. ‘Well, that’s it, you’re all set’ the woman at the front said with a smile. I stood in front of the counter without moving. ‘Okay’ I finally said. I looked at my dress, in my head said goodbye to it and left behind another piece of my past.
I got in my car and cried. When the pain comes now it causes more of an internal shock. When it’s during a time where things are going well and it feels like you’re healing it’s difficult to deal with it coming back. It feels like a setback and I find the intensity of the memories – yet again through this whole process – surprising. For me it’s still a fragile balance at times, I still flashback to the missing and the sickening feelings that almost drove me crazy in the beginning. I’m not through the ‘checklist’ for my divorce yet, there are many things to come. I try to remember in these moments that I did get through everything up to this point, no matter how messy or difficult it was, so I’ll have to trust my track record.