Dear friends, family and followers of The Year My Husband Dressed Me,
I’m sure many of you have wondered at the non-existence of our posts the past two and a half months- and maybe some of you didn’t even notice. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to sit down and explain why we disappeared, and more importantly, why. But I’m back, and finally ready to share what happened to our year-long adventure. The Year My Husband Dressed Me officially ended on June 20th, our anniversary. But that’s getting ahead of myself. Let me give you some background.
When Josh and I first contrived the idea last December to combine my love of writing with his need for an artistic outlet by creating this blog, we knew we were in for a wild ride, and venturing into totally uncharted territory. We also knew in sharing about our adventure, we were inviting our readers into our lives in a fun but somewhat exposing way. Exposing, because I knew I wanted to truthfully write about the joys, annoyances, hilarity and even mundane qualities about our day to day as Josh being my full-time stylist.
If you read some of our posts, you already know that the styling, photography, and blog writing was time consuming, and not always enjoyable. Whether it was huffing and moaning about having to wear a bizarre outfit, tripping down the stairs in five inch heels my non-heel wearing husband dressed me in, or having writers block the day I was supposed to post, our fashion adventure was often a (somewhat amusing) hot mess– to say the least.
You may also have read in my posts about our move, the miscarriage and subsequent grief, our job changes, and the craziness of my modeling schedule. I was blessed to have the opportunity to be authentic about the difficult parts of our life, and we were rewarded by feeling surrounded by a community of friends, family and readers who consistently responded with support, interest, and kind words.
But one important detail we didn’t know how to write about-nor wanted to write about- was how much we were struggling in our marriage. When we decided to go through with this year, we didn’t know, and couldn’t have foreseen, just how tumultuous the year would be for our marriage. It reached the point where I simply didn’t know how or what to write anymore. Authenticity was important to me; but how could I post pictures of me smiling and rocking an awesome outfit if moments before my husband and I had been walking in silence, weighed down by emotional disconnectedness and anger? Writing about some bad parts of your week can be refreshing and real. But what if every day is hard? What if the only time I smile at my husband is when he’s behind the camera? What if I start resenting my husband stylist because he has to spend the only hour we have together in the evening picking out my outfit? These questions weighed on me, and I spent weeks wrestling my desire to keep our year-long commitment and yet knowing without a doubt, things would have to change to heal our marriage.
It wasn’t all bad. In the midst of this, I must add that there were handfuls of days that Josh KILLED it on an outfit and/or multiple people would tell me how much they loved our blog, making me question my looming desire to pull the plug. Night after night, Josh would lay out my outfit for the next morning, and I kept my thoughts about our blog to myself. We pushed through, determined to enjoy the adventure that increasingly felt like our very own self-induced Circle of Hell. Until June 20th, that is. Our second wedding anniversary.
Have you ever experienced trying to celebrate something important while depressed, hurting, or angry? It’s not a cake walk. Josh and I desperately wanted to make the day special, which was going to be challenging seeing as we struggled to even make eye-contact. But one thing I had set my heart on was dressing myself for the day. For him. Josh was excited at the idea when I told him, but that excitement paled in comparison to how he looked at me when I stood in front of him, dressed in a pretty white outfit I had bought just for the occasion. He looked at me like he was falling in love with me all over again, and kept telling me how beautiful I looked. My heart SOARED.
Still, the day was bumpy (an understatement) and by the time the day of trying to enjoy various “fun” activities was over, we were emotionally exhausted and quiet. During our car ride home, I felt surer than ever that when we got back, the last thing I wanted was for Josh to have to pick my outfit out for the next day. All I wanted was to sit on our couch and talk without a care about photos, blog writing, scheduled posts, and accessories. In the silence of our car ride, I felt certain that it would be unwise for us to continue the blog. And as soon as I said so to Josh, he looked at me, and told me how much he missed being surprised and delighted by what I chose to wear every day. “It’s like living with my very own butterfly.”
So, six months into The Year My Husband Dressed Me, we quit. I must add that contrary to quite a few predictions, the blog didn’t cause our struggles. We heard some pretty hilarious (and ironic) comments about Josh being in charge of my wardrobe ending in divorce. Truthfully, there were many elements of Josh picking out my outfits every day that we both found ways to appreciate and enjoy:
It gave us an outlet for our creative passions.
Josh found some awesome clothing and accessories at thrift stores. I’m so lucky to have a husband who doesn’t mind-even likes-shopping with me and for me! I still stand by what I’ve said about some of my favorite accessories and statement pieces being ones that he found and bought for me.
As for me, I loved having a reason to sit down every week and do something I’ve always been passionate about: writing and story-telling. Unless I’m writing letters or journaling, it’s difficult to create a reason to write. Having a reason to write was not only invigorating, but it helped form a community of supporters when we hit tough times. I would not have felt the connectedness and support you gave to us, had I not first shared through my writing. To me, writing is synonymous with connectedness.
It made us proud of each other.
I don’t know how many people I annoyed by gushing about my sweet, talented husband/stylist. He impressed me so often, it was hard to keep my mouth shut. Not only did he learn how to style, accessorize and make each outfit different every day, he also started off having no idea how to take a good picture… and by the end of six months was taking pictures that are still featured on my Philly AND New York agency websites. And it wasn’t just his skill that made me proud. It was his attitude. Josh never complained, he consistently sacrificed personal downtime and sleep to pick out the next day’s outfit, and he never halfheartedly dressed me. He knew I had to wear his efforts the next day, and it mattered to him that I feel comfortable, confident, and dressed weather-appropriately.
I had way more reasons to be proud of Josh than he had to be proud of me, but there was something special about seeing him light up when I presented myself to him in the outfit he picked. Guys, my husband is so sweet. It was rare that his words to me weren’t complimentary. Beauty is a strange thing to be proud of, but if there’s anyone I want to see me as beautiful despite my flaws, it’s my husband.
It proved to us that we are, in fact, a good team.
Through good times and hard, through joy and suffering, through good outfits and embarrassing outfits… We were committed to working as a unit, asking for forgiveness when necessary (which was often), keeping each other accountable to our tasks, cheering each other on, and learning to take correction well. Also, it helped us realize how different our skills, talents and flaws are. It’s so amazing to be paired in life with someone who compliments you, imperfectly.
Lastly, it showed us that being authentic goes beyond sharing truthfully…
Being authentic also means being real with ourselves.
It was so freeing to admit to ourselves that we had reached our limit, and needed to step away from blogging. I have not regretted our decision since the day we made it, and I’m glad we prioritized the urgent needs of our relationship over this blog.
So, folks, this is our last post. I’m happy, elated, thrilled and over the moon to tell you that in the past two months, Josh and I have made a total 180 in our marriage. Josh still occasionally forgets he doesn’t have to dress me in the morning, and sometimes I look through our blog posts to find an old outfit because I’m still lazy about dressing myself. We spend lots of evenings watching The Office, Josh has picked up painting Lord of the Rings clay miniatures, and I donated three hefty bags of clothes to Goodwill. Our apartment is again clean and spacious (except for the tufts of fur our cat Calcifer has been leaving all over the place), I’ve enjoyed being more creative with my outfit choices when the mood strikes me, and Josh still beams at me when he likes and outfit I chose for myself. I think, just maybe, he has acquired a permanent appreciation for the all the years his wife will dress herself.
Thank you, thank you, for joining us in our adventure. It was wild, full of important lessons, and will never be repeated. Ever. Do not try this at home, kids.
Scroll down for some highlights and bloopers…