When Saks asked if I wanted to walk in a fashion show I without hesitation squealed and said yes. But when I stood at the top of the escalator wearing the most amazing (my God I truly mean AHHHHHMAZING) outfit ever and getting ready to make my runway debut, I started to second guess my eager beaver attitude and wondered if I had gotten in way over my head. “I’m 5″3, I have 2 little kids at home, I’m leaving on vacation tomorrow morning and I haven’t packed a thing” started to kick in!
Let’s be real – I’m not even super fashionable anymore. I’ve traded my heels and dresses for yoga pants and flats. Most of my dates involve Chick Fil A and kid friendly restaurants that we can exit quickly when someone is having a meltdown. I’m most comfortable lately in a top knot and with a diaper bag. Most of my conversations revolve around the potty and negotiating fights between two adorably handsome but wild little boys. I started doubting myself for a second until I remembered who I was walking for.
The fashion show proceeds benefit the Bon Secours Forensic Nursing Team, who help people every day who have experienced child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, elder abuse or work place violence in our community of Richmond, Virginia. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, this cause is near and dear to my heart.
Don’t think that the people benefiting from this event are anyone you know? Think again.
The National Council Against Domestic Violence shared that :
- On a typical day, more than 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines Nationwide.
- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
- 1 in 5 women has been raped in her lifetime.
- 20 people per minute are physically abused by a partner in United States.
As I listened to my bio being read by the adorable Caroline from Posh PR as I made my way down the escalator I heard “She has dedicated her life to helping others with their mental health” and I held my head high. I was there for all of the women, men, and children who are beaten down, tired, lack self-confidence, and may feel hopeless, for all of the people who tonight are worried about a safe place to sleep or a night without violence as I thought about whether I looked “pretty enough” in my outrageously gorgeous outfit, for all of the children struggling to understand how the people who are supposed to protect and love them may be the people who are harming them physically, sexually, and/or emotionally.
I completed my graduate school internship at a local Richmond VA domestic violence agency and spent most of that experience in the emergency shelter for women and children doing counseling. One of the most memorable families from that year was a beautiful woman and her two small children who were fleeing her husband of 10 years who held the job of police officer at a local county Police office. I was in shock at my naivety at the time that someone who was supposed to protect the greater good of our community had been going home to black his wife’s eye and harm his two children for years and years. The one statement that the daughter, age 7, said to md during a therapy session that stuck with me the most was “If she (mom) had just not made him mad we would have been ok.” That lit a fire in me to fight for education and awareness. And when the mom said he threatened to kill her if she ever tried to leave my heart shattered on the floor. She was afraid. She was truly afraid he would find and kill her for wanting to be safe. Yet here I was wondering if I would be “pretty enough” and wondering why I agreed to walk.
I am so glad that I was able to be a part of the fashion show! My final outfit was AMAZING Aidan Mattox Spaghetti Shift Dress ($395.00) and Theory Power Buttoned Jacket ($495.00). The metallic sequins on that dress is sure to make you feel like a million bucks and perfect for a special occasion or a fancy date night. The Theory Blazer is a versatile piece that would be perfect for a meeting, presentation, work event but can transition to a more casual look with jeans and flats. These killer heels are Sam Edelman and very comfortable for wearing for 3.5 hours!
A few of my other favorite looks were the Alice + Olivia Cina Feather Party Skirt ($495.00)and Rebecca Minkoff Lulu Too Embroidered Leather Ankle Boots ($225.00). I loved the Akris punto 3D Punto-Front Jersey-Back Blouse Top ($495.00) – so soft and feminine paired with the AG dark wash jeans ($188.00).
Makeup was done by the expert Kevin of Trish McEvoy in 20 minutes. He was a pro and taught me all about blending the colors so that it looks effortless and natural. I fell in love with the lip gloss and mascara she creates! Plus, girl power Trish – you’ve gained a new fan!
So needless to say – honor. I am honored that I was able to walk down that runway for all of the women and children who may be planning and plotting for a way out. May you have guidance and strength, may you always remember your worth, may you find peace and strength, and may you know that you are worthy of a safe and nurturing support network.
PS If you didn’t make the fashion show – don’t despair. Until October 1, 2017 you can stop in and make a 300$ purchase and receive an amazing beauty gift and lovely tote bag. (I got mine and will review all of the products for you in an upcoming post!!)