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  • When I was 7 or 8, I would have worn a tutu everyday, if my mother had let me. The one I had was pale pink, the stiff crinoline of its skirt rimmed in silver sequins. In it, I was transformed from an awkward girl with a perpetual collection of bruises on her knees and elbows into a graceful princess. I would walk differently in it, extending my legs in front of me, toes pointed, in a mock ballerina run that I realize now must have looked charmingly silly.

    And then came the party on Sunday afternoon that changed everything. I, zealous as always for tutu-like outfits, choose a pink cream puff of a dress with ballooning sleeves and a skirt with so many gauzy layers, it was hard to imagine that there was an actual girl embedded somewhere within them. It was gorgeous-- except all the other children were wearing jeans and t-shirts. They seemed afraid to even talk to me, so clearly apart was I in my finery. I had never felt so isolated before. I was the lonely princess, locked in the prison of my beautiful, embarrassing dress.

    From that day forward-- for years-- I scorned dresses. My tutu was abandoned, as was anything even slightly resembling it. It took the teenage encouragement of several close girlfriends for me to reintroduce skirts to my wardrobe in high school.

    And so: this past Saturday, I met a small girl in the full bloom of tutu infatuation. She was the only person wearing one at an outdoor BBQ full of people in denim and flip-flops.

    I made sure to tell her how gorgeous she looked.
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