Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On Catharsis and Cupcakes

Catharsis (noun): the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art.

I don't think anyone can say that I haven't had a really great time being divorced.  I wouldn't go so far as to say every day is fantastic, because, well, life happens, and life isn't always fantastic.  Things don't work out the way you planned.  Fights happen.  Keys break off in doors when you're running late to work.

But, overall?  Life is seriously pretty amazing.  (I know I keep saying that and keep saying that, but sometimes I'm still in awe of the difference of before and after.)  The setbacks and arguments and emotional meltdowns don't last forever.  And anymore, it seems like the negative things that happen only end up working out for the positive.  (Usually.)

Plus, I sometimes have really great ideas for getting rid of a wedding dress I don't want to see hanging in my closet anymore.

So after I discovered that I somehow miraculously fit in my wedding dress 8 years later (see my previous post), I got to thinking.  And talking to my friends.  And to one of my favorite photographers, Carrie Meyer at Insomniac Studios.

And I thought: let's destroy it.

And everyone involved whole-heartedly agreed.

There was only the question of when, where, and how.  The when was almost perfect: a week after what would have been my anniversary.

Best anniversary ever.
As far as the where, Carrie arranged for us to do the shoot at the Crack Fox.

And how?  That was the problem.  We all discussed various options of destruction: paint, scissors, the usual things we'd seen other people do.  (Alexis wanted to take a flamethrower to it, but I nixed that fairly quickly, seeing as I would still be wearing the dress.)

Then it came to me: cupcakes.

Why this didn't occur to anyone sooner is beyond me.

So we began to prepare.  And by prepare, I mean go shopping.  And shopping.  And shopping.  Between me, Sandi, and Alexis, we visited nearly every Goodwill and resale shop in the St. Louis metro area.

But it paid off.  We found as close to matching dresses as it was humanely possible to find, and my divorce-maids looked incredible (with a little help for some from my hairdresser, Tina).

My gorgeous divorce-maids, from left to right: Katie, Sandi, Alexis, and Jessica.

I may or may not have had an emotional meltdown the day before and considered calling it all off.  But, I already had cupcakes made.  Dresses had been bought.  Hair and makeup had been arranged. Divorce-maids were excited. So I tried to be excited too.  And, once I got there and we got started, it was all perfect.

The photos turned out better than I even hoped for.  Carrie kept us just-enough under control and yet still captured the complete madness that was this photoshoot.

The above photo perfectly captures my reaction to being attacked by four girls armed with baked goods.  Let's just say there was actual intend behind those cupcakes. I had cake and icing absolutely everywhere.

Please notice the cupcake destruction at my feet.
But hey, so did they.

I don't know why all weddings don't end like this.  Well, at least all divorces.

I, for one, highly recommend it.

Before I close this post, let's go back to the definition of catharsis that I posted at the beginning.  The unexpected thing about all this was that I actually think that the act of destroying the dress I got married in was cathartic.  I mainly did it for fun and because I didn't want to look at the dress anymore.  I've done a fairly thorough job of getting rid of most of the things I had while married, so this was more or less next in line.

But, in the end, it was strangely satisfying.  It was fun and joyous and messy and beautiful and a true group effort.  And I feel like it was a real step forward in letting go of the resentments and anxiety that were still associated with that poor dress.  I hadn't gotten there, in spite of everything.  I still wanted some kind of validation or vindication or some unreachable thing like that.  But I'm not getting it.

And now, more than ever before, I'm okay with that.  Since the shoot, I haven't felt the same urges to pick at my emotional scars like I have before.

But I do feel the urge to look at all these beautiful pictures again and again.

You can see the whole gallery Carrie posted here.


  1. Alexis suggested the flamethrower? Huh.

    1. And by suggested, I mean pouted when she didn't get her way.

  2. This was a delightful read. And the pictures are absolutely delectable! I too keep looking at them again and again. The one of you sending me the bird my way, just screams of you being in peace and freedom. I love you. Keep being the magnificent you I have always seen you are!