cheap ball gowns Last week, I went to a rap show by myself. I figured that, to be the kind of girl who goes to rap shows alone, I had to look like one first. So I dressed up as the type of girl I would like to become. Feeling a little confident and a little more insecure - the way I always feel when I dress up - I spent the show sitting alone, happily uninterrupted. Around 11 o’clock I figured it was time to go home, so I grabbed my jacket and headed out. As I stood outside, struggling with my zipper, I heard a male voice call out behind me: “Hey! Wait up! Are you leaving? I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself!” I turned around, kicking back a shot of shock and curiosity. The buzz set in immediately. Wasn’t this something that only happened in Disney movies? Does this mean the L train was going to turn back into a pumpkin at midnight? I gave Prince Charming a quick up-down. A long striped cardigan, chunky rings, artfully untamed hair. A good-looking guy, but not a good match for me. Bippity-boppity-better-luck-next-time, I guess. See, the thing that really shattered my glass slipper wasn’t even that he “wasn’t my type” - it’s that I knew that I wasn’t his type, at all. He thought I was a cool girl, but I knew I was just, well, me. While Cinderella used a ball gown and glass slippers to trick the prince, I had used red leather boots and a pair of gaudy hoop earrings. Cindy played the part of a Princess and I had played the part of a girl who can go to Brooklyn rap shows alone. “In the end though”, I concluded as I shoved my cheap plastic tiara back into my purse, “we were both just playing pretend”. I got home right as it was about to turn midnight. I put my hair up, wiped my make-up off, and recycled that morning’s gym clothes as pajamas. A raggedy little Cinderella stared back at me in my not-so-magic mirror. Thinking she’d understand, I explained to her the difference between who I am and who I wanted to be. To my surprise, she just rolled her eyes and lit a cigarette. The mirror’s glass began to fog as she exhaled. “You’re right babe, you and I are the same. We play a lil’ dress up, do a lil’ dance, keep our mouths shut so nobody will notice we don’t belong. But the moral of our stories isn’t delivered during the ball - it comes after the ball. When we’re home, and we’re back in our pajamas - babe, your t-shirt is on inside out, get it together - and we’re still that girl. Ball gown or dustpan, I was still the girl who snuck into a castle. Red leather boots or fuzzy sucks - you’re not just a girl who wants to explore the city alone. You’re the girl who’s doing it. Seriously though babe, I say this because I care, the t-shirt’s gotta go.” cheap ball gowns She was right. Maybe the glass slipper fit and maybe it didn’t, but come tomorrow morning, I’d still be the girl who had traveled out into that crazy kingdom and let her body and soul waltz to the hip hop beat of a downtown ballroom. Over the moat, under the gate, and through the castle doors. No glass slippers or red boots had carried me there - just my own cinder dusted feet. I felt a little dirty and a little more clean. I felt proud. I smiled at her and she winked and asked if I had any whiteout she could touch up her manicure with. I don’t have a lot of friends in Brooklyn yet - just a couple beat boxing mice and an old man who promises to grant me three wishes if I give him bus money. But I’ve got a mirror that tells me the Truth and I’ve got magic dust on my hands and cinders in my soul, ready to ignite and illuminate the journey ahead.