"I just don't even know what to do!" I groan.

"About the talk? You picked your outfits, right?" Diversity asks, "So all you need to do now is figure out how you're going to make a case for them? There's gotta be one that Mom will be okay with."

"I don't even know anymore!" I sigh, "I mean, I picked outfits. I just couldn't find any that fit all of Mom's standards."

"Did they fit most of the standards though?"

"Well yeah. All of the dresses are affordable because Annie is letting me borrow them for free. They're all pretty comfy and easy to walk in. I just don't think that Mom would think that any of them are practical. Is it even possible for a pretty dress to be completely practical?"

"Okay, so they fit most of the standards. Let's see them! Maybe we can still make a case for some of them."

"Okay, but what if Mom still says no to all the dresses?"

"Then you can go with your original plan of changing into the dress after Mom leaves," she says, "but this is worth a shot, right?"

"Yeah, I guess it is." I admit, "I didn't really feel comfortable with lying."

"Yes, I know," she laughs, "because you only told me like four times today."

"This is stressful, okay?"

"Start trying on dresses so we can find the perfect dress and you don't have to be stressed!"

-/-

I take all of the dresses Annie had given me yesterday out of my closet. I spread them all out on my bed to assess my options. Which one should I try on first? Maybe I should just try on my favourite one first since it's not like Mom is ever going to approve any of these.

My favourite dress is a pale blue dress with beaded embroidery on the top half. The skirt is flowy and knee-length. It's made out of the same type of material that grad dresses are made of, which makes me like it even more. It also means that it definitely isn't practical, so Mom definitely won't like it.

I walk across the hall to knock on Diversity's door. She opens the door wearing a different outfit than before.

"What do you think?" she asks, "I decided to try on some outfits for the grad breakfast since we're having a fashion show right now."

"That dress is so cute!" I say, "Wait, how did you get it? It fails all of Mom's guidelines."

"I bought it with my own money without telling her. I'm pretty sure she still hates everything I wear, but what can she really do? I have a job, so it's not like she's paying for it."

"I can't wait to get a job next year!"

"Yeah, it'll definitely give you more freedom. More freedom to not tell Mom everything, that is."

"True! Do you think Mom will approve of this dress?" I ask, twirling around.

"Wow, you look so pretty!" she says.

"Thanks! It's my favourite!"

"Then I think it's worth making a case for. Let's go through the criteria again."

"Okay, so it's affordable because it's free."

"Yeah, that's good. We can tell Mom that she is not paying for something she doesn't support."

"It's also very comfortable and easy to move in because the skirt is so flowy. The neckline is high enough that I don't have to worry about it falling down. It's also not strapless, which really helps."

"That's really good. I think we might actually have a case for this dress."

"Really? I don't know if it's practical though."

"It's low maintenance though, right? You can easily move in it and you don't really have to adjust it while you're dancing, so that's good."

"True! I really hope Mom just approves this dress."

"Me too, but let's try on some of the other dresses so we have backup options."

"Yeah, good idea! I think I might have another dress that is a bit more practical."

-/-

Well, this is it. This is the moment of truth. It's time for the Big Talkā„¢.

I decided to do a fashion show to demonstrate that I can, in fact, move comfortably in all of the dresses that I picked. Diversity also has a notebook that has all of the details we discussed about each dress. We thought about making a PowerPoint, but Mom might accuse of us spending too much time on this.

The first dress is my favourite blue dress. I walk around the kitchen table in it.

"Hmm, it does seem to be easy enough to move around in," Mom admits, "but I don't like the fabric. It seems very delicate. What if you wanted to enjoy a snack at the ceremony but you were too worried about ruining the dress?"

"I do see your point, but I could always eat over a napkin or a plate. It would also be more considerate to the custodians because I wouldn't be dropping crumbs or icing on the floor."

"That is true. I would, of course, prefer that you wore a dress that was made out of a more washable fabric, but I will take your points into consideration. I don't like how flowy the skirt is. You would have to avoid dancing in certain ways to avoid accidentally showing your underwear."

"I did think of that," I say, "which is why I was thinking of wearing tights with this dress. Just some lightweight solid white tights. They're pretty comfy and I could dance however I want."

"I see. It seems like you've given this a lot of thought, which is the problem. This dress requires a lot of extra consideration just so you can do the things that you would otherwise enjoy."

"I can see where you're coming from, but this dress is pretty low maintenance in some ways. It's not strapless and it has a high neckline, so I don't need to adjust it or worry about it falling down. The skirt is also long enough that I don't have to worry about it too much while I'm dancing."

"Okay, I will consider everything you've said. Now let's see the next dress."

-/-

Well, she hasn't liked any of the dresses so far. I guess it's a good thing I have a dress that's actually a little bit practical. It's not my favourite dress because it's not really as fancy as the dresses that most people wear to grad, but it's better than lying.

I put on the dress and look at myself in the mirror. It's not actually a bad dress. It's not my dream dress, but it's still really pretty. It's dark pink and comes to about my knees. It's not too different from the other dresses, except for the fact that this dress is made of a sturdier, less flowy fabric.

I tentatively walk downstairs to show everyone the final dress. Well, this isn't exactly the final dress. I still have other dresses that I could try on. This is just the dress that Mom is most likely to approve of.

I do my usual walk around the kitchen table.

"What do you think?" I ask.

"Well, I do like that it seems relatively easy to move in. It also seems fairly low maintenance as you pointed out about some of the other dresses. I actually don't hate the fabric either." she admits, "It seems much sturdier than the other dresses. I'd imagine it would be somewhat washable too."

"It is!" I agree, "Annie has worn it a lot. She's worn it to church and to family barbecues so many times."

"Okay, well I don't see any stains on it. Did you notice any when you were putting it on?"

"No, it looked new."

"Okay, then I think we might have a winner. You can keep trying on other dresses, but I would be okay with you wearing that dress to your graduation ceremony."