So, I’ve been busy.
I moved in with my fiancée last weekend (after a two-year long-distance relationship! hurrah!) and in the midst of unpacking, adjusting, and getting the kids geared up for their summer, I’m also trying to tie up loose ends on our wedding which is happening in OHGODFIVEWEEKS. I just had to check the calendar to make sure I was right. Yes. Five weeks.
I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO. OK. Now that I’ve expressed that…
My wedding dress arrived at the bridal shop from the manufacturer two weeks early. Most brides would probably be pleased and excited that for once, something arrived on time! Ahead of time, even!
But no. Oh, no.
This set me off into a panic. The shop wanted me to immediately have my fitting and alterations done. This dress was two weeks early! I was supposed to lose fifteen pounds during those two weeks to be the weight I wanted to be, AT LEAST the weight I wanted to be, when I tried this thing ON, and now they want me to try it on NOW, when I’m FATTER, and I haven’t found a SHAWL, and oh my God my ARMS are BINGO WINGS, and my LEGS have lost their TONE because I haven’t RUN in MONTHS…
… and I don’t even have SHOES.
At least I had Spanx. (Seriously, thank you, Sara Blakely)
I made an appointment. The morning of that day, I forgot my Spanx at home with no way to get them beforehand. Then it was, “Oh God, now what do I do, I’m going to be fatter, I’m going to be lucky if this thing even fits me, because we totally guessed on the size and I AM SO NOT READY FOR THIS. The saleswomen would surely gossip about my arm flab and my huge stomach behind my back, not to mention all the other brides who were bound to be catwalk supermodels.”
STOP. Just… stop.
All this time I’ve been prepping for the wedding telling myself to focus on what it’s really supposed to be about: being who I am, marrying the woman I love, entering into a life I’d only dreamed existed. And it took me about thirty seconds to completely lose that focus. Suddenly it was about how I looked and how others would see me. It was about pleasing others and about proving to them that I look better than I ever have. I needed to impress them. I needed to disguise what I saw were weaknesses in order to appear, for the first time in my life, perfect.
It’s hard to suppress those feelings. But I reminded myself that it was my job to make sure that trying on this dress was the joyous occasion it’s supposed to be. What was it supposed to represent? Beauty. Love. Hope. Expectation and heady anticipation.
To alleviate some of my fear, I bought a new pair of Spanx on the way to the fitting. As much as I didn’t want this to be about my body image, I weighed (metaphorically) whether I would be more comfortable wearing them or not wearing them. My comfort at this fitting (and on my wedding day) took precedent over any self-righteous “ACCEPT MEH THE WAY I AM!” feelings stirring deep on my quasi-feminist gut.
Then I arrived, took the dress, and went to the fitting room. Immediately I began cutting myself down in regard to my looks. There were several younger women in flowing gowns–beaded, laced gowns, thousands of dollars’ worth of them–and I had, in my hand, a simple “bridesmaid” dress, a couple hundred dollars’ worth of chiffon. I had, on my body, forty extra pounds.
It was time for another bout of reframing. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to focus on the significance of the moment. I was trying on this dress, the dress I loved when I saw it. I couldn’t wait to be beautiful for my bride, who I knew would be glowing and gorgeous all on her own. I would never dream of judging her the way I judge myself.
I put on my Spanx and the dress and self-consciously exited the dressing room. I watched in the mirror as the seamstress tugged the material tighter and reveled in the fact that I had defined waist and curved hips that looked perfect in what I had chosen. Suddenly I was more beautiful than I ever thought I could be.
I asked for an extra minute just to look at myself in the mirror and smile.
Then I saw it. I was happy. With my flabby arms and my chunky legs, I was still happy. Because wearing this dress was part of my introduction into the radiant rest of my life, like a debutante, something I had never previously felt.
And on the chance of sounding like Linus, well… that is what this moment is all about.