Last year on Black Friday, instead of throwing ‘bows over a discounted 60 inch flat screen, I was oogling over satin bows at a bridal salon. But instead of feeling warm with excitement, I felt that black cloud parking itself above my head. I thought about my wedding a lot growing up – the venue, the flowers, the centerpieces, Matt Damon as the groom…but I never thought about my wedding dress.
Why? Because I’m fat or chubby or full figured or got the badonkadonk – whatever the kids call it these days. When I was younger, I was reminded by the hecklers and the bullies that I looked different than most girls. When I got older, the bullies moved away, but those voices still taunted me. They told me I was’t pretty enough or thin enough or allowed to be taken seriously because of how I looked. Simply put, I started to believe those narratives about happiness only being for the perfect.
Then things started changing in my mid 20s – I took risks, I had fun, I traveled, I started making money, I fell in love (with myself first and then my man friend). I started to forget that “never enough” feeling and began to rewrite my story. Maybe the chapters weren’t perfect, but they were happy.
Then last year as I approached the bridal salon with my girls in tow – that evil little Smiegel voice came back to say, “fat girls don’t wear wedding dresses.”
UGHHHH – “how could I have forgotten, Vicki?”
I’d never look the way my friends would look and I was not motivated by starvation to buy a size 6 and hope to hell I lost the weight. Girls like me don’t get to feel that pretty on days like this. Why am I even here?
I remember biting my lip as I tried on my first dress trying not to cry because of how scared I was to have nothing fit me. I hid my feelings pretty well and played the chill bride as best I could. I put on the first dress, panicking expecting my ribs to cry out after the corset tightened around my back and my hips to sneak past the outline of the crinoline….
Then something magical happened.
I turned around and it fit. Not only fit – it was like the sorcery that is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It was like nothing I had ever seen but mostly importantly – it was like something I had never felt.
I forgot that fat girls don’t wear wedding dresses.
I’m writing this blog because a few friends have recently gotten engaged and many have shared they want to “wait until they lose the weight to look for a wedding dress” or “don’t even want to look because they know nothing will fit.”
To all my wildly beautiful friends and women alike: you are enough. You always have been. You always will be. If you find yourself in a wonderful moment like shopping for a wedding dress to marry the love of your life – celebrate that! Appreciate your body as a source of love for someone else and find beauty in the imperfections of yourself.
A mantra I tell myself is,
“I may never be perfect, but I’ll always be happy.”
I make a choice each day to believe that and stretch my happiness muscle because sometimes it’s a lot easier to believe the bad. I encourage everyone and anyone to do the same!
So my advice to any woman recently engaged and fighting themselves on the expectations of being the perfect bride and having the perfect body is 3 things:
1.) When you try on that backless lace dress or that tight satin number – focus more on how it makes you feel instead of how you think you should look. Let yourself feel beautiful!
2.) Remember the reason of the season – there is a man or woman who wants you in their life forever. Who sees you for who you are. No one else matters.
3.) Mute the haters – surround yourself with friends or family that empower you and encourage you to feel your best.
Happy shopping all you beautiful brides!!