Sunday, January 23, 2011

Wedding Dresses and Tidying Up My Emotional Closet

I have a lot of things that I should be doing right now. Homework, Laundry, Vacuuming, etc.  but I haven’t been feeling really great, so I’ve been hanging out on my sofa watching “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC.  In case you’ve never seen the show, it’s about a bunch of brides looking for wedding dresses at a store in New York.  The ones that they are showing today are “Say Yes To the Dress, Big Bliss” (seriously, I’m gagging on the title).  Regardless, these episodes are about Plus Sized brides who go shopping at Kleinfields so they can have the whole “Bride” experience.  This specifically hits so close to home with me, and has put me into a sort of reflective rut, thinking about my own wedding experience and how embarrassing and miserable it was for me.  My husband and I were engaged in November of 2002- and set a wedding date for April 2004.   At the time, I was still working in radio, and the fall 2003 wedding that I had actually wanted, wasn’t possible because it was “Sweeps”  (the time when all the television stations place their heaviest advertising buys with a station, because it’s ratings season for them) and I was asked to not get married and go on a honeymoon at the busiest time of the year.  And, of course, being the people pleaser that I am, I pushed my wedding back to Spring (because honestly who wants to get married in the winter time, in Chicago).   Not that it mattered anyway, as I lost my job at the radio station a year later anyway.  And, with six months to go before my wedding (on my birthday actually) we found out that our reception site would not be honoring our wedding contract, so we had to scramble to find a new location.  But this post isn’t about any of that- everyone has these kinds of stories to go along with their wedding plans. 

When I went to try on dresses, there were stores that offered plus sized dresses, but the extent of a plus sized bride shopping for a dress (unless, you wanted to buy your dress at David’s Bridal – which, no knock against anyone that did- but the fashionista in me wanted something a bit more fabulous) Now a days- I hear that even Panina Tourne and Amsale offer plus sized dresses.  Back then- it was slim pickings.  As I said.

Even more disturbing than that- when you went to purchase a wedding dress, none of the dresses came in a size that would even make it up one’s thigh (most sample size dresses are a 6- which in normal everyday wear is equivalent to a four)

So, I was instructed to “hold the dress up in front of me” so that I could get an idea of what it would look like.  The whole put your dress on, and parade out on the pedestal while everyone oohs and aaahs, doesn’t happen with a plus sized bride.  You’re ushered back to a cramped room, given the anemic selections offered to you, and shamefacedly hold up a dress in front of your body, whose overall width could be compared to that of the white of a penguin against the rest of its black body- only instead of black feathers, you have your own pudge staring at you in the mirror.  Who feels confident or beautiful or happy even when that is your experience?

Not to mention the fact that, when I went dress shopping, I did it completely alone, because no one had “time” for me.  My instructions were to find a dress, and once it was found, then it would be paid for, but no one wanted to schlep from one store to another in search of a dress.  So it was a very lonely and unpleasant experience for me.   I realize that I probably could have put my foot down and asserted how important it was to me for people to at least feign enthusiasm at coming shopping with me, but I didn’t want to make anyone come- I wanted people to want to be with me.  And no one did.  My engagement had fallen in weird timing anyhow- I had recently had a blow up with one of my closer friends, which had resulted in our “group” taking sides against one another, and I just walked away from all of them because I couldn’t believe how childish everyone was being.  My best friend was in the midst of her own issues, and we actually were in the middle of a “break” so everyone who I would have preferred to come with me and be happy with me, weren’t in my life at the time. 

It makes me sad, still, thinking about it - what is it now, seven years later.  That at a time where typically people want to dote and plan and gush about color schemes, flowers, pontificate on the benefits of Dupioni vs. Duchesse (those are types of fabric – for the head scratchers), that instead I was overlooked in favor of people’s busy schedules and unwillingness to be “inconvenienced”.   I’ve told my husband before how sad it makes me, thinking back on it, about it all- and for our 10 year anniversary, we’re going to have a vow renewal- maybe on an Island, or perhaps in Vegas, and I can go wedding dress shopping again- for a real dress – not a plus size one, and I can stand on the pedestal while people smile and gush. 

When I first started this journey, in 2007- I had a Spark People webpage (and a blog)-… and on that blog I had a list, entitled Fearless Living.  It was a list of the things I wanted to do but was either too afraid to do, couldn’t physically do, or wanted to do “once I was thin”.  I don’t have the Spark People page any longer, but I do remember a good amount of what was on it- and I think I’m going to post it… kind of like a “to do” list that will be there as a constant reminder to me of where I want to be headed.   

Maybe you can join me in making your own “Fearless Living” list  (or whatever you want to call your list)… or if you don’t want to physically make one, then perhaps just think about the things you have always wanted to do but something is holding you back from doing it.  Run a 5k?  Take a Zumba class?  Learn how to speak another language, or join a singles club… whatever it is; lets make 2011 the year that we all check things off our list!

‘Til next time!

~Millie :)