Last year, on Black Friday 2016, instead of throwing 'bows over a discounted 60 inch flat screen, I was oogling over satin bows at a bridal salon. 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 am a full figured woman. When I was younger I was reminded by the hecklers and the bullies that I looked different than most girls. Then when I got older, the bullies moved away but those voices still taunted me. They told me that I was't pretty enough or thin enough or allowed to be taken seriously because of how I looked.
Then things started changing in my mid 20's - I took risks, I had fun, I traveled, I started making money, I fell in love (with myself and my man friend). I started to forget that 'never enough' feeling and just do what made me happy. (DISCLAIMER - this is most definitely a work in progress and you read on...)
Then last year as I approached the bridal salon with my girls in tow - that evil little Smiegel voice came back to to say 'fat girls don't wear wedding dresses'. Ughhhh how could I have forgotten? 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. 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 put on the first dress 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 felt so beautiful!
I forgot that fat girls don't wear wedding dresses.
The reason I'm writing this is 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 have to make a choice to anguish over the things I am not or enjoy what I am.
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.