Years ago, I said yes to a big beautiful ballgown with a sweetheart neckline and layers of floating organza. I felt like a princess on my wedding day, but you wouldn’t believe how many years of grief and drama I let that silly dress cause me.
I wish I could say I don’t know how I fit into it to begin with, but that’d be a lie—I know exactly how I did.
I banned all carbs, counted calories, and went to bed hungry. I weighed myself before eating and after, before working out and after, before going to bed and after. I ate lots of green things and nothing sweet. I turned down second helpings when I was still hungry. I cut my already small portions in half, and I drank only water.
Some people commended me for my discipline and self-control, but in reality, I was torturing myself to be thin enough.
Since I’m being totally honest, I should tell you my dress didn’t even fit that well on my wedding day.
My dad and I were waiting for the cue to start walking down the aisle when my lungs decided they needed air, like pronto. The more I tried to breathe, the more my dress refused to budge—wedding dresses do not budge. As I started to unzip the back, I heard a tiny pop . . . created by the tiny eyehook . . . that I forgot to unhook. RIP tiny eyehook. Poor thing didn’t stand a chance.
Of course, that’s also when we heard the music. It was our cue. I took one last deep breath, quickly zipped it up and said a prayer. I made it to my groom though, dignity and all.
What I did to get into the dress was admittedly ridiculous. What I did to stay in the dress was totally unhealthy.
I was not kind to myself or my body. I pushed myself to extremes, and sadly, it worked.
I used the dress as a means to measure my success. If I fit into it, victory. If I didn’t, failure.
I wish I could say I woke up one day and was happy with the body I saw in the mirror, but it didn’t work like that for me. Trying to be thin was so hardwired into my brain that I believed any change would be impossible.
But it wasn’t. I did it.
If you’re wondering how I did it, I stopped looking in the mirror and started looking up. God has this effortless way of taking our impossibles and adding the letter A between the I and M. The impossible becomes I am possible. Let that sink in for a second. Our God, THE God, is the author and creator of all things possible.
We are designed with purpose, and that purpose is to honor and glorify Him. I may have had some wonky, rogue thoughts going through my head, but I knew, deep-down-in-my-bones knew, that I desired His approval far more than my own. I can’t think of a better place to start than there.
Deliberately choosing to be mindful and kind to myself was HARD. Crazy hard.
But you know what? It was absolutely worth it.
Now, my wedding dress is just that: a dress.
It’s not a goal.
It’s not an achievement.
It’s not failure.
And it certainly isn’t the deciding metric of beauty.
It’s just a dress . . . a wonderful dress from a wonderful day. Honestly, it’s going to make an amazing Glinda the Good Witch costume for my daughters one day.
I hope it gets covered in Oreo crumbs and speckled with Dorito fingerprints. I hope it’s worn to brush teeth and play outside. I hope I find dried leaves and Play-Doh stuck to the bottom because they were having fun in it.
I guarantee they will feel beautiful not because of its size but because it’s simply a pretty dress from a wonderful day. Their mommy wore it when she married their daddy, and that’s all that will matter to them.
Maybe you’re like me and your wedding dress doesn’t fit anymore. Maybe that really bothers you, and you care . . . a lot. I was there, too, but change is possible. Choosing to look up and be healthy will never give you grief or drama. Don’t waste another minute on impossible expectations.