Photo Credit: Keep It Captured Photography
There I was, standing butt naked in a pair of never worn Louboutin's in the middle of my absolutely amazing tailor, Natalie's, living room, with my best friend back by my side for moral support. The dress hung before me for the last time before I would wear it for real, ready for me to step into it and make this shit official.
As I stepped into the dress, holding onto Natalie's hand so I didn't A, didn't completely rip it and B, bust my ass in those god forsaken (but dope) shoes, the thoughts of doubt I originally had the first time started to swirl into my brain again, but in a more detailed manner.
What if my butt didn't look 100%, absolutely perfect and huge in it like I wanted it to?
What if my back actually was too big from the ridiculous amount of pull ups I have been doing?
What if the hem she brought up past my belly button was too high and made my torso look weird?
I held my breath as she pulled the dress up onto my body, carefully placed my arms through the fine crepe material, and allowed her to zip me in.
I thought about the heavy, strenuous workouts I had put my body through the past few months.
I thought about the facials I treated myself to for the weeks leading up to the big day.
I thought about all the carbs I ate, the croissants I housed, and the multiple cups of coffee I consumed everyday, all because I want to.
And as I looked in the mirror, tears welled up in my eyes and a familiar lump formed in my throat. I looked fucking beautiful. Not the dress, but ME.
For most of our lives, as women, we have been conditioned to think that if we wear a certain outfit or follow a certain diet, then we will be beautiful. If we follow a particular diet and restrict ourselves from what we truly want, we will achieve a sense of desirability within ourselves and to others. If we hit a goal weight or stop eating part of the food chain, then we will have reached the destination of 'happy.'
The thing is though, we have the ability inside of us to break the fuck away from those standards and create ones of our own by remembering that our self worth, our collective value, our power is not determined by the size of a dress or a number on the scale. And although this may be hard to swallow at times and we may need to decondition ourselves from the years of being told the opposite, knowing we are capable of breaking away is the way to start the process.
Please remember that the dress is a minor detail in comparison to the journey you're about to enter with your partner.
Remember that the dress is just an accessory to the beautiful mess that you embody on the inside.
And that the dress does not determine the validity of your happiness, unless you let it.
So, how about instead of thinking about fitting into the dress, we flip the script, and remember that the dress fits to us.
Almost two months later, the dress resides in the back of my closet with the rest of the dresses I've worn in the past. It's dirty with sweat from the big dance party that took place at the wedding. Rogue lipstick stains from the massive amount of hugs and love I received from family and friends who attended are in random spots down the front of it. And tequila splashes from the spicy margaritas I was slugging down between dances found their home on it too.
So in the end, there still weren't any fireworks that went off or on cue back round music when the zipper founds its destination for the final time. Instead, there was love, a lot of it. There was smiling, so much that my face hurt. And there was magic, real life magic that filled the day from start to finish.
After all the back and forth emotions, anxiousness about what the outcome would be, and anticipation of wearing the dress for one, real time, I will always think of my dress as being my own definition of perfect. I will always remember that for my wedding day, I looked like an amplified version of myself. I'll think back to it as being one of the best days of my life not because of the dress that I wore, but because of the people, the passion, and the love that surrounded it. I'll know that I stayed true to me, my style, my vibe, and how I wanted to show up for the day.
And above all, I'll know that I didn't allow any standards to hold me back from showing up as anyone other than who I truly am, and I hope you allow yourself to do the same. Whether you're a future bride or have zero intention of tying the knot, I hope you remember that standards are meant to be broken and the only way they hold up is if you allow them to.
So create your own idea of what showing up truly means to you, make your own damn rules, and encourage others to do the same, and that right there would be one hell of a standard I hope we can set for the future.