I’m writing this, thinking about that time I got married and how I was told I was so ‘strong’ for making the decision to walk down the aisle on my own. I don’t have a father (well, I do, but he’s a bell end), so I very poignantly decided that I would go it alone.
Our family and my close friends knew I was going to go alone, and knew why I wanted to do it – I’m a god damn strong, independent woman who isn’t going to be given away by anyone. Conversations would sometimes come back to my decision. Are you sure you want to do it? I’m sure you could ask someone to walk you down the aisle. Aren’t you going to be nervous going alone? Are you sure you won’t regret it?
Look it, I’ve basically done everything by myself, for myself every damn day of my decision making life. I wasn’t going to let this even be a thing.
What makes someone strong? What makes a relatively easy decision, such as ‘giving yourself away,’ a brave decision?
Throughout the wedding planning, very seldom did I draw on support from anyone. This was mostly out of control-freak-ness, but also because I didn’t want anyone to feel any burden by having to help me plan my day. I can do this. I will do this.
One of the processes I did choose to include people in was buying my wedding dress. My family live in Canada, and my mum was only visiting the UK for a few days, so I had a very small window to actually find a dress. Not being the standard size 6, I knew it would be a challenge, but didn’t anticipate it to be as miserable as it actually was. After trying on a few dresses in shops where I was herded to the back to try on the big girl dresses, I was ready to throw in the towel.
When I was researching dress designers and styles, I often read forums about how it was brave to be a plus size bride. Brave? What the actual fuck? I got fat because I eat when I’m bored, emotional, awake, etc … you get the point. Brave. No.
Eventually, the whole needing to find a gown while my mum was here had put loads of pressure on me. I had horrible experiences in my first two shops.
“I went to [a shop not in Croydon] and was greeted by the owner who advised me of how the shop was laid out and what the process was. I was given the tags and picked the 6 dresses I want, then was assigned to a shop assistant. I went to the fitting room, awaiting my dresses, and was never brought in a single one of them. The shop assistant kept putting me into dresses that were all a-line or ball gown because that’s what’s best for my body… apparently. I know what’s best for my body, and I know what looks good on it and what I want to wear on my wedding day. After about the 4th dress, I started demanding (politely, I am Canadian!!) to see my selections, and she reluctantly brought in 2 dresses, but then wouldn’t let me try them on because they wouldn’t “go near my body.” Feeling sorry for myself, and standing in a sack of a dress in front of my family, she then asked me if I was going to lose weight for my wedding. I told her no and that I wanted out of the dress and that the appointment was over.”
This was an excerpt of the email I sent to a company who was doing a promo video for Ebay’s new section called Curve. Within a few days, I was back and forth via email (and then a skype call) to discuss my experience and how we would work together. A few weeks later, and I was off to Bristol to film my section of the video.
After this came out, I didn’t really share it with anyone. I showed my (now) husband and hid it away from everyone else. I didn’t want to be the fat bride, or the “you’re so brave, look at what you’ve done” bride. I just wanted to be a regular, normal bride.
When finally my in laws and family saw it, they were all very proud and happy for me, but I felt almost awkward about it. A bit ashamed that I was a part of a project for fat brides. Why couldn’t I just be a bride? What made this so special? Why did I feel bad about this?
This is all about decision making and deciding to do things in my own way and on my terms. I guess, my message is (especially since yesterday was International Women’s Day) we should focus on all the amazing things we are capable of, the decisions we have made, the lives we lead, and the amazing women who are standing beside us every day, making decisions and paving the way to help us succeed in our own ways. Being supportive of one another and not knocking each other down.
This is more rambling than anything else, but I think for anyone who is worried about themselves or their decisions, or issues they’re faced with – the answer is, there is no right answer. The way you choose will be the right way for the very minute you’re in, and if it’s not the exact right path, you’ll correct yourself.
By the way, my amazing husband and I surprised everyone when I walked down the aisle by having him meet me half way. We want this to symbolise us as individuals coming together and finishing our journey as a couple.