The Bridesmaid Fiasco.
Being asked to stand in as a bridesmaid in someone's wedding is a pretty big honor. It's a right of passage for many friendships, signifying the end of 'single hood' and the beginning of a new chapter of life. There's something very special about being a bridesmaid too. You're behind the scenes at the wedding, helping with the preparations and supporting your friend, the bride, through one of the most important days of her life. In many cases it labels you as family, even when you're not related.
Many years ago, I had two very dear friends who asked me to be part of their wedding parties. I had known these gals since my freshman year of high school and we had gone through the trials and tribulations of adolescence together. I was incredibly flattered that they asked me to be part of their celebration but at the same time, I was also very embarrassed.
I knew that if I agreed to be part of their weddings that I would have to provide my size and my measurements to them and I didn't want to do that. I didn't like who I was and I was ashamed that I had gotten so big. Both Lisa and Sharon lived out of state and hadn't seen me since my own wedding several years prior. I didn't want them to know how heavy I had gotten.
Lisa was getting married first and I was absolutely thrilled for her. She was marrying the love of her life and I can remember hearing the elation in her voice when she told me that she was engaged. We were practically sisters in high school, most of our time spent learning how to put on make up , playing with mousse, and taking selfies before selfies were a thing. We would spend as much time together as possible until she moved away. When she asked me to be a bridesmaid, I wanted to say yes, but I couldn't.
I was so self consumed about my weight and so flustered by what she and others would think about me that I declined. It was an absolutely selfish thing to do. She was devastated and I couldn't blame her. The fact that she still speaks to me after all of these years is a testament to her character. I'm not sure I would have been so forgiving.
I didn't like the way I felt. I didn't like the way I made my friend feel so those feelings of embarrassment and shame prompted me to go to my physician. He put me on phentermine and I lost about 70 lbs. While on my diet, I called Lisa to ask if it was too late to be in the wedding and it was.
I went to Lisa and Dan's wedding several months later and it was an amazing day. Lisa was beautiful and you could feel the love throughout the celebration. I was absolutely thrilled for them but there was a part of me that felt sad because I had given up the opportunity to be a part of their inner circle. My selfishness and my lack of self esteem prevented me from being with one of my best friends on the most important day of her life. I let my issues get the best of me and in the process I hurt one of my closest and dearest friends.
After Lisa's wedding, I started putting the weight back on. About a year later I got a call from Sharon. Sharon and I also met our freshman year of high school. Sharon lost her mom to breast cancer a few months before I met her and she and I formed a very special bond. We would spend a lot of time talking about life and being silly. I often hoped that I was part of her healing process. Sharon moved away after graduation, went to college, met a guy and decided to settle down. When she called to tell me that she was engaged, I was thrilled for her but those feelings of insecurity started creeping up again. I had hurt Lisa because of my issues, I wasn't going to do the same to Sharon. I had learned my lesson.
"Will you be in my wedding? It's going to be next September" Sharon asked.
"Sure, of course! What colors are you thinking of?" I said trying to figure out how much time I had to lose the weight.
"Red!" she said with incredible enthusiasm. I immediately started to think that I was was going to look like an apple or a pomegranate. Perhaps even a full ripe tomato.
"Sounds beautiful! I can't wait!" I exclaimed, hoping that I sounded much more excited than I actually felt.
Weeks went by and Sharon was going through the planning process. One afternoon she called me. This was the conversation I was dreading.
"Hi! I'm ready to take your size for the dress. It's so cute! You're going to love it! It's long with super short sleeves. You're going to look fantastic!" She was so excited. "I'll send you a picture!"
"Awesome! I can't wait to see it!" I said trying to muster enthusiasm.
"Ok, what size are you?"
"I'm a 12!" I don't know why I said it. I have no idea why I blurted out that number, but I did and once it was out there I didn't correct myself. I wasn't a 12, I was a 16 - but I could lose the weight before September, right?
September came and I flew up to Connecticut a few days early to spend some time with my buddy. Sharon picked me up and we went straight to the bridal salon to try on my dress. To say that I hadn't slept in days was an understatement. I was so anxious about this moment that I was beside myself. I hadn't lost a pound. As a matter of fact, I gained weight since I first gave Sharon my size. I can still remember that dreadful feeling.
We got to the salon and I attempted to try on the dress. If you can close your eyes for a moment and imagine trying to stuff a sausage into a straw, you'll clearly see what that moment was like for me. Mortification does not even cover it.
The seamstress came in and looked at me perplexed. I think she was trying to figure out how someone could gain 4 sizes worth of weight in 8 months. I smiled and sweating nervously said "is there anything you can do?"
She was very creative. She wound up taking material from EVERY SINGLE one of the other bridesmaids dresses and sewed them together to create a panel for my dress. Once the panel was in, I could slip into the dress and all was well in the world again. That lie cost me over $250 in alterations and a big chunk of my pride.
I never lied about my size again.
Wherever you are in your life, whatever size you are, ACCEPT YOURSELF. The people in your life see you much differently than you see yourself, but try to look at yourself in the mirror and see who you really are through the eyes of someone who loves you. Remember that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL even if you don't feel it. Remind yourself that YOU ARE AMAZING in moments when you don't think you are. Tell yourself that YOU CAN DO IT when you lack the confidence or don't have faith in your abilities. YOU ARE GORGEOUS because you are YOU.
Had I been given that advise, my experiences at Lisa and Sharon's weddings would have been completely different. :)
Bee Happy. Bee Healthy.