A few years ago my husband and I attended the wedding of his oldest nephew. At the time I was near the thinnest I’d been since college, and I had purchased this really pretty black and white dress that clung to all the right curves. I felt good about myself, or so I told myself I did.
The wedding was in Northern Illinois/Indiana at a really beautiful venue in an upper-class suburb of Chicago, with the reception nearby at a really old and amazing mansion. I remember getting ready and feeling like I looked just great. I ignored ED’s voice in my head telling me I was really a stuffed sausage, until we got to the actual wedding. As I watched skinny college girl after college girl find seats, and saw the breathtaking bridesmaids, my self esteem started to crumble.
Once we arrived at the reception I was nothing but rubble on the ground. I sat unhappy and pouting most of the night. I missed-out on having a great time with my hunk of a husband, and enjoying being dressed up and realizing how fab I really looked. That night (though I was getting sick and didn’t know it yet), my husband and I got into a bad fight, and I spent an hour walking around our hotel in tears because being in the room just upset me further. It was a disaster.
Well, Brad’s other nephew got married this last weekend with a similarly fancy and fabulous wedding. I had spent months prior to achieving recovery fretting over this wedding. Knowing that there would be pictures, and people, and so many young ladies who I could have nearly birthed there in their size nothing’s with perfect written all over them.
This year things were different though. I’m around 60’ish pounds heavier, recovered from ED, and my entire mentality has changed. When I went shopping for a dress, I took my time to pick something I could be comfortable in both standing and sitting, and that wouldn’t give ED any room for making me feel bad (just in case). I researched a bit ahead and played with my makeup to ensure that whatever I did with my hair and face left me feeling like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.
Now, it wasn’t the prep work that made the difference; that was merely for the sake of staving off ED’s voice in case he made an appearance after so many months gone. It wasn’t that I was thinner because my clothes are bigger and I’m more casual these days because of being a ‘curvy’ lady requires comfort not always trends. In fact, about the only thing that truly had changed that mattered was inside my skull. I had trained myself to see things differently. I went from being a size 6 and miserable, to a size 14 and happy.
This time, it was all about celebrating two people I adore. It was about spending a weekend out of state with my husband who I think is the sexiest man on the planet. I didn’t want ED or anything else getting in the way of my good time! Let me tell you, the Universe certainly tried to derail me. It wasn’t a perfect start by any means. First, Brad ran later than I would have liked to leave, so we had to just grab drive through fast food on the way rather than sit-down in Milwaukee to have a date night dinner out. Then our hotel messed up our reservations and couldn’t seem to get us a room that was clean and ready. That took 4 rooms to fix! (*at least I got plenty of aerobic activity in!)
In the past I would have been a QUEEN Bi-otch by that time, with the biggest capital “Q” you could have, but this time I just smiled and laughed and told the front desk that life is too short to spend it upset at the little things. They were really nice about it, and gave us a few free beers for our hassle. Brad and I kicked off our shoes and watched an episode of Ozarks while we drank our beers once we finally got a room. This would have never been how the ‘old Amber’ had reacted to life.
The next day, I took my morning lounging and just laughing with Brad while we watched the news and flipped through Reddit before I started getting ready. It took about two hours going from pj’s to ready, but this was a black-tie event, so I couldn’t just slip into sweats and call it good. I didn’t fret over if things were perfect, though. My dress was tighter than I remember when I tried it on, and I gave up on the false lashes since I didn’t really need them anyway if I was honest with myself. We ordered an Uber to take us to the church, and away we went.
Now, this is where is started to ravel last time, and I didn’t want to see that happen this time around, so when we got to the church I gave myself a quick reminder that for whatever physical and shallow thing ED might try to point out, that I offered numerous other traits that no one else could come close to having. I walked into the church feeling comfortable.
Truth is, the pictures don’t depict the tiny person I used to wish I was, but the smile is real. I wasn’t necessarily comfy in the dress, but who truly is comfortable in a formal gown?! Ironically, in front of me in the pews was a group of girls who couldn’t have been past 24. Some I could have easily put both of my hands around their waist with fingers touching. They were tiny, and every time I’ve been confronted with this level of ‘failure’ in ED’s eyes before, I would have been done for. Not today, though. I didn’t really feel the true terror I did last time; I didn’t really feel anything. I saw that they were skinny and young, but I also noticed that they were vapid and had bad skin. Where last time I sat fretting about the thoughts my husband just had to be having about the pretty young brunettes, this time I enjoyed being cozy’d in beside him and the sight of so many fancied-up people.
No, it’s not about bashing other females, but the fact that ED wasn’t able to convince me of a false reality felt like a massive win. I might not have been perfect, but who was or is?
After the wedding we headed to the reception. This was going to be the real test. This wedding was unlike anything I’ve personally seen before. It was THE nicest wedding I’ve ever been invited to, and so I knew that the night held a lot of fun ahead if ED stayed vanquished to the nether regions of my brain.
First, we enjoyed a cocktail hour (really more than one hour), with drinks and appetizers galore. It was outdoors overlooking Lake Michighan at Discovery World. Breathtaking doesn’t quite cover it! Funny enough, I felt fine. No self-doubts, no worries about being ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’. I was having a great time. My brother-in-law even dumped a beer down the front of my pale champagne colored dress, which in the past would have been like handing me a handgun with a bullet especially for my self-esteem.
Not this time! I simply brushed it off as no big deal, and assured him it was just a dress. I even ran into one of those girls from the church in the ladies room when I went to try and dry my dress enough not to look completely a wreck. She was about as rude as it comes, which just goes to show that skinny doesn’t equal true beauty! Funny how when you don’t bring ED along things just look and are different.
In the end, it was one of the best times I’ve ever had. ED didn’t attend that wedding; I didn’t even allow him to come on the trip. For me, this really showed me how strong I am.
My dress dried with only a little stain, so all was right with my clothes. It might have even helped it stretch out a bit, making it slightly more comfortable for the night. Haha! Dinner was amazing, we danced, we drank, we even got to watch an elaborate fireworks display for our new niece and our nephew.
ED is weak. He doesn’t hold a candle to the truth once it starts shining, but sometimes seeing that truth is what you have to be patient about learning to do. Even more, life suddenly starts becoming relaxed and enjoyable once he exits the picture.
Yeah, there are occasional trip-ups that leave you feeling a little less than glamorous, but its all about experiencing the in between that count. If I’d spent my night allowing ED to only show me how skinny other girls were, I would have never heard how often my husband kept telling me how beautiful I was, or noticed how closely he seemed to cling to me. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the round after round of laughter and fun with family that left me a little hoarse the next morning. I would have missed out and allowed irrational fears and false realities to ruin something amazing.
I always thought people didn’t really care for my personality and that I was terrible at being the person to talk to strangers at events. I learned something about myself this last weekend. That is all FALSE! When ED isn’t around, I’m charming and fun to hang-out with. People like me and find me amusing and witty. I’m not bragging, I simply never realized these things before because ED always got in the way. Funny how you start seeing the great things you have to offer when there isn’t a shadow on your personality.
Just remember, you don’t have to be to this point yet in your journey. It’s okay to be having a bad day. If you don’t believe me, reread some of my earlier posts! Just keep truckin’ and keep realizing that there’s always a beer that’s going to be dumped on you, or a slew of wrong hotel rooms to get the great one with all the windows. You just have to ignore those things so you can enjoy life and not miss out.