Friday, March 30, 2012

State of the Union #3: The Dress & The Body

Thanks to Morgan over at, I now have a motherload binder full of information, etiquette advice, and fill-in-the blank spreadsheets for our wedding. She gave me The Ultimate Wedding Planner and Organizer with the precept, "I know this is kinda dorky, but it really helped me out."  And so far, it has been hugely informative. Now, I know it really is each unto their own, but it helps to have a template when as my Dad puts it, "This is your first rodeo." It has a countdown and under the heading Nine Months or Earlier, the item Select and order your bridal gown and headpiece has a nice fat empty unchecked box. Mind you I am seven months away, but I have a friend that is two months away and she still doesn't have one, so I guess it is all about perspective. So, I have been perusing the usual suspects: J Crew Bridal, Ann Taylor Bridal, Nordstrom, Anthropologie's bridal line BHLDN, and my favorite designer Nicole Miller. I have only been to two places so far, (J Crew and Nicole Miller) but I am running into a problem - myself.

Now, I'm pretty sure the dress that is "the one" is the second one I tried on at Nicole Miller (although the 6th one is tearing me in two, especially if I paired it with this pearl birdcage veil from J Crew), but the fact is I'm slightly unhappy in every dress I try on because I have put on the East Coast Winter Ten. Every year this happens. I get into shape and do great during the summer and even the fall where I go for runs in Prospect Park and admire the fall foliage...but when that first chill in the air comes, you can be damn sure my California ass will not be running outside for the next couple months. Not gonna do it, no ma'am, I got nothing to prove! I try to keep up a routine by switching to the gym and then the inevitable happens, I get sick. No, MTA commuter can avoid it. You ride the New York City subway (which is already stuck in the Medieval Ages) during flu season, and you will get caught. I get sick, I fall out of my routine, the time changes back and suddenly I go weeks with rushing from the subway to my apartment and my apartment to the subway as fast as I can without ever suffering the seven extra minutes to make it to the gym. There are no morning runs or idyllic "after-work" runs. There is only me fleeing the miserable cold that I cannot get used to. Before I know it, I lose all shape and earnestly put on the kind of weight that only really reveals itself when someone else shows me a picture of myself or when that nasty bitch, Spring, rears her head. Wait...what? You're asking me to shed my sweater and heavy coat and stretch jeans and boots and now I'm supposed to wear WHAT?!   Shopping for a wedding dress now is sheer torture.  I do not like the bridal attendant to have difficulty zipping me up in the sample size. I want her to use those clamps damnit! I want to have to be pinned into that fucker, but instead, I'm barely making the cut.

And before you judge me too harshly, yes, I'm aware that ten pounds is really not that much. I was recently put into check by a co-worker who quoted Mo'Nique when referring to me as "skinny white bitches." But it's all about how you carry weight, and for me, it lands in all the wrong places: belly, chin, and ass. And while ten pounds doesn't necessarily show when you're wearing a hoodie for three months, it most definitely shows when you try to tie yourself into that clever bathing suit you bought last summer when you thought, Let's go with the tie strings so I won't have a muffin top on the beach. Those ten pounds begin to spill out just a touch over your jeans which are now beyond broken into, having stretched that waistline an inch or two wider but you still keep the label that reads 29. Or like today, when I realized my boobs, which are also now a bit fuller, pick my shirt up just enough so that my belly can peek through that space between a shirt that is now too short/small for me and a low-rider jean sag that is no longer flattering. (I may be 30 but I cannot pack away my low-rider stretch jeans, even if I am always pulling them up to hide my ass crack and my decade old tramp stamp. I know my Aunt Rose wants to wag her finger at me. Don't worry, Rose. I can feel it from here! One day, I will pack them up!) But the other point is, I am a long time subscriber to body dysmorphic disorder ,which I was "diagnosed" with when I was eleven. Back then, I was really skinny so it made sense to call it crazy! It was before puberty. But then puberty came and so did the wide hips and the ass and the boobs. I became a curvy woman. In essence, I did become what I thought I always was, but wasn't, but then became. You follow? I don't know how much is "dysmorphic" and how much is just the damn truth at this point. And sometimes I try to embrace my curves and I've always been happy to have a chest. But sometimes when I look in the mirror I look past the womanly curves and only see what I am missing- a flat stomach, a smaller ass, shapelier arms. And seeing myself in these wedding dresses seems to accentuate all of these curves and "bumps." My hips have never looked wider than they do with four layers of chiffon draped over them or six layers of tulle! And I keep trying to go for more A-line, sheath like dresses, only to become obsessed with my very high and almost non-existent waist accentuated by the well-earned tire around my tummy. Even I would ask me if I was pregnant. 

My ideas about my body, and the image I have of myself and "the ideal me" are turning wedding dress shopping into something that makes my stomach drop, not my jaw. I don't feel magical. I feel chubby. I don't feel like a princess. I feel silly. And I don't feel "romantic" or "like a bride." I feel regret for having that cheeseburger and fries two weeks ago. But don't worry, family! I am not depressed. I am happy not-dieting and I earned these pounds, believe you me. I know I will get back in shape, (even though I have zero motivation right now), but part of me is just disappointed that I am letting myself and my crazy obsession with body image ruin this experience for me. I wish I could get out of my own head for one day and take this body around shopping for the prettiest wedding dress she deserves. If I could do that, maybe then I might be able to see what is really in the mirror...but I guess a blog post is a start, right?  


Carmen said...

Tony! No more dress shopping by yourself. You need someone to go with you and tell you how beautiful you look. (and laugh with you at the crazy dress attendant or when you try on something weird that smushes your boob into an annuatural shape.)

Lindsey Anthony-Bacchione said...

Nope. Doesn't matter how many ladies are with me telling me I'm beautiful. (I fell like that would be worse) This here is between me and the mirror. Some days are better than others. But today I'm feeling good, so you know... one day at a time : )

Erin said...

i am still working off that extra weight from NC, too, but that cheeseburger was SOOOOO worth it! bacon, cheese and carmelized onions... i'd eat it again ; )