This is the body that I will have on my wedding day.
A body that isn’t buffed and bronzed, a body that hasn’t lifted weights a lot over the last few months, a body that has eaten chocolate, bread and cheese quite frequently and it’s the body that I’ve been fighting against for the last few weeks.
I am able to recognise that I am privileged to live in this body. I am able bodied, I am slim, I have a figure that is accepted and I know that a vast amount of people don’t have a body that slots this easily into society. But even with that knowledge, I’m having a hard time loving myself right now.
I’ve grown up day dreaming about the perfect wedding; big fluffy gowns, veils that go on for miles, looking like the princesses that a lot of us wished to be as children. But amongst all the tulle, lace and sparkly bits there’s an undeniable pressure to ‘be your most beautiful.’ Picking the best dress, creating flawless, pour-less skin, perfecting hairstyles, nails and that sun kissed glow, which, I’ll be honest, most of the time just turns me orange. I’ve begun telling myself that if I don’t feel perfect on the day, then that’s it, people will laugh, point and stare, the pictures will be a disaster and I’ll have to live with them and look at them for the rest of my days, wondering why I couldn’t be prettier or thinner. So really, I might as well cancel the wedding, because who would want to marry a woman with frizzy hair or a few blemishes?!
Obviously I’m joking! my fiance has had the pleasure of seeing my hair with the grease and grime that comes with a week of not washing it. But that’s precisely my point, your husband to be, wife to be, life partner to be has with no doubt seen you sick, tired, make up less and down right messy. Guess what? They still want to marry us. So let’s take a moment and remind ourselves why we said yes in the first place.
I doubt you said yes because you thought ‘Hey this is a great incentive to lose those few extra pounds.’ Or maybe ‘Brilliant, I needed an excuse to diet and exercise until I’m miserable.’ I mean that’s definitely not the reason I agreed to get married. I said yes because I love my husband to be, he’s an amazingly supportive man and I want to spend as long as possible with him by my side. Appearance, skin care routines, diets and all that other rubbish did not cross my mind once when he was down on one knee. So with all the excitement of planning a wedding, it’s easy to forget that actually, we are preparing for a marriage. It’s not just one day of joy or one day of looking picture perfect, it’s hopefully going lead to a lifetime of excitement and adventure, probably with a few bad days to even it all out (lets be realistic).
Now with our countdown in full swing (16 days), I’m sure there will be a couple of occasions when my mind and body won’t quite match up and I’ll find myself wishing for smoother skin, cursing myself for not getting a flatter stomach or I might be worrying about how my arms will look in photos. I think the key is, when these thoughts creep in, is to just accept them, hear what they are saying and gently move past, without judgement or criticism. You will look however you look on your wedding day and that will be just perfect, for you and for your partner (who cares about what the guests think).
So, to the people who told me to watch my weight/diet when I purchased my dress a year in advance. Thank you for your concern, but I ate everything my body wanted and more and oh how that helped with my recovery.
To the people who suggested that I should stay on top of my exercise regime ‘just in case’ and because ‘you want to look your best.’ I haven’t worked out ‘properly’ in months, it’s done wonders for my mental health as I don’t compare myself to others so often and I will ‘look my best’ regardless.
Finally, to the few people who have told me I should avoid breakfast on the morning of my wedding to avoid bloating. I will eat a filling, hearty breakfast washed down with bucks-fizz and I’ll love every moment.
I will not look back on this amazingly joyful time wishing that I could have loved myself more, wishing that I ate more or exercised less because It brought me down so much, wishing that I was delicate and beautiful like the brides in magazines.
No. I will look back on the day with a happiness unlike any other. I will know that I didn’t jeopardise my recovery for toned arms or a toned tummy. I will remember that I had self love and the knowledge that after all my body has been through, all the destruction and sabotage, it’s still there for me and it was and always will be beautiful, even when my mind disagrees.