It was nap time and I was bored and I was watching one of those "pick the wedding dress" TV shows because that was the channel the TV was on when I turned it on. These women were agonizing over their dresses with teams of loved ones in tow. The bridal consultants were consummate professionals always able to help "her bride" find "the perfect dress."
I was once one of those women. I poured over magazines and spent hours online hunting for the look I wanted. After half a dozen boutiques and a couple of different groups of participants as an entourage I eventually found my dress 1200 miles away while alone in CA.
It was ethereal, soft, sexy, and had just the right amount of sparkle. It really was perfect in every way.
I wore it with a homemade birdcage veil with white feather-flowers and later with a faux fur wrap. I danced and imbibed for hours in that thing only to, literally, tear it off my body and party with 25 of my closest friends in my corset and a pair of Anthony's jeans (my maid of honor, my little sister, had forgotten to bring my bag of clothes to the honeymoon suite).
She was a good partner for the 8 hours or so I wore her, though I treated her badly. I never had her cleaned afterwards, nor repaired. I did, however, zip her up in her big clear bag and carefully hang her up in the back of the closet... until today.
Something about that show made me curious about the dress I'd chosen and what I'd think of it today. Would it make me look as amazing as all these women looked at the boutique? Would I still love it?
The sheer weight of the garment bag seemed to mirror the intensity of the day it was intended for. It was full and heavy, yet glimmered in the light. I carefully pulled it out and unzipped the bag. I could smell the uniquely wedding-dress fragrance of the fabric and practically feel my round-eyed hope from 5 years ago.
I took off my clothes and looked at my body - so similar, yet so different from 5 years ago. I stepped into the dress and started to zip, but stopped half way. Yep. That was all she was gonna go for this time around.
I pushed her back down past my knees and ran to my dresser to grab my corset. I think it was still tied to my old measurements because it cinched me in and my breasts spilled over the top, whereas this hadn't been the case at all before. Encouraged that this might actually work I stepped back into the dress and tried zipping up again only to be stopped at my ribcage once more.
I turned this way and that admiring my waist and the beautiful dress. I felt bad for occasionally thinking I had chosen the wrong dress in hindsight, because apparently my hindsight in this regard was completely and utterly wrong. Even with it unzipped 8 inches on the side it was beautiful and I felt special and somehow more womanly with my curves emphasized by the folds of the fabric and cut of the dress (go ahead, roll your eyes. I'm a feminist, but I also love fancy dresses, what can I say?).
And that was that.
It was weird that I wasn't upset about not fitting into the dress. Yeah, it was a bummer because I couldn't play dress-up, but I wasn't upset about my body changing. I've borne a child, I've aged 5 years, I have breasts that I love, and a confidence and swagger that I can still rock it.
The emotions I felt wearing and looking at the dress felt like old friends were hugging me, and maybe they were. Maybe that dress was wrapping her gossamer arms around me and telling me it was ok to say goodbye again. I felt warm and fuzzy and not a little silly. I remembered all the wonderful toasts everyone gave us and the moments when Anthony and I exchanged vows; all the hope and wonder was there in me, but it felt like another world and part of a wonderful dream that I will always have with me no matter what all at the same time. And it felt good.
So, if you have it in you, I highly recommend a little walk down memory lane yourself. You might be surprised by how you feel. I know I was.
(Ed. add: Ok, a couple of people said I had to have a picture of the dress, so here you go:)
Not enough for you? Ok, ok, here's a better one: