Addendum – Wedding Woes.

I spoke to a friend of mine tonight at work that had a similarly nightmarish experience with the shame shack. Now, when I first wrote this article I made the decision to censor the name because I actually got very good service. The atmosphere was just utter horse shit.

I’m rescinding that decision.

Let’s call my pal B.

B mentioned she’d read my blog and had to tell me that her experience there was similar  if not worse than my own. She was lead down the same long stone pathway of humiliation into the same dingy, heat-less outhouse of plus size dresses that time had forgotten. Only her consultant was extremely rude. She mentioned at one point to this woman that she was looking for a certain style of gown, and was promptly told that she was “too big” for this gown style. So not only do they escort you into a den of 20 year old crinoline, they tell you you’re too big to wear certain styles, apparently.

I am genuinely sorry this happened to B, one of the kindest people I know. I have her to thank for my new amazing job. The fun part of this story? B was then interning for the second largest wedding consultant/planning etc, group in the area who promptly informed Bridaltown that they were no longer going to receive any more of their business. I’m happy her employer stood up for her.

I’m sorry this happened to B, and I’m sorry these things happen to anyone.

There’s no real good way to end this post. There’s no real good way to find a dress when you’re a fat bride. You have to luck into it, or settle for what the world gives you. Thankfully I can almost guarantee that no one’s going to remember the exact nuances of your dress, or anything less than having a decent time. Unless the food sucked.

-Much love

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Wedding Dress Woes

I did a guest blog post for a friend of mine’s AMAZING tumblr site. It’s hilarity like hers that makes experiences like mine bearable. Here’s a link and the full article below!

http://wtfplus.tumblr.com/post/48610348155/ive-gotten-a-lot-of-questions-and-comments-about

Something cool happened to me this past August. My partner Devin and I were swimming in a big lake. I was wearing a gorgeous pair of 6 dollar tourist trap flipper crocks and a skirted bathing suit. We were chasing a school of sunfish who kept gathering to stare at our toes, when he popped out of the water with a handful of dirt and a ring. A two thousand mile drive and four years of awesome leading up to this moment. Snot poured from my nose romantically as the lake muck in his palm melted away to reveal the next chapter of our awesomeness.

There was a time that this sort of love and attention would have humbled me, but not now. Of course he does shit like that. I rule. Why wouldn’t he?

It was that same time in my life…that isolation and self-loathing that fat women are often victims of… that occasionally comes back to haunt me during the now daunting process of selecting something to get hitched in.

Marriage wasn’t my number one priority. I still don’t like the concept of losing myself to my man in order to form some weird mutated combo beast that goes to Ikea together on weekends and quietly argues about whether or not the Floopshnort or the Snikt would look better in the bedroom.

I mean…we’ve totally done that but you get my point.

Anyway my Reverend feels the same way so we’re golden.

Getting the logistics together has proven pretty simple because my Mom has kindly dived in head-first and started handling shit. We’ve got a nice Firehall, some great people showing up, some music…

Now I just need a dress. For a fat person, needing clothing is pretty much the worst.

I can already hear the eyeballs rolling.

“But LAAAUUUREEEEN….Finding the right dress is hard for everyone!! Blar blaaaar!”

Well, when you’re a fat woman, you have to call stores and find out which ones have dresses in stock that you can actually try on. That kind of blows, right?

“But LAAAAUUUREEEEEEN! You can get a dress made in any size!!!”

Many well-meaning and awesome people have pointed this out to me in desperate moments. I don’t have the luxury of trying on a dress before getting it made to my figure and hoping it looks alright? Well that sucks. Those are both true facts, but the third true fact is that there is very little love or leeway for fat women who decide they want to get married. You have less choices, less places to shop.

Think about it this way. When I go to the mall I get to go to one, maybe two clothing stores. Everyone else gets the whole damn mall.

Anyone who thinks “Well, just lose weight!” will fail at getting anything out of this article so go away.

Every now and then I take to the internet. Googling “Plus size wedding dress” and hoping I’ll find something different. In an effort to not feel like spent shit, I usually just wind up posting dresses I think are gross and calling it a day. My friends and family have been awesome, sending me suggestions and not once questioning my decision to avoid a white gown. There are some really good resources out there for “different” looking dresses, but even in those cases I find myself sifting for plus options.

One time I wanted to see how women who looked like me looked in wedding dresses. I googled “real fat brides” and was confronted with about two pages of hate imagery. This was going to be fun, I could tell.

I decided to go to at least one wedding dress store place thing and try some of these suckers on. I’d take two of my pals and my mom. I don’t think any of them knew how I really felt that day.

There’s a place not far from me that boasts 3000 dresses in stock, as well as the most ample plus size stock I was able to find after calling. Here’s the print on their page.

Plus Size Bridals

Every Bride is a Beautiful Bride at Bridaltown

If you’re a plus size 18-32,
trying on samples that are much too small for you
can be a disheartening, even an embarrassing experience.
So why put up with it?

 

That looked…OK I guess. I gave them a call, and it turns out they only have one size 32 in stock. But they had a decent amount in a 24/26. They at least looked like they were attempting to be inclusive. Making fat phobes uncomfortable is the least of my concerns, (public school gym class lvl up) but not every woman feels that way. I get it.

However, I started right away on defense scenarios in my head. Asking for something in a “Miss Yvonne”. Picking out an ivory gown and asking how it takes to tie-dye or cigarette lighter burns. Planning on how obnoxious I’d be willing to let myself get before getting down to business. I felt myself gearing up for battles with embarrassment.

No. Fuck that. Not this time.

I told myself I’d walk in the door, and let her put whatever fluffy weird thing she felt like putting on me. Complete openness. I’ve never done this before, I don’t know these people. Let’s take down all my defenses and have a fun day with my friends. I had already decided this was not going to be a purchase day, so why not just do this thing.

We got together on a Saturday and headed to the wedding dress store in question. My consultant was sitting in a chair waiting for my arrival. She smiled, introduced herself. This was gonna be ok.

We started on the long trek through the prom section, occasionally stopping to comment on whatever. Then, to my surprise, she led us out to the back door and we wound up outside. Down an old stone pathway was a small building. As we approached it, I saw the little wooden sign sticking out of the side of the building.

“Plus Size Barn.”

 

Are you kidding me?

 

“This is ok, it’ll be nice and private” My nice mom said who could instantly feel she needed to say something so I wouldn’t turn tail and walk back to the car.

We entered the fat barn. It had no heat, and we were totally alone. I’m pretty sure I betrayed every instinct I had to convince myself this scenario was okay. The fat barn had a decent selection of dresses. Maybe a hundred out of three thousand. I don’t want to dog out the consultant because she was really nice, and I was treated well. However, being lead out into the fresh air and into the plus sized barn was probably more embarrassing for me than trying on these dresses in front of “normal sized” clientele.

Who were they trying not to embarrass?

I sucked it up and tried on maybe eight or nine gowns. One of them looked ok on me, but it was almost more fun trying on the ugly ones and parading around. Defenses back up, smile, joke, and pretend this is cool man.  My awesome friends and awesome mom cheering me on. I made it okay, because I know this was a moment I wanted with them.

I’m pretty sure they didn’t know how I felt that day, but now they probably do. They also need to know how fun they help make everything in my life, even weird moments like that where my guts crunch up into my throat.

I don’t think finding a wedding dress is a major life decision. I get that its “hard for everyone to find THAT dress.” But it’s hard for me to find A dress. A bra. A pair of work pants. Again, if you think “just lose weight” is something to say here, you should have stopped reading at the beginning of the article.

My mom knows a professional seamstress. She did the alterations on a bridesmaid dress I wore at a wedding once and she got my body down perfectly. I’ve made the decision to get a dress made by her.

In this process, I’m again reminded by society that my body is something to hide. Something to be ashamed of. I have been fat since I was very, very young. It took me years to get to the point I am with myself, and seconds in the fat barn to feel the walls come tumbling right back down.

All in all my experience…after some late night forethought over Guild Wars 2 with my future legally recognized partner…has taught me that it’s still your problem. Not mine. You try and help me by telling me things about my body I already know. You try and save me the embarrassment of ruining someone’s day with my belly instead of just stocking your dresses together and maybe taking a miniscule step towards making a fat woman feeling like a normal bride. Your intentions may be good, but it’s not helping. You’re not helping me. In fact, STOP TRYING TO FUCKING HELP ME.

This isn’t about finding a man who will love you for who you are either. Oh no. It’s about loving yourself for who you are and being able to shop for a damn wedding dress like everyone else. Devin gets more excited when we raid together then he’d probably ever get seeing my pristine figure cascading down a white carpet of purity sparkles, so the perfect dress is going to be for me.

It’s also going to be about 2 grand cheaper. (Seriously)

This is me being a witness to my own experience here, and it was a pretty rotten one. I know there are fat women out there still struggling with their feelings about their bodies, and this private space may have made them feel more comfortable undressing in front of a total stranger who pulls corseted gowns over their heads for a living. I am not one of them, and I urge you to love yourself. Try not to let other people’s perceptions of you change the fact that you deserve to walk amongst the living.

As strong as I’ve become, shopping at one store hurts. Trying on dresses in a designated fat area hurts. Reminding myself that straying too far into the “Other Side” of dress barn…hurts.

This is me witnessing my experience, and how I changed it to work to my advantage. This is not going to be the right move for everyone and if you’re getting married and found a dress, I’m beyond stoked for you. Those of you out there that had easier tales give me hope that things will eventually get a little bit better.

Good luck out there, people. Much love.

 

 

 

 

 

Puppies, Kittens, Jerks and Jean Gray

Last night I had a dream that was so ridiculously telling, I have no choice but to write about it. I was struggling to get to my apartment door while holding a small puppy in my arms. There was a hawk circling menacingly overhead and I knew puppy was for lunch. When I approached my door, there were two kittens who had gotten out of the apartment building somehow, so I scooped them up into my free arm and began to struggle with  the process of getting my keys out and opening the door while wriggling fluffballs flailed under each arm, the hawk dive-bombing us all the while.

When I finally got into my apartment, an old friend who I no longer speak to due to his constant needy and abusive nature was in my bed, wearing pajamas. I put down the menagerie and asked him if he could move to the couch because Devo (my fiance) would be home soon, and needed to sleep. The old friend refused. At that moment Devo came home and told me it was fine, that the bed was big enough for all of us.

As amusing and stupidly transparent as this dream was,(Devo would have probably drop kicked dude, for instance) I was comforted by it. It reminded me of some things. Yes, I am a class -A- sucker for all of the kittens, puppies, and jerks in the universe, but I also have a guy in my life that not only embraces this part of me, but loves it. Despite the occasional annoyance it causes, he wants to marry me.

I’m getting married next October to this patient, awesome person, and that’s pretty cool.

Married. At a wedding. Dear lord.

Weddings were always a very far away, foreign concept for me. Partly because I was a horribly teased fat kid with 30 years worth of voices in my head telling me I didn’t deserve this holy union, and partly because rebelling against it was easy. To love, honor and obey? Maybe the first two. I didn’t want to feel like a princess. I don’t like poof. The entire industry feeds on proclaiming this to be the most important day of your life, and I thought that was complete crap.

I’m not saying it’s bad for everyone, and if you’ve been dreaming of this moment your whole life, then I wish nothing but happiness for you. I’m jealous, because at least I could have had this crap planned out nice and early.

I’ve also struggled with the concept of what “I” want as an individual, which is making this process extra hard.

When I was younger and I wanted to gain perspective into ego I read Ayn Rand, and that didn’t help. It mostly just made me hate Ayn Rand. To attempt oneness and unity with all I read Heinlein, and I thought he came off as a macho pig. I went back to X-Men and read The Dark Phoenix Saga because being a telekinetic superhero seemed more fun than being a selfish douche or an alien sex slave. I mean come on, what better role model than a kind, intelligent Omega-Level mutant, constantly struggling with duality.

Having “boyish” interests had little to nothing to do with my inability to fantasize about my perfect wedding, in case that’s where you think I’m going. Feeling a general disconnect, a lonely nerdy-ness. You know, back before nerds were okay, I guess. That was the biggest culprit. It was much later in my life that I began forming amazing bonds with people other than members of my family. I wanted to keep them around and never hurt them. This is carrying into my wedding planning in a huge way.

As strange as the concept was, it suddenly became something I wanted more than anything when I got to know Devo. I was 31, and completely unprepared. I am now 35, and still completely unprepared.

Coupled with being a people-pleaser, being out of a job, and being a naturally cheap and non-fluffy individual (who is also quite fluffy on a biological level), planning a wedding is completely out of my comfort zone. Thankfully I have a mother who is a natural party planner, a soon to be mother-in-law that makes amazing wedding cakes, and a ton of family and friends to slap me around when I shut down. My amazing maid of honor who has been my rock since the age of 12 already stated her concern that she’s going to have to drag me kicking and screaming into the world of “what I want.”

I’ve found a lot of extremely helpful websites such as offbeatbride.com, romanticthreads.com and my personal favorite http://www.thebrokeassbride.com/. These sites were a fantastic conformation that there were others out there like me. People who suddenly out of nowhere wanted to marry a person, and had no idea how to practically go about it without going broke or having to haphazardly go along with concepts and expectations they were not comfortable with.

My challenge from now until October 26th of 2013 will not be getting married. That’s the easy part. My challenge will be the same challenge most people who are about to get married have. Being conscious of others while throwing yourself exactly the kind of party you want…

…And not go insane in the process.

I’m willing to tackle this head on because Devo is worth it, and I really do want a big party. That’s the best part of weddings and why I like going to them. I’ve always loved and have thrown big parties. You get to see tons of people, you get to dance. You get to be married because you met someone that made you want to be married.

That is the essence of this union, whatever you want to call it. I want to be with this person, and I want to have a party celebrating it where my friends have fun because I like them a whole lot.

Now If I can muster up the strength to tell them to go to hell midst a chorus of “booing” because I’m not having open bar, that’s a good start.

.

Toxic Love

My mother has described me as someone who’d bring home little lost people instead of animals. Through the years, I’ve survived toxic relationship after toxic relationship because of this accursed belief that I can fix people. Make them better. Help them see the good inside them. 

In my current state, I’ve managed to wash my hands of most of those relationships and surround myself with positive people.The most recent relapse into my old ways (and likely last relapse) was a run-in with an old friend who almost everyone had washed their hands of due to his actions. I held out my hand again, and he bit me. Not as hard as he had in the past, but he still bit. This time, the bite did not puncture me. As hard as it was, I turned my back and walked away.

As much as my love for other people defines me, it also puts me in an unwelcome situation. I am easily manipulated, emotional, and have an extraordinarily hard time with appearing as anything but kind and rock-solid. I go internal when I’m having problems, and have no one but myself to blame when no one has any idea how low I’ve sunk. I know I’ve confused friends in the past with this behavior. It’s easier now that I have a man in my life that (unfortunately for him) is the softest place to fall I’ve ever experienced since the support I get from my family.

Writing has helped tremendously with the decisions I’ve made to keep my life chaos free. It started with Livejournal a million years ago (I know, I know…) and now I suppose it’s come to a head with this blog. I’ve been able to see my mistakes and learn from them. Even when I make brand new ones!

My life now is wonderful. I’m basically broke, but who isn’t. I’m 4 years deep in passionate love. My family is amazing. Every friend I have is magical. Yet there is still that want to hold on to old, wounded people. Even when they have no interest in being held. In a way I’m sure this is tied to my ego, as I feel fantastic when someone tells me I’ve had a positive effect on their life. Learning when to let go is a hard process, also likely tied to my ego.  Why couldn’t this one work out? How are they still such broken assholes when they’ve had ME?

Learning about quality over quantity, as cheesy as it sounds, was absolutely key in growing apart from the clutches of Miss Nightingale. I went from having no friends, to having hundreds of acquaintances, to having a few dozen key loved ones. Holding on to the want to be surrounded by admirers is easily diminished when you realize a lot of them are there for the same reasons you are. Because everyone else is.

I cherish the friendships I have now because each of these people give me something.

Does that sound selfish?

It’s not material things, it’s not verbal praise, it’s just company. They give me good company, and good times. I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t have to walk on eggshells. I communicate. I disagree without fear of losing them. I agree without want of pleasing them. I treat them as I would want to be treated, as they do me. I never feel bad in their presence, I trust them with every fiber of my being. I know that no matter what happens, no matter the hardships we all face, they will always have my back. So yes, it’s selfish.

If you are in a relationship where you are missing even one of those elements, you need to re-examine it.

To be your best you, you have to be selfish. You are nothing to anyone if you do not love yourself first. This is vastly different from self-importance. That builds walls around you and it’s nothing but fake, grandiose crap. See the difference.

Sometimes I forgive, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I don’t. When I think back on those no longer in my life I wish them well, and thank them internally for serving a purpose in building me as a human being. Your abuse made me strong. Your lies make me smarter. Your unforgiving, selfish natures made me want nothing more than to be exactly what you were not.

I am a work in progress. Always. I am never perfect. I can not make anyone cease to suck if they don’t think they suck. I can not fix the universe.

Be charitable, be kind, but do not be a doormat.

This is a lot heavier than most of my posts because it means a lot to me. I am surrounded by people who I know exactly where I stand with and it is literally the best feeling in the world. Those few who I question get my co-existence and nothing else.

And thankfully they are very, very few.