I have been to a few weddings. There was that time one of my distant uncles got married and I told my dad I hated the taste of champagne. Then here was the spate of “cousin weddings”, one right after the other for about 5 years. My friend Lei got married at a ski resort and had her “hen” do on a pair of brand new Salomons, Gaz and Janey had theirs in an old country manor in Derbyshire that is now a youth hostel, and the beautiful bride was on a space hopper an hour before the wedding with the MUA trying to chase her down to do her makeup. I went to a traditional Polish wedding where I discovered exactly how much vodka I could handle (more than I expected, less than everyone else). I went to another Polish wedding as my boss’s plus one, because he was bored of his relatives asking when he would finally “bring a girl or a boy home dzieck’ eh”. I drank much less vodka at that one.
Last night I went to my lovely friend Hannah’s wedding in Newcastle. I’d bought a gorgeous dress a few weeks ago which fit me perfectly with absolutely no give, stretch, or room for eating/drinking/breathing. Damn I looked cute. However I’m one of those people who loses and gains a few pounds at the drop of a hat, and after a few meals out and a couple of takeaways, it DIDN’T FIT. No amount of Spanx in the world could have shoehorned me into that dress, and I was gutted. So Thursday afternoon, after work and after I’d had my hair and nails done, I went shopping.
Holy fuck, have you ever tried to buy a special occasion dress in an hour on a Thursday evening? Frantic scanning of the racks of dresses at Jenners, trying on everything from mini to floor-length, and the world’s most helpful sales assistant attempting to zip me into dress after dress after dress that just didn’t fit over my mahoosive boobs. I actually picked up the Ted Baker monochrome knit thinking there was no way it would fit, but the pattern reminded me of the checkerboard floor in Alice in Wonderland. It looked tiny. Probably wouldn’t even fit over one thigh, much less a whole me. It definitely won’t zip up past the seam.
Only it did.
As I do with most weddings and events, I packed some ridiculous bodysuit contraption designed to simultaneously suck everything in, look about as appealing as a Babygro, and asphyxiate. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that though I talk about Body Positivity and acceptance to anyone who will listen, I often lack the confidence to go to an event without some “help”. It inevitably leads to me struggling with the wedgie from hell all night when I should be having a good time. Bending over sucks. Leaning and sitting suck even more. I’m ever conscious of the yards and yards of power pants, even more than I am of the chubby bits I’m so self conscious about that I actually feel MORE shitty about myself than I would have if I’d not worn the stupid thing in the first place, but it’s become a routine with me and I hate it.
For the first time in ages, I decided to just *gasp* go without the Spanx. I went control pants commando, and it was…it was FUCKING WONDERFUL. You know what? Not once during the ceremony, the wedding, the party afterwards, did I even think about the lack of lycra going on under my dress. I got to enjoy every moment without being preoccupied with how uncomfortable I was! It was such a revelation.
As someone who almost never posts full length photos on social media, I bit the bullet and Instagrammed a selfie of myself before the wedding yesterday. The response I got was just incredible. I expected folk to look at that pic and think “what the hell is she thinking, wearing a dress like that” but they didn’t. I felt unexpectedly confident even without the usual jacket to hide behind. I felt bloody fantastic.
I’m not a size 10, nor do I think I’ll ever be. I might not like the way I look all the time, but I’m working on it, one cute outfit at a time.