Like every other girl, I dreamed of the moment when I would walk down the aisle toward my very-soon-to-be husband.
I remember trying on my wedding dress one last time before taking it home and thinking to myself , “It’s so … poofy.”
It was exactly the kind of gown I’d always dreamed of. On my wedding day, I wanted to feel like a princess. And in that gown, I did.
I’ve always liked to express myself through my appearance. The outfits I choose to wear are my way of showing myself—the person I am, the woman I want to be—to the world. My upcoming wedding day was no different.
But growing up, every time I tried to dress the way I wanted my father would criticize me. His taste was much more classic to my free-spirited hippie skirts and peasant tops. He would say, always in passing and just loud enough so that I could hear it,: “… you look like a hag.” I would try to brush his constant criticisms off, but they hurt. I never felt like who I was good enough.
As a result, I didn’t have much confidence in the way I looked or my fashion choices. I wondered if a man would ever think that I was beautiful.
Standing there in the dressing room, I began to worry about what my family would think of my poofy dress.
Maybe my perfect wedding gown would be too much, too loud and gaudy.
Maybe I should have chosen a more classic gown.
I could actually feel a tiny bit of panic rise in my throat as I looked at myself in the mirror. The tiny voice that resided in the back of my mind whenever it came to my appearance, thanks to my father, whispered, “You look ridiculous.”
I couldn’t help but worry—what would my very-soon-to-be husband think of me when he saw me coming down the aisle in this beast of a gown?
I feared he’d also think I looked ridiculous, that he wouldn’t accept me for the person I was. Suddenly, I felt silly wearing the gown and I was embarrassed for him to see me in it.
Before I walked down the aisle on the big day, I braced myself for what my father might say. He didn’t actually say anything about how I looked, which is the best I can expect from him.
Then, as I walked down the aisle, there was nothing I could do but wait and see my almost-husband’s reaction.
I was still truly afraid that he’d think I looked ridiculous. That is, until I reached him at the end of the aisle. His eyes were wet (which of course choked me up too) and he was smiling. As he took my hand and led me the few steps to the front of the church for the ceremony, he said simply “You look nice.”
Those three simple words meant so much. I no longer felt silly in my gown.
My new husband told me ow wonderful I looked throughout the day, and I could see on his face that he meant it. My gown wasn’t ridiculous; it was beautiful and made me feel beautiful too. I felt I was enough exactly as I was.