Through Sickness and Health, Through Tight Pants and Loose
Hang on a sec…let me just brush the Girl Scout Cookie crumbs off my hands so I don’t smudge up my computer.
There. Now I’m ready to tell you about my pre-wedding diet.
The rules that I’m following are very strict:
-Nothing that feels like a nourishing chore instead of a meal
-Plenty of carbs
-One serving of chocolate daily. If I’ve been adhering to the diet rules all week, I can bump it up to two or seven servings.
There you have it. Ronni’s Wedding Diet. It’s remarkably similar to Ronni’s Every Other Day of Life Diet. That is because I am very consciously not making any food-based lifestyle changes in the two months (holy shit, is that it??) until my wedding. Nor have I in the previous 11 months since deciding to have a wedding.
According to magazines, websites, and the barrage of to-be-unsubscribed emails in my inbox, this is an unpopular decision. You empty your pockets for photographs and hors d'oeuvres and cute chalkboard signs instructing everyone to sit intermingled because we’re all one family now. You’ve been just waiting with baited breath your whole life until someone came along and validated your entire existence by deeming you marriageable. You make sure your arms look toned enough so as not to jiggle, but not so toned that people can tell you have been doing bridal push ups. This is the single most important day of your entire life so you better look like a live action version of Photoshop or else YOU DON’T DESERVE THIS HAPPY DAY.
My immediate response, even upon reading back that paragraph that I just wrote myself, is fuck you yes I do deserve this happy day! And LOTS of happy days. I deserve a happy life and a happy marriage, and very little of those things is derived from how much fabric needed to be taken in or not taken in on the side seams of my dress. It has been a happy, fun time meeting and falling in love with my fiancé. We split a dessert on our first date while I awkwardly filled any silence with words. He prepared a picnic and took me to an outdoor play a couple weeks after starting to date. We make gnocchi together in our kitchen and get covered in flour and eat them when they’re too hot. We take the dog on walks and we text anecdotes and emojis up and back all day. Every week we say we’re going to plan what meals we’re going to have and then grocery shop accordingly, but we never do. And it’s fun! Being with him is happy and fun and that’s what I want to feel on our wedding day. I don’t want to feel deprived. I don’t want to look back at photos from the day and look at my butt before I look at my smile. I want to keep eating practice cake to make sure we pick the right flavor for our wedding cake. I want both of us to look at each other and ourselves with the same adoration that I look at cake. I love cake. Also, cake.
I seem to have gotten off track. Back we go.
Not only does my inbox like to offer commentary on how I navigate my betrothed body through the world, but so do people. Even people with kind intentions. Have a whiff of “wedding” about you, and the general public will ask you questions, offer opinions, and throw around assumptions as though any standard of conversational decorum no longer exists.
“I’m getting married--”
“What are the details of yours and your fiance’s religious beliefs? What very specific role will religion be playing in your ceremony?!”
“Do you want another glass of wine?”
“No thanks, I’m fine.”
“Watching calories for the wedding, huh?”
“Where is your wedding going to be?”
“At [this venue] over in that part of town.”
“How much does that cost? What is your budget?”
If you wouldn’t normally be so cavalier with questions about money, religion, and appearance, why is it okay if there is a wedding coming? Also, it would take a whole separate blog post to cover my thoughts and feelings related to the fact that I receive the above questions, and my fiancé receives “You’re getting married? Say bye to your freedom, man!” Just...I mean...no.
Taking it one level deeper, I am amongst the jillions of people (number taken from a very scientific study) who deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Like anything else, it has better times and worse times, and when the worse times take their turn, the first casualty is my appetite. I am a happy eater, not a stress eater.
When my pants are tight, things are alright.
If I’m turning down cheese, hug me please.
During a recent upswing of anxiety, a few pounds naturally dropped away. The commentary about my appearance came along with it. Yes, it would most often be intended as a compliment. But praising the result of a terrible internal feeling doesn’t land like a compliment.
“You look skinny! Are you losing weight for the wedding?”
“Nope! Just dying inside, thanks!”
It feels wrong to not politely thank them for the compliment, but it also feels wrong to thank them for unrequested commentary on the amount of space that I’m occupying, and therefore highlighting the reality of a nasty struggle.
The moral of the story is this: if Andy’s interest in me were directly related to the size I wear, then he would have been relegated to the steaming pile of funny bad date stories a long time ago. If I were getting married only under the conditions that my stomach is flat and I have technically only one chin, then I would be preparing myself for a photo, not a marriage. I say bring on the dinner dates and over-buying of Thin Mints! My joy at picturing him losing his shit when he sees me at the end of the aisle far outweighs picturing how my dress fits in that moment. My tummy pooch is an invited guest, and I will welcome her. She was with me when I met Andy, disappeared for awhile when I was feeling aggressively terrible, and she has come back now that I am in a happier and less-anxious place. I missed her, because she reminds me that things are good.
The comment that I would like to hear most on my wedding day is “You look so happy!” And maybe “Seriously, you have frosting in your hair.”
And I’ll say “I am. And I know.”
Ronni Levine is a Body Positive blog writer who contributes a blog post monthly for the #ReclaimBeauty Project for her segment, Let's Get Radical: Real Talk with Ronni. All of her posts shared here and lots more can be found on her website, www.haikutiful.com. Be sure to check out all of her amazing, raw and honest posts and follow her on social media at @haikutiful!