Having spent the summer of 1999 working at a bridal and formal rental shop I have some very disparate thoughts about life running through my head. The recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism as the root of my depression and the subsequent treatment for it combined with the recent passing of my father from thyroid complications has led to some serious contemplation on death. In light of these experiences I've wanted to share the resulting mental popcorn with other people. First I wanted to cover the range of people I saw coming in for bridal gowns. We had all types, young and old, thick and thin, pretty and not so pretty. By far the nicest bride I dealt with was a lady who was short of stature and full figured, and who thanked each of us at the shop several times for all we did to make her gown fit just right. I think this lady could give a lesson to all of us not to take things for granted. The thin, young pretty bride can walk into a store and buy a dress, assuming she will look good in it "off the rack" . The larger bride walks in with hope in her heart and looks at the selection, picking out a gown with some trepidation and trying it on to discover all the things about it from length to sleeves to overal fit that need to be changed. For a moment her hopes of being a beautiful bride are dashed and she is crestfallen. Then we do our magic for her. A few folds, pins, tucks and changes, and we send her off with our best assurances while we do our work like the elves for the shoemaker. Shortly before her wedding she comes back to try on her gown and pick it up. Nervous again she steps into the dressing room, slipping on the bustier, crinoline, and finally the gown, feeling its weight settle over her shoulders and down to her hips and to the floor. We assist her in fastening the closures, buttons, snaps and such, and see to it that all the puffs are full and the lace smoothed, the skirt flowing smoothly. If she has a headpiece, we settle it gently upon her head. Then, the moment she has waited for; we step back and she sees the result of our efforts. her gown now fits her as gracefully as any model in a bridal magazine. Perhaps a tear comes to her eye, or perhaps a giggle of girlish glee escapes her lips. For now, _she_ is the beautiful and glamorous one, and all eyes will be on her for that one day.
I wish we could do this magic for other people, in other ways, but what I really wish is that people would see those ladies and know that the beauty they are seeing now, on the wedding day, was there all along. Our needles and threads have only provided a framework to accent it. This extra work on the gown is reflected in that lady's life on a regular basis. If she wants to buy shoes she has to look longer and harder than the slender girl. If she wants a suit for a friends wedding it has to be altered. She's less likely to get a job than the slender girl, and less likely to get a promotion. When these things _do_ happen to her? She's more grateful than the slender girl could ever be, because she has seen the other side. She has been rejected, been the last to be asked to the dance if at all, and she has searched for something to wear while the slender girl just picks what she likes. She worries that she is heavy, but we remind her, your husband to be chose you just as you are and he loves you as you are. How is it then that these men can look at the larger woman and love her for who she is, but society as a whole cannot? Perhaps society as a whole does not notice the beatific smiles when these ladies see themselves as beautiful brides. Perhaps society cannot see how these women persevere and endure the taunts from children and rude adults; cannot see the strength it takes to face the world each day. Perhaps the world needs to see how content these women are to see a gown that fits and flatters them. While the size 6 girls are asking us to make the gown "just a little tighter" until each breath they take pulls the threads of the fabric apart and leaves irreparable damage, perhaps they should look to that happy larger bride and learn from her serenity. Be grateful for the things you have been blessed with and take joy in them.