one girl's thoughts on life, mental illness, eating disorder recovery, and hope.

When you hem your bridesmaid dress May 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — rheasofhope @ 4:35 pm
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Have you ever stopped and thought to yourself, “I swear my life is like a scene from a movie”? Well, this thought occurs with relative frequency in my life despite my lack of movie viewing. Recently, while standing in my aunt’s parquet kitchen clutching my bridesmaid dress to my chest to have it hemmed, I was reminded of the movie Mean Girls. That’s right. Mean Girls. And just how did I arrive at this odd comparison, you may ask. Well, allow me to refresh your memory of a certain scene from this movie.

Regina is purchasing her Spring Fling dress with the assistance of her three friends and a saleswoman. While the dress is being zipped, the following dialogue takes place:

Karen: It won’t close!

Regina: It’s a five!

Gretchen: It must be marked wrong.

…then some stuff I am choosing to omit…

Karen: Ma’am, do you have this in the next size up?

Saleslady: Sorry. We only carry sizes 1, 3, and, 5.You could try Sears.

If you are good at inferences, you can imagine what happened next. As my aunt maneuvered the zipper to get it secured past my chest, my thought was, “This dress has to fit. It is a size *blank*!” No amount of finagling or coaxing, however, could get the dress to close over my shoulder blades. I panicked. Ed plotted. The dress had fit in December when I had tried on the sample in the salon. Five months later, when I tried my dress on to be hemmed as a means to accommodate my short stature, not so much. I tried to choke back the tears and Ed as my aunt unzipped the dress over my stomach and, finally, my hips. I was faced with the harsh reality. The dress is not going to fit. “Maybe if you lose ten pounds we could get it zipped” my aunt offered. I stood in silence with the purple chiffon dress, again, clutched to my chest before walking upstairs to the bathroom where I had left my clothes.

Alone in the green-tiled bathroom the tears finally escaped their eyelinered dams and cascaded with force down my face in grey rivulets. I looked at my splotchy red face in the mirror; catching the gaze of my green eyes. Ed stared back at me. She spoke to me in the most unkind of voices; using the ill-fitting dress against my recovery. “Lose ten pounds and we can fit into the dress” she hissed. “Follow me, engage in my behaviors, and the dress will zip over your chest” she mocked, “you don’t want to go to the wedding naked, do you?” I could not listen to her any longer. Standing in that bathroom, I knew I had a choice.

I called the bridal store and ordered an even exchange of the next size up. The woman reassured me that “this kind of thing happens all the time. The dresses in the store are stretched out from so many people trying them on.”  I wish I could say, in the days since, that I have not listened to Ed’s taunts and threats, but that would be a lie. Every time I go to my closet and see the place where the dress should be, Ed reminds me of that day. But, then I remember I have a choice. I can choose life or Ed. I can choose life or behaviors. My best friend (also the bride for the wedding for which the dress was purchased) put it this way, the dress not fitting is proof that I am in a healthier place. That is how I choose the see this situation today. I was not in a healthy place when I purchased my dress last Christmas. Now that I am working on recovery, I am in a healthier place. Thus, an explanation as to why the dress no longer fits. Am I bummed the dress no longer fits, yes. Do I wish I did not have to exchange the dress for a larger size, yes. BUT, am I glad that this situation taught me that I have come a long way in my recovery, you bet your ass I am. Every day we have the choice on how we can view our recovery. I could have chosen to use the dress situation as a means to continue the self-destructive dance with Ed. Instead, I chose to see it as a sign of recovery; distancing myself from Ed. I will continue using the dress situation as a mean of telling Ed no. In August, when I walk down the aisle in my beautiful dress with hopefully a handsome man on my arm I will remember what it took to get to that point in my recovery; the choices I made to get to this healthier, happier life. That is how I choose to see this situation. Recovery is beautiful and so are you.

3 John 1:2

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you



7 Responses to “When you hem your bridesmaid dress”

  1. Kayla Beltz Says:

    Rhea I’m so proud of you for not letting a situation like that bring you down! When something magically doesn’t fit, it is so easy to blame yourself. I’m so so so happy that you are choosing to continue health instead of fit into a dress. The size of clothes will never, ever correlate to health, life, and happiness.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thank you Kayla! I am trying to learn that size does not equal happiness. It is hard work, but definitely worth it. Trying to stay strong in tough times is hard, but I am confident in God and my own strength. I will get there sooner or later.

  2. Allison Forsythe Says:

    Congratulations, Rhea! I was going to suggest some words similar to what your best friend said, and I was so happy to continue reading to find that you’re already there! 🙂

    This may seem like a random tidbit of information, but I’ve got to say that yoga was a big part of my own recovery…and I would highly recommend it (even though it could take some time to find the teacher and yoga style that suit you best). It has been the body acceptance and mental calmness that I’ve learned through yoga that’s helped the most during moments exactly like what you’ve described. Just a thought!

    Your strength is an inspiration! Keep it up. 🙂

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thank you Allison. As hard as it was to realize the dress no longer fit, I think it was proof to me that my efforts in recovery are worthwhile.
      Funny enough, I LOVE yoga I have found it promotes a healthy relationship with my body; as opposed to what ED would like to convince me about my body. I am so so glad that you have found the road to recovery and self-acceptance. It is such a hard thing to find; but so wonderful and beautiful when you get there. Keep fighting for what you know is right for yourself and your recovery. You’re stronger than you could ever know, and this is demonstrated in your readiness to recover. Take care and stay your beautifully strong self.

  3. Dear Rhea,
    I completely forget when you tell me these accounts such as this that Ed exists. I guess it is similar to the battles I face myself on extremely trying days when I win once again and do not cave in to the urge for nicotine.

    I am so proud of you each an every day. I pray for those days you don’t encounter Ed. You are an amazing inspiration to me and remind me daily we all have those hidden struggles people don’t see.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thanks Shari. I realize when I told you the trials of the bridesmaid dress…as I will now be referring to this event …I leave out ED. ED takes over a large portion of my brain, but I try to keep her out of my daily life with those that I love; that is for me, not for her. It is very similar to your quitting smoking (which I am SO so proud of you for doing). The thoughts are always there, but we always have the choice to say “I am going to acknowledge that thought for what it is. Think about what would be best for myself in that situation. And then do the next right thing”. You may not be able to change your thoughts right way (or ever) but you can always change your reaction to those thoughts. Thank you for the kind words.

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