I’m getting married in 2 ½ months and I’m feeling insecure about how I look.
I know I’m small, always will be, so I feel a bit uncomfortable writing about my own body insecurities. The rational part of me knows I look okay; I don’t need to lose weight. But my inner monologue is a different story. Whether or not my insecurities are well-founded–in my head, they are real. You see I used to be a gymnast, with no body fat, in peak condition. So this is the biggest I’ve ever been. “Grad school 15” is real.
The part of me that thinks a wedding is all about the dreamy pictures and the affirming accolades is bummed that I happen to be getting married when I’m the least in shape I’ve been in years, the least tanned, the least toned.
But then the part of me that knows a wedding is not a fashion show or a Pinterest party, but an outward celebration of commitment, of love, of deciding to choose each other in the good times and the flabby times. That part of me is floored by the beauty of the timing.
Because I know know know that my fiancé’s love is not dependent on my looks or workout schedule. His love is not something I earned and therefore is not something I can lose if I “let myself go.”
He asked me out on a date when I was marginally employed spending my day caring for a 94 year-old-woman with Alzheimer’s in velour jump suits. He liked me for me. Not for my job or career or standing. Not for anything I did or do. I made a point of not styling my hair for any of our dates for the first maybe six months of our relationship. He liked me anyways. He didn’t even seem to notice.
I know this.
But as the wedding planning amps up, so do my insecurities.
I start to fear my frizz, my freckles, my back fat.
Bridezilla is in my head, and I’m her main victim.
It’s not Ryan that I’m worried about. I know he’ll think I’m beautiful no matter what. I know he’ll tear up when I walk down the aisle. I can see in the way he looks at me that he is a man in love.
It’s everyone else I’m worried about. I’m worried about impressing my friends. I’m worried about what I will look like in photographs. On Instagram.
It’s stupid, I know.
I don’t want worry to win. So I hope in writing them out. In seeing how silly and vain my concerns are in light of the magnitude of the gift of love I have been given, I hope that joy will win. In writing my insecurities “out loud” I hope to loosen their grip on me, diminish their power.
I can choose to let joy win. To rejoice and celebrate. To embrace marriage planning. To show up whole-heartedly to the upcoming wedding events, no matter what I look like. To let love, not fear, steal the show.
In a couple months I will take a new name: Prades. I will choose a new role: wife.
In front of my friends and family, I will commit to love one man for the rest of my life: that’s the easy part. I will also commit to be loved by him: that’s the hard part.
To receive his love. To believe I’m enough.
It is my hope and my prayer that Aly Prades is a woman who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is loved.
Who lives like she is loved. Who doesn’t listen to the voices that say I am my calorie count, my waistline, or my hairstyle.
I don’t have to wait until I’m married to believe this. Since I began spending time with Ryan, this transformation has been taking place. His tender spirit, his faithful love has healed me, is healing me, of my perfectionism, of my own self-criticism.
And I know it can’t just be Ryan that tells me this. I’ve been praying to a God of Love, communing with a God of Love, for years before I met Ryan. Ryan is just a new instrument to show me this love. To help show me I am enough. I am loved.
Today, before my name change, before the wedding. I will choose to let joy win.
I am Aly Lewis, an embracer of joy and a woman who believes she is loved.