Saturday, May 7, 2011

Red Beaded Lace

It didn't take me long to pick out my wedding dress. It was the third one that I tried on and before it was even laced up, I knew it was the one. My best friend, my brother's wife, went dress shopping with me and she said she knew that was the dress I was going to pick as soon as I came out of the dressing room. It was beautiful. I had wanted a red wedding dress, which are very hard to come by and are also quite expensive. So when I found this one, I was thrilled. It had red beaded lace around the bodice. The corset top was laced up the back with red satin. It was long and full. It was perfect.

When NMIL saw the garment bag hanging off the back of the door, she reached out her hand to touch it and said, "Oooh, is this your wedding dress?" Her eyes filled with excitement and longing. To her, seeing the dress meant that she could brag to her friends and family that she was a part of our wedding. Knowing something so personal about me would have made her feel powerful.

"Yes," I said, "that is my wedding dress."

"Can I see it?" She asked.

"No," I said.

She said, "Oh. Are you superstitious?"

"No," I replied. "I'm just not showing it to you."

I'm sure she is not used to hearing that word. She never got used to hearing it from me. Of course, she usually heard it indirectly, since she always asked DH the questions, in the hopes she'd get a "yes" if she didn't include me in the conversation. She didn't count on DH communicating with me. She didn't count on our tremendous respect for each other. When she asked him if we would go on vacation with her, the answer was a resounding "no." When she asked him if we wanted to have our wedding at her house, the answer was "no." When she asked us to come to her house for the holidays, the answer was "no." It's no surprise why she doesn't like me, she doesn't like anyone who tells her no. She chose to think that I wasn't showing her my gown for some frivolous reason, so that she could tell herself at the end of the day that SHE wasn't the reason why I refused.

I showed the gown to my mother. I showed it to my best friend. I let them in, I let them be a part of my special world. I even tried it on for them once before the wedding. I said no to NMIL because she didn't deserve to see it. I said no because showing her my wedding dress, in spite of what she has done, would be like saying, "Treat me like shit and I'll still let you in." I said no because I wanted to send the message loud and clear, that she could play her games, but I wasn't going to be a part of them. I said no because I knew what yes meant to her. I'm not superstitious. I don't even follow most of the traditional wedding hype (all that garter-wearing-bouquet-throwing stuff), so neither were accurate reasons for my refusal. I could say no to her without having to explain myself because I was confident in my right to say no. It was simple: the answer was just, "No. You can't see my dress."

Some might argue, what's the big deal? It's only a dress. I say, if NMIL were capable of telling the truth, she would say it was a huge deal. She would say that my wedding dress was a symbol of power, it was a symbol of MY power. It meant I was marrying HER son, which, in turn, meant I was taking him away. If she were an honest person, and could lay herself bare to the world, she would say she was afraid of that dress and the control it meant I had. By keeping it from her, she would say, I was taking all the power for myself and stealing away all of her control.

So sad when you look at what my wedding dress meant to me: It had nothing to do with power or control and everything to do with happiness. That dress meant I was in love, that DH and I were going to start our lives together. It was a symbol of our Truth, our passion, our courage. When my family saw me in that dress, they felt only happiness for me and for DH. They saw beauty, they felt affection, they were proud.

My wedding dress had nothing to do with power and everything to do with love. Anyone who couldn't see that was blind.


  1. Let's face it. The bitch just wanted to see the dress so she could find fault with it and try to spoil your happiness. I love that you said "No" without justifying it to her.

    "Treat me like shit and I'll still let you in."

    My Nparents say they'd like to see me more often and last time I was there NF's parting comment was, "Don't wait so long to come back." That was in December of 2010.

    One day I'll have the balls to say, "Don't treat me like shit and I'll visit more often."

  2. Mulderfan, good point. That was probably a part of it too - I'm sure she would have loved to have told her friends that my dress was ugly and that she thought I would look fat in it. She's insecure, after all, and people like that always attack the beauty in others that they, themselves, are lacking.

    Unlike your parents, she wouldn't have said it to my face. She would have said it behind my back.

    You'll get there Mulderfan. I feel that the only thing stopping you from saying that to your parents is the realization that once you say it, you can't go back. It means the moment that they treat you like shit, you'll have to walk away. You'll get there. You'll say it one day, and mean it, and it will be fucking awesome!

  3. LIke Mulderfan, my first thought was NO! Don't show her because she'll find some way to slip in an insult, either directly or indirectly. How sad that you knew you couldn't share something so significant in order to maintain respect for yourself, your DH, and your important day.

  4. I like your reasoning to say no. You said it because it is your right to decide who is close to you. I am just starting to learn this and I appreciate learning that it can be done so simply over anything, including something like a wedding dress. It is only a dress, why are you upset because I said no? Perhaps because it is not about the dress at all. Certainly thoughts for me to ponder.

  5. Judy and Ruth - Thank you for your support.

    I believe that saying "no" means not allowing other people to hurt you, and telling them that their behaviors are unacceptable. Sometimes, you have to say no with your actions, not just your words. And when the person you are saying no to refuses to accept that, you must walk away to preserve your self-esteem and personal rights. Sometimes it's tough, especially if you are saying it to someone who you love or respect. But it's a really important skill to have!

    Thanks again. Hugs to you both.

  6. Wow, the dress looks great! -- quartz

  7. omg I really like that line and really makes sense to me--why would I allow my NM to treat me like shit and then expect me to treat her well.

    LOVE the dress. Did you wear red shoes?

  8. WRB - I grew up with the sentiment that, if people hurt you, you have the right to walk away. I do believe in second chances, but only when the person who has done the hurting is sorry, shows remorse, and is willing to make changes!
    It was nearly impossible to find shoes to go with the dress. I would have loved a red pair, but it ended up being silly to spend a ton of money on shoes when no one could see them anyway. The dress was very long and full, so no one saw what I had on my feet anyway!

  9. I love your dress, I love the red so much - how perfectly Jonsi!

    I think we should not cave to pressure to share out special things with people who disrespect us. That's just me.

    If you and NMIL are going to "mend things" (ha yeah right not if she has anything to do with it) - this certainly wasn't the right time. You were right to speak up.

    Sad for her that she shat on you so early and so often that she couldn't share your joy. Sad for her, not for you.


  10. Upsi - Definitely not just you, I feel the same!

    There was a lot of "let's shit on Jonsi" going on. I'm not cool with that. Period.