I’ve always struggled with comparing myself to others, especially other women. At the age of seven, I can remember begging my mom to get me a neon pink tracksuit from The Gap, solely because a few of the popular girls owned one. That’s one of the first times I can remember feeling somehow not quite enough in my own skin. One of the first times I let comparison steal my joy.
That feeling, as I’m sure you know, never fully goes away but over time it becomes more manageable. Social media cleanse here, treat-yo-self day there, I thought I had mastered the balance of resisting the temptation to drool over an instagram-curated life and loving the messy life I work hard to lead. I was so used to fighting that thief at the front lines of social media and dinner parties that I didn’t even see it coming toward my marriage.
My Pinterest board titled “Dreaming of the Day” was filled long before I had anyone to get engaged to, so when it came around to it, I thought I could copy and paste my Pinterest dreams into reality. WRONG. Like any other Pinterest project, it was a lot harder in real life. When I went into bridal salons looking for my dream dress, I found myself wondering why I looked so different from the pictures I had pinned. I chose my photographer more for his editing style than the price range we could realistically afford. By the month before my wedding I had redesigned my tablescapes four times, for what the guests might think. The more I looked for inspiration, the tighter the chains of comparison gripped me.
How I wish I could tell you it stopped at the altar.
Though I am incredibly grateful, proud even, at how our wedding turned out, I couldn’t seem to stop the anxiety, embarrassment and touch of shame that crept in during the months following our big day, after the intoxicating warmth of family and friends died down.
“Even good lighting and editing couldn’t hide how fat you look in your pictures”
“The songs you picked were cheesy, just like your decor”
“No one really had a good time, they’re just being polite”
“You should have…”
“You could have…”
Soon every thought even tangentially related to our wedding sent me into a spiral of insecurity, all of which concluded at the same thesis : I am not enough. As you can imagine, this was not conducive to a new marraige. With a crazy amount of love and grace, my sweet husband guided me (and honestly still does) to see the truth of the matter, I let my age old nemesis, comparision, sneak in and steal the joy from such a sacred part of my life. We know to avoid it in ads, and via celebrities, but comparison resides in the ideals between our ears just as much as it can online or directly with our friends.
I wish someone would have told me that most of the wedding photos on Pinterest are the products of styled shoots, meaning those girls in my “dream dress” are actually models and their perfect bridal party pics are with people they don’t even know. I wish I would have believed that people really don’t notice the fine details of a wedding, especially when there is an open bar involved. And I’m glad I listened when a wonderful friend told me “the wedding is for everyone else, it’s the marrage that’s for you”.
It’s your marriage, don’t let comparision sneak in through your wedding - it wasn’t on the guest list!