A time I felt beautiful?
The answer came to me within seconds of reading the prompt from Krista. No brainer. It was the first day of summer last year. My best friend, who I’ve known my entire life – she’s also my cousin – got married. While it was my first time as a maid (well, matron) of honor, this was not my first time standing in the wedding of a dear friend. Aimee, Holly, Melisa, Krista, and Kate have all given me the honor of wearing a beautiful dress, witnessing sacred vows, and dancing the night away. I can honestly say at each wedding, as with my own, I felt beautiful. Beauty was something I put on along with the dress, shoes, hair, and so forth. At Gretchen’s wedding I was beautiful. There was beauty within me, emanating.
I currently live a couple thousand miles away from Gretchen, who lives in my hometown. So it was pretty special for us both that I was able to spend the entire week leading up to the wedding with her. Running errands, figuring out final logistics, laughing, eating – doing life together. When I’m with Gretchen, my best characteristics naturally come forward, mingling with hers, and each of us to know that our friendship is good and right.
I was given the opportunity to stand in front of all the important people in Gretchen’s life (and her husband Matt’s) and declare her awesomeness. I’d written versions of the speech in my head many times (they dated for nine years), so it was surprising when I sat down to put words on paper and what flowed out wasn’t the jokes or funny stories that I (and others) thought would be shared, but instead just straight-forward, succinct, truths. Just four simple paragraphs, brimming with my pride, admiration, and life lessons learned from Gretchen. With each passing sentence I shared I felt something, a rightness, growing inside of me. She hugged me while others were clinking glasses and the rightness became pure joy. I was on a high after that like I’ve never experienced.
Compliments received that night, on the speech, my appearance, whatever, just sunk right in. I genuinely accepted and whole heartedly believed them, The doubting thoughts that so easily travel with me took the night off to celebrate the wedding as well.
My dad told me he was proud of me (for my speech). Although I’ve always know it, this is not something I can recall him saying often. I quickly responded, confidently, “I know!” My uncle told me I should consider modeling. I remarked “I think I’m too old for that” and told him I was 30. He thought about it for a second and said “well, maybe for Target” as he made his way to the dance floor. I laughed at this response and then exclaimed aloud, to no one, “I could be a model for Target!” My grandfather was all smiles, saying what a great time he was having just watching us (Gretchen and I) enjoy ourselves. My husband asked me to try the lift/dance move from Dirty Dancing and I cleared a path for my running start (If you’re curious: I was sober; after a few attempts we were partially successful) without hesitation.
Everything was in sync: I how felt inside and out were in alignment; my love for friends and family at that rockin’ party was known and reciprocated. My sheer delight in the new marriage was celebrated by all. It was beautiful. I was beautiful.
Sandy currently lives in Northern California with her husband. She has lived around the US, and in each place has found friendships with women that she admires, enjoys, and learns from. She eagerly accepts honest words, crazy stories, and silly jokes in exchange for hugs, food, and crochet lessons.