Updated: Dec 27, 2018
Every morning I see you on the closet shelf in your shiny, metallic gold box. Sitting there gathering dust. I was drawn to you in the bridal shop all those years ago. Elegant, classy, shimmering. Everything I had ever imagined and wanted.
You were the one. I knew it the second I stepped into your skirts and the bridal consultant fastened your satin-covered buttons and zippers up my back. You fit like a glove. The "oohs" and "awes" I received from my family as I walked out of that dressing room sealed our fate. Their reactions were my confirmation. You would be the dress I would wear as a bride. It was finally my turn.
I felt incredibly beautiful in your chiffon and satin layers and exquisite beading. I remember The Big Day like it was yesterday. The excitement to finally put you on and wear you; to have my makeup and hair done. The giddiness of dancing and twirling among colorful flowers and many loving guests. Smiling in true joy for photographs with family, friends and the wedding party.
The reactions of the guests watching me walk down the aisle with your delicate, beaded train following behind and matching veil flowing down my back will forever be etched into my memory. The reaction of my soon-to-be husband as he saw me enter the room even more so.
Sparkling in the romantic lighting of the venue, holding onto the hand of my new husband. You made me feel like a princess. One of the happiest days of my life. Oh, how I long to feel that beautiful again. To feel worthy and loved. To feel on top of the world like I did that day. To feel joy like that again.
Little did I know, you were prison garb disguised as a sparkly frock. I wore you in ignorance, unknowingly walking down the aisle to my warden. His reaction to me wearing you was joyful, yes, but joyful because he knew he had me trapped. I was so swept up in the idea of getting to wear you, the idea of feeling like a beautiful bride, that I was blind to the numerous red flags being waved directly in my face.
People say ignorance is bliss, but ignorance almost cost me my life. The beautiful and worthy feelings, the amazing bliss that filled my soul, disappeared within days of removing you from my body. I was caught. Quickly thrown into a cold, dark cell and the key thrown away.
I was now his to do with as he pleased. Gone were the days of his adoration. He unloaded all his self-loathing and putrid immorality on me in one fell swoop. Your white, glittering beauty thrown carelessly in the back of a closet to be forgotten and never again mentioned.
The beautiful bride was replaced with a woman ridden with guilt, shame, and feelings of worthlessness. I was now the broken prisoner of an egocentric sociopath.
In the hands of the ego, marriage is a prison. It is exclusive. It is a place where people are constantly reminded of their failures and limited by the energies of another person. It is rife with judgement and blame. -Marianne Williamson
Years after my prison break, you still sit in your gold box on the highest shelf in my closet. I don't know what to do with you. I question whether to give you to one of my daughters when it comes her time to marry or to throw you into the garbage.
Neither choice feels right. So until I figure out what to do, there you will stay. Occasionally I might take you off the shelf and look at you through the viewing window of your gold preservation box, wishing my fairy tale had not come to such an unhappy ending. Tears will fall as they always do, but only temporarily. Hindsight is 20/20, and there is no use in dwelling on the past.
I'm older now, much wiser, and I've changed greatly, but I guess I'll always hold onto the young girl's fairy tale dream of being a real bride. A true, cherished bride who will be treated with kindness and love even after a dress like you comes off.
Until then, I am going to lead a life full of joy, hope and peace. I will love myself as I hope to be loved one day because it's really not about the dress at all. It's about living a God-pleasing life that prepares you for wearing the dress when the time comes.