Neckpiece: Forever 21
Ring: Street shopping, India (similar here)
As if it’s already not enough that we women deal with objectification on daily basis, but being a bride is a different ball game all together. A bride is judged, critically analyzed, gossiped about and mostly never embraced for being herself. This is my attempt at putting forth the inner conversations of an insecure bride, who is just another target at the society’s idea of perfect and the immense pressure that is thrown at her the moment she announces her wedding.
“She whispered ‘I DO’ to herself, before she walked down the aisle as the gushing bride”
She had imagined this day a million times, she had lived and replayed this moment in her mind, she had visualized twirling in her red wedding gown with a smile that lit up the entire room. But there she stood on her wedding day, staring at herself in the mirror, her eyes spoke of some sadness. She had read innumerable articles on how to look like the perfect bride, how to lose weight for the big day, how to get the instant glow for your special day, she had read and followed them all religiously. She had failed she thought, she was not the perfect bride she wanted to be. ‘The camera adds 5 pounds’, these lines from the magazines echoed in her mind constantly. Only if she could’ve managed to shed those extra kilos, she thought. She knew those articles weren’t going to transform her overnight, yet she wanted to try. Suddenly she didn’t feel like herself, she didn’t have the same confidence that she always had, she wasn’t that girl who once embraced herself and celebrated her beauty, she wasn’t that girl anymore, who took pride in her achievements. Now she was just a bride, just a girl everyone was waiting to see, stare and judge.
She took a picture tucking her stomach in, holding her breath cursing every cheese slice, every burger that she had ever enjoyed. The love handles made her feel disgusted, little did she know that they added to her body the curve every woman envied. She glanced at her dark skin and wished every person came with a filter in their eyes, just like the one on her phone that instantly brightened her face up. The acne marks on her face and body that left her feeling scarred for life, would easily vanish at a double click on the app. When she would slip into her beautiful red lehenga, she wanted to be brimming with happiness and feel like the most beautiful person in the world. But instead she stared at the stretch marks on her waist, that now had made an appearance, the uneven skin tone on her body was now visible to all. She felt a knot in her stomach, as she hoped she could somehow retouch and correct them all out. When she would adorn her beautiful jewelry, her face would glow like the moon she hoped. But instead she frowned at her laugh lines, that looked darker than ever before. They were a testimony to her loud contagious laughter that filled up the room and now she hesitated to even flash a wide smile. The wrinkles under her eyes, that spoke so proudly of the endless hours and nights she spent typing her thesis away, working extra hours at the office and binge watching her favorite shows. They were now just a sign of aging to her that drowned her self respect even deeper.
She kept staring at her self in the mirror, wondering how she can look perfect, just like the way she had seen in the magazines, just like the way the world wanted to see her. As she fell deeper into this thought, her mom stopped by several times to tell her what a beautiful bride she made. Those voices were silenced by the louder noise that she was fighting within herself. Her heart sank deeper into a black dark pit, where she buried her real self. She wanted to be left alone there, a place that had no living soul, that had no ray of sunlight. She felt safe, she felt secure in that place, there were no eyes staring or judging her. She then saw a hand offering to help pull her out. She was surprised at the way those eyes looked at her, no one had ever looked at her that way. Her falling self esteem was slowly reviving. She saw in those eyes what she had been longing to see. She saw love for herself, for every element of her body that she disposed at the idea of being the perfect bride. She felt like the most beautiful person again, the most beautiful bride like she always wished to look like. No, it wasn’t the groom reassuring her, a male approval wasn’t where her self worth came from. It was her own image, her own not so perfect self now staring back at her and she loved every bit of it. She saw in the mirror herself in the way she always once saw and had forgotten it all, in the urge to match the stereotype – perfect mannequin figure. She realized how wrong she was, taking down every filter that marred her sight, trashing every magazine that told her otherwise. Quickly taking back control, she stood up looking into the mirror one last time and whispered, ‘I DO’ to herself, professing self love before she walked down as a bride, gleefully smiling and caring a damn for the world.