I’m putting it out there that if I ever resort to watching Jeremy Kyle, someone needs to host an intervention for me!
The problem with being home and binge watching TV series is that too much of some programmes can cause you to have an existential crisis, think you’re being stalked or about to be murderer all the time, or makes you start talking in olde English depending on the period drama. I did particularly like the heavily Spanish-accented male voice that started narrating my life after I watched back to back Jane the Virgin though!
Anyway, so I found the TLC channel which basically has Say Yes to the Dress and Cake Boss on repeat. Amazing. I hadn’t watched Say Yes before because I assumed it was a bunch of shallow, materialistic girls who have way too much money to spend shopping for wedding dresses. Which it sometimes is, but it got me thinking. And the main thing that came out of all of my avid TV viewing, is that not an awful lot of what we see is actually about the dress. The dress is just a vehicle for a bigger picture.
Everyone, even the most seemingly confident brides, is looking for approval from someone. Otherwise why do they bother taking anyone to the appointment? And the more people they have, the more they appear to like to be in the spotlight, the more they actually need that validation and approval. You can see it in their faces when they think they like something and someone disagrees. They don’t know what to do.
Aside from approval, the wedding or the wedding dress has some kind of symbolism that doesn’t have anything to do with their fiance or wedding. Some have medical stories where wearing a dress causes body image problems or signifies the end of something. Others don’t have family members who’d like to see them in the dress because they’ve died. One got ridiculously upset because her mum didn’t like the dress and burst into tears and it turned out that what looked like a stroppy tantrum from a shallow bride not getting what she wanted on the surface was actually because she’d spent years as a teenager being belittled by her mum about everything and finally thought she’d got to a place where she knew who she was as a person and didn’t need her mum’s approval and it turned out it still had a massive impact on her. She’d taken her mum to the appointment to be the bigger person but she hadn’t quite closed all of the anxiety she felt about it off despite therapy.
So what have I learnt? That everyone needs approval, even the most confident of people. In fact, the most confident often need that validation more. And that it’s ok to ask for approval or validation in certain circumstances, like when you’re trying on your wedding dress or showcasing something or making yourself feel vulnerable. If people aren’t willing to boost your confidence or say they’re proud of you when you’re doing something specific, like shopping for your wedding dress, that says a lot more about them and their insecurities than it does about you.
I think it’s really easy to project fears and anxieties onto even experiences which should be happy. Your mind can’t really handle the really deep rooted negative stuff by itself, but it can get irrationally angry about surface level things. I temporarily lost my scarf at a funeral once and all I could think about at the start of the service was ‘I can’t believe I lost my scarf’. And then I got really stressed because I was thinking about having lost my scarf rather than the person we’d lost and were burying! But it’s the same thing as people eating wedding dress consultants alive because their dress isn’t quite perfect. The mind can’t handle the hard stuff, but it knows how to let it all out on the not so important metaphors of life.
Don’t judge a book by its cover (or wedding dress). Just because you can’t see what’s going on immediately doesn’t mean that the reaction is coming from a shallow place, it’s probably a lot deeper a problem than you realise. It’s just a shame that some of these brides are spending $5k upwards to learn this!