Yesterday was my day of reckoning: my official “first fitting” at Eternal Bride in Warwick. It was the end point of a journey that began a little over 10 weeks ago.
Expectations were high, and not just mine. Oh, no, this has been a group, nay, village effort from the beginning. I’m not kidding when I say that everyone I know—and even a few people I don’t know—helped me in this. Yes, it does indeed “take a village” to achieve some goals.
From Sonya, the Barford “Lollipop Lady” shouting: “C’mon, get joggin’, then!” across the road at me, as I walked (or crawled some days) to the gym every morning, to “the Monday-Wednesday Swim Club” (Beryl, Judy, Julia, Jackie 1 and Jackie 2) keeping me honest in the pool, I have had a dedicated team of supporters.
I’ve had overwhelming support and encouragement from people I didn’t even think were paying attention. One morning, as I dashed to the gym between cloud blasts, I ran into a very stately Barford resident who I refer to as “The Gentle Gent” – because he is. In his mid to late 60s, he is absolutely lovely. I adore the way that whenever I encounter him around the village, he dips his head ever so slightly, and touches the brim of his hat as he says, “Good Morning” or “Good afternoon.” (That’s from a different time and place, isn’t it? Someone should start a campaign to bring back some gracious manners.)
“How are the fitness efforts coming along?” the Gentle Gent inquired, softly puffing on his pipe. “Very well, thank you.” I said politely, more than a little surprised that he had had any notion of my “Dress Quest.” (Clearly, news travels fast in Barford.)
“Well, keep up the good work. I have no doubt that you shall be even more beautiful and radiant on your special day than you already are every day.” A smile, a slight nod, and another touch of his hat brim as he walked away. I smiled to myself all the way to the gym.
Of course, I have already mentioned my wonderful gym mates who have been there quite literally, all the way. Eva wasn’t letting me off easy on “Fitting Day,” no way. This was our last stand, and she wasn’t joking.
“Did you come in on Tuesday?” she said, meeting me at the gym door. Eva has Tuesdays off, and I think she fears that I might slack off when she’s not around. I reminded her that on Tuesday I go to Pilates at the Village Hall, do a bit of work on my arms in the gym, and then go for a swim.
“And besides,” I explained, “Mireck gave me some exercises to do as well.” “Mireck?!” Eva said with surprise. I closed my eyes and nodded. Mireck is one of Eva’s compatriots, a brick wall of a man who covers the gym when Eva’s off duty.
Mireck is another “I-had-no-idea-he-was-even-paying-attention” person in the Dress Quest. I went in on Tuesday, after getting my butt kicked at Pilates, only to have Mireck stop me as I grabbed a towel and headed for the changing room: “Wait, you want to work arms for dress?” he said. I was speechless. Mireck is towering, Polish body-builder. His muscular arms are roughly the size of my legs. I was hesitant at first—I don’t have any body-building ambitions—but then I thought, if anybody knows about arms, it would be him. So, I let Mireck put me through my paces with free weights in preparation for Fitting Day.
On the day, Eva had me huffing, puffing and sweating like never before in our last ditch effort before my afternoon fitting.
“Today’s the day!” the “Monday-Wednesday Swim Club” chimed in unison as I sank into the nicely heated pool. “And haven’t you done well? I think you’ve lost a bit of weight, haven’t ya?” Judy said in a kindly mothering voice. “Just be careful, lovey, I reckon you’re not going to have any energy left for your honeymoon if you keep up at this rate!” cheeky old Beryl said slyly, giving us all the giggles. I just blushed and dove under the water…
So, D-Day had finally come. I rushed home from the gym to get ready for my trip over to Warwick. I was gleeful because I knew I’d worked hard. And besides, I had a back-up plan for extra support: Trinny & Susannah’s “Magic Knickers.”
But, like so many things I have assumed throughout this Bridal Quest, my best laid plan, came to nothing. I ripped open the box of my T&S magic pants, and tried them on excitedly. I caught sight of myself in mirror, and it struck me. I had huffed, puffed, panted, sweated and cried my way to today.
My victory was going to utterly sweet, and I deserved for it to be utterly mine. I looked myself in the eye and I realized, that there was no way I was going to give this victory to (or even share it with) Trinny and Susannah. I did this.
Okay, I hadn’t lost as much weight as I’d hoped (5lbs in total lost), but I am leaner, meaner, stronger and fitter than I was 10 weeks ago, and maybe that’s all that really matters. I’ve also dropped a full dress size, on my own, and without a latex body suit.
I did it my way.