Wanna find your inner bombshell? Look no further. Stop right here.
Our PK winner on showcase this week is Rachel Dooley. When someone has wedding details to share we start to get all giddy inside, but what Rachel has to share is a bittersweet reflection of a relationship that almost was. She had to face a tough reality when her relationship ended, but today we celebrate the courage she has for sharing that story with us. It may not be the fairytale ending she had planned all that time ago, but there sure is a happy ending…and she even left us a little parting gift!
I knew the moment I tried it on that I loved it. I wanted it so much I was willing to ignore that tiny nagging voice in my head that said, “Wait, don’t buy that yet!” If I listened I could have avoided all the pain of owning a wedding dress I would never wear to my own wedding. But the lace and sparkling bead-work was enough to win me over. The moment I saw myself in the mirror I understood why a woman who tries really hard not to be wooed by a beautiful wedding dress will give-in. Mine fit perfectly (except in the bust) and just like that I was caught up in the moment. I had never worn a formal dress before, my hair and make-up looked good and my mom and I were having a lot of fun that day. The last thing I wanted to do was listen to that voice.
The dress was the final piece I needed for the simple wedding on the beach we planned, surrounded by close friends and family, with the lull of the ocean serenading us as we became man and wife. I even bought some flip flops that left the imprint “just married” in the sand after the completion of our nuptials. Our reception was to be outside on picnic benches with cake and champagne. Our dreamy honeymoon would be celebrated in a town a few miles down the coast in a house with a hot tub just a few blocks from the beach. It was all coming together so perfect like it was meant to be.
But my wedding dress is in my closet waiting to take his breath away. Some people asked if I planned to sell it. Others joked that it would scare off my next potential suitor. But I prefer to hang on to it. I’m not sad when I look at it and I haven’t given up hope that I will never wear it. It’s like a trusted friend I lost touch with and whom I fully plan to get back together with for an evening of catch-up. It is the only thing I have kept. I gave away all my wedding stuff to Goodwill but not before writing, “If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it,” in one of my wedding planning books. It might help someone, it might not. But I guarantee if a huge sense of relief fills you when you think about calling off the wedding, do it. I wasn’t that lucky. The relief only came after my fiance called things off. Even though I was devastated, deep down I knew it wasn’t right.
The best thing I did for myself during this time was go back to school to pursue my passion. Not only did it take my mind off the situation but I made honor roll every quarter for the first time in my life and eventually landed a job doing what I loved. And while it has taken me longer than I’d like to admit to get over the breakup and to move on. I’m happy to be free of the drama that brought me tears that year I didn’t tie the knot. There is something exciting about starting anew and taking a leap into the unknown. It wasn’t always fun, and it was a bit scary but I found much comfort in the song, “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. The lyrics, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me. And I’m feeling good,” often lifted my spirits when I needed them lifted the most. So, for all you single girls out there who don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, know your time will come to shine. Take comfort that the universe does know what its doing and every decision no matter how painful it is, is the right one.
From Rachel, dedicated to all you bombshells: