Posted: Thursday, Oct. 04, 2012
Photo by: Nathan Abplanalp Photography
Brittany Sajbel is an associate attorney in Concord. Her March wedding planning has hit quite a few bumps in the road, but she remains positive and sane with the help of her amazing fiance, Neil Love, and their two furbabies, Gemma Bean and Kitty Caroline. Contact Brittany here.
I am the oldest of four children, with two sisters and a brother. Of the sisters, I have always been the biggest. Growing up, it was difficult to see past my size to the positivesI was very smart and I was artistically talented as a dancer, singer, musician and writer.When we were frustrated with each other and really at the end of the ropes, my middle sister and I would get into vicious verbal fights. I would call her dumb, and she would call me fat or ugly. The problem was that because my sister had high self-esteem from being small, pretty and very popular, a dumb comment never really hit its mark. She could study longer and work harder and there wouldnt be a significant difference in our grades. Dumb was the only thing I could think of to hurt her.For me, already suffering from incredibly low self-esteem, being called fat and ugly was traumatizing, and she knew it. No matter how much I exercised, playing sports or dancing, I was never slim like Caitlin. Neither of us would ever come close to our youngest sister, who is absolutely waifish. When my sisters exercised, they got abs.When I exercised, I got hungry. Putting the past behind us, it is still difficult now to be with my sisters and wonder how I ended up with genes so remarkably different from either of them. I am taller than both, and have considerably more meat on my bones. Sometimes I feel like the Cinderella of the family because its so easy for my two sisters to get what they want. They are smart, pretty, funny and petite. I know that before my wedding, Im going to slip on that glass slipper and get my Prince Charming, but the in-between times are tough and frustrating.It was extremely difficult for me to realize as a teenager that I would never fit into my grandmothers wedding dress, which had been worn by both my grandmother and her sister, as well as my aunt. I remember Grandmother taking the dress out when we were younger and hearing people say that I wouldnt fit into it, but maybe Caitlin would. It was the first time that I felt like my size was a limitation on something so significant and important, and it was like being called fat and ugly all over again. I felt really cheated, like it was my right as the oldest granddaughter to wear the dress that had been passed down through the generations, but my size held me back.Since my Grandmother passed, that dress has a very different meaning for me than it ever did, and I know my sister realizes what a tremendous honor it is to wear it. I still wish I could have fit into it, but I realize that its something that really belongs to my little sister, and maybe one day both little sisters. No matter how much weight I lose, I will always be too tall and have too large of a frame to fit into my Grandmothers incredibly petite dress. I have always considered my Grandmother, the matriarch of the family, as the first one to wear the dress. She passed it down to her daughter, the oldest, for her to wear in her wedding. I felt like there was something out of order about my younger sister being able to wear the dress, but not me. However, my Grandmother was not the first one to wear it.My Grandmother was the middle child in the family, the second oldest daughter, and she is the one that passed the dress down through the years. However, the dress was purchased in the 1940s in Los Angeles for my Grandmothers older sister, Virginia, who wore it first in her wedding. Virginia took after their mother, so my Great-Grandfather would say to my Grandmother, Skipper, dont be upset that Virginia got the looks, youll do just fine. For as long as I felt like the pre-Fairy Godmother Cinderella, Im sure Caitlin has felt the same way being sandwiched in between two of us. Realizing that Grandmother was a middle child who probably also felt slighted at times has made me realize that its more appropriate for Caitlin to wear the dress in my Grandmothers honor.When I was born so closely to my Grandfathers death, it helped to bring the family peace, comfort, and stability in a time of immense sadness. I know that my sisters wedding, in my Grandmothers dress, will do the same.
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