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My body image issues almost ruined my wedding after I couldn't find a ring or suit that fit me

Mark Jason Williams dressed in a suit on his wedding day
The author on his wedding day.Courtesy of Mark Jason Williams
  • After a surprise engagement, I couldn't wait to get married.

  • Shopping for rings and suits triggered my body insecurities.

  • I felt like calling off the wedding, but my fiancé's support helped me get over my cold feet.

In my 30s, I unexpectedly met the love of my life and, to my even bigger surprise, got engaged.

I was excited about our wedding, but moments meant to be celebratory, including picking out wedding bands and suits, made me feel uncomfortable with my body and develop major cold feet.

I've struggled with body issues my entire life

Growing up, I was the shortest, the chubbiest, and — thanks to having leukemia — the baldest kid in school. My classmates teased me relentlessly, hurling insults like "Cancer Charlie Brown" and rubbing their wet hands on my head to dry.

Sometimes, I was relieved to be sent to the hospital — being poked by needles hurt less than others poking fun at me. The constant teasing shredded my self-confidence.

As I got older, I felt even more insecure about my body. I wanted to look like Dave Bautista, but my height peaked at 5-foot-2, and despite diets and workouts, I always carried a few extra pounds.

Feeling inferior to other guys, I sought extreme measures such as limb-lengthening surgery and muscle implants. Ultimately, they were too risky and expensive, leaving me more distraught.

Then I met Michael, a charming public-health professor. Being with someone comfortable in his skin and supportive of my needs helped me build back confidence — at least for a while.

I literally couldn't put a ring on it

When it came time for ring shopping, I envisioned going to Tiffany's, where salespeople served Champagne and gushed about our love. Instead, our modest budget took us to a strip mall in New Jersey. The store was dark and smelled like mothballs. Still, I was thrilled to share this magical moment with my future husband — until I tried on a ring.

"Help," I pleaded, the silver titanium band squeezing my skin. I tugged hard, but it didn't budge. Finally, Michael grabbed Windex from the counter and sprayed my finger, and the ring slid off. I was mortified. Michael urged me to stay upbeat, but the next ring I tried got stuck, too.

"You have fat fingers," a salesperson, obviously not working on commission, said. "They look like carrot stubs."

Suddenly, all the years of pointing, snickering, and taunting stormed through my head, and it was too much. Michael tried to be supportive, but being ridiculed — again — was a pain he couldn't take away.

"Maybe we should call it off," I said. I meant ring shopping, but I was suddenly having second thoughts about our marriage, too. This was supposed to be a happy time; how could I get married if I felt miserable?

Finding a suit became an impossible task

Shopping for suits was equally frustrating. We went to 10 stores, where I'd grab dozens of suits, carrying them in my arms like stray puppies, and beeline to the dressing room. I was hopeful when jackets didn't pop their buttons, only for the pants to dead end at my rear end.

"Why is this so hard? I asked a salesperson.

"Usually people as short as you are slimmer and don't have such a big butt," he said.

I wanted to gasp and say, "I've never been so insulted." But that was clichéd, and I've been called way worse. Once again, I hated my body and was extra touchy about getting teased.

"Maybe this wedding isn't meant to be," I said, letting my emotions get the better of me.

My fiancé's kindness and understanding helped my cold feet

An ever-supportive significant other, Michael calmly helped me deal with my meltdowns and insecurities. "We can wear jeans and use rubber bands as rings for all I care," he said.

It took work, but we eventually found a ring and a suit for me. I was grateful to stop obsessing and enjoy our wedding day. But just before our ceremony, something was off.

"I feel fat in this suit," I said. "I can't go out there."

Michael hugged me and told me I looked handsome but stressed that I needed to feel that way about myself.

"I wanted today to be perfect," I said.

"And I'm more focused on all the other days we're going to spend together," he replied.

I took Michael's hand and headed down the aisle. It started pouring, giving me something else to fret over, but we had a lovely ceremony and celebration. As our family and friends gathered around, and we danced to "Like a Prayer," it was one of the happiest moments of my life.

Maybe I'll never feel entirely comfortable with my body, but I was glad to get past my cold feet.

Read the original article on Insider