When I shared the Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls announcement post over the weekend, I was hoping for a little more opportunity to talk about this show, maybe even rave a little about it. I’ve seen it twice, some napping occurred the second time around, and I had so much fun watching it—short version. But there was more to it than that. It got me thinking about this blog and why I started sharing myself here.
When this blog became a style blog over a decade ago, it took something for me to embrace this new online space I had created. I had to push myself, face up to myself and learn a lot (usually through failing). In its current incarnation, starting this blog felt a lot like facing the challenges on the show week after week, actually.
Except that we all know, or should by this stage know, that I don’t dance. Shuffle maybe. Sway, yes. But dance, no.
It reminded me how the old Aussie Curves challenges would push me week after week to get out of my comfort zone and show up. It worked that way for so many of us. With the support of the others in those challenges, I would have the safe space to take a long hard look at myself. Then, when I felt I’d discovered something, I’d share that.
It changed how I felt about sharing myself and my body online. It pushed me to talk about my relationship with my body and how others related to it. Over time, I discovered myself in those challenges, found my voice and stood for who I am.
And I think that’s why I loved this show so much.
Because when people see the big girls showing up online, they can’t believe we can do it. They can’t believe that we can be and often are happy, living life, loving, succeeding and growing. Sure, it would be nice if the world as a whole got its head out of its ass and just let us live. But we are changing minds even if the community has (quite literally) shrunk in the years following that challenge.
I know in a lot of ways, I lost my voice. Sick of being spoken for by women who don’t know, who inhabit smaller bodies and are lucky enough to be still considered acceptable. I found it hard to speak up when after a decade, the problems, especially online, felt like they were getting worse.
Sure, we have seen some progress made, but for whom?
It’s still almost impossible to shop for a body larger than a size 20/22 in this country. God-forbid if you’d like to do so in-store. Brands shout inclusion and clothing for everybody (and “every-body”) at us from every angle than call a size 20 a 3XL in their limited extended sizing. New offerings pop up promising larger size ranges soon! Then the months go by, and those promises seem long forgotten, replaced instead with an ad budget to drown out the voices of those left behind.
For the most part, we continue to be represented by people who don’t know or see our experiences. Every single woman on Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls says at one point she wished she’d seen a person that looked like her anywhere when growing up. And while I saw plenty of white women, even a chubby one here or there, I know a small portion of that longing. And this show reminded me of that.
It reminded me that I show up for myself first.
To remind me of my worthiness and willingness to grow, live proudly and change something. Next, I show up for my nieces and second cousins, great cousins etc., who will grow up in a body like mine. A body that, for all the progress we are told is being made, is still wrong. I show up so that they will see someone who reminds them just to be themselves. It’s the only thing there is to do. Exist comfortably in the skin you’re in.
And then, last but certainly not least, I do it for you and anyone else out there that looks at my size 24/26 (give or take depending on the year) self with my broad shoulders, big chest, deep voice, long torso, loud laugh, and big feet and sees something of me in yourself. Through me, I hope you find a way to sit comfortably with who you are inside and out. Through sharing my struggles, I hope you know that you’re pretty great, just as you are; inside and out.
Thanks for coming to my Ted talk, haha. Have you seen the show? Let’s talk about it!
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.